Why These Expats Didn’t Think Twice About Moving To The DR

Here’s How You Make Paradise Work For You

In 2004, Todd Schlosser was a partner in a successful training business in Ohio. Unfortunately, though, his market was drying up, so Todd began looking for a new adventure.

Then a family member invited him to visit Las Terrenas on the Samaná Peninsula. Until that invitation, Todd had never heard of the Dominican Republic.

Instead of flying to the capital, Santo Domingo, and driving to Las Terrenas, which is the easiest route, Todd booked a flight into Santiago. His friend sent a driver to pick him up. However, neither Todd nor the driver knew how to get from Santiago to Las Terrenas.

Todd had everyone in the room laughing when he shared his story at last week’s Live and Invest in the Dominican Republic Conference, describing the old van breaking in the mountains, at night, in the pitch dark, neither Todd nor his driver having any idea where they were. Eventually, Todd jumped on a moto-concho (motorcycle taxi) only to realize that he was just minutes from his destination.

He fell in love with the area immediately.

Todd had booked his return flight for Dec. 7. He flew home as planned, sold everything he owned, and moved to the DR on Dec. 30, 23 days later.

Todd had found his paradise, but he needed an income to support his new life there, so he started a business selling and renting dune buggies and quad vehicles.

He met and fell in love with a native. Now Todd and his Dominican wife have two lovely daughters.

After the dune buggies rental business, Todd’s next Las Terrenas entrepreneurial adventure was a small mail and package business that he bought from a friend.

“My friend was struggling with the business,” Todd explained to the group last week. “I had some ideas that I thought might help and wanted to buy out my friend. When I told my wife, she just looked at me like a curious but confused dog.

“She supported me, though,” Todd continued as everyone in the room laughed.

Under Todd’s management, the business grew into a successful operation that now has three offices around the country. His biggest competition is Mailboxes Etc., which charges more and provides slower service.

“I guess you could say I was lucky,” Todd told the group, “but, to me, luck is being prepared when the right opportunity presents itself.”

Would Todd ever go back home?

In fact, he’s been offered the chance. Changes in the market back in Ohio mean that Todd’s U.S. training business is again viable. He’s considered returning to take up that life again…

“But, no,” Todd concludes, “I don’t have any interest in going back, not even for more money. Money doesn’t replace everything. I have a beautiful family now in the DR. I’m not leaving here. This is my home now.

“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve adopted a new country, learned a foreign language, adapted to a different culture, built a successful business, and created a wonderful family.”

Todd says he doesn’t think he’ll ever stop working, even though he doesn’t need much money at all to live very happily in the DR. His new business is part of his new life, and he’s enjoying the whole package.

Hearing from real-life expats like Todd was one of the best parts of last week’s event. All those in the room were there to consider the idea of making the same kind of move, so hearing firsthand from people who’ve already done it was enormously valuable.

Caleb and Marianna, for example, are a young East Coast couple with a 7-year-old son and a family business. They were in the DR to consider options for relocating their family.

Marianna, originally from Mexico, home-schools their son. For this mom, a quality international school is essential. She wants her son to continue with the bilingual education she has begun. The couple’s hope is that they can move to the DR while maintaining their business in the States.

I also chatted with members of LIOS’ All Access Pass who are taking advantage of their membership in this private club to investigate the many living and investing options around the world.

Mimi and Chris, for example, are experienced travelers and friendly people, just the kind of folks you want as neighbors. They have been gathering the personal information requested by their Dominican attorney and have begun the Fast Track process to Dominican residency and citizenship. During this visit to Santo Domingo, they delivered their paperwork and started seriously looking at their options once their kids are finally out on their own.

Then there’s Barbara, a retired veterinarian, among other fascinating jobs and hobbies. Barbara is a longtime LIOS reader who has just settled in Medellín, Colombia.

“I’m loving life in Medellín,” Barbara told me, “but I’m keeping my options open.”

Barbara was in Santo Domingo at the conference last week to learn about current investment options in the DR. She is also in the process of obtaining her residency card and working toward naturalization through the Fast Track program.

On the final day of the conference, the crowd met Jermaine Jackson. He assured us that he is not Michael Jackson’s brother. Jermaine is a Chicago native who joined the Navy and is stationed in Puerto Rico. Jermaine’s goal is to retire from the Navy in two years and then to live full time in the Dominican Republic.

While stationed in Puerto Rico, Jermaine signed up for Spanish classes at the Hispaniola Spanish School in Santo Domingo. He was so impressed with the school, he is now the director, traveling back and forth between the DR and PR every month!

What a diverse, interesting, engaging, open-minded, committed, and fun group of people, all keen to stake their small claim and to make their small mark in the Dominican Republic.

Based on everything I experienced and everyone I met in Santo Domingo last week, I’d say that this island nation has a bright future indeed.

Wendy Howarter
LIOS Conference Insider in the Dominican Republic