I have lived on my rock, Roatan, for 8 years now. As I always tell people, you either love it here or you hate it. There is no in between. You won’t ever hear someone say, “Yeah, it’s ok, I guess.” The feelings people have towards the island seem to be strong either way and never lukewarm.

It’s always interesting to hear the reactions of tourists once they find out you actually live here. Whether they’re visiting for a week or for just a day off the cruise ship, I seem to get the same questions every time:

You live here? Yes.
Do you like it? Yes.
For how long? 8 years.
Where are you from? USA
Where in the US? Colorado
Do you work? Yes.
Where do you work? On the computer, at home.

I considered having business cards printed with the title, “Here are all the answers.” The questions go on, but that’s the typical beginning to the conversations I have with people I meet for the first time. I’m sure this is all familiar to my fellow islanders. And you get these questions not only when you’re home on your rock, but also when you go back to where you came from to visit family and friends.

Generally, I try my best to patiently answer all of the questions, no matter how many times I’ve had to in the past. After all, I, too, was once a woman who didn’t live on a rock, pondering how those who did make it happen managed it. However, one of the things that always aggravates me is when, after answering the posed questions, I get the response, “You’re so lucky.”

Lucky, huh?

My go to response to this? “It’s not luck – it’s a choice.” And I mean it.

Trust me, there are certainly days where I swear if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. If you would like to lose some money, just ask me to place a bet for you.

I may have been one of those people who had no concept of picking up and moving to the Caribbean once upon a time, so I make an effort not to roll my eyes at the patronizing insinuation that it was simply “luck” that brought me here. (Though I will admit that trying does require a deep breath and a patient mood.)

I try to explain that moving to an island is a matter of prioritization and that if your priority is keeping up with the “Joneses” and having all the new fangled toys and living pay check to pay check – that’s okay. It’s your choices and your priorities. I decided that was not a priority in my life anymore. Quality of life and no snow are my priorities. Thus, I made the choice to stop spending and start saving and after I vacationed in Roatan to see about moving here, I did just that – seven months later.

Is it perfect? No. Is it always easy? No. Is it the most convenient place to live? No. But it still doesn’t snow here and the amazing people and natural beauty make it all worth it for me.

So if you’re someone picturing living on an island, before you think, I could never get to do that, take a step back and truly ask yourself – why couldn’t I?

What are the obstacles in your way? Can you get past them? I’m not saying that it’s possible for everyone because it probably isn’t. But before you think that someone else is “so lucky,” just remember: it’s probably because of the choices (and sometimes sacrifices) that they have made and the priorities they have that have led them to live on their rock of choice.

“The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.” – Barbara Sher

Tori Chriestenson

Current Rock of Residence:

Roatan

Island Girl Since:

2010

Originally Hails From:

Colorado, USA

Tori moved to Roatan because she had grown tired of the regular old grind and all the turmoil going on in the USA. She knew she wanted to move out of the states. Not to mention the fact that she hates snow and has lived with snow her whole life (she even has a “no snow” tattoo). So she knew she wanted to move south – as in Central America-ish south. She wasn’t sure where, but she knew there had to be a beach, palm trees, and NO SNOW.

Tori had a few friends who had been SCUBA diving in Roatan before and so she thought she would check it out. (Note – Tori is not a diver nor does she care to be one. Snorkeling is great!) So in July 2009, she visited Roatan for a one week vacation. At that time, it had been only one month after some serious government upheaval in Honduras. There were State Department warnings about traveling to Honduras but Tori wasn’t worried. She knew it was the island and surely that’s much different than the mainland. Sure enough, the island was tranquillo and it was nice because there were almost no tourists. While in Roatan, she visited with islanders and expats and decided, “Yep – this’ll do.”

So after vacationing in Roatan, Tori put her sights on a move to the island. She figured, if it didn’t work out, she could always go back. So February 27, 2010, Tori moved to Roatan and hasn’t looked back. Of course she does go back and visits her family in Colorado, but her heart and home is in Roatan.

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