Living life on an island with beautiful ocean views, breathtaking sunsets, rich in culture, history, food and plenty rum — that is a life envious of anyone. Whether you are of Caribbean descent or not, there is something enticing about leaving the fog and dirty beaches of our beloved New York City for that clear ocean blue found in Trinidad and Tobago or the Bahamas.
A new trend seems to be heating up, though it isn’t very new at all, of people leaving their lives up to fate to live a simpler life on the island of their choice. Articles on Forbes, the New York Times and other blog sites have tapped these individuals to discuss their journeys.
Most recently, Noelle Hancock penned a liberating story for Cosmopolitan Magazine explaining why four years ago she packed her bags and left her cushy $95,000 job to scoop ice cream with the ocean as her backdrop.
Hancock described her life living comfortably in Manhattan as a journalist pulling in a hefty salary as unfortunately very unfulfilling. She wrote:
“‘I need a vacation.’ This was a constant refrain in my head. I wasn’t living in the moment; I was living for some indeterminate moment in the future when I’d saved enough money and vacation days to take a trip somewhere. If you’re constantly thinking you need a vacation, maybe what you really need is a new life. But I was complacent. My life wasn’t satisfying, but it was comfortable.’”
This persistent mantra led to her moving to the island of St. John (one of the Virgin Islands) without even visiting, much to her mother’s dismay and friend’s confusion. Hancock was on a mission to reinvent and restart and that is exactly what she did.
Her story is liberating. For many feeling that they have hit a point in their life where the cogs are no longer moving, Hancock’s story might be all that one needs to push them to start afresh.
But before you quit and pack those suitcases filled with permanent summer dresses, shorts and open toed shoes, consider all the factors that made Hancock’s move possible.
For starters, it is safe to assume that Hancock had the means to make such a bold move – she was grossing a salary of $95,000. Savings coupled with good credit is certainly a necessary detail needed. Many articles with the same story as Hancock manage to neglect the nest egg necessary to ship off on a one-way ticket to paradise.
We can’t all break our lease — which is coupled with fees — sell all of our belongings and rely on hope that we find a bartending gig in some far away island where nobody knows your name.
I applaud Noelle Hancock for taking such a gamble and for the many like her that are living successful lives in the beautiful Caribbean. The inner traveller in me is yearning for a summer that could be spent finding new adventures while jumping from island to island or even country to country. Unfortunately, aside from owing my soul to my alma mater currently and paying New York City prices for food and shelter — those travel wishes can currently only amount to a one-week vacation.
Travel. See the world. Reinvent yourself and live. But please, make decisions that fit you and your lifestyle. Everyone’s journey is simply different.