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Follow Your Dream

8 Sep

As threatened, I mean promised, it’s time for one of those infrequent stories at RoatanVortex.com—my inspiration is two-fold:

1) I’m submitting an application to an accredited University Creative Writing Course and need to tell them what I’ve been up to for the past five years. So found myself hanging out on the website to refresh my memory.

2) While subliminally spending time on the Island I noticed the “visit counter” was at 504,129 hits and counting… holy crap!!!

Now, as we all know, these high-tech (free) website hit-o-meters are extremely accurate—within a few thousand or so. But what caught my attention and inspired the “holy crap” was the fact that RoatanVortex.com exceeded HALF A MILLION views and I missed it. Not only that, more importantly, people are still searching out “Paradise.” That makes me smile.

I remember, what seems like a life-time ago, when an avid diver just returned from a vacation, came into my office (yes, in those days I had a real job and office) and talked fondly of his time spent on Roatan. I had never heard of the tiny island in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras before. From that moment, in 2004 (the year) I was enthralled, obsessed, mesmerized by Roatan; I had to know everything about it—was determined to move there—and the day came when I did.

For close to five years I lived on Roatan. Met people I would have otherwise never come to know. Lived a life including sandy beaches, tropical warmth—all year round, exotic landscape, an appreciation for simplistic day to day living, and learned more about what really matters in life than if I had not taken the leap; was inspired to give more than I thought I was capable of, and in return received more than I could have ever imagined possible.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Yah sure, but you left Roatan.”

Yes I did.

It was time for me to move on. That doesn’t mean I’m done living the life I once thought I could only dream of. I am a vagabond, a free-spirit by nature. I know that and look forward to my next adventure which will have me spending the winter in British Columbia, Canada. In the spring, perhaps: Spain or England, maybe Portugal, how about Thailand—I don’t know; maybe I’ll stay in BC for a while.

The difficult thing about moving on to follow my dream—my life path, is to lose contact with acquired family, friends, and foes. That’s right, even the foes, come on, we’ve all got them—they add a certain spice that only a foe can provide. And although I may never see any of them again, to have never known them would be worse.

If Roatan is calling you… GO FOR IT!

Embrace the journey into the unknown, leave your comfort-zone of sameness—let yourself experience all it has to offer. You may decide to stay for a day, maybe a week or two, a year, or even a lifetime. Whatever time frame it turns out to be is irrelevant—when the Roatan Vortex pulls you in—resistance is futile!

Okay, I stole… I mean, borrowed that line from the Borg… fits well don’t you think?

Thanks for continuing to check out RoatanVortex.com I’ll let you know when the “hit-o-meter” counter reaches another milestone. And if you’d like to read a few of my favourite Roatan Vortex stories without wading through them all here (more than 100) visit “Roatan Vortex Classics” at CastleMuse.com

Roatan North

25 May

Spring has sprung in Ontario, Canada! And just as I took credit for the mild winter (I brought it from the Island with me don’t you know) I am also going to claim credit for the Roatan like weather we are experiencing now!

Warm and gentle breezes, a few fluffy clouds meandering across the sky, no need for jacket or sleeved shirt—tank top and shorts will suffice. And absolute best of all—NO SHOES!!! My toes are happily free to wiggle in flip-flops! My tan has returned and I don’t look out of place anymore as the only one without pasty grey skin-tones. Mind you, there were those who overdid it (kinda like Roatan tourists do) and had a tomato red tinge after the long weekend. The flowers are in bloom, the foliage is lush and green, and eventhough it will have to be brought inside in the fall, the hibiscus tree I couldn’t pass up when strolling through a garden center, is delighting me with its continuous show of velvety red blossoms.

The battle of the bugs has begun! I noticed a couple of “flying ants” they’re huge here, nothing like the wimpy ones on Roatan. Anyhow, the next day I spotted a few more, and in my true form, I set them free. Later that same day when four of them fell on me from the ceiling above, I looked up—ohhh crap! It was like from the scene in “The Amityville Horror” when the bedroom filled with flies (except mine were “flying ants” and they had taken over most of the rooms in my home.) Normally, I prefer to share space with God’s creatures, scorpions being the exception, but this was just too much, I got a can of Raid from my mom, and the carnage began! Fortunately, it was nice and warm outside so I could fog the inside with toxic chemicals and retreat to my porch while I waited…

“Flying ants” aside (well actually dead) the majority of the critters are welcomed. Swarms (or is it flocks) of Monarch butterflies arrived, I think from Mexico, last week. There were so many they were landing on my grandson and me when we arrived to my place. The other day, I sat sipping a beverage on my porch when a hummingbird came by to say hi; he or she returns daily now, as do the fat bumblebee’s. And last night, outside my bedroom window, I watched “fireflies” show-off, turning the dark forest into a twinkling light show.

There are a few un-Roatan things to contend with, for example: not one item I own has gone rusty or moldy, I’m sure you’re thinking that’s not a bad thing, but I’m not use to it, not to mention, there isn’t enough humidity to prevent my clothes from wrinkling—now I know you feel sorry for me. And worst of all—everybody is in such a hurry—come on people—really, it’s not worth it! I thought going out to shop or whatever on Roatan was a challenge—ha. If you drive the speed limit here it’s like you’re a target in some kind of crazy video game. I’ve gotten used to middle-finger-salutes, fist shakings and learned a few new nasty words too. I took it personal at first, but not anymore, I just smile and wave back using ALL my fingers not just the middle one.

***

By the way, my new website CastleMuse is still in development and should be launching soon, I know I’ve said that before, even gave you date. Instead I think I’ll just say, “the CastleMuse Library will be opening… mañana.” tee-hee.

And for all of you trying to find me on Facebook, I’m there, just not a personal page anymore—click here to visit Genevieve Ross on Facebook. You can send me a message, post on my page, read what I post, or whatever. But now that I’m set-up this way I can’t contact you (until you send me a message first) and unless I set up a personal page again, I can’t see what you post on your personal pages.

Castle Muse on Survivor

13 Feb

The popular ‘reality’ TV series Survivor depicts contestants hanging out in the jungle and on a beach enduring the heat and humidity, getting by with limited resources (stuff), and vying for position in a tribe. Although it may never qualify to become a series on TV my ‘reality’ couldn’t be more opposite. Here’s what I’m doing now that I’ve chosen to vote myself off the Island of Roatan.

Lack of moisture in the air and keeping all the windows closed to hold in the heat don’t sit well with me; nor does readopting old, hard to break habits. Implementing and/or installing the following have helped immensely.

Environment /Physical
Portable steamer – You know, the kind you bring out when someone in the house has a stuffy nose and you slather some menthol goop on the vent. Not wanting my home to smell like a box of cough drops I skip that part, but I do have the steamer going all day and all night; whatever room I’m in, so is the steamer; churgling out a warm, humid mist.
Humidifier on the Furnace – that is in addition to (not instead of) the steamer. I haven’t noticed a dramatic result from having this going, but I’m sure if it wasn’t I’d get a static shock when I touched something metal or I’d hear a crackling sound coming from the cat’s fur when I pet her.
Sauna – At least once a day for 30 minutes at a time. This was the most costly (but worthwhile) measure. It takes about the first 15 minutes to get a sweat going while pouring water on the lava rocks and the temperature gage reads close to 120 F. The first time I used the sauna I was disappointed; what the heck good is sitting in an overheated cedar box gonna do me? But, oh my… once I was finished the session, my skin actually felt soft and supple like skin can and should!
Window open, Fan on – That’s right! To ensure a good night sleep I plug in the steamer (of course) at the foot of the bed; open the window—just an inch or so, no I’m not trying to heat the outside; turn on the overhead fan and snuggle down under a heavy comforter. Air circulation, humidity, and warm ahhhh—works for me.

Environment /Emotional
Tropical Plants and fresh cut flowers – Okay, not quite the same as when they grew wild all around me, but waking up to gaze at potted greenery and colourful blooms beats the heck out of glancing at blank corners.
Sunshine – The sun is shining! The sun is shining! I’m not a fan of going out in the cold but do make a point of getting out there on the rare occasions when the sun isn’t hiding behind bleak cloud-cover. Facing the glowing ball of light, my eyes wide open, a silly grin on my face soaking in that natural vitamin D. And even when the sky is grey all curtains and blinds are opened wide from early morning to night encouraging every spec of light to come oooon in!

Diet and Health
Groceries – My favourite place to buy fruits and veggies is at the Asian Market, oh sure, they don’t offer the same vast selection as the large supermarkets do, and an abundance of blemishes and soft spots will be found—but just as I discovered when I lived on Roatan… it’s real food!
Exercise – Not nearly as much as I should, real easy to not bother when every day I’m wearing twenty (okay, I’m exaggerating) layers of clothes and can’t see the jiggly bits.

Attitude – This is by far the hardest to maintain while being the most important. Pretty much every day a stack of flyers (enticing me to buy stuff) can be found jammed in my mailbox. I transfer them to the recycling bin without a glance. I avoid conversations that rate my (or anyone else’s) value based on what my job is, what neighbourhood I live in, or who I associate with. I try to not be late for anything I’ve committed to attend, but don’t book up my schedule just to keep busy.

When I first moved back to Canada, I caught myself flipping through the pages of those flyers pondering purchasing things I in no way needed. I seriously reconsidered that my value was based on external factors; easy enough to happen when taught from an early age these are the things that matter, but I know in my heart-of-hearts Just Being is all that matters. As for keeping busy for the sake of being busy; I may not need to keep room in my day for an impromptu visit to the beach, but I’m not rushing around trying to fill up time just surviving either. A Roatan Vortex state of mind is mine to keep no matter where I am!

Be sure to stop by Castle Muse oh sure, I’m not done building it yet, but worth a peak and while you’re at it how about clicking on the like button at Castle Muse on Facebook staying connected with Roatan Vortex family and friends makes me smile!

:)

Roatan Vortex State of Mind

1 Feb

Okay, so I had said my previous story here at RoatanVortex.com was going to be my last posting, but what can I say… a wave of homesickness washed over me the other day.

It had nothing to do with the fact that the temperature read as a negative number or hearing the sound of tires spinning, outside my home, on the snow, compressed to a layer of hard packed ice on the roadways.

It had nothing to do with getting ready to go out for a while and having to pull on a bulky jacket, scarf, gloves, a toque to swaddle my head, or sitting on the bottom step in the front hall tugging boots over thick socks entombing my protesting toes.

It had nothing to do with moving the portable humidifier from room to room trying to maintain at least a hint of moisture in the air, or the stockpile of lotions and creams stacked on the bathroom counter that I need to slather on dry and chapped skin—in spite of the claims made by the manufactures that if I use their product my skin will never go flaky.

And it had nothing to do with noticing the weak sunlight emitting from the hazy orange ball suspended in the frosty afternoon sky and wondering—what’s that? Or realizing that I am gazing longingly at the potted herb plants on the kitchen counter not because I’m trying to decide what will go best in an omelette but solely because they’re green and alive and… plants.

I was homesick for my Island family and friends!

Since moving back to my hometown in Canada, I’m learning to cope with the conditions that I have no control over; weather, sleeping vegetation and minimal sunlight. And I’m appreciating advantages I haven’t experienced for a few years. I haven’t had to wipe mould off of anything, there is nary a hint of rust on the fridge needing to be hidden with a fresh coat of primer and none of the door knobs have fallen off because the lockset has crumbled away. There is no need to check under my pillow for scorpions, flick gecko poop off the freshly made bed or swat at the sand-flies nibbling on my ankles.

I’ve had the greatest pleasure of my son and grandkids stopping by and together we watch ‘Planet of the Apes’ on Netflix, getting together with my mom to work side by side on the book we are co-authoring, and spending an afternoon with my daughter when she drives down from Hanover and we go for lunch and shopping at the most exclusive boutique—Value Village! And most evening after a delicious home cooked meal, courtesy of my Steven, we snuggle on the sofa (yup, a real one) to watch a few episodes of our favourite HBO series, ‘Mad Men’.

Regardless of all that, I settled into my feeling homesick and longing for Roatan, wrapping it around me like a much needed fleece blanket to ward off the cold, at the same time the Roatan Vortex began pulling at me; warming me from the very core of my being. Now before you get any ideas, no, I’m not moving back to Roatan, but rather, re-embracing what I thought I had to give up. When I made the decision to move back to Canada there were many reasons (and there still are) but I thought I had to completely say goodbye to the Roatan Vortex; it had consumed an extraneous amount of my time when I lived on the Island and became a chore, a job, a, I thought I had to turn it into a business thing.

But, the thing is–the Roatan Vortex was never intended or destined to be any of those things—the Roatan Vortex is a state of mind!

A bunch of years ago I coined a phrase, “the Roatan Vortex—it pulls you in and you’ll never want to leave!” and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to physically be on the Island to feel and share the positive effects—to stay connected with my Roatan family and friends. Although I won’t be posting stories nearly as often as I used to I still will be occasionally stopping by to say hi and satisfy my craving to blog. Time permitting I will also be re-launching the Roatan Vortex Book with a new look but exactly same content as I originally wrote it, plus additional bonus features! The RV Book will be available at my new website CastleMuse as a FREE downloadable ebook format and the book (paperback) edition will be available on-line to purchase at cost plus (of course) shipping. I also will bring books to the Island and donate them as prizes for various fundraisers—Clinica Esperanza Sundae by the Sea, Familias Saludables Sundays at Bananarama and others.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
If you’re in no hurry and can wait for my re-release of the Roatan Vortex Book… please do. I’ll announce it here at Roatan Vortex.com You may find (what appears to be) the book in its original state available for sale on the Island and floating around cyber-space. Thing is, even though it’s all my content and my name is on it—it’s not the real deal!

Now I’m not asking you to take sides or anything, heck, I’ve got a couple of ‘knock-off’ outfits in my closet, have watched a few illegally copied DVD’s and the sunglasses I bought on the beach may have the ‘Gucci’ logo embossed on the rim… but they sure aren’t ‘Gucci’.

On page 265 of the Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions—by Lori Deschene, she asked: “What can we control in life?”

My answer: “The absolute only thing we can control in life is how we respond to everything we have no control of.”—@roatanvortex

I’ve got a lot of great things going on in my life that require my full attention right now, and other than the couple of weeks I’m going to spend (with Steven) enjoying the glorious warmth and sunshine on Roatan this month, I plan on taking full advantage of the cold dreary weather to keep me focused on writing content and recording audio books for my new website CastleMuse; that’s where I’m building the foundation for my ‘castle in the air’ while maintaining a Roatan Vortex state of mind.


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