-While I was devouring a piece of sushi with one hand and sipping a glass of Chardonnay with the other, a Puerto Rican tourist man approached me at Karma Restaurant and Lounge‘s tapas bar asking:
-So, I ask everyone I meet, by curiosity, where they are from and what they do here on this island of the Caymans?
-Well, Sir, I am from Canada and came here on a work permit and waitress at a local restaurant.
-Why did you choose to come here?
-The job offer was very attractive and unique. Plus I was in need of a change, of a new experience.
-What do you go back home?
-I work in the service industry at a ski resort. I am a ski (snowboard) bum.
-Is Cayman Island your first country traveled outside of Canada?
-No. It is actually my 15th.
-Impressive! Where else did you go?
-Well, I have road tripped the American West Coast, drank tequila in Mexico, scuba dove Panama, surfed Costa Rica,camped Hawaii, vacationed Dominican Republic, toured France and London, backpacked Thailand and Laos, tramped India, trekked Nepal, visited Dalai Lama’s house in Tibet and holidayed in Sri Lanka. Now, I am here in Cayman for a 5 month work holiday.
-Wow! This is amazing! You have been everywhere!
-No Sir, I’ve only been to 15 countries. And there are about 196 countries in the world (197 with Tibet which I have at heart). So I still have a long way to go.
-You are such a lucky girl!
-No Sir. It isn’t luck. I chose this path. There are some hard times and there are the good times. Like for everyone else. I am lucky to be healthy and have amazing people around me. But the rest is all made of decisions and choices I made in life.
-Your parents must be wealthy then if you get to take time off and travel that much.
-No. I only have a mother and she tries the best she can. All my travels are the fruits of my own work. I work in the Food and Beverage industry where I can make plenty of money, have a flexible schedule and can use my skills anywhere in the world. I am using this experience to one day have a piece of my own. No, I don’t get any pension, any financial stability. There are things that I miss, but there are things that I cannot miss doing. It is the risk I take to fully fulfill my dreams of conquering the world. Perhaps conquering my own world.
-You are right… I work as a technician for a company. I only get 2 week vacation a year, so I don’t go far, that’s why I come here. I make good money and plan good retirement years. But I listen to your story and I envy your adventures. I have a wife and kids at home that I adore very much. A beautiful house and a car. But this is it. This is my life. I have small memories. Short stories. I live a routine. I work and work and work to make sure that I will be able to live my life when I am 60.
-Well Sir, having a family is a beautiful thing. And owning belongings is a comfortable feeling. Tramping the world is a scary thing and is not for everyone, I have to admit. But sometimes you have to let go and listen to your heart and do crazy things. Money shouldn’t stop your dreams. Make a bucket list and start checking it. Live your life now. Live the moment. Future will always be there, but the moment will soon be gone.
And there was a pause. A sip of his rum on the rocks. A look above. A deep breath from his lungs. And as he stood up:
-Well young lady, thank you for this beautiful conversation. If you would excuse me, I have a bucket list to conceive.
Taken at Rum Point, at the tip of the Island. Even at the end of the road, there is a bridge…