I can’t count the number of messages and emails I get from people saying how jealous they are of my life. I often have to remind them that they can choose their own path. My path might not actually be perfect for many people – but it is perfect for me. You can go wherever you want to go in life! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are not a tree.
What I love to see when people visit Roatan from North America or Europe is the realization that life can actually be different. Work doesn’t have to be loathed, the beach doesn’t have to be reserved for summer weekend escapes, and finding reasons to smile truly should be easy.
I love chatting with tourists and visitors who wonder at the simplicity of life. At the end of the day, if you have food in your belly and a smile on your face, you are in a good place.
Think about how you feel on vacation: you feel relaxed, you enjoy some food and maybe some drinks, you bask in the sunshine and you bathe in the sea. You spend time with loved ones or you make new friends. You pause to watch the sunset, to listen to the birds, to people-watch.
Those are the things you should do every day of your life: Relax. Spend time with the people you love and meet new ones. Admire nature. Enjoy a meal, or a coffee, or a cocktail. Focus on the moment you’re in because who knows what’s coming up next! There’s no need to preoccupy your thoughts with hypotheticals or worries, all those do is take away from the joy you could be experiencing this minute.
Living in Roatan reminds me of life’s simplicity constantly. Of course, it’s partly the warm weather and the beautiful scenery drawing us all outdoors to admire nature without the constraints of heavy clothes and uninhabitable climates.
It’s also the lack of commercialism. That void allows us to keep our old clothes and old vehicles and old electronics, knowing that they all in fact still work so they don’t require replacements yet. And with that concept comes a complete lack of judgement, which makes for less overall negativity.
But it’s also the level of poverty that is so visible here, which is usually slightly less obvious back home. Though poverty exists everywhere, here you see people actually living in the landfill. Living there. In the U.S. there are restrictions on where homeless people can and cannot be, making it less likely that you’ll notice them. But it may very well be reality for some of your hometown neighbors. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, poverty is not hidden and brushed under the rug – it is in your face. That reality serves as a constant reminder of what is important in life.
All of these reasons combine to remind me daily that life is meant to be simple: breathe, eat, smile, love, sleep. Repeat. Repeat again, and again, and again, not in a routine or mundane pattern but in a joyous and genuine celebration.
At the end of the day, you can have millions of dollars in your estate, or you can have a few pennies in your pocket. Neither situation determines your happiness; only you can do that. But if the level of pure joy and genuine glee I witness on a daily basis in the Caribbean is any indication – if the giggles of children splashing in the sea and the shining smiles of expats, tourists, and locals alike say anything at all – I’d say the simple life is a happy one indeed.
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