We love to inspire and share stories from those who inspire us. Our recent travels have taken us through Central America and the Caribbean. In this latest installment of our travel entrepreneur series, we caught up with two reformed big city nine to fivers. We’d like to introduce to you Karyn and Chuck, the new owners of the beautiful Beach House Boutique Hotel in Roatan.
What were you doing in the United States before moving to Roatan to establish the Beach House?
Dreaming of the island life! We were living in New York and working corporate jobs. Karyn worked at a real estate private equity firm and Chuck was working at a blockchain start-up.
What spurred the change?
The chain of events is a bit random. We had a series of family and personal health things going on, which reminded us how short and uncertain life can be, no matter how much planning we might do. Around the same time, we went to Roatan to find a place to get married (after having been before and loving it) and met a couple who’d just retired and bought a business in their 60’s. When we told them that they were living our dream, the woman got serious and warned us to “do it now”, that there was no reason to wait. That same night, we headed out to dinner at our favorite place (the Beach House) and learned it was closed for the week and that it was for sale. Many negotiations and uncertainties on whether or not we could truly pull the plug and do it, we’re here!
What would you have wished you’d known before undertaking such a life change?
We’re both planners and felt like we’d thought of everything before moving and, in some ways, we did a pretty good job planning out logistics and physical things we’d need. However, we underestimated the scope of the change from an everyday life perspective. If you move to a new city in the states, you go online to find the best grocery stores and order food from Seamless/Delivery.com, etc. It takes time, but you know the steps to take. Here, you can’t Amazon Prime things overnight and googling where to buy things isn’t always easy. Luckily, everyone here is so nice in helping you figure out how to navigate your new life.
What most attracted you to Roatan?
We traveled all over the Caribbean and just loved the eclectic nature of the island – it’s diverse in topography, people and cultures, yet the people are welcoming, warm and family-oriented. The moment you arrive, you feel that you’re a part of the community.
What advice would you give someone considering making the leap to live abroad/start a business?
Do it! It’s cliche, but we’re serious. You can always go back to where you came from and what you were doing and if you don’t do it, there’s a piece of you that will likely look back and wonder “what if”. With that said, certainly be smart about the move and think about what will make you feel fulfilled. For example, we didn’t want the island life to hang out at the beach with cocktails. We happen to love both of those things, but we actually like to work as well. So for us, we wanted work that was “ours”, surrounded by a great community of people and hotel life in a place like Roatan fit that well.
What have you most enjoyed about your life in Roatan?
We live a more balanced life here and that’s so nice. We’re also really passionate about our hotel, our guests and the village we live in (West End) and it’s meaningful to us to know that we’re working to better our hotel, guest experiences and our community every day.
What things in Roatan do you recommend every traveler experience?
If you’re a diver, or even just curious about diving, it’s fantastic here. We’d also recommend touring the island to experience the diversity Roatan has to offer and see first-hand how green and lush the island is, as well as learn more about the island’s culture.
What past experiences abroad have influenced/inspired you most?
While we love the Caribbean destinations we’ve been to, some of our Africa trips – north and south – hold a special place in our heart, make us appreciate nature and have inspired us to work with organizations that work to preserve nature’s beauty, like our support for the Roatan Marine Park here in Roatan.