Letter Re: Island Retreats-Confirmation of a Bad Idea

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JWR,

I would like to start by saying how much I truly appreciate what you have brought to the Preparedness community. Your insights through your blog, books, and on-air advice have been a godsend! Here is my dilemma: My wife has recently come to the realization that a strategic relocation is required, despite gentle encouragement from me for a few years. The problem is that she’s convinced the location should be The Dominican Republic!

My wife, through a friend, met a group who live in the Dominican Republic full time that help expats from the USA explore the DR (as they call it) for a retirement/retreat locale for free. I, for one, am not impressed in the least with the idea of settling in a Third World country for retirement, and definitely not for a retreat location. The system of government, financial dependence on other countries through foreign aid and the IMF, high population density (500+ per sq mi), unfavorable gun laws, and lack of farming volume are just a few of the negatives for me. I have travelled professionally to many countries all over the world, in the military and privately as a tourist. My personal experiences abroad have shaped my opinion that the DR would be a really poor choice of retreat location.

Operating in many developing countries like DR I have learned they have so many of the same problems. I would be interested in your perspective on the idea of island retreats, specifically South American ones. Other countries she has considered include, Belize, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. In my option they all share undesirable characteristics compared to largely rural states here in the U.S. As an explanatory note, her reluctance to stay in the U.S. is fueled by the Constitutional violations and ideological war being fought against us here.

I am a firm believer in the ideas and values this country was founded on, and if a crunch did occur I want to be one of the people “righting our ship”. I think that if/when things go bad (crunch or other global calamity), that the rural U.S. would be the best place to be. I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts on this. Best Regards, – T.C.

JRW Responds: By coincidence, last Friday morning I did an Internet podcast interview with barry Solomon of DRescapes.com. In that interview, I stressed that high population density island nations are very poor choices for retreat locales. The DR is high population density (500 people per square mile!), and adjoining Haiti has an even higher population density (900 people per square mile!) plus a higher crime rate. (And there is nothing to keep out an invasion of looters, across the border.) In the event of an economic collapse, life expectancies will plummet, especially for “expendable new guy” gringos. I also stressed that offshore retreats can only work if you speak the local predominant language with near native fluency and have either some very close family or business ties into the local community.

Belize just barely makes my list for candidate offshore retreat locales. (See my novel Survivors for some details on that region.)

Yes, have a “Plan B” (and a current passport!), but The American Redoubt will be much safer, in my estimation.

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