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Roatan Vortex – An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan

21 Apr

So the Roatan Vortex is working its magic on you, you’re considering a move to Roatan, great idea! No longer will time in paradise be limited to your allocated one or two week holidays a year. No more burrowing under the three comforters piled on your bed, peaking out the window and groaning at the sight of fluffy flakes of snow floating down to cover the crocuses and tulips that are doing what they can to convince the skies it is springtime.

Since making the move to Roatan I am regularly asked, “How’d you do it?” That’s easy to answer, “I quit my job, sold everything I owned, and moved here.” The Roatan Vortex pulled me in!

Now that I live here I regularly share why I stay: through the Roatan Vortex blog, The Roatan Vortex Radio Show on 101.1 FM roatanradio.com and through the book The Roatan Vortex—an insider’s view of day to day life on a Caribbean Island It’s time to back up a bit (kinda like they did with the Star Wars movies) and share… drum roll please…

The Roatan Vortex—an insider’s guide for moving to Roatan

The thing is, moving to Roatan is not like moving across town or even from one State or Province you live in to another. You have to approach it a little different and not use the North American side of your brain to plan the move. Yes, clear up and do what must before you come to Roatan, but when the Vortex calls, “resistance is futile”… hey, another Star Wars reference… no wait, that’s from Star Trek!

On your mark! Get set! Slow down!
When I go back to Canada to visit family and friends, they quite often comment that I’m too mellow, as they zoom past me; rushing to work, the store, an exercise class, the mall, to pick up the kids etc. That is the normal pace there, but not on Roatan. Sure you still have things to get done, places to be, people to see, but the pace here is a little different. For one thing it is just plain too hot; you’re going to work up a sweat no matter how slow you go, so why encourage it. Besides, whatever you are rushing to probably won’t be ready until mañana anyway.

Definition of mañana – tomorrow, next week, maybe a month from now, possibly—NEVER!

photo credit - Gumbalimba Park

It’s always Groundhog (Watusi) Day
Another comment I get from family and friends (especially when they come to visit me on Roatan) is that things don’t change much here—and that’s true—with a Roatan twist, of course. The year round summer weather has something to do with that (we’ll talk about rainy season later) and waking to the sun rising at pretty much the same time every day, setting time doesn’t vary much either. The birds are singing, the chickens are scratching; their brood of chicks following behind, while the roosters crow whenever the heck they want to! The Caribbean Sea breaking on the reef, sometimes barely a ripple is created, other times foamy rolling spray outlines the reef. I guess I could say I’ve settled into a routine of sorts. The twist—the vibe of Roatan decides the routine, not me—I’m okay with that! You can be too!

An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan, lots more to share; coming soon:
• Your new address, say goodbye to zip and postal codes
• What to bring (my most prized possession): stainless steel cheese grater
• Leave the rollerblades behind
• Yes, your phone number will be eight digits long
• Setting up your kitchen—everything goes in the freezer
• Choosing your nick name (and other names you may be called)
• Forget about fresh spinach and mushrooms
• Critters you may (no, will) find in your new home
• Decorating is based on mould and rust resistance—not fashion trends
• plus many, many more

For those of you who have already made the move, if you have any tips to add, please do. And for those of you considering making the move to Roatan–ask away!

icon for podpress  Roatan SME (Subject Matter Expert): Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly retitled “A life without fresh spinach and mushrooms”

14 Responses to “Roatan Vortex – An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan”

  1. Rich Mathis 22. Apr, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    As the Vortex keeps pulling me in I wonder how a persons diet will change on Roatan? I can understand that there will be food items unavaliable on the Island however, what is avaliable to cook and eat?

  2. Genevieve 22. Apr, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Never fear, lot’s to choose from where food is concerned. We have North American style grocery stores offering what you would expect… with some Roatan twists! Dairy items: A good stock for weeks in a row, and then no sign of yogurt or butter for the next few weeks. I’ve given up on typical milk (sometimes, the expiry date is okay, but the cases were sitting on the dock in the sun for awhile.. not good.) I have switched to boxed milk which keeps in the cupboard, then refrigerate when opened. Veggies that need cooler evenings to grow: spinach, some herbs and lettuces, cannot grow here. Mushrooms must also be imported. Sometimes available sometimes not. Food requirements for special diets can also be found: gluten free, lactose free, etc. And there is a hydroponic farm for most other lettuces and herbs.

    I find food here much better then in North America! Local fruits, veggies, beans, rice, meats, and of course seafood!!! Very minimal spraying or genetic modified, Good prices too. Here’s a story I posted about the differences you will encounter when grocery shopping on Roatan. What an orange really tastes like!

  3. Johnny 23. Apr, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    Well… We will be there in 5 days! As you said, “resistance is futile” So my tip is… just go with the flow! If you have made up your mind to make the move, everything will fall into place and before you know it is time to go!!!

  4. Genevieve 23. Apr, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Exactly Johnny! Can’t wait to see you and Giulia and call you my neighbor!!!

  5. Paaaat 23. Apr, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Moving to the islands does take some preparation. I would love to do it but would need to “visit” for at least 6 to 9 months.

  6. Genevieve 23. Apr, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    You are all ready the poster boy for the Roatan Reef, what more preparation do you need?

  7. Cèsar 24. Apr, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    my tip, bring as many bags as you want, can or afford but leave ALL the emotional ones, or we shall see you leave Roatan soon.

  8. katherine matl 25. Apr, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    what kind of critters will one see in their home? what are the predators there? we have cats.

  9. Genevieve 25. Apr, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I will be posting a critter list soon. If you have cats, never fear they will keep the critters in check! I don’t have to provide toys for my cat ‘Baby” he just uses the critters.

  10. Deborah 26. Apr, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Hi Jenny,

    I have been thinking about this for while, since you told me about it at the beach.
    The single best advice I have on moving to Roatan is how to pack. Use Rubbermaid tubs (the name-brand ones, not Sterelite) Linens and clothes replace packing wrap and peanuts, making it environmentally friendly and economical. After you unload everything, you have water resistant, bug resistant storage containers for your bodega.

    As far as clothes go – All Cotton All the Time, including underthings. Sorry, ladies, say goodbye to Victoria’s Secrets.

  11. Genevieve 26. Apr, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Thanks for sharing that insight Deb! Yes, ladies fancy synthetic undies you will not want here!

  12. Heather 26. Apr, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I cannot wait to visit the island, will be there for 2 weeks 5/3-5/17. My husband has been there since March 23rd doing a DM internship. It was a good way to get to visit the island for an extended period of time to see if life there is what we want. His feelings are so far that ‘yes’ it is a real good possibility. He is waiting for me to get there to see what I think, though after all the research I have done it seems like just the place. (Was laid off for 5 months over this past winter, LOTS of time to research a move such as this..;) We are not looking for an easier life, but a better quality of time not spent working..;) Starting to realize life is not about how much you have but how you spend the time you do have with the one you love. And even better is to do it on an island..;) Hubby calls it ‘the wild west’..;) Can’t wait for this adventure to begin….

  13. Genevieve 26. Apr, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Ohhhh, you are feeling the Vortex pulling you in! Your reasons for coming to Roatan are bang on Heather. Bit of the wild west… yup! It just adds to the charm :) Contact me (if you wish) when you arrive, I love meeting newbies!

  14. Heather 26. Apr, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    I am definitely feeling something, and it just might be that Roatan Vortex…;) cannot wait to get there, now I am thinking I wish I had booked the air for 3 weeks..;) But I am hoping to get a lot accomplished in the 2 weeks while I am there. Want to look at businesses, properties, meet with a lawyer. Etc. I am renting a car for the 2 weeks while I am there so we can explore more. he has not done that much since he has no vehicle and hes out in Brick Bay. Looking forward to experiencing it all the good and the bizzaro part of it..;) would love to meet and I am sure you can give me a lot of tips. Next week this time I will be there.

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