Thoughts from 7 Months in the Deep Blue Sea

Greetings,

Life is a game of growth, whether you’re that strain of grass deep in a green pasture or fighting for a foothold through some crack in the concrete. If you believe you’ll find what you’re looking for in life, it’s all a matter of growth. Sometimes you’ll need to make a move and other times you’ll need to be wise enough to know when to stay where you are. You grow while you rest, yes?I’m at that point where I’ve been 7 of the last 18 months on this tiny rock and starting, just starting to wonder what’s happening in other parts of the world.  I’ve gone N-E-W-S and keep finding an ocean paradise, but what else is out there?

The flip side is that spending this much time in one location, I’m growing. As a traveler who is there for a week or a month, you almost subconsciously behave differently and find yourself caught up in the superficial flow of a location meeting plastic figurines selling you tangerine dreams. The longer you stay the lower you sink in the waters until you’re in the deep blue. If you want to make it there and thrive, you better have grown because small fish don’t last long in the deep blue, they’re called bait.

Coming from Canada, we have ways of doing things. They have ways of doing things here in Nicaragua and even more so in the Autonomous Zone of the Southern Atlantic. From business to daily life, it’s a big flip from the corner of the coin I grew up on and the feelings of growth are taking place. I haven’t had this feeling for a while; whereas you start to see things differently. As you grow, big deals turn into minor nuisances and one learns the magic tricks of turning a noose into a ladder and some random flour into delicious batter.

I’m realizing that the expat who moves to city X and lives his/her life there is missing out on so much of what the world has to offer. What I’ve realized even more so is that the traveller who merely pops in, collects stamps and sees a few popular sights  misses out on even more. The balance is to explore and drift like a seed in the wind while also grabbing enough soil to take roots. As we grow into the creatures we were destined to become; it’s important to look at the bigger picture, yes?

More than ever I’m interested in seeing the rest of the world, EVERYWHERE.  I want to soak in cold mountain streams without a soul in sight and spend time laying on brilliant beaches where all you can see is white. I’d like to take long buses that run all night and chomp down on exotic meals with a big old once bucked tooth bite. I’m not sure if this is wrong or right but all I can say is it’s worth the fight.  Living here has opened my eyes a little more to what I want in life…

Being anonymous in a city is an amazing feeling, ever done it? Options abound and you can be one of those fools who like to tell stories and act all tough. If you’ve already figured out whom you are in life you can search and scour the landscape to find that diamond in the rough. As we grow older, I believe we’re all looking for deeper and meaningful connections with the world around us. It’s important to set out on that late night drive to find yourself and what you want but realize that if you’re in a fast car with lots of gas; you must keep your eyes open or you’ll surely miss your exit, it’s dark out there.

I’d continue but I think I’ve said enough and remember this; Monday is the worst day of the week for the uninspired employee but the most exciting one for an invested owner. Find what works for you but before you hit the highway again, try and see the big picture and make the effort to find that spot with the view, it’s never what you thought but always more beautiful and definitely worth the hike…
Tips hat,

P.S: Photo is of Big Corn Island, Little Corn where I am is 1/3 the size.

6 Comments

  1. flips

    April 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

    All these wonderful words.. Makes me wonder what adventures awaits this gent… always a pleasure to read your sayings..”one learns the magic tricks of turning a noose into a ladder and some random flour into delicious batter”… mmm batter !! Too funny

    • Rob

      April 23, 2013 at 7:27 am

      The world awaits, good sir.

      I’m busy stockpiling good times and gasoline for the next adventure.

  2. SJH

    April 30, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Rob, I’ve been away on a bi-polar work trip the past week. 3 days in Washington DC followed by 3 days in Bozeman Montana, aka 3 days in business suits & ties followed by 3 days in far more casual garb with folks in the fishing industry. Guess which part I enjoyed more…

    Fantastic piece here. Inspirational and thought-provoking. Each day that passes, our future gets shorter by an equal amount. Take stock of your current situation, where you want to go from there, and get out there and make something happen, right?

    • Rob

      April 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Couldn’t agree more, good sir.

      Sounds like a fun trip and an easy guess at which part was most egregious!

  3. Fran

    June 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Hey Rob, I’m not sure how I missed this April post, but it got me thinking. As you know, I, one of those “Xpats who moved to city X,” but I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the rest of the world — this time. The other times I lived overseas — the Philippines for 2.5 years, India for a year and Argentina for 1.5 years I was so busy focusing on work that I didn’t let myself fully experience the place or the people. Sure, I spent a hell of a lot of disposable income on jewelry and a house full of custom made furniture and enough Persian rugs to fill a museum, but while I still love all those treasures today, I’m living thousands of miles away from them and they are just material things.

    I got out a bit during those years and when I say a bit, I mean a trip or two for a few days and that was it. I lived the frustrations of expat life and have taken away great memories, but after 5 years living outside the US, I realized I had missed out on a lot.

    So this time I told myself I was going to take advantage of living in another country and I have “explored a great deal of the Wesrern side of Honduras, and have made some cool friends, some of whom will likely be friends for life and I am slowly learning the language. I’ve learned to cope with body guards that carry weapons whenever I step outside my house and to hearing horrific stories of theft and shootings and kidnappings and scary medical nightmares, but I am not reading all this in a newspaper or seeing it on TV, I experience it through the people that I work with all day and grieve for the losses or cheer at the wins.

    I know more about The Mayan culture than I ever would have had I not accepted this stressful, wild, crazy job of mine and worst of all, I’d be living he boring suburban life just outside of DC and wringing my hands over one political wack-job’s dumb ass “mistake” or another and not wringing my hands over the three bodies hanging from trees at the now closed CanopyLand (zip lining spot) down the road from my apartment and wondering what they did, who they pissed off enough to end up hanging from a tree.

    I have experienced some of the best steak I’ve ever eaten — yes, thais is coming from a woman whose friends call a “Food Snob” because I want fresh, wholesome food and like to cook it myself and who spent a year and a half in beef country when living in Buenos Aires. I get to have home made corn tortillas to my heart’s content and not a day goes by that I don’t see a jaw-dropping sight of clouds or fog lingering on the mountains that are everywhere the eye can see in this country.

    Is it paradise? No, not San Pedro, per se, but I have learned how to find my own paradise in the day to day activity of managing life as a working expat in a place I never thought I’d call home and “discovering” the real beauty of the place and its people in my own way. And on the days off I head out of the city and my shoulders immediately relax and I so totally experience the feeling of freedom and relaxation that I need.

    Sorry this is so long, I just felt the need to share a different take on the expat who goes to live and work somewhere for an extended time.

    I hope your summer is fabulous and I envy you the fresh fish. It’s just not available here. In, the fish tacos I could make with that Halibut! :)

    • Rob

      June 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Hi Fran!

      Always good to hear from you and your perspectives on the international life you lead. I hear where you are coming from but you definitely don’t qualify as an expat who moved somewhere and stayed there. You’ve moved around as an expat and as a result have a different view than the traveler, the tourist or the expat.

      Ideally in the future I’d like to have something where I do some traveling but get to experience “life” in a few different places. When you’re traveling, even if you stay for a month or so it’s difficult to meet the local people who are living their lives their opposed to the local people who are living their lives off the tourism industry if that makes sense.

      The longer I stay in one place and begin building a life, the deeper I sink into the society and I see / realize how everything works. Upon reflection lots of what I once perceived as genuine encounters were no really so. It all changes when you stay somewhere long enough and get to know all the different roles people play, especially those who make a life playing with tourists.

      Not sure if the last part makes sense but should I ever make it up to the Bay Islands, I’m stopping in and we’re eating steak. Crazy how I was going to come up in December 2011 but it never happened and well I ended up on the Corn Islands and the rest is history!?

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