A memorial was held at my daughter’s school to honor the short life of one of her schoolmates, a fourteen-year-old boy named Marc El Wafi, who was shot in the head while defending his friends. The memorial described a child who sounded like a living angel. Friends and teachers shared their stories about his acts of kindness, his wonderful sense of humor, and his jovial spirit.

In just eight months at the school, he had touched their hearts deeply and made an imprint that would last a lifetime.

After the shooting, I began to question our recent move to the Dominican Republic where this terrible tragedy took place. This was a move that my husband and I had envisioned for many years.

It had taken a lot of hard work and effort to finally realize the dream of living in what I thought would be paradise. I’d naively assumed that once our vision became a reality, life would be perfect; vacation bliss a permanent mindset.

Our search for this paradise… began twenty years ago when my husband and I developed a passion for windsurfing. Countless days were spent sitting on the beach waiting for the wind that was forecasted, but seldom came. It was very frustrating and unproductive. My husband and I knew we were living in the wrong place… this was demonstrated by our,constant cravings, discontentedness and dreams of one day moving to a warm and windy tropical paradise.

Dominican Republic was one of our favorites. We had an immediate connection with its beauty, friendly people and relaxed lifestyle. Not to mention the consistent wind and warm water! We toyed with the idea of packing up and moving. But in the end, it was just talk. We didn’t have the courage to become the adventurers we longed to be.

My husband and I spent the next eighteen years working hard, having a wonderful child, and creating a superb lifestyle for ourselves; filled with prosperity and love. Most people would have been happy with our lifestyle and generally we were, but there was always something missing, it didn’t feel like it was the life we were born to live.

The rat race of Toronto finally wore on us and we moved to the country. I had figured out how to do my job from a home office and commute to Toronto only a couple of days per week. The move was a wonderful transition and appeased us for a while, but inevitably the same question would arise;

“Why are we living here?” We were vehement about our dislike for the winter and now that we lived in the country on a large body of water, the winters were even longer and colder. Life was too short to live somewhere we didn’t truly enjoy; something had to change.

The main reason we were still tied to Canada was because of my job, leaving it was not an easy decision. I had developed a very successful company with eighteen-years of blood, sweat and tears. How could I just walk away?

Then a well-disguised opportunity fortuitously came into my life.

I injured my back; the injury was severe enough that I was bed ridden for five months and then spent another year after that recuperating. I had to close down my business because I could no longer work as a Search Consultant, my back would not tolerate the discomfort of sitting for long periods of time.

This forced separation with the security of my eighteen-year profession was the final catalyst I needed to make the big leap into the unknown.

Our friends and family in Canada were surprised with how quickly we were implementing our new plan. They thought we were making a hasty decision. We knew we were not; the decision was the fulfillment of a twenty-year quest.

I had an inner knowing that this was what I was meant to do. The time was now. No more wishing or dreaming. This was going to be my new reality. It seemed like the Universe was conspiring to make this work for me. So it is no wonder that I naively imagined life would be perfect…