Five years ago, I sold most of what I had, said goodbye to the two full-time jobs I was working, put the rest of my stuff in storage and flew out to Roatan with a dream, a plan, and $12,000 to make it happen.
Five years ago today, I started my dive pro courses and was on my way to becoming a dive instructor.
And who would have guessed after all my years in Roatan, and now a year in Japan – that I’d be right back where I started while I wrote this post?
If you don’t follow any of my social media – then, surprise! I’m back on Roatan right now!
Yes, it’s true. I have been planning a secret trip back here for over six months now. I only told a couple people who helped me surprise all my friends when I got here. It was super fun! People were seriously shocked (see video below!) and it was a blast going around surprising everyone. I came here for an entire month. It’s never long enough. But I’ve been soaking up every minute of it.
What am I doing back here after a year in Japan?
Well, I was homesick. I missed all my friends. I missed diving. I missed the lifestyle. And let’s be real, in summer it’s 1000 degrees in Roatan and also 1000 degrees in Japan, and I’d rather be somewhere that I can wear shorts and a tank top or jump in the ocean. So I came back for a vacation to get my fill of all those things before gearing up for year 2 in Japan (I’m currently contracted until August 2018).
It’s been everything I wanted it to be so far. I have seen all my friends. I have been diving. I have been enjoying the unrestricted lifestyle. To be honest, I’m really loving being somewhere where I can easily communicate in Spanish or English. My Japanese skills still aren’t great, and every day there my brain has to work SO HARD just to get through daily life. I needed a break for my brain! I also needed to be somewhere that I could drink a beer on the beach at 11am sometimes. So it’s all been working out.
Is it perfect? Of course not. Is it easy to see the place again through rose-colored glasses because I am here on vacation, with a comfortable amount of spending money, a fancy condo to stay in, and all the free time in the world? You bet. But I lived here long enough to know that this vacation life is not real life here, and even though I don’t want to leave, it isn’t right to stay right now. I have another year on my contract in Japan, so I won’t be pulling any funny moves this time. However, that doesn’t make my upcoming departure any easier. If you happen to be at the Roatan airport this weekend, I’ll be the one sniffling into my coffee.
I’m happy that I got to come back here to celebrate five years on this expat adventure I’m living. This island taught me SO MUCH about myself. I learned a lot here, and not just in the underwater world. Now I know what kind of people I want in my life, how much free time I need, how much money I need, and what kind of work I like and don’t like (also I now know that A/C is absolutely non-negotiable for me, for real). Even though I haven’t found the right place yet to get all these things on the checklist, I feel like I’m still ahead at least knowing what they are. That’s half the battle, right?
Japan has also taught me even more life lessons – the two main takeaways I’ve had so far are being more humble (I have to rely on so many people for help in Japan and it’s really embarrassing), and saying no. Most people who know me in real life will not believe the latter, as they can count on me to join in for pretty much anything at any time. But an entire year in a place with a life so vastly different from Roatan means I now say no to things that aren’t good for me, and that was something I wasn’t great at here before. #adulting
I hate the fact that I have to leave all my friends again. But it does help knowing that the last time I left here in April 2016, I thought I would never be here again (or at least not for many years), and yet here I am again a year and a half later. The Roatan Vortex is real. I was sure that Japan would cure me of it – a place with all my favorite food, shopping malls, movie theaters, a well-paying job… actual mail service… I figured these luxuries I craved while I lived on Roatan would finally scratch that itch. And it did, to an extent. However, coming back here again has just confirmed that this is the place where I feel the most joy. Not all day and not every day, but I don’t think that kind of place exists. I think if you watch this video below, it’s pretty easy to see that my heart belongs here.
Oh, and I can’t forget my 1 Second Every Day video! It’s not a real roundup without it, right? Here ya go:
So here’s to five years as a serial expat – cheers to me and all of you out there who are doing things your way. I had no idea what this would turn into when I left, however I’m pretty happy where I ended up. I don’t know what the next five years will bring, but if it’s anything like the past five… bring it on 🙂
So, that’s it for this roundup! You can see all my monthly roundups here.
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