Researching St Lucia

British culture is obsessed with homework. From a young age, we’re berated by our parents when we attempt to shirk this early childhood responsibility. We’re warned a ‘lack of homework’ is the reason why most businesses fail in infancy. We’re told to research, prepare and gather information on a prospective position and company before going to a job interview. Unlike my soon-to-be Caribbean comrades, we Brits do not seem to bode well with ‘going with the flow’. So when Pav was first offered the position in Saint Lucia, I had the immediate impulse to trawl the internet for information related to our forthcoming move. After all, neither of us have ever been there. Without wanting to make us sound crazy, Pav hasn’t even stepped foot on that side of the globe, travelling only within Europe and Asia.

I innocently Googled ‘what is it like living in St Lucia?’. This was a classic textbook error. In fact, I’d go as far as to say this mistake probably rates alongside some of my greatest travel faux pas, namely consuming tap water in Nepal by mistake and running in a sports bra in Indonesia: I learnt that the best area to stay in St Lucia is Rodney Bay because it is most suited to expats. I also learnt that the worst area to stay in St Lucia is Rodney Bay, which can be likened to an expat goldfish bubble. I learnt that road conditions are terrifying due to cowboy driving and rain ditches at the side of the road. I also learnt that road conditions are perfectly viable for drivers with some experience. I learnt that the locals are super friendly, relaxed and open. I also learnt that the locals are unwelcoming, hostile and judgemental towards westerners. I learnt that St Lucia has a fairly high murder rate per capita. I also learnt that St Lucia feels very safe and most expats and visitors do not feel threatened. I randomly learnt that falling coconuts have killed more people worldwide than shark attacks. As I will be living on a Caribbean island I realised I have the unfortunate privilege of being at the mercy of both. I learnt, not for the first time, that Google is most often my worst enemy and I need to take anything I read with a pinch of salt.

Sadly I am not known for my laid back attitude towards life. I’d like to say I worry very little but the opposite would be most accurate. After reading the plethora of opinions on various expat forums my head was spinning. I decided to shut the laptop and make a cup of tea – another British failsafe for succeeding at life. I opened my notebook and started to scribble down a list of what we needed to do before leaving. I reluctantly accepted this would involve utilising Google’s help as I do not have the required knowledge for navigating a move abroad. I asked Google to find a ‘to do list’ for organising a move overseas. I looked at exactly two websites, telling myself any more than this would be information overload. Disregarding the fact that my checklist now spans the size of four copies of A4, this exercise was surprisingly productive. It allows us to focus practically on the move. I’ve accepted that waging an internal war on the pros and cons for leaving Britain is entirely pointless. We made our decision long before Pav was offered the position that we’d be leaving. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him, offering a challenging and diverse role he can really sink his teeth into. I’m enticed by the Caribbean’s beautifully uncomplicated approach to life, keen to leave the shackles of western Capitalism behind. Thankfully my husband is my polar opposite. Resolutely pragmatic by nature he says that worrying is a pointless waste of energy, especially if the worry is fruitless to the outcome of a situation. He’s definitely on to something with that. After all, fear is a temporary state of mind, regret can last a lifetime…

 

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