A Completely Different Island Vibe
Megan and her husband were rooting for an overseas assignment from the start.
“We were trying to go anywhere outside the continental United States, and Guam was our first chance to do that”, she said. The couple was stationed in Groton, and despite not knowing much about Guam other than the general location, they jumped on the opportunity. “I knew that it was a territory and that the primary language was English. I assumed it was going to be Hawaii on a smaller scale,” she said. “But, that was not accurate”. Megan explained a “completely different island vibe” on Guam - one that reflects a melting pot of Asian culture mixed with Spanish influence. “There’s also fewer people here than Hawaii, so you don’t have the traffic nightmares,” she continued. According to Megan, the cost of living is fairly comparable to Hawaii, but “it’s more untouched and there’s more opportunity to enjoy the island without competing with tourism”.
Like many families, the couple faced numerous challenges during their PCS. However, instead of letting the challenges negatively affect their view of Guam, the couple took a different approach.
“This move was a bit of a mess, but it didn’t affect my impression of the island” she said. “It’s not the island’s fault that the people who packed us up were bad and it’s not the island’s fault that we couldn’t ship our vehicle properly”. With that attitude, the couple quickly let go of any PCS-related frustrations and jumped into their new adventure on Guam.
“My husband and I are pretty outdoorsy,” she said. “Every weekend we try a new hike or go to a new beach or both”. Megan also regularly takes advantage of Space-A travel. “I flew Space-A six times last year,” usually to take a breather in Hawaii. Megan described a fairly straightforward process that includes obtaining the proper command paperwork and signatures, signing up and waiting for a flight. “All my experiences have been positive and I prefer to fly that way now. You do have to be patient,” she cautioned, “But you really can’t compete with “free””.
However, despite enjoying the outdoors and travel opportunities, Megan had a hard time finding employment on island. “I had a career in finance, but I couldn’t get my foot in the door here,” she explained. But, instead of letting the employment struggle bring her down, she maintained her positive attitude, “I look at it as an extended vacation I get to enjoy,” she said. “When we move, it’s back to reality.”
After more than two years on island, Megan advised the Sailors and families who will serve here in the future to ignore the gossip surrounding life in Guam. “We heard so many negative things from people who had pulled into Guam for a week and didn’t experience the island, people who had been to Guam 20 years ago and hadn’t seen how much it has grown, or even people who had never been to Guam!” she said. “They’re just perpetuating the rumors, and we realized it needed to go in one ear and out the other. Don’t listen to the negativity”, she advised.
She also advised personnel to embrace the culture on Guam and in neighboring countries by utilizing Space-A travel. “Part of enjoying a station is not only making the best of where you’re at, but being culturally aware of other areas too,” she said.
Megan and her husband live off base, which has allowed them to integrate and engage with the local community seamlessly. The couple has even been invited to a family’s fiesta “two minutes after meeting them”, she said.
Megan doesn’t hide the challenges she and her husband faced during their PCS or even throughout their time on island. She does, however choose how she will respond to those challenges – with an open mind, positivity and a good attitude. “Just treat it as an adventure and bloom where you’re planted,” she said.