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Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

April 2015

I can’t quite believe how fast the time has gone, but yes… by the end of April 2015 I had been living on Jinja Island for a full 12 months. My deal with Ian was that I would live here for one year and then we’d sell the island together and I would take a 1/3rd share of whatever it sold for.

But, here’s the thing: I had fallen in love with my life in Bocas. I didn’t want to leave. So I spoke to Ian and asked how he would feel about me buying out the rest of the island.

He said he’d think about it.

How could I leave Campo? Just look at that adorable little face!

Meanwhile, Jinja Island really hit its stride as a CouchSurf destination. I was inundated with requests and ended up with guests overlapping, and having to invent clever ways to squeeze everyone into the little house.

First up, I had Cortney and Cristian come and stay. They left on the boat taxi that Danielle and Oscar arrived on.

The next day, Andreas (from Belgium) and Eliana (from Argentina) arrived to make a rather full house.

Oscar and Danielle asked if they could stay a bit longer, and I thought why the hell not? At this time my main boat was at Mario’s “garage” in Tierra Oscura for repairs.

After getting a call saying it was ready, I suggested we go and retrieve it, which meant paddling across Dolphin Bay together in my little boat, the Aye Carumba. By the time we were halfway to Mario’s we were knackered. Happily, some locals picked up our boat, put in on their (bigger) boat that had an engine, an sped us the last mile or so.

On the way back from Mario’s we saw some dolphins playing in the water and dropped in to see my friends Bill and Janis.

I had no sooner said goodbye the Danielle and Oscar than Zeb came to stay. He was a mate of my other friend called Oscar, the guy who helped Casey spin the cube when we were in New York all the way back in March last year. We headed out to a party over near Red Frog Marina.

Now, navigation around the archipelago can be tricky at the best of times, but deciding to return from Red Frog in the dark was admittedly, a bit daft. But with a bit of mad skillz, GPS, and a lot of luck, we made it back to Jinja in one piece. Just! At one point Zeb was sitting up front of the boat using the light on his phone as a touch with which to see any mangroves before it was too late.

The guests were pretty non-stop this month! This was Janou & Vincent from Germany. They stayed for a couple of nights. I took them over to Bill and Janis’s to meet their parrot, Captain Jack.

Then came Yoalli (from Mexico) who I had met over at Red Frog when I was out partying with Zeb a week earlier. We met in Bocas Town and enjoyed a night on the tiles (with obligatory game of Cards Against Humanity) before heading over to Jinja.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday… and you know what Sunday means, right…? Rana Azul! On the way back from our favourite pizza place in the jungle, we ran into Martin (from South Africa) who was fishing with one of his friends in Dolphin Bay. Together they caught a MASSIVE fish… a yellowfin tuna.

“Can we cook it up for my party?” I asked.

“What party?”

“My should-I-stay-or-should-I-go party,” I replied. “Ian accepted my offer.”

The party was epic. A good time was had by all.

The following day I was invited over to Bambuda Lodge for some drinkies and made even more new friends.

I’m feeling like I should stay. Wouldn’t you?

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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