As different as can be...
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
It's just two days until we hit the ground on Roatan for a week long visit. I can't wait!
I've never thought of myself, or us, as "live in two places" people and it wasn't our plan, but it is where we find ourselves. And it ain't bad. Pretty great, actually, now that we are used to the fact that this is us for the next year or two.
It's a little stressful, keeping up with both, depending on help in Port Royal while we aren't there and leaving our dogs here in Charlotte when we are. Our hearts are in two places, and that's ok. We love both completely, it's just a process of getting used to for the interim until we live down there full time.
The two places couldn't be more different. Our home in Charlotte is located about a mile outside the Uptown urban core in a neighborhood known as "NoDa". It's the arts, entertainment and dining district of Charlotte. We have a light rail line running through that heads into Uptown or out to the University area. It's paralleled by a heavy rail line - trains chug by throughout the day, trumpeting their way through at every crossing, including a trestle / bridge just 100 yards behind our house.
Within easy walking distance in NoDa we have music venues, all sorts of restaurants, shopping and coffee shops, a grocery store. We own a business, a spot called the NoDa Company Store - a beer and wine bar, or really more of a neighborhood hang out, with local brews (our neighborhood itself has 8 breweries), wine by the glass or bottle, homemade sangria and a rotating list of food trucks. Plus patio space that can hold up to a couple hundred people.
Our home in Roatan is located between a National Park and a marine reserve. No one in front of us, no one behind. You can't see any other homes from ours and there are only about a dozen of them in the approximate 1-mile stretch of Port Royal.
We can only get there by boat. The closest full grocery store is about 35 minutes away (if the road is fully open) once we tie in with the boat and hop in the car. Nothing is in walking distance other than a hike behind us up the mountain and into the National Park. You can't hear any trains, there aren't any on the island, and the only motors you hear are from the occasional boat passing by.
In Charlotte our home sits on an urban lot, about 0.1 acre. In Roatan we have just over 3 acres.
In one world we have hustle and bustle. Neighbors all around, everything at our fingertips. In the other solitude, privacy, quiet. We barely see the stars in Charlotte, the manmade light of city is too bright. In Roatan we feel canopied under them. Feeling their presence is unavoidable, you feel like part of the sky. Seeing the vastness of space, the enormity of the moon and it's cratered surface, the shooting stars that cross the sky over and over throughout the night. We watch a TV most nights in Charlotte, we turn our view upward, staring at the celestial light show in Roatan.
We wake with the sun in both places, we don't have an alarm clock. In Charlotte we get up around an hour or two after it begins to rise, in Roatan as soon as it does, typically around 5am. It's hard to sleep much later, we tend to fall asleep there around 9 or 10 since the sun goes down around 6pm. Plus the rising sun on the island comes through the open French doors in our bedroom and it's so beautiful it draws us out to watch almost every morning.
We really do love both places. For now each serves its own purpose. While we know Charlotte as well as a person could know any place, we are learning the island more and more with each visit. We have and endless stream of good friends in Charlotte, we are making them in Roatan. We have our favorite restaurants, parks and places in one and we are learning our way around and discovering new food in the other. We consider ourselves very very fortunate. We don't take any of this for granted.
As we head down this time I look forward to whatever is ahead. We have a few plans, we'll stay most of the time in Port Royal at our home, enjoying the solitude, plus a couple nights "in town" dining, exploring and enjoying the other end of the island. We'll rise with the sun, swim in the ocean, dine on seafood that is as fresh as it can come. Then we'll ready ourselves to head back to see our pups, friends and jump back to work to make sure we can bounce back and forth as much as possible.