It shouldn’t shock me after 8 months of living here, but there are so many things I do here that I would never do back in Canada. When I think about it, it makes me feel like I’m camping. When we go camping in Canada, all bets are off. We eat shitty food, nothing gets cleaned properly, dirty clothes are the norm and we don’t shower. And then we go home and never ever do any of those things because they’re disgusting.
|camping during a surf trip to tofino, BC|
So without further ado, may I present to you… five reasons why living in Roatan is like camping 24/7:
1. Clean, shmlean.
I don’t even want to tell you how many times I’ve been eating something with my hands and realized that I have no idea when the last time I washed my hands was. Or how often I eat with dirty forks during lunch at the dive shop. Or what happened that week we ran out of dish soap. Cleanliness here is definitely not the priority it was in Canada. I used to freak out about germs and getting sick from bad kitchen hygiene. I carried hand sanitizer everywhere. That’s all gone out the window here. And you know what? I’ve never gotten sick from it, and I bet my immune system is even stronger now that I pelt it daily with all kinds of crap. I also relaxed a lot about having a perfectly clean house and shockingly, nothing bad happened when the place was a bit untidy. I do still love every other Friday when our maid comes though!
2. Lights out.
RECO is not exactly known for it’s reliable electricity service. I’ve had to dump the contents of our fridge at least three times due to the power going out, sometimes for 10+ hours at a time, with no warning. I’ve learned things like: the propane stove still works with the power out if you light it with a lighter… freezies melt after only two hours of the freezer being off… keep candles and matches somewhere easy to get to, not in the back of a drawer that you forgot about… and your dog WILL trip you everywhere you go in a dark house. It is absolutely awful if it goes out during the day when you’re at home and your place slowly turns into a sauna with no fans or A/C. The upside to this is when the power goes out at night we either head to the rooftop deck for some amazing star gazing or walk around the neighborhood watching millions of fireflies!
3. Where are all my clothes?
When you start out with an already limited wardrobe due to suitcase space, and add on only getting one day off a week to take your dirty clothes to the laundry lady, it ends up being that I wear a lot of clothes that if I was in Canada I would never wear without washing it first. It helps that everyone else is in the exact same boat though, so at least there’s not much judging.
4. Chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I don’t know why this happens but whenever I go camping I inevitably end up eating chips for pretty much every meal. A lot of hot dogs are also involved, as well as way too much beer and many sandwiches and 5 cent candies. After 8 months on Roatan, I have concluded that I just simply cannot eat well here. My waistline agrees. Too many Salva Vidas and rum punches combined with the fact that vegetables are somewhat of a rarity here and a lot of the local food is the 3 F’s (fried, fatty and fuckin’ gross) means that I end up eating lots of prepackaged garbage just to get by. Fresh, healthy, light options do not abound. The food here is also ridiculously expensive. Some of it is because they have to transport it to an island, but some of it is just because this place is a tourist haven and we all know white people on holidays are super rich right so let’s jack the price through the roof!
5. It’s really, really fun.
Yeah. It is. Camping is always a blast, you have absolutely zero to do all day and you can have a beer with breakfast if you feel like it. Life here is like that too. There’s a slow pace of living, and a sense of perpetual “I’ll do it tomorrow… if I feel like it”. There’s always something fun and ridiculous going on (crashing the pool in the apartment building up the hill? drunken skinny dipping in the bay? bushwacking through the jungle in search of pirate treasure? rope swing over the ocean? the list goes on…) and even though some of us work really hard, even work doesn’t really feel like work. And have you seen my office view here?
Agness Walewinder says
I love camping and I'm totally like you – eating with my hands without using any cutlery, craving crisps for all my meals and laughing out loud with my friends. Great time!
hi rika, i found your blog while doing research about my upcoming travel plans and happened to click through a link which have brought me here. And i love your story!
I agree, cleanliness is always a big issue for me whenever i travel. Especially using public toilets or bathrooms outside often makes me cringe and gross me out. I am trying to overcome that, we'll see… hah!
Also, teaching diving as a job seems like a dream! You've inspired me!
Hi Jun! Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Glad you found me 🙂
Cleanliness has always been a huge deal for me while traveling but I'm hoping after living in Central America for almost a year that I have overcome some of that.
Thanks so much for the kind words! Hope you'll keep reading!
Ha – some of these things sound very familiar. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as you did though- I prefer camping as a holiday of choice instead of it being forced upon me and I can say without a doubt, never once did I enjoy the days (sometimes multiple) with no running water. But, I'm glad you are looking on the bright side 🙂
Haha Jay, I've got to look on the bright side or it will make me go crazy 🙂
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) says
I was an avid camper when I was younger, spending all of my summers up in Northern Ontario… ironically, since leaving on our own trip, I've realized what a priss I've become ("You mean you want me to walk on wet grass in bare feet?!?")! 😉 But I do sympathize regarding the power outages and the laundry issues… We did not pack a lot of clothing, but there have been 3 week stretches where laundry was not done. And we are in South East Asia where it gets SO HOT and we sweat SO MUCH. Also, they way water is in some of these places, you're probably better off not washing your hands… :S
I definitely feel the same way about the water!! And the first time I traveled to South America I realized I was a huge princess. I like to think I've made some progress (I recently used a bar bathroom sans shoes and didn't think twice about it) but there are still things daily that make me say noooooooooooo thanks!
Colleen Brynn says
Ha…. I've never really enjoyed camping… but all those things you just listed, like bushwhacking and drunken skinny dipping and rope swings??? YES please!
It sort of just goes with the territory hehe!