We are quickly approaching our 8th month on Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. We have loved its warm and azure Caribbean waters ever since we got here last summer. Unless you’re new here you know I’ve managed to do quite a bit in those 8 months: earned my divemaster, instructor, master scuba diver trainer, and now IDC staff instructor certifications as well as my emergency first response instructor and 8 specialty instructor ratings. Tigger has done so incredibly well it has been amazing to watch. He has completely weaned off all medicines for his anxiety issues and his sensory processing challenges have lightened up quite a bit as well. He is smarter, way more independent, and travel and life here has drastically honed his critical thinking skills. I have immersed myself deeply into the scuba life and remain firmly addicted to diving. Tigger is as well and has practically 30 dives logged now. When we recently celebrated his 4th Gotcha Day (the anniversary of when he moved in with me), his first request was to do a night dive. That is my child for sure.
There have been some challenges as well. Life is never without opportunities for us to learn and grow. And lately I’ve been afforded another chance to learn. We left the States partly to get away from the corporate 9-5 existence. I wanted to be able to raise my child myself and not have most of his care done by the school and daycare staff. Diving instruction is a demanding career. During the busier season a 12-hour day is more the rule than the exception. I have been extremely fortunate to find employment with a dive center that allows Tigger to come spend time with me there, play in the water off the dock, and go diving with me when I’m not busy teaching. But lately I’ve had to reexamine things.
The wanderlust kicked in a few months ago, but I held it off while trying to rebuild my bank account some. The concern that we’re just falling into the same life we left behind in the States has not shrank, however. He isn’t in day care, and he has phenomenal independence, the type of independence very few places in the world could provide him, but we have precious little time to spend together during the day. By nighttime I’m too exhausted to do much other than relax at home. I have wrestled with the battle between the heart and logic for the last few months. We had chatted a couple of months ago and decided that if I had to work like crazy for a few months but that meant we could save up enough money to be able to travel on a looser budget, or not have to work as much on the road, then it would be worth it. The busy season here just isn’t that type of season. At least not so far. So the question has continued to nag me: How can I keep the dream alive here?
Yes, getting paid to go diving 2-4 times a day is tremendously wonderful. There is no doubt about that, but ultimately are we really living the dream that spurred me to leave a very comfortable job, a comfortable home, friends, community, etc., to become a permanent nomad with my child? Or has the dream started to gather dust and get shoved into another corner of a different kind of closet?
While our life here definitely has more quality, it isn’t the level that I wanted for my son. I refuse to allow my dream to gather dust. And because of that it is time to leave Utila. I’ve been going back and forth about this for at least a few months, but it finally just felt right now. Once I made the decision, I had instant peace. Even though there are things and people here we will miss a lot, at the same time I am very excited to go to a new place and explore, as is Tigger. We’ll be leaving in mid-March and are looking at flying to Colombia with a plan to be in Peru for the winter solstice at Machu Picchu.