When you first move to an island, there are so many things to adjust to. You learn what it’s like to live with a cistern, that the presence of roaches does not necessarily indicate a state of filth, and that you must patiently wait, wait a little bit longer, and then wait some more.

And then one day it happens without you even noticing – you become an island life champ. Island life gets into your blood, and if you’re like many of us, you’re forever changed. It’s not something you think about, it’s just something you are now. It’s just life.

That is, until one day, you take a trip off-island and BOOM. Just like that, you realize: Nope, I’m definitely not normal anymore. At least not normal in the realm of most people’s normal. You’re a new kind of normal. And all of a sudden, you find it really hard to try and integrate back into the old “normal” world.

Here are 15 Odd Ways We Islanders Behave Elsewhere, in no particular order:

–  1  –
You are consistently confused by proper toilet usage in both businesses and individual’s homes. Does your used TP go in the can or in the bowl? Should your yellow mellow?

–  2  –
You are always cold. Indoors… outdoors… it’s frickin’ freezin’ to you.

freezing meme dr evil

–  3  –
You overtip in ridiculous percentages because you are so bowled over by how amazing the customer service you’re receiving is. The waitress smiled at me AND refilled my water before I was dying of thirst, you think to yourself. Is 30% gratuity even enough for such royal treatment? 

–  4  –
Sadly, it’s been so long since you’ve been able to properly recycle, the rules are now overwhelming to you. Each time you must throw something away, you stand in front of the line of trash bins for way too long, puzzling over where you should toss your paper coffee cup with its plastic lid that still has some liquid in it.

–  5  –
You have an inability to keep your shoes on. #freethetoes

–  6  –
The sheer amount of people in a mall is enough to ignite a near anxiety attack.
Where the hell did they all come from?

–  7  –
No matter how many times your friends insist, you simply cannot shower with the water running, as the sound of free flowing water for so long stresses you out to your very core. Navy showers are the way of our people.

–  8  –
You are constantly exclaiming, “I can’t believe how cheap this is!!” Food, body lotion, basic services – everything seems to be on a half off sale compared to what you’ve been paying. Well, everything except liquor.

–  9  –
You walk around public places like the town’s mayor, greeting everyone you see with a “Good morning/day/night” salutation followed with an earnest “How are you today?” People look at you with suspicion, and you remind yourself to stop acting like a buffoon. But then minutes later, there you are again, standing in line at the bank, greeting everyone who walks in the door like a Holly Golightly psychopath.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

–  10  –
You are obsessive about closing doors. When people stand in entryways, talking nonchalantly with the doors wide open, you usher people in or out, jutting your eyes about wildly like a red dot-fixated feline at all the invisible mosquitoes that are surely “getting inside”.

–  11  –
Your drinking habits have turned into what most people in most place consider alcoholic. You are more than a little annoyed by their judgmental stares. “What are you looking at? It’s already 9:30am and this is a screwdriver. Seriously, it’s not like it’s a martini. Everyone calm down – it’s juice.”

–  12  –
You are obnoxiously early for everything, always carrying reading material, and steeling yourself up for the long wait you anticipate ahead of you. When things consistently go along expediently, you’re surprised each time at your good fortune.
Where did all the lines go?

–  13  –
You behave like a 10 year old Hall Monitor, following people around and correcting their alarmingly wasteful power habits by turning off light switches, unplugging power strips before bed, and refusing to leave ceiling fans “on” in empty rooms. People become exasperated at you for preemptively leaving them in dark spaces.

–  14  –
Every place feels way too hermetically sealed for you. You keep feeling like you “can’t breathe” and end up wandering around parking lots, waiting for people to finish whatever they’re doing inside the building because of your urgent desire for fresh air.

fish out of water

–  15  –
You’re overstimulated by all the sights and activities and choices. Oh, the choices! You now deeply understand the affliction of Decision Fatigue. You need naps. Lots of naps.

–   –   –

Did I miss anything? What strange behavior have you caught yourself doing when traveling away from your rock?

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Virgin Gorda, BVI

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:


Chrissann’s home rock in the British Virgin Islands feels bigger to her than it actually is. Though after spending five years on a teensy one acre island, the current 13-mile long rock she’s residing on now IS ginormous, at least by comparison. As with everything in the tropics, it’s all about perspective.

Once upon a time she used to care about things like matching her purse to her pumps but these days, any activities that require a bra and shoes go under careful, is-this-even-worth-it consideration. If island life has taught her anything at all, it’s that few things are more rewarding than time spent in the pool with a cocktail in hand.

As the Editor in Chief of this site, she spends her days working from home with her blue-eyed sidekick, Island Dog Diego, writing, editing, and cultivating content in the hopes of bringing some laughter and lightness to her fellow island souls. She recently published her first children’s book, When You’re a Baby Who Lives on a Rock, and is pretty pumped to share it with all of the island mamas out there. Her days off are typically spent boating, hiking, and meeting up with the neighborhood’s imperious roadside goats, who she shamelessly bribes into friendship. While normalcy was never listed as one of her special skills, Caribbean life may indeed be responsible for new levels of madness. She attributes at least a smidge of her insanity to the amount of time she spends talking to drunk people.

If you’re somehow still reading this and feel inclined to find out more about this “Chrissann” of which we speak, you can also take a gander at her eponymous website or follow her daily escapades on Instagram @womanonarock.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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