In “A Beach Less Traveled“, John Berglund tells the story of picking up his roots and moving them to St. Maarten, a tiny island split between French and Dutch rule. His dream of opening a perfume shop starts with an interest as a young man and doesn’t end until the finish of his first career. It is the tale of a dream, a supportive wife and family, and perseverance through adversity. The adversity, as he learns, that only a small island run by a foreign government can bring.
This book really brings together several themes and knits them in an interesting way. The first is the message that anyone can follow their dreams, at any point in their lives. He tells of the pre-planning, when he and his wife were just visiting Caribbean islands. He discusses the planning, when they had chosen the island and needed to prepare to be jobless. Finally, the couple move and live on the island with some hilarious cultural adventures.
The second theme is that the book is essentially a “how-to”. Berglund walks you through the steps required to own property, set up shop and sell in a foreign country as an expat. It is an excellent guide for anyone considering such a move as he touches on legal issues, construction, getting supplies, and actually making sales. All of which can be a challenge without the infrastructure we take for granted in the States.
The other, and most important theme, is that none of it can be done without support. Support from family, from friends and from new friends that you will meet. Berglund does all of this with a delightful mix of amusing anecdotes and detailed narratives.
I found Berglund’s book to be very entertaining, a great read. This is a perfect book for the beach, the plane, or just sitting around. It tells a wonderful story and gives a terrific message all at the same time.