finding the familiar

Researching a new place is fun – and doesn’t detract from the thrill of discovery. There are some aspects of my current life I wanted to be sure I replicated on the island:

  • Cigar shop
  • Library
  • Bookstore
  • Coffeehouses
  • Grocery

Cigar shop

There are two cigar shops: Baci Duty Free and Steel’s Smokes & Sweets. My current neighborhood has none. Big win for the island.

Library

The Florence Williams Public Library is also in-town. The library is named after FlorenceĀ Augusta Stephens Williams, the first islander librarian, and was dedicated in 1974.

Bookstore

Though nearly all of my reading is on the Kindle, bookstores are still holy and sacrosanct grounds. On the island that would be Undercover Books.

Coffeehouses

I would like to live in a coffeehouse. Fortunately there is a coffeehouse in town: Twin City Coffeehouse and Gallery. Just outside of town is The Bistro. I suppose I ought to mention Baked Cafe, which bills itself as a “plant-based restaurant specializing in vibrant feel good food.” I’m not sure the menu and I will be on friendly terms, but I’ll give it a try. (Cigars are vegan … I wonder how they feel about those.)

Grocery

There are too many markets to list – including farmer’s markets and CSA options with delivery.

What there isn’t

It appears the largest road (two lanes in each direction) is the small bypass road that funnels traffic around the town. Otherwise everything else is one-lane, some are cobblestones, and the waterfront is just that: water in front and no road between the sea and you.

What passes for big-box stores on the island are a few blessed miles away. Otherwise everything is in within walking distance.

Flip-flop roaming terrain.

how did you know it was time to go?

Outside of questions about the cost of living, employment, health insurance, hurricanes, sharks, clean drinking water, healthcare, zika virus and crime (wow … people carry around quite a few anxieties) the most thoughtful question I’ve been asked is how did I know it was time to sell everything and move to an island.

It goes something like this:

  1. Acquire a college degree and then graduate degree
  2. Get a career
  3. Get a house, cable television, and cars
  4. Do the career for twenty years
  5. Realize things aren’t as fun as they were when I was kid
  6. Start traveling around
  7. Get rid of the car and bike, bus and walk everywhere
  8. Downsize to a small apartment
  9. Downsize to a smaller apartment
  10. Realize you only need to make what you spend

The year I hit step ten I took a trip to the US and British Virgin Islands and my daily spend rate was less there than it was in Colorado. Step ten sunk in with the weight of something akin to a spiritual obligation. By this time I had spent roughly seventy days on trips to the South Pacific, Mexico, Bahamas and Caribbean. I saw how those people lived. Hung out with the locals: a Rastafarian who ran a juice stand on Marigot waterfront. Another Rastafarian who lived in the jungle on a small island in the Bahamas and cared for injured animals. A man who taught swimming, snorkeling and surfing lessons. A guy and his gal living on a sailboat and eating fresh-caught food every night.

That’s how I knew it was time to go.