Tag Archives: living abroad

S&S ABROAD with Debra Barrett: Salon/Spa Owner and Bridal Consultant

The women I’ve been interviewing since May for my S&S ABROAD expat interview series keep blowing me away. I hope their courage to live on their own terms and to pursue their passion inspires you to go out there and do the same.

An American who left California to create a brand new life abroad, Debra Barrett is a nurse turned beautician extraordinaire. Her office is the beautiful backdrop of Jamaica, where she uses her talents to turn women into princesses on their big day or on any day. After taking the chance of moving to Negril to work at a resort-owned salon, she opened her own, manages yet another salon/spa for a hotel and launched a”mobile bridal” business – traveling wherever she’s needed for weddings on the island. Pretty cool life, eh? From her amazing beauty skills to her fun, lively and positive spirit, Debra is truly one of a kind.

Here’s what she offered to share with us – thanks Debra!


NAME:  Debra Barrett


OCCUPATION: Beautician, Salon/Spa Manager at Negril Escape Resort and Owner of Scissors Salon and Queen Bee’s Mobile Bridal Services



Where are you originally from? Did you grow up there also?

I’m from a small city 35 miles south of San Francisco, called East Palo Alto. I also grew up there.

Did you always know you’d be a beautician?

No, I actually went to nursing school but I was always very fashion oriented.

When was your first trip to Jamaica? What did you like about it and what kept you returning?

My first trip was in 1989, right after Hurricane Gilbert. To me, Jamaica was like the closest thing to Africa, without going to Africa. It was so relaxing and just paradise.

You moved there permanently in 1999. How did that come about, and did you have an idea of what you would do for work?

Everything in my life was changing, and I had no control over what was happening. The one thing I could control was my own destiny, so I chose to get my life in the order that was good for me. I sat for 4 months looking out from my veranda and one day a friend came and took me with her to meet the General Manager at one of the all-inclusives in Negril. I was introduced to the spa manager and the rest was history. I worked at that spa for seven years.

What was that like, going from visiting to working day to day and living there?

Very different, but I got used to it. You learn what’s important in life and that a lot of material things are not necessary to be happy.

Was it difficult adjusting as a solo female? Easy to make friends? Did you have any kids and did they move with you?

It wasn’t difficult – I was so into trying to heal myself at the time, that the difficulty of being female was not even a thought. I made friends easily, I’m a people person. My kids are grown, but they do visit.

Photo by http://jtbportraits.com

How long was it before you opened your own beauty salon, Scissors?

I went back home to California for a year to decide what my next move was. While in Jamaica I had met a man and I came back a year later and  >> Continue reading »

S&S ABROAD with Patricia Perkins Moses: Caribbean Retreat Coordinator, Private Yoga Instructor and Entrepreneur

I’m beyond excited about this month’s expat profile. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this woman is living on one of my dream islands, Martinique. (I know!)

Or maybe it’s because she’s the kind of strong-willed, smart and fearless woman who has always pursued her dreams – like creating and running a successful business in the Caribbean. Her “work” sounds too fun to call it work.

I met Patricia three years ago in St. Lucia when she took a friend and I out for a night on the town. We went to the weekly Friday night fish fry and had a great time. She was already a private yoga instructor and had recently set up a yoga retreat business. In the past three years, even more amazing things have happened for her – not the least of which was moving to Martinique!

But I’ll stop there and let you live vicariously through this month’s S&S ABROAD profile.  A big thank you to Patricia for making the time to share her story with us.


NAME: Patricia Perkins Moses

PATRIA: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

OCCUPATION: Caribbean Retreat Coordinator, Yoga instructor, Owner of Tropical Escapes



You grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. When did you first move abroad and how did that thought even come about to leave the US?

I left Salt Lake to attend the Evergreen State College when I was 18. It is a very liberal school not far from Seattle, Washington.

When I was a senior, I decided to spend my last semester abroad. I wrote a program of studies that allowed me to spend a few weeks in Barbados and then a few weeks in Dominica. I had a great experience and knew I wanted to return some day.

I was raised in Salt Lake but I was born in Athens, Greece where my family lived for a number of years.  My father was an international banker and spent a lot of time aboard so the thought of living somewhere else was not such a stretch for me.

Who knew! My dad was an international banking as well. What was it like to teach in Dominica? What about day-to-day living and expenses?

Dominica is amazing! Unlike anywhere else in the world.  It is a small, undeveloped, slow paced and not for everyone but for those >> Continue reading »