Have you ever wondered how it is to live and work next to the ocean? An elusive thought indeed; a few of us have the privilege to do just that! Me included!
My name is Ankita, and this is my experience living my life while working, in what the world considers a “touristy” place!
The Cayman Islands give you an experience of a lifetime, like you are living literally on Mother Nature’s lap. It’s vibrance offers very varied, breathtaking views every sunrise and sunset! The ocean waves in shades of blue, depending on the position of the sun and the clouds! Nothing passé about this place!
Balancing work and life
When one thinks of The Cayman Islands, their first thought always wanders to “vacation”. What you may not realize is how many opportunities exist to build a meaningful career, on this island. It may be only 22kms long, but for the spunky adventure-lovers, for the self-starters, and for those looking that elusive work-life balance, this island offers several options! Additional perk: you may even chance upon a cruise on your way to work, or on your way back home!
I am an IT employee, and as you’d expect, majority of my work involves sitting in front of a desktop. Not very appealing, right? But once my work is taken care of, I have the time to indulge in my passions, and continue to learn and grow myself as an individual. Over the weekends, you can usually find me snorkeling, diving or kite surfing! Several gymnasiums are open around the clock, and this gives me the opportunity to stretch my legs after a day at my desk. In addition, many wellness events happen on a daily basis like Yoga and Pilates. Information about these events is usually shared via Facebook groups. In short, if you are fitness or an adventure enthusiast , you can find your nirvana on this island.
But it isn’t just about having fun. The work I do offers my mind an equal amount of stimulation! Working in technology comes with its own set of challenges. Each day is different, sometimes requiring immense focus, sometimes calling on my problem-solving capabilities. No matter how the day pans out, my colleagues and I always find time to unwind together.
My personal belief is that if you have focus and perseverance, every problem you solve and each product you build will transcend you to another level of knowledge and expertise.
At work, PeerIslands follows a customer-first approach; this process helps me focus on my customer’s ultimate requirement, and then drill down to the nitty-grittys. I’ve realized that this way of working helps improve my domain knowledge, and also opens my eyes to the impact my work has on PeerIslans’ and my customer’s businesses.
It is convenient to own a car if you plan to stay here for a while. During my initial days, I rented a car. The process of obtaining a rental was relatively easy; it only needing my driving license (issued by my home country). Obtaining a Caymanian license is also fairly easy, as long as you clear the written test. The island follows Left Hand Traffic (LHT), but you can choose from vehicles that have steering on your preferred side! This is to make it easy for tourists, since they usually come from countries that have Right Hand Traffic (RHT). Most cars are imported, and can be bought via private dealers and online sites. The process is pretty easy and I was able to buy my car in 15 days.
If you are not looking to either rent or own your personal transport, then the well-linked public transport makes your getting-around, easy. Public vans run the whole stretch (East to West) until late evening.
Giving back to society
There are opportunities for a variety of volunteering activities! Like teaching Robotics to kids, for one. First, it is fun. Second, it rewires your brain when you work with millennials! I was privileged to be an active participant in an 18-week program conducted by Tech Cayman, for exceptionally intelligent children! A group of tutors – of which I was part – guided these children, prepping them for the VEX Robotics Competitions.
Starting April 2020, I will be working with Code Cayman, a not-for-profit organization, on an eight-week program called Women Code. Through this program, we are looking to equip 15-20 women with coding skills, that will help them gain their foot hold in the field of IT. This organization runs several other programs such as Men Code, We Code and so on, where we explain the latest technology trends.
To help me get my doggie fill – I am a dog person! -I frequent the Cayman Islands Humane Society. They run various programs like Beach training for Dogs, which, believe me, is a good workout! The organization takes good care of shelter dogs, and gives you an opportunity to tap into your fondness for these four-legged friends, and build your bond with them.
Let’s talk about FOOD!
I’ll be honest here; I was bit apprehensive of food when I first arrived. Being a vegetarian, my options are somewhat restricted. However, to my pleasant surprise, I found that this place offers a plethora of options for vegans and vegetarians! You can find international cuisines, as easily as you would find local cuisine. Through my time here, I have found a few restaurants that serve delicious Indian food! Various food festivals like Taste of Cayman, Street Food Festivals and so on, are organized quite often to delight and appease your taste buds!
I shop groceries while heading back home, from large, well-stocked supermarkets. They have everything you could possibly think of. Most stores and shopping complexes – except a few – remain closed on Sundays. That’s the one thing to take into consideration, while planning your weekly shopping/ groceries.
Annual Events and tourists attractions
November is known for its famous Pirates Week, in The Grand Cayman. Men and women of all ages dress up in pirate costumes, and participate in a mock takeover, where they conquer the island! Over 25 events take place during this week with spectacular fireworks dazzling the skies, followed by the music and dance on the streets. Other annual events include New Year fireworks and the Batabano Carnival.
This place has it all, for the wanderlust in you. This is the unbeaten path you are looking to explore.
Life in The Cayman Islands isn’t just about having fun, nor is it just about working. It is a unique opportunity to find that perfect balance between the two, on your terms. I’m fortunate to be able to do just that, and live my life.
I invite you to visit my personal blog that I update with my experiences in The Grand Cayman!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the waves are beckoning!