typically, I try to do very little research before moving somewhere because I prefer to be ‘on the ground’ as I get familiar with my new home. coming to roatan was different because I was planning to come with a friend who wanted to know more about life on the island prior to going. so when I started researching the move to roatan, I tried to avoid the personal experiences and beauty others have shared online and instead focused on whether we would be able to work online and how we would move around the island.
my experiences living in central america have prepared me for the reliable unreliability of power and internet. I assumed roatan would be similar; my research confirmed this. so instead i looked into working on island – what sort of work there was, were work visas a requirement, etc. I’ve lived in places where work visas are no big deal and not a requirement per se, as well as places where you might face deportation and the business owner would be fined if you obtained work without a proper visa…and some places in between.
and then I came across this response to a question posed on tripadvisor about working in roatan without a work visa,
‘as you visit roatan, please consider the ethics involved in entering a poor country with high unemployment as a tourist, then working there illegally and without paying taxes…almost certainly doing a job at low wages that keeps a Honduran from employment…’ [excerpt from tripadvisor]
I had never even considered that I could have been the reason someone remained unemployed. bartending has always been the easiest fall back for employment if my online connection became unreliable while travelling. I’ve never made a lot of money when I have worked locally, nor have I ever worked for very long in a country [a few weeks to help when my online work dipped]. yet as I read this I felt a pain in my gut that I had not considered my impact.
throughout my first week on island a few people have asked whether I want to work while I’m here. and I told them all the same thing, I want to be more aware of my impact on the community I am coming into. I want to first see if there is any place for me to add value here that is not already available. I don’t want to take work from another capable person simply because I can.