While we were in Roatan it felt like we were living in an alternate reality. I could see with uncanny clarity what it would be like to let our homesteading-in-Vermont adventure pass us by, exchanged for a life of ease in the Caribbean. It was like being smack dab in the middle of Robert Frost's Yellow Woods, with two roads diverging clearly ahead of us. This could be our life, we told each other almost every day. We could just stay.
I'm not even sure how Roatan came to feel so much like home—I didn't fall head-over-heels for it immediately. Sure, I loved being on a tropical vacation, but I didn't feel a deep connection to the place itself. For some reason, I kept (unfairly) comparing it to Thailand, and in that sense, it always fell short for me: the food wasn't anything to write home about, and it didn't capture my heart and imagination with colorful temples, wise old elephants, or saffron-clad monks.
And then, just as soon as I stopped comparing and started appreciating the place for what it was, I was smitten. I fell in love with our day-to-day routine on the island: working by the pool while listening to the sound of the surf, diving with Sun Divers, and hanging out after work with the fun-loving group of scuba instructors who welcomed us into their community with open arms. Before I knew it, I was envisioning myself living very comfortably on this island.
Of course, we did not succumb to the siren song of Roatan. Our current universe, complete with loving family, amazing neighbors, wonderful community, and newly-built cottage in the woods is pretty darn fantastic too. Still, leaving was a melancholy affair, and we definitely left some pieces of our hearts behind. In some not-so-far-off parallel universe, our doppelgängers are teaching scuba, enjoying rum punches at happy hour, and walking along the beach at sunset. I am so grateful we had the chance to have this experience!