It was one little detail that I somehow managed to forget about over the last year: I moved here to be a dive instructor. I didn’t move here to run a dive shop, or to make websites, or to update Facebook pages. I worked myself almost to the bone in Canada with two full time jobs to save enough money to become a dive instructor – to live on Roatan (and other beautiful warm water locations), teach people how to dive, and take certified divers out diving.
|it was a lovely office, but it was still an office.|
I recently left the company that I have been with since I first arrived on Roatan nearly two years ago. It was not an easy decision. I took my professional level courses there, was hired right out of my instructor exams, worked there as a dive instructor, and ran a second location for them. It’s been nearly two years with some incredible ups and downs. Even while my other friends here thought I was crazy for staying at a shop that paid so little and seemed to have abnormally high dive shop drama constantly, I liked the idea of a permanent, stable job and working in a place with higher-end facilities. And I didn’t know any different, because I hadn’t ever worked anywhere else.
But after spending the last year or so basically out of the water 90% of the time while running a shop, and then being asked to move to the guest services/marketing side of the resort and completely out of the dive shop due to internal politics, I started to slowly remember the real reason I came to Roatan. I came here to go diving. I didn’t come here to stare at a computer in an office all day. (Ahem, did you see the title of my blog??)
I was supposed to be in Guatemala this week, exploring Antigua and Lake Atitlan on an extended vacation. I haven’t left yet because I decided to give freelancing a try. I was hired right away for what was supposed to be a 5 day contract with a dive shop in West End…I just finished 14 days straight in the water with them and am starting tomorrow for a 4 day contract with another shop. I am making about 3x the money I used to make, and more importantly, I’m diving, and loving it. It’s brought me back to why I came here two years ago. So while I might have also been really good at the social media/marketing job that my old company offered me, I didn’t come to Roatan for that.
I have some of my divers to thank for this… I had divers tell me this week that I made their entire vacation, or that it was some of the best diving they had done in their lives. I had new divers thanking me over and over for introducing them to the underwater world. That kind of stuff makes me so happy!! I met my coworker’s girlfriend, who recognized me from this blog and told me she had been reading Cubicle Throwdown in New York before moving down here and that she loved it (hi Tonya!). Equal parts ‘yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!’ and ‘oooooh, I’m internet-famous’ and ‘see, I’m not just spewing crap on the internet out into the abyss, people are reading this and finding it helpful!’ Then my brand new open water students sent me this after they got home:
If that’s not a damn good reason to teach people to dive, I don’t know what is. Thank you Hayley and Joel!!
I am a walking contradiction at all times, and this is nothing new for those who know me: at once both flighty and fiercely loyal, scared of change and changing everything in my life in a moment. I am thankful that I realized before running away from this island that it wasn’t Roatan I was sick of – it was my job. While I still think I will be moving on to a new area of the world to explore in the near future, the rest of my time here will be spent exactly where I always wanted it to be… under the sea.
|i’m freelancing here this week… i much prefer this view!!|
(And yes, I am still going to go on my vacation to Guatemala, as soon as I have a break in freelancing jobs! I’m still accepting submissions for guest posts while I’m away, so please get in touch if you’re interested. Also, I would love to hear from anyone who has been to Copan, Antigua and Lake Atitlan and has suggestions to offer.)