How to be an Island Gurl

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It’s the summertime and a lot of you may have on your agenda to visit one of the many beautiful Caribbean islands. I grew up there so I know what all the hype is about and can tell you that most of what you hear is true.

Beautiful blue waters, warm sand between your toes, and friendly atmospheres of islanders with a ‘Smile Mon’ attitude. Doesn’t that sound like a place you want to live and not just vacation to.

But before you quit your job and run off to the islands, here are a few tips to help you on your way to being a true island gurl……….

How to be an island gurl

How to be an Island Gurl

(Or at least, how to feel like one, if you don’t currently live on an island.)

So first of all, you may be wondering why gurl instead of girl. If you didn’t notice, you did come to island ‘gurl’ chronicles dot com after all.

But seriously, if you’ve been around any islander long enough, you’d know that our accents and dialect sometimes make words sound a little different than they are. For example, on different islands you may hear island girl as ‘island gurl’ or ‘island gyal’ or ‘island gerl’. Which leads right into Tip #1.

TIP # 1: Embrace the accent/dialect

It may take some getting used to, but if you listen close enough it’s easy to understand what most islanders are saying. From “Mawning” (Good Morning) to “Wha’ you saying” (How are you?), our accents and dialect may not be what you’re accustomed to, but in most cases, it is always a friendly gesture.

Now on some islands where they speak a completely different language, like patoise (pronounced ‘patwa’), you may have no clue how to translate. But in most cases, if you ask nicely, the locals are happy to translate.

TIP #2: Listen to Reggae, Soca, + Calypso Music

Almost everyone has heard of Bob Marley. If you don’t know who Bob Marley is or haven’t heard any of his music, Shame On You. You cannot get in an island gurl state of mind, if you have never listed to some classic reggae tunes. Reggae is the music that gives you the feel of island life.

“Don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”

~ Bob Marley and the Wailers – Three Little Birds

There is also of course soca and calypso, that you will hear a lot of around Carnival time. It has a faster tempo and puts you in the mood to dance and party. Any true island gurl, has at least one song from each category in their arsenal. Get to listening, if you haven’t started already. It just might make you get up and dance.

TIP #3: Eat Island Cuisine

Don’t be one of those tourists or island hoppers who visit a beautiful, new island and only order American food off the menu. Try something you’ve never had before, like saltfish cakes or conch salad.

There are a plethora of options of island cuisine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Try something new that will awaken your taste buds and expand your palette. Island food is life for me and you haven’t lived until you’ve tried it.

TIP #4: Have Sex on the Beach

No, not literally. Unless you want to. 

Make a fruity cocktail with an exotic name like ‘Sex on the Beach’ or ‘Bahama Mama’. Invite some friends over and have a cocktail party. Some strawberry pina colada and a group of girlfriends, will have you feeling like an island gurl yet.

TIP #5: Get used to ‘Island Time’

Let’s just say that a lot of island folks will be late to their own funeral. If you haven’t experienced the concept of island time yet, don’t fret. When you visit the islands you will experience this laid back culture where when someone tells you to meet them at 9, they just might not get there until 10.

In the islands, we are in no rush to get through the day. We take things at our own pace and sometimes that means we might not get there on time, but we will get there on ‘Island Time’.

TIP #6: Be True to the Island Gurl in You!!

Whether you get there by plane or by cruise, be sure to express your inner island gurl on your next visit to the Caribbean. If the beach is your thing, have some fun in the sun. Not into the water, but ready for some coconut rum, hit up a beach bar with a nice view. (Here is a nice spot to get good eats and drinks with a view in St. Thomas: Paradise Point.) 

Whatever your island thing is, just get out there and do it. After all, you will be on your own time and in your island gurl state of mind.

As always, be true to the island gurl in you.

Island Gurl Signature




Planning your next trip to the Caribbean? Let me know where you’re headed and share some pics in the comments. Don’t forget to hashtag (#) IslandGurl.

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