Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


When people discover I plan to move to an island in just over two years, they always ask the same question.

As it turns out, that’s been the hardest question to answer.
No place is perfect, but you would think that with the entire planet at my fingertips, one’s options would be endless.
And that’s actually part of the problem.
It takes a lot of time and a lot of research to winnow that list down, and even then, there’s only so much you can tell about a place from the Internet. At some point, you have to go there and see it for yourself.
I’ve now visited three different islands without any luck. As someone who loves to travel, I don’t regret those journeys, but it’s a little disheartening each time I learn “good on paper” does not measure up to reality.
Currently, my chosen place is Palau. It meets all of my criteria.
  • Low crime rates
  • Reasonably low cost of living
  • Gorgeous weather
  • Strong environmental protection policies (trust me, this is important. If you don’t think it is, you haven’t seen the ocean used as a garbage dump yet)
  • Out of the hurricane and typhoon belts
  • Decent medical care is close by
But just because I’ve chosen Palau doesn’t mean that Palau has chosen me. For months now I’ve been trying to find out what I need to do to immigrate. I’ve tried consulates and the immigration department, bloggers and immigration lawyers, with the same result–dead silence. It’s beyond frustrating. Maybe they’re hoping Palau remains the world’s best kept secret.
The second most common question I’m asked is “Why?” Why on earth would I want to leave one of the best countries in the world?
Where I currently live, a lot of things are dictated by the weather. Unless you’re a polar bear, at least six months (and sometimes eight months) of the year is spent scurrying from heated structure to heated structure, trying not to freeze to death.
I love the ocean. I love the sun. I love the feeling of sand between my toes. And I decided long ago–too long ago, to be honest–that life was too short to live in paradise for only two or three weeks a year. Why not all year long?
I grew up in a small town with a lot of space, and I’m growing tired of the city. I want to look out my windows and see the beauty of nature, not my neighbour’s living room. I want to experience a slower, easier way of life, where people work to live instead of the other way around. Where no one cares what I do for a living, what I drive, or how many possessions I have.
Where the most common question asked is, “How are you doing today?”
What’s the biggest move you’ve ever made? Have you ever been tempted to run off to paradise? Would you ever do it–why or why not? And if you know anything about Palau, please please talk to me!
Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. lisa s.

    Never been to Palau but will certainly visit if you move there!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      I will hold you to that, Lisa! But you’ve certainly made some daring moves of your own.

  2. Stephanie Faris

    Sounds nice! I have friends who have moved to Florida for similar reasons…but they find that relatives are always wanting to visit. That’s okay–but they tend to only make contact when they want a place to stay. If you leave the country, you may not have that problem, but be wary!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Stephanie,

      When we were considering Mexico, that would have been a factor, but Palau is “near” Australia and the Philippines, in the middle of nowhere. No one will just be dropping in to visit us–to get to Palau, it’s a real, 24+ hour, multi-thousand dollar commitment. I’m guessing that will cut down on our unexpected company!

  3. kathryn mcburney

    Thanks for doing the research – saves me the trouble! I’ll join you if you figure out how to get into Palau – I agree with everything you’ve said!!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Kathryn. Will do! How was your experience with paradise…was it Belize? Worth a look, or no?

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting. Every Monday I’ll post more on where I’m at with the move.

  4. Rhonda Parrish

    I can only imagine your growing frustration as you try to get all your ducks in a row and keep being met by silence >_< I hope you start getting some answers (and the ones you want LoL) sooner rather than later.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Rhonda! It’s really ridiculous how difficult it’s been, and incredibly frustrating! I thought for sure the lawyer would get back to me, since he could make some money off of it, but noooo….

      Thanks for still checking in with me! <3

  5. Susan Scott

    Holli this is amazing! Well done for making initial steps. The universe responds when you follow your bliss. ..Joseph Campbell..even though it seems to take forever. Looking forward to updates.

  6. Holli Moncrieff

    Susan, how nice to hear from you! Thanks for coming back, and for the kind words. Your comments always leave a smile on my face.

    And you’re right! It certainly does seem to take forever.

  7. Crystal

    Loved reading this update on where you are at with the big move! I KNOW you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. 🙂

    I can’t say that I’ve ever wanted to make a big move myself, but I’m very excited for you (and to read more about your journey)!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Crystal! I hope you’re right. I’ll keep trying until I get an answer.

  8. Elle

    I think my number one question would be “Do you need anyone to carry your luggage?” 🙂

    Keep plugging away at the bureaucracy.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Actually, yes I do! Juggling three cats and the rest of our belongings will be challenging, to say the least.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll take it!

  9. Tui Snider

    Aside from the stats, have you spent much time in Palau?

    I know very little about it. For some reason, geography never seems to stick until I live somewhere.

    I’ve gotta ask: will you have a decent internet connection?

    I’ve only just met you and – selfishly – would hate for you to drop off the interwebs.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Sadly, no–never been. We make sure a place is good on paper first. Then I need to make sure we are actually allowed to move there. And THEN we’ll plan a visit!

      Internet is brutal. It exists, but we’re back to dial-up again, unless we want to pay $350 a month for DSL.

      I’d love to hear what you thought of living on an island!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.