My top lessons of 2015. 2015 was a long year with many life changing events for me. In hindsight, many lessons and revelations have accompanied those events of 2015. To prelude this list it is only proper to give insight into our year in retrospect.
Rewind to the spring of 2014. Instead of our usual cruise for vacation, my wife and I decided to fly directly to St Croix in the US Virgin Islands to explore an entire week on a Caribbean Island. We were quickly sold on living a simple primitive life. So we spent the last couple of days looking at houses and researching the real estate market on St Croix. Upon our return home to Texas, we made the decision to sell it all. This included our new house, vehicles, personal belongings, an entire shop worth of tools, and much more.
After searching for possible employment in St Croix, an unexpected opportunity presented itself in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. I attended an interview in July and by October we were in full swing to make our move to a foreign country. The best part was, this new foreign country, just happened to be an island in the Caribbean. By Thanksgiving of 2014 we were settled and living our dream in Tortola, BVI.
As anyone could imagine there was a great deal of adaptation in learning an entire new culture, society, demographic, economy, and many other simple daily activities. Many conveniences we take for granted stateside, as daily life, morphed into daunting tasks that required more time, money, and a hard dose of patience. Simply parking your car in Tortola, which is the simplest of tasks stateside, was an act of luck, perseverance, grit, and determination. However, all things repetition become natural.
With this mere glimpse into a day in the life on a Caribbean Island, I offer to you my top ten list of things I learned in 2015.
- No matter how difficult you may think a change might be, give it time and embrace it. There is a good possibility that change, once adapted, can affect your life in a positive manner. It did for us.
- It does not get cold, AT ALL, in Tortola!
- Refrain from political or religious conversations on social media, with friends, and with crazy people. This lesson is especially important when I have been labeled as crazy to begin with, coupled with a few crazy friends, and engaging in a social forum where human emotion is simply not translated. Negativity will always ensue and no one wins. Instead all involved appear as fools. Double down rule on this one if alcohol is present.
- Tortola has WARM water and HOT sandy beaches!
- True friends made along your journey will become family. Family does not fade no matter how much time passes in our lives.
- If you find yourself visiting the island of Tortola, be sure to spend some quality time at the Tamarind Club in Josiah’s Bay. As the WARM weather on most days transitions to HOT, there is a cool sparkling pool to jump into and a refreshing drink made by the best bartenders is an arm reach away without having to exit the pool. To add, the patrons, owners, and staff are simply amazing and genuine people.
- Debt can be the ultimate ball and chain! If you do not have the money at the time of purchase you are only fooling yourself to assume you will have the money later. Live within your means and keep building a rainy day fund, so that when crisis comes knocking on your door, you are better equipped to handle the financial burden.
- If the WARM climate of a Caribbean Island does not interest you, then be sure to move to New Braunfels, TX. Look for real estate or rentals in the Dove Crossing Subdivision, more specifically the Goliad street area. The neighbors are super awesome great people. (I felt many more positive adjectives would call into question the validity of my neighborhood plug)
- Dispose of all unnecessary material objects and greed. Freedom is truly realized in ridding one self of the very excuses we use to remain content in our fat cat cages. Not to mention this lesson makes moving much easier.
- Miller Lite is still the ultimate refreshment on a WARM Caribbean beach. Speaking of Miller Lite, this leads me to part two of #10. After a 12 pack and three shots of Jager, even I will succumb to the draw of the karaoke machine! Thank you Thomas! I understand there are even blackmail videos! Geez!
So, let’s review what I have learned. There is great freedom in living without material and financial anchors. Our life has been narrowed down to six suitcases and a passion for living. This “reduction” has allowed for us to see, and live, in places that we never imagined possible in years gone by. There is no rewind button that can be invoked to take back years past. For this reason, why not live now? In our journey we have met many wonderful friends that have become family. We have learned to accept and take part in different cultures with a respect and admiration for all things different to us. We have discovered it is always warm in Tortola and our tolerance for cold has severely decreased. Well, actually the tolerance is completely gone. Alcohol does thin the blood. Although life has lead us away from our ultimate goal, temporarily, the same path has taught me valuable lessons in not being afraid of what I do not know, embracing the freedom of not having personal possessions tie me down, and the people that have made the journey with us.