Written by Erin Moronell
I have always heard the phrase “On Island Time”, but it wasn’t until very recently that I realized what that truly meant.
I recently took a trip to Puerto Rico with my family, and it was a dream for someone who loves the outdoors. The first day, my family went hiking in El Yunque National Forest where we climbed to the tallest point and overlooked the entire lush, green rainforest. Though the views from up top were great, the views on the way up were not to be overlooked. We passed many waterfalls and interesting looking plants, and I found myself stopping to take pictures a lot.
Later on in the trip, we went on a ziplining tour through the forest, where we were taken by two locals who showed us all the secrets of Puerto Rico along the way. They showed us plants and what happens when you touch some of them, or held up others to show how they change colors in different light. They took us to a river and found a little crab hiding under a rock for us to see, and showed us how to make paint out of wet rocks from the river.
What I found most interesting on this tour, however, were the locals. “So, is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?” I asked one of them as he helped me unclip my harness from the zipline. He shrugged. “What could be better than this? I get paid to experience this beauty everyday, and show it to others.” This was a totally different outlook on life compared to what I was used to. These people were content with very little, and would spend the rest of their lives ziplining through the rainforest and living carefree.
While in Puerto Rico, I heard the phrase “On Island Time” a lot. We would be at a restaurant and I would say, “The food is taking too long!” or, “How long is it going to take for the waiter to bring the check?” My mom would reply, “They’re on Island Time!”
I had heard the phrase before, I mean, it’s on one of our tanks! But what does it really mean to “be on island time”? Urban dictionary describes it as, “The time vacuum created by the ocean's presence. Everything moves nice and slow. This carefree aura even has the ability to travel with islanders and can engulf you in their presence.”
I realized that everything does move much slower when you’re on an island. The heat of the sun and the calming presence of the ocean just makes people want to relax!
In the US, everything moves at the speed of now. With more technology than ever before, people want things when they want it and how they want it. I found myself caught up in this attitude and found myself easily annoyed with the slow service in the Puerto Rican restaurants.
After heavily analyzing the concept of “Island Time”, I took a step back and tried to change the way I thought about these things. What’s the rush for the bill? I’m on vacation and I have nowhere else to be.
This is a mentality that I have decided to take back with me to the states. Not everything needs to move at the speed of now, and there’s no need to constantly be in such a hurry. It’s way less stressful to just live carefree.