What is the hardest part about living on Guam?
Jojo: Living on Guam is actually amazing. Everything I love is nearby and. It’s an island paradise and so I have a beach bag ready in the trunk of my car for spontaneous beach trips because it’s only 10 minutes away. But if there had to be a hard part, it would be Guam’s accessibility through air travel. We’re an island 210 square miles big, literally located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so accessibility is a little bit more difficult compared to, let’s say, flying to Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan. So it costs a little more to fly in and out of Guam. Is it worth it? Definitely. That’s what makes Guam paradise– nature is abundant, food is fresh, everyday is a perfect to spend outdoors, and the people are amazing because we’re all about that island hospitality. “Don’t be a stranger!” everyone says.
What do you miss most about the US?
Jojo: Trader Joe’s, Amazon Prime, and accessible travel to Europe, Mexico, and Canada.
What is the biggest misconception about Guam?
Jojo: It’s not an island with fishing villages. It’s not as rural as you think.
What is the one thing you wish people knew about Guam?
Jojo: I wish they actually knew Guam. When I tell people I live in Guam, the first thing they say is, “Guam? Where is that? I’ve never heard of Guam.”
What stereotypes have you encountered about the US, while living in Guam?
Jojo: From what I’ve encountered, people think the US is filled with highways and traffic because of how far everything is. Guam is a small island so it doesn’t take long to get to where we want to go. Another stereotype they think is that the US is mostly white people and is not diverse. And for some people, their only experience of people from the US is based on their interactions with military (we have a strong military presence here) and how loud & pushy they can be which is another stereotype in itself.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned while living in Guam?
Jojo: One thing I was able to let go of immediately is to relax and take things slow. I used to live in San Francisco and it felt like a rat race, (which has its pros and cons) and in Guam, the pace is much slower but that means I get to choose my pace every single day. I can choose to hustle hard on a Friday and take it easy on a Monday. Unlike living in San Francisco, I don’t feel the need join the rat race because everyone else is doing it. And because I learned that, I don’t feel the need to take things slow because I live in Guam too.
How has this experience changed your perspective on the world?
Jojo: It’s definitely made me much more open-minded and empathetic towards others. And it’s also grown my trust towards humanity. Plus, the limits of where I can live around the world have been pushed even further. I think more people should live in a country completely different from their own, leave their comfort zone, and stretch themselves. And also to experience meeting someone of a different culture and find out that you’re both the same.