Have you ever daydreamed about living on a island? Swapping the bright lights of the city for magical sunsets over the Caribbean Sea?
Meet Crystal aka The Wanderlust Jetsetter!
A fellow girl boss who had a dream to move from the USA to an island, One Happy Island to be specific, and last year she made that dream come true.
This is her story...
1. What inspired you to move to Aruba?
The positive energy and beautiful weather is what drove me to move to Aruba, something I was really craving at the time of making that leap to gain residency here. I was having a hard time back home and as soon as I landed on the happy island, I felt just that, happy! I had vacationed here for years and finally decided to make the move after spending several weeks living more of a 'normal' life, renting a local house and doing more local things, than a vacationers life and decided I still loved it just as much as when I was a tourist. It felt like home to me.
2. How easy/difficult was the move and immigration process?
The DIMAS process in Aruba is extremely difficult. I went to an initial meeting in March 2019 to see if it was even a possibility for me to gain residency in Aruba. There were a lot of gray lines and I was stressed about it pretty much the entire year. It starts with collecting a lot of information back home... bank records, background clearance checks to show that you haven't been in any serious trouble before, all sorts of identification paperwork. Once it is submitted and accepted by DIMAS the next step is to go through a health clearance. Which is honestly quite scary. You have to go to the local hospital to get checked for all sorts of contagious diseases and when you aren't from this country, it can be intimidating! Even to this day I am still dealing with the process, although I finally have a permit, because you have to file with the local tax office, health care, all sorts of things! But at the end of the day it is worth it to live in such a beautiful place!
3. How has your life changed since moving to an island?
My life has definitely changed for the better. I'm a true believer the weather has a lot to do with your mood, and that being around positive vibes makes you more positive. The people of Aruba are generally very happy people and make the day to day life super positive. A lot of Arubians want to move to the States or the Netherlands for 'more opportunity' or a 'better life', but it has been the complete opposite for me! I've gotten so many new opportunities in modelling and business, I suppose living in a country that thrives off of tourism when you own a travel agency was a good move on my part!
4. Are there any things you miss from back home in the States?
I miss the simplicity of online shopping! This sounds so silly, but anyone who lives on an island knows how difficult it is to retrieve a package here. I also really miss how technologically advanced the US is. Aruba is trying, but most things need to be done in person if you want them done right!
5. Is there a particular location on the island that you would call your "happy place"?
It sounds cliche, but being anywhere in Palm Beach around the tourists makes me happy, and here is why. At any moment you can walk down the beach or shops and hear vacationers boasting about how beautiful Aruba is or how amazing their vacation is going. I remember back to when I was simply a vacationer in Aruba and how I had the same thoughts, but never truly thought I would be able to live there. Being in Palm Beach reminds me of how far I've come, and how blessed I am to be able to live in a place most people look forward to only visiting.
6. What's your top 3 recommended hot spots in Aruba?
Guilty as charged for being an avid visitor of Gusto Night Club. I believe Gusto can offer fun to people of any age if they are in the mood for some music and dancing.
Pelican Pier is another favorite hangout for day drinking and good food.
Lastly, Hooiberg. I suggest to anyone visiting to wake up early and do a sunrise hike to Hooiberg and reflect on how beautiful the island really is.
7. What has surprised you the most about moving to One Happy Island?
Maybe the fact that their New Years Eve celebrations start at 2am on New Years Day! This was insane to me. because back in the states we are celebrating before the New Year and home by 1am! Next year I might work up the courage to pull an all nighter ;)
8. Tell us one fun fact about Aruba.
Drinking on the streets and beach is legal. This will sound funny to locals, but many states in America you are prohibited from leaving a bar with a drink, or having open containers on public beaches. I will probably get in trouble for walking out of a bar with a drink next time I'm visiting home, because I'm so used to it by now!
9. Describe your typical day in Aruba and explain how it is different from daily life back in the USA?
I guess it's not all that different minus the fact that the temperature doesn't change every couple of months. I try to keep a pretty 'normal' life, although there is always something going on so I find myself going out and having drinks a lot more often in Aruba! I work from home, either a full day or at least a couple of hours every day, even if it is a holiday or weekend (self employed life!). I enjoy working out so I am typically in the gym most mornings. I love to go for walks around sunset, something I used to only be able to do in the summer back home, so that is a plus 365 days a year!
10. Do you plan on doing any island hopping this year?
If yes, which island destinations will you be traveling to soon.
I will be visiting Curacao for the first time in February. After that I have plans to visit Columbia, Doha, and Bali. All new destinations for me in 2020!
WANNA COME TO ARUBA AND SEE FOR YOURSELF WHAT ISLAND LIFE IS LIKE?
Watch this video until the end to find out how!
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USEFUL INFORMATION FOR MOVING TO ARUBA:
When requesting a residence-permit without a working permit, one must submit:
bank references indicating that the applicant is financially self-supporting or any other proof that he/she will not become a financial burden to the local government or community
the home and business addresses for the last ten years
the reasons for wanting to reside in Aruba
police-clearance (good conduct-paper, not older than 2 months)
Persons desiring a permanent residence-permit must be in possession of:
a passport valid for Aruba
three passport photographs of true likeness
a valid vaccination certificate for smallpox, not more than three years old
a medical declaration that the holder is not suffering from any contagious disease or mental sickness, issued within 30 days before the trip started
a proof of payment of the required legal fee
If you are thinking of moving to Aruba and would like to discover more permit types and options, check out DIMAS for more in-depth information.
Shop Crystal's outfits featured in this blog here.
If you want a bespoke tailor-made travel experience then head over to Crystal's travel agency for some expert advice now.
*All images/photography in this blog post by Edrick Krozendijk.