Written By:

Stephanie Byrne

Current Rock of Residence:

Guam

Island Girl Since:

2015

Originally Hails From:

Virginia

Stephanie wasn’t born on her island, nor did she really have a calling to it. Actually, she had no intention of living on a rock until she could afford to retire to one. And then Guam found her. Stephanie came to Guam in 2015 to help open a new hospital as the Executive Director of Operations. Now, she is the VP of a group that subcontracts for said hospital with the beauty of working from home. She likes to call herself a “scrappy girl from Virginia” (where she grew up until her father got her a passport and she found her desire to see the world).

Stephanie’s been a bit of a nomad, feeling claustrophobic after being in one place too long. She has been known to pack up and move to England, get back and have a taste for the sea and move to the coast. During the Polar Vortex (Is that still a thing? Or have we moved on to bomb storms? She can’t keep up!), she decided that negative temperatures and her did not get along well. So she moved to Southern California. When it was time to plan her wedding, she and her now-husband decided to meet on the island of Maui for the simple purpose of being able to say, “We got Maui’d.” And she thinks that’s what started her island fever.

A month later, she moved to Guam where she awaited her next anxious itch to go somewhere uncharted. It never happened. In all her wanderlust, Guam has somehow anchored her. Maybe it’s the culture. Maybe it’s the depths of the sea, the pristine beaches, and the magnificent sunsets. Or maybe it’s the short flights to exotic places, the ability to spend Halloween in Taipei, Thanksgiving in Bali, and snowboard the New Year in Japan. Or the fact that she lives in the future from her tribe back home, which basically makes her almost a psychic. Or maybe it’s because her husband’s in the Navy and they’re keeping them here.

Obviously that’s 90% of why they are here now, but she is not saddened at the prospect of spending upwards of another 5 years on Guam. Because somehow this rock has become her tiny island in the sun and she will forever be an island girl. With her career now based out of her home, and reporting to many islands, many hospitals, and many people globally, she will always have a presence on this island, even when she no longer resides here permanently.

When she’s not managing doctors (which takes a certain amount of coffee, insanity, good humor, and then wine), she is hiking with her Golden Retriever, paddle-boarding with her Shih Tzu, taking in the sunset, and exploring the world with her husband and travel partner in crime. And when the sun has set and the mosquitoes chase them inside, she takes to her travel blog between working on the novel every writer should say they’re writing.

Living on an island has taught her to give up a lot to gain even more. She gave up Starbucks, Target, malls, consumerism, and empty material things to gain culture, sunsets, adventure, and memories. She’s gotten pretty lost along the way, but managed to find out new things about herself and the colorful world we live in. Island life will drive you a little nuts, she thinks we all end up with a little too much sand in our brains after a while, but with enough humor, you can kick back in your hammock and remember to enjoy the strange, wonderful dynamic of island life.

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