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9 skills to know when you live in the Caribbean

boat trip

Lessons to learn and skills to master when you move to the Caribbean

There are many essentials one must learn and master in life in order to function on a daily basis; learning to push a shopping cart, which setting works best for toast, how not to loose our cell phones when out for a night on the town (okay, this one still happens to the best of us). But here in the beautiful Caribbean islands, we master certain skills and learn lessons which those who aren’t blessed to live here will never quite understand. We become accustomed to the strangest habits, and these are just a few:


  1. How to use one hand to balance yourself on a moving catamaran and the other to hold a beverage

    We love getting huge groups of us out on the weekend to charter a booze cruise. A useful skill we’ve learned is how to gracefully make it to the trampolines out front without spilling painkiller all over ourselves.


  2. Killing a bug like it’s no big deal

    Let’s face it. No one likes creepy crawlies invading their personal space, but after living a month in the Caribbean, taking a piece of paper towel and squishing an insect is second nature.

  3. Finding all the best happy hour spots

    In the Caribbean, we love the expression “It’s 5’ o clock somewhere”, and when it’s actually 5 o’clock (or there about) we seem to know which bars have the best deals to unwind after a busy day.


  4. Warm and sunny does not always equal “vacation”

    For the first little while when you move to the Caribbean “vacation mode” is easy to slip into. But the mornings after a night partying with the tourists takes its toll. We can now spend a quiet night in and even walk past a beach and resist the urge for a mid-day swim between meetings.


  5. Creative culinary skills with limited ingredients on a budget

    On tropical islands, our selections in the grocery stores are often limited and very pricey. Be prepared to make your chicken in a creamy French Chardonnay sauce into turkey hot dogs drenched in a bottle of a cheap white wine and use your imagination!



  6. Showering using a gallon of water and a saucepan

    If you’re on an island where the water supply isn’t the greatest, chances are you’ll get used to times when you go several hours/days without water. How about running out of water in the middle of the shower? We learn not to panic and pour emergency water into a pan for a much less enjoyable bathing experience.

    Shower on Necker Island

    Shower on Necker Island

  7. Accepting “Island Time”

    It’s easy for time to slip away when the sun is out and you’re constantly bumping into people you know on a small island. Mastering patience for the lack of punctuality is certainly a skill expats must acquire.



  8. A car becomes a money pit

     Depending on which island you live on, many have steep hills, rocky terrain, and off-beaten paths which can do your car a lot of damage. It makes no sense to save up for a Mercedes Benz, but then again hundreds of dollars can easily be drained into the upkeep of an “island car”.


  9. Clothes will not last, so stock up on the sales at home

    Colours fade quickly in the strong sun rays and begin to look dinghy. No point in wasting your pocket money on cute outfits, so we’ve mastered the art of packing lightly on our trips home and fill our case with summer sales at the outlet malls!


    Living on an island is an invaluable experience which in the end makes us smarter and stronger. So take the lessons learned and skills you’ve mastered, and continue to grow wiser as you endure your adventure!


Lauren Charley

Lauren Charley

Writer at aLookingGlass
Lauren graduated with an Honours B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has worked as a feature magazine writer, where many of her stories pertained to events, people, activities, and places in popular tourist destinations.

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