Hey there! This blog post will be a bit less technical than the other 2 I have written. However, I hope the life lessons and the experiences I had while working remotely on a Caribbean Island can help others in their own journey.
Let’s start at the beginning of the journey.
About 2 years ago on the 25th of February 2020, I decided to move to a Caribbean island called Bonaire to work as a scuba diving instructor!
While I was pretty excited to start my new job over there, you might have noticed the date… and we all know what hit the entire world close to that date… indeed, Corona!
While the scuba centres and all the other companies in tourism struggled I stayed at the scuba diving centre for about 6 months. However, after those 6 months, I had 2 choices.
Leave the island and move back to the Netherlands or stay on the island and get another job.
I decided to stay on the island and switch back to my other passion which is Software Engineering! The island does not have any software-related companies so I had to search for remote workplaces. Luckily I found a fantastic company called Outlier.org. They offered a contract through the platform called Upwork.
This allowed me to stay on the island and even better, keep learning, enjoying my work and developing my skills as an engineer.
The first couple of months were fantastic and I really enjoyed my work while living on the island with great friends, blue seas and white beaches. However, after about 6 months the spark started to fade away and I could feel my energy draining with every new week.
Sure new and exciting projects would come along the way from time to time. But there was another thing that bothered me the most.
I missed working with colleagues, sharing my passion, learning, and laughing with others. I missed working in an office with like-minded people working towards the same goals.
At first, I didn’t think much of it and tried to push it away and just continue working. But making it away for 1,5 years doesn’t really work either. Trust me, it does not replenish your energy.
Sure living on an island is really cool, you meet amazing people. People that are still close friends of mine and will always be. You have beautiful weather and amazing beaches. But when you are not fully enjoying the 40 hours you are working in the week and when it actually starts to drain your energy. It does not matter where in the world you live. You need to switch things up.
Don’t get me wrong. The company I worked for had nothing to do with this. They always treated me very well, and I enjoyed working there and met some amazing people too! But the isolation from other like-minded people eventually got the best of me. Which is something I realised at a later point in time.
So after living on the island for about 2 years and working as a remote engineer for about 1,5 years I decided it was time for a change. Time to work with like-minded people again, get that spark back and excel in new learning endeavours.
I moved back to The Netherlands and got a new job. I am now employed for about 2 months and I am enjoying every minute of it! Learning new stuff practically daily, having a laugh with colleagues and just enjoying it in general.
You probably wonder:
If you did not like working alone? Why did you not look for remote workplaces and meet other people?
And the answer to that is. Yes, I did try that. But there weren’t any remote workplaces. And I did not find a single engineer on the island in the 2 years I lived there. So that was also a failed mission.
What I would like to share with you and hope you can take away from this story, is that no matter where you live in the world, if you do not enjoy the thing you are doing 40 hours a week, it will affect the rest of your life as well. Take action and switch things up if you can do so. At first, it might seem like a step back. But eventually, you will see that it is actually a step forward. Find something you love doing, and keep doing that thing in the best way possible :)