My “home away from home” is on a small, exotic island in the South Pacific. Most people in my adopted hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, don’t really know where it is. On this side of the country, we tend to go toward the Caribbean or Europe.
But, there’s no accounting for matters of the heart. Fiji was the 41st country I had the pleasure of exploring. Yes, there have been some duds but for the most part, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of travel. But no place had ever captured my heart the way Fiji has.
Though I liked and enjoyed the whole country, it was when I went to the north of the main island that I truly fell in love. There, I could feel time slow down. The lush foliage, the coral strewn sea, and the view of three other islands…I was smitten. Badly. So when the resort owner took some of us to the top of a nearby hill and showed us where he planned to build an expat community, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So a few years later, I did the crazy thing—I bought a piece of oceanfront land, a 24-hour plane journey from my home. I used an architect here to help me custom design my new home—a place I’ve since named “Starfish Blue.”
The plan was for me to spend January, February, and part of March there every year. And for the resort to rent it out the rest of the time.
It didn’t exactly work out like that. But what happened turned out to be even better.
While the resort had only promised 25% occupancy (and would take over half of the income generated), I learned a way to maintain an 85% occupancy rate…while keeping all the profits.
The funny thing is that, having married a man who had lived in Alaska and whose idea of a great vacation involves some new adventure every day—not the serenity and peace the islands have to offer—I never managed to stay at Starfish Blue for the winter. But the income I am getting from it affords us other trips.
We just celebrated 10 years of marriage, and when I look back on our life, the dream home on an island has been an amazing part of it. I go every year, usually every 6-9 months.
I started out charging $500 a week. Our first booking was a month for $2,000. With the amenities I’ve added, and being more savvy, I just booked four nights in September for $1,800.
I’ve learned a lot the hard way. I’ve left money on the table. Along the way, I’ve discovered the secret sauce for pricing, the key to customer delight, and how to manage and motivate staff from a world away.
If you think this is something you might like to do—to start early on your dream, or to even move to a place and have one house for you and one to rent out—I can help.
I’ve put every secret I have…every strategy and technique I’ve developed to make an escape abroad pay for itself…into one never-before-seen, nuts-and-bolts resource. Find out more about it here.
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