I have recently discovered how necessary it is to leave the island every couple of weeks/months in order to stave off a massive case of island fever and maintain some semblance of connection to the “real world”. The trouble with island life is that your complete immersion into it can sneak up on you – you often don’t notice how deep you’re in it until you actually find yourself back in civilization and realize that even the smallest things excite and delight you.

In an attempt to keep my rock fever at bay, I recently spent a weekend in Puerto Rico. Yes, I realize it is also an island BUT it is 160x the size of my island (I Googled it) and thus I deem it a major upgrade. When arriving in San Juan, I couldn’t help but marvel at the overview of the freeways and all of the street lights and then it hit me – since when am I wowed by streets and lights? Maybe it’s too late for me, maybe I’ve already become more of an island girl than I thought!

For me, getting off island usually means two things: food and shopping. This time, I planned to add in a little something extra and decided to live it up and head to a club for the night as well. After a few short days in the “big city”, I think I’ve now nailed down some telltale signs for all of us newbies as to when you’re officially becoming an island girl. Here are mine, in no particular order:

  • You arrive at your hotel, notice a Starbuck’s in the lobby, and let out an uncontrollable yelp of glee
  • Upon entering your hotel room, you’re not wowed by the majestic ocean views but rather, you exclaim another uncontrollable yelp of glee for a duvet on the bed and A/C
  • While riding in a cab, you can’t help but have anxiety over cars driving on either side of you, all going in the same direction. A multiple lane freeway? Eeeek!
  • The thought of ordering two entrees at dinner, plus an appetizer, plus dessert, doesn’t seem unreasonable to you. You justify it by asking yourself, “Come on, when will you be able to eat this well again?”
  • Getting dressed, doing your hair, and putting on makeup to go to a club for the night seems foreign and takes twice as long as you remember
  • You pre-bandaid your feet before strapping on a pair of heels because your feet have seen nothing but flip-flops for months

  • When asked to wait in an entrance line to the club, you instantly relate it to being in line at the bank and wish you had your book
  • Shopping for clothes seems overwhelming; a trip to the Wal-Mart toiletries section really gets your blood pumping; you don’t try on shoes that require being done up; and you marvel at the choices in a regular grocery store
  • You feverishly de-tag and pack all of your new purchases in the smallest suitcase possible, being ever-conscious about the weight limit, all while being in a parking garage which, you have to point out, holds more cars than your entire island

With my hoarding cupboard restocked, two of the sorest feet I’ve had in a while, and my appearance back in shambles, I think I’ve successfully held off the fever and am ready to go back to being an island girl for awhile once more!

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Tortola, BVI

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:

Western Canada

Melissa lives on Tortola in the BVI where she finds there is never a shortage of oddities and quirks that often make her question her thought process, or lack thereof, which got her here in the first place. While adapting to the ways of the island, she finds herself smiling and nodding regularly while having no idea what someone has just told her, drinking far more fermented beverages that one probably should, and in constant struggle to avoid the island’s one rogue white horse. Her life on a rock may not be what she had first imagined, but it comes with no shortage of amusement, delight, and the occasional good lesson.

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