Living vs. Vacationing in Paradise

Would a life in the islands suit you?

Who doesn’t dream of running away to the islands, especially those hailing from locales where the residents are snowbound and frozen for several months each year? I’m pretty sure that most readers of Coastlines and Tan Lines do but for many people, the week or two that they can escape from work for an island vacation only serves to wet their appetite for more. But how does living in the islands compare to a short all-inclusive stay at a resort? In my experience, considerably.

Rebecca dancing in the streets of Grenada

Rebecca dancing in the streets of Grenada ©2011 Carl Grooms

My wife Rebecca and I set sail from Canada a year ago, Caribbean bound. Prior to that we had had numerous trips south, often to all inclusive resorts. I think we were fairly typical in that our vacations where filled with fun excursions and socializing punctuated by great restaurant meals and bar drinks, or was it the other way around? Judging by the comments we received on our blog,, after having set sail, it was obvious to us that many people expected our days to be filled with much of the same. The truth is, that is pretty far removed from our day-to-day reality.

Mike looking salty

Mike looking salty ©2011 Carl Grooms

Unless one has lucked into a winning lottery ticket, or was fortunate enough to choose some wealthy parents, it is impossible to live long term on a “vacation budget.” And in our experience, we really wouldn’t want to. Some of the best experiences we have had are when we are far removed from the tourist destinations, able to share time with the locals or other cruising friends. Self-guided snorkeling excursions and hikes have replaced lying by the resort pool. Sharing sundowners on a local beach or a neighbors boat has replaced expensive evenings at resort bars. Of course it’s not all fun, how could it be? Living and traveling on a boat as we do includes its own share of work. Not work with any salary mind you but the day-to-day tasks that allow our home to stay afloat and function.

Party at Rogers Bar!

Party at Rogers Bar! ©2011 Carl Grooms

But don’t you get bored? We do hear this all the time, again mostly from those whose island holidays are a whirlwind of activities and parties. While we can appreciate that, having time to enjoy the nature that is all around us is for us, often times, significantly more rewarding. That is, after all, why we moved down

Sunset on Hog Island, Grenada

Sunset on Hog Island, Grenada ©2011 Carl Grooms

here, to enjoy the beautiful beaches and clear blue water.

So the question remains, would a life in the islands suit you? That’s the million dollar question, for sure. An honest assessment of your own personality with some real research into the realties of living in the lower latitudes might help you to make an educated guess. You’ll never really know for sure though unless you give it a shot, so if you’re so inclined, we say Go For It. There’s plenty of room and sunshine for everyone down here.

Follow Mike and Rebecca on their sailboat, “Zero to Cruising” at their blog of the same name:

Rebecca and Mike on ZTC

Rebecca and Mike on ZTC ©2011 Carl Grooms


















5 Responses to “Living vs. Vacationing in Paradise”

  1. Mike September 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Mike looking salty, or intoxicated?

    • Carl Grooms
      Carl Grooms September 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

      there is no technical difference!

  2. Team Cocktail September 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    This is a great question that I am dying to know the answer for. Someday I will find out if I’m meant to live in the islands like I suspect that I am.

  3. Tippling Tourist October 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Working on my escape plan everyday!

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