There is status that is earned by being a long time local, and I have found that sometimes people don’t take you very seriously if you haven’t been here for very long. I think the one year mark, or at least one full season, is when people actually treat you like a local. I totally get it, people come down here for a couple months and freak out and go back home never to be seen again, so trust and respect are things that are earned with time. I make sure that I introduce myself to as many people as possible and that I treat people with the utmost respect because I believe that is how you earn respect. One of my favorite parts of this journey is getting to know people and submerging myself in a different culture and lifestyle. What fun would it be to move 2,000 miles away and hold onto everything you know and the fast pace way of living from the states? There would be no point in ever leaving. Traveling is about living the way that the locals do in whichever place you chose. Do research, figure out up from down and go into everything knowing that you have so much to learn.
I always listen very carefully when people give me advice because that person has been in your place and whether they learned it themselves or someone passed the information onto them- at some point down the line someone made a mistake that they learned from and then cared enough to teach others how to not make that same mistake. Or they found something amazing like an off-the-beaten-path beach that they can’t wait to share with their favorite locals. Listen to the locals, live like the locals. It is such a huge part of the process.
One thing I haven’t really let go of is putting on some makeup and getting ready every once in a while. It’s funny because I know that I stand out when I have full makeup on and my hair down but its just for me and its what makes me feel good so until that changes, I’m going to keep rockin’ my overdone mascara and under eye concealer. I’ll walk in somewhere and a friend will say “damn I don’t do my makeup because I’ll just sweat it all off.” Ya girl doesn’t spend big $ on primer and setting spray for nothin’. I could go snorkeling for an hour and this shit isn’t going anywhere. It’s all about what makes you feel good, so for now, the makeup is staying. That can be my one thing I don’t let go of, I have now decided we all get one thing.
So in just over a week will be my one monthiversay with the island. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone and how much I have learned in such a short amount of time. I absolutely love my job, I have made so many great friends, and I get to spend my downtime laying on white sand or swimming with sting rays and sea turtles. I am amazed every morning when I open my eyes and see the ocean out of my bedroom window. I am so blessed to have a spot on this island and to live the way its meant to be lived on. I’m really excited about upcoming opportunities and to learn something new everyday. That is what this is all about. So, I’m still the new kid and “the baby” because I am for sure on the young end of the people living here, but I’ll keep working on making a positive name for myself and see where it takes me. Life is good, y’all.