Living vs. Vacationing in Paradise
The following is a post that I originally wrote for Coastlines and Tan Lines, published there at the end of last month. Although this blog has a slightly different audience, I thought that some of you might enjoy reading it too.
Who doesn’t dream of running away to the islands, especially those hailing from locales where the residents are snowbound and frozen for several months each year? I’m pretty sure that most readers of Coastlines and Tan Lines do but for many people, the week or two that they can escape from work for an island vacation only serves to whet their appetite for more. But how does living in the islands compare to a short all-inclusive stay at a resort? In my experience, considerably.
My wife Rebecca and I set sail from Canada a year ago, Caribbean bound. Prior to that we had had numerous trips south, often to all inclusive resorts. I think we were fairly typical in that our vacations where filled with fun excursions and socializing punctuated by great restaurant meals and bar drinks, or was it the other way around? Judging by the comments we received on our blog after having set sail, it was obvious to us that many people expected our days to be filled with much of the same. The truth is, that is pretty far removed from our day-to-day reality.
Cabo, a few years ago.
Similar pic this year, but with longer hair.
Unless one has lucked into a winning lottery ticket, or was fortunate enough to choose some wealthy parents, it is impossible to live long term on a “vacation budget.” And in our experience, we really wouldn’t want to. Some of the best experiences we have had are when we are far removed from the tourist destinations, able to share time with the locals or other cruising friends. Self-guided snorkeling excursions and hikes have replaced lying by the resort pool. Sharing sundowners on a local beach or a neighbor’s boat has replaced expensive evenings at resort bars. Of course, it’s not all fun. How could it be? Living and traveling on a boat as we do includes its own share of work. Not work with any salary mind you but the day-to-day tasks that allow our home to stay afloat and function.
But don’t you get bored? We do hear this all the time, again mostly from those whose island holidays are a whirlwind of activities and parties. While we can appreciate that, having time to enjoy the nature that is all around us is for us, often times, significantly more rewarding. That is, after all, why we moved down here, to enjoy the beautiful beaches and clear blue water.
Even when we did travel to resorts, we were not the type to just sit around on the beach all day.
So the question remains, would a life in the islands suit you? That’s the million dollar question, for sure. An honest assessment of your own personality with some real research into the realties of living in the lower latitudes might help you to make an educated guess. You’ll never really know for sure though unless you give it a shot, so if you’re so inclined, we say Go For It. There’s plenty of room and sunshine for everyone down here.
And yes, we had an interest in catamarans back then too,
even if we did only have the chance to do little day trips on them.