Should you choose to make your home in a picturesque tourist destination such as a Caribbean island, kudos to you! People all around the world spend their days pining away for the one precious week in their year that they get to spend in the place that you so casually wake up to each and every day. Seriously – way to go, You. Your decision-making skills are commendable.
However, one should be aware that this type of lifestyle is unparalleled to the one you gave up in the “real world” in many unexpected ways and is not for everyone.
Possible side effects of Living Amongst Vacationers may include:
Humans have a tendency to crash diet before vacation (Gotta get bikini ready!) and then splurge once they are actually on said-vacation, devouring gluttonous quantities of decadent foods. Dining with or nearby vacationers can easily derail your healthy eating plans, leading you to jump off the figurative bridge with everyone else and order the french fries, even though you know damn well you are definitely not on vacation yourself.
EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
In a place where the rum flows like water, grown adults will decide to consume alcohol in quantities they haven’t tackled since their college days, ordering shots left and right, always ready for another round. This contagious party spirit is sure to loosen what little inhibitions you still possess, causing you to engage in that all-too-familiar thought process of Why the hell not? So what if it is Wednesday… every Wednesday if you’re not careful.
All may be well and good in your island life, yet being confronted head-on with the unbridled merriment of the best of friends and jovial families celebrating their annual getaways together every way you turn can cause you to think longingly for your own special people who you are not currently on vacation with. Be especially careful during the holiday months – the uncontrollable shedding of tears in public places will only creep people out.
You have likely always associated the smell of sunscreen with summertime, vacation, long days at the beach, and fun, in general. Smelling sunscreen-coated tourists will make your nose play tricks on your brain, causing you to believe it is a beach day when it is not. No matter how many times this happens, your brain will always experience that crushing moment of bad news that you, dear one, do not get to go to the beach. This ripping band-aid-like sting does not lessen with time.
FEELING LIKE A FASHION FAILURE
People tend to pack their newest and coolest clothes for their much anticipated vacations. Those actually living on an island deal with the harsh realities of mold, the bleaching sun, and inaccessibility of options that leads to complete wardrobe collapse. You will inevitably be the most unstylish and potentially homeless-looking person on the beach. Get used to it.
MISSING OUT SYNDROME
In the states, you stand in line for coffee with fellow business people who are also on their way to work. In the islands, you will find yourself in line with tourists in swimsuits and beach bags, prepping themselves not for the drudgery of a workday, but for the pure joy of a day by the sea. There will be fun happening all around you, all the time. You can’t always join in and this can suck – majorly.
BEING MISTAKEN AS A STICK IN THE MUD
People who are visiting view their stay on the island as the most exciting time in their year, and therefore, yours too. What they fail to realize is that you just had visitors who believed the exact same thing staying with you last week as well. And two other times the month before that. Literally. So when you’re unable to drop everything, play hooky from work when they want to go boating, and party each night until 2 am, this will result in you being interpreted as a boring, un-fun, down and out, what’s her problem, stick in the mud.
Sharing all of your public spaces with tourists means overhearing wildly inaccurate conversations, whether you like it or not. Listening to tourists spout out so-called “facts” about the island you live on, the restaurants you frequent, and the life you lead can feel frustrating, particularly if you are a barely controlled, know-it-all type. Your willpower challenge comes in not interjecting with The Truth, as that would force you to reveal yourself as a local, a role you never want to let the tourists in on for fear that they will pummel you with dumb questions, for which there can be no hasty retreat.
IF YOU’RE IN A HURRY, THAT AUTOMATICALLY MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE
With everyone around you fully embracing “island time,” having nothing to accomplish in their day besides marathon daiquiri drinking, those who are trying to get anything done are generally perceived as jerks who don’t know how to relax. It takes considerable restraint to not punch a tourist who chides you to “chill out, man,” as though everyone on the island should just give up all hope for productivity of any kind, so as not to disrupt the tourists’ Caribbean buzz.
GROCERY STORES CAN MAKE YOU AGGRESSIVE
Only on vacation do people make grocery shopping a team sport. Groups of tourists clogging the aisles, debating over a communal market list for their week is tough to take, particularly when your island grocery store’s aisles weren’t designed to accommodate more than one cart at a time in the first place.
LAZINESS AND TEMPORARY LOSS OF LIFE GOALS
When everyone around you seems to be eschewing goal-oriented forward motion for more immediately gratifying pursuits (beer!), it is not uncommon for you to feel a sense of passive permission to do the same and succumb to laziness. It is important to learn the balance between seizing the moment and seizing the day.
Not only does everything just naturally cost more down here due to the fact that everything is imported, most stores tend to market their goods to the tourists, rather than the locals. It’s a bigger demographic that is usually more frivolous with their moolah, so you will be paying an obscene amount for everything. The plus side is that your initial sticker shock will fade, causing you to believe everywhere else you visit in the world is a “good deal”.
Observing the obnoxious behavior of your fellow humans on vacation on your island has made you a more conscientious tourist now when you travel elsewhere, carefully thinking through your questions before you ask them, taking note of cultural proprieties, etc. On the flip side, this can turn you into a more self-righteous local than you intend, becoming overly critical of those doing small things you now consider intolerable in their disrespect such as wearing their swimsuits in public places other than the beach.
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There is hope. If you remain highly aware of how Living Amongst Vacationers is affecting your psyche, you can coexist and live a positive, productive, healthy, normal (well, normal-ish) life. Speak to your mental health professional/favorite bartender to see if Living Amongst Vacationers is right for you.