Evolution of the Island Immigrant

After 10 years of living on a rock, and much careful observation of the migratory species of rock dweller that generally can be found flocking from North America and Western Europe, I am pleased to be able to present you with my findings. I have personally witnessed evolution and Darwinism at work within these species sets in their own habitat and am now firmly convinced that these theories are not only absolutely correct but that on an island, the process is intensified.

In this report, I will focus on three specific types of rock immigrant:

1. The Young, Optimistic, and Broke.

2. The Middle-aged, Cynical, and Over-confident.

3. The Older, Cold, Lonely, and Drunk.

There are of course variations on each of these genotypes. For example, there are the Young, Drunk, and Overconfident; the Older, Optimistic, and Broke; and the Middle-aged, Cold, and Lonely. There are two other types that I shall not be covering in this article as while it is generally believed that they are numerous, these are simply widely held myths and in fact, they are extremely rare, which meant that I had too few subjects available to gather accurate data. These are:

4. The Independently Wealthy, Beautiful, and Happy.

5. The Successful, Sober, Hard-working, Happy Couples.

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Let’s investigate our three main types, shall we?

The Young, Optimistic, and Broke

Usually tanned, pretty young things with an aura of patchouli oil lingering in their wake… or is that weed? Never mind. They are often entitled and believe they can make a living by providing healing, aromatherapy, drumming, foot massage workshops, or some such. They usually end up working illegally as a bartender. Watching them evolve, I have noted that as the pads of their feet grow thicker, their bodies grow thinner, and their mindlessly culturally appropriated dreadlocks become unravelled; the partying lifestyle usually gets the best of them and one day they disappear with a backpack to Thailand or Peru (after getting some money wired down from their parents). Darwin most definitely has his way with these specimens.

The Middle-aged, Cynical, and Over-confident

These creatures can often be witnessed giving their sage advice to other, newer immigrants of the same type, because they are experts on island life after living here for 3 months, of which only about 72 hours were conscious and sober. They normally report that they are escapees from a boring, mundane job which they hated but which gave them the knowledge and confidence that if they spent their life savings on a restaurant/bar on the beach, they would make tons of money.

They regularly explain why things “back home” are superior to the rock they have chosen to inhabit and how much they have to offer the locals. Strangely enough “the locals” don’t gratefully accept that generous offer. Then evolution strikes. As their impeccable, self-taught staff management skills eventually result in every single decent member of staff leaving their employment, ultimately resulting in much of their stock leaving with the new staff, a predatory species who can sniff out a weak and vulnerable member of the herd, they sell what’s left to pay their airfare home. This particular type often can be found on expat message boards and forums explaining why the rock of their choice is to blame for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.

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The Old, Cold, Lonely, and Often Drunk (but not always)

Let’s face it, when you’re a migratory species from a colder climate, it becomes pretty tempting to spend the rest of your life on a balmy rock. But it turns out that margaritas on the beach are just not so fun when you’re on your own. Searching out their own kind, they join and leave a variety of social clubs after discovering that their own kind are not as like-minded as they had hoped and one too many arguments about politics in a faraway land has left them with more enemies than friends.

This is when they begin to evolve. Then they can often be seen perched on stools in a bar, where their counterpart, the Young, Optimistic, and Broke, works. Having long realised that rum is cheaper than margaritas, they eventually discover that several rums can result in a meeting of the minds… of sorts. It can also lead to mutually beneficial solutions to their loneliness when another type of local predator provides them with comfort and companionship. It is actually a common mating arrangement found on pretty much any rock you visit, though reproduction is highly unlikely.

–   –   –

Of course, this is a condensed version of the study written by one of the other types of rarely seen migrant: Fell in Love with a Rock and the Beach Lifestyle but Eventually Evolved to Understand that Paradise Has a Price and Works Hard to Pay It. Can normally be found hiding from others in the supermarket, playing with chickens and dogs, and people watching. This type tends to be much less tanned than other migrants due the number of hours spent in a dark office earning enough to be able to live where they love.

What other species have you observed on your rock?

*click for image credit

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Colette Kase

About Colette Kase

Colette and her partner lived and worked in London. They would sit on the train platform, sweating under layers of clothing, praying for sunshine, and gazing wistfully at billboards of the Maldives. One day, like any sane, somewhat unhinged couple, they collectively thought, Why not give away all of our shit, give up our successful careers, and go live somewhere that looks like those Maldives billboards with no money or plans for the future? With all of their friends standing by in disbelief (no doubt anticipating their hasty return), they did just that.

Only it wasn't the Maldives. It was Ambergris Caye, Belize. Surprising many, they are still together and living what people think is "the dream" in what people think is "paradise". Together they run a photography business called, Conch Creative: www.conchcreative.com/. Colette's partner is the talent and Colette is the metaphorical pimp. She gets things done.

Colette writes a lot of different things, often they are very sweary. She did, in fact, (despite claims to the contrary) write the first ever blog on Ambergris Caye back in 2006 when they were taking a couple of years off to get the lay of the is'land and pretending to be perpetual tourists. Once they started their business, she gave up that blog (most of which was eaten by the internet) and began blogging for the business instead. She also has a sneaky alter ego blogging elsewhere on the internets and has been writing a book for a very long time. So far, it's not a very long book. For now, she's delighted to be joining this island crazy bunch of women to share her experiences as a woman who lives on a rock. Viva procrastination.

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24 thoughts on “Evolution of the Island Immigrant

  1. Hi Colette,
    I enjoyed your tongue in cheek post, though some of the comments indicate many didn’t get the humor. It takes all kinds. Humor is what makes us survive our chosen rock life. I would add a category for the expat working here for a foreign company, well paid, ostentatiously in the bucks who knows exactly what the rock needs & is ever eager to set these numbskulls right. Don’t know what you’d call this category 🙂
    Keep writing.
    Maria

  2. Boy, my husband and I don’t seem to fit into any of these categories. We are retired, from a colder climate (living on warm island to escape said climate), working on our hobbies (painting and carving), living day to day in a house with a view in a native village. We are not rich (although it is much cheaper to live here than our country of origin). We mingle with locals and expats finding common ground with (almost) everyone. We find humour in most of the island customs. The only big complaint that I have is the lines in the bank. Someday I will stage a protest and try to find out why it takes 15 minutes for transactions here that took 1 minute in Canada. Until then put a paint brush in my hand and pour me another rum and pineapple.

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