Monica Walton has been on my radar since she first landed on Aruba back in 2016. I was instantly drawn to her dreamy photos of One Happy Island but then I became in total awe of her when I discovered she is so much more than just a pretty face in front of the camera.
Monica is an award-winning tv producer, filmmaker, tv presenter and journalist with almost a decade of experience working in the media industry in London & internationally. True to her roots, she has worked with airlines, big resorts and travel companies such as Lonely Planet & Tripadvisor with a particular focus on the Caribbean. Whether it's playing with pigs in the Bahamas, puffing on a Cohiba in Havana or chilling with Rastas in Jamaica, if it's in the Caribbean, she's all over it.
1. What inspired you to move to the Cayman Islands?
I was offered a job as a TV reporter at the local news station here. I was working in London at the time, the idea of island life and returning the place I was born after so many years was pretty appealing, especially on long, cramped commutes to the city on the tube!
2. What were you doing for a living before you moved to the Caribbean?
I was working at a PR firm on Oxford Street. I'd just graduated from university with a degree in multimedia journalism.
3. How has your life changed since moving to an island?
I've been afforded so many opportunities I would've had to have waited years to get ( if even then ) living on an island. I've gained a portfolio of skills that I probably wouldn't have honed being back in London. When you work in smaller companies you have to wear so many hats & you learn so much. I'd probably still be working a 9-5 if I were in London now. I love the city, but I also love the freedom I have now running a business earning a better salary, travelling when I want. It truly feels like the world is my oyster!
4. Are there any things you miss from back home in the U.K ?
I miss my family terribly. My siblings are my best friends and my favourite people who I trust most & can be myself around. I try and visit a few times a year when I can. But I miss them the most. I also miss British pubs!
5. Is there a particular location on your island that you would call your "happy place"?
Little Cayman is definitely my happy place. Being in the public eye can take a toll, I like to get away and be alone sometimes where no one knows you....Little Cayman is a short flight away and it's true paradise for me. Also, my balcony at home - it overlooks the ocean & I feel pretty happy when I'm there....
6. What's your top 3 recommended hot spots in the Cayman Islands?
- Do the bioluminescence kayak tour, I feel like it's really underrated!
- Hit one of the local fish fry's ( Heritage Kitchen, GrapeTree Cafe, Eastern Star Bar)
- Spend some time on the northern part of the island, Cayman Kai on some of the remote beaches. It's less crowded & pretty special over there.
7. What has surprised you the most about moving to an island?
It's surprising how many people you meet from all over the world.
8. Tell us one fun fact about the Cayman Islands.
7 mile beach isn't actually 7 miles long...it's only 5.5 miles long..!
9. What inspired you to launch ThisIsCaymanTV and Vagabond Media Group?
I was offered to run a tv channel so I had to say yes! From there the company grew into a media / content creation agency with local & global clients and multiple streams of revenue. My brand started as 'Wandering Mon' years ago and grew from a small blog to a TV channel & to what it is today. It's crazy hard to launch & run a business from scratch, but looking back it is worth all the sacrifice. I'm proud of the journey & it's amazing to work so hard & then reap the rewards of the blood, sweat, tears!
10. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps and become a content creator?
Enjoy the process. Find a niche, as cheesy as it sounds, you have to find your passion. The reason people say this is because you have to find that determination, perseverance and motivation to keep going, keep at it, keep learning, keep trying. Your business will only last and stand the test of time if you're genuinely interested in what you're doing. Keep going through the failures and the rejection. Develop a thick skin - keep sending those emails, follow up and don't let anyone dim your light or bring you down. There will be haters, bullies, doubters, people who make fun of you, criticise, judge and question you. Find your confidence in your core & keep going, because it's worth it in the end!! Be prepared to go above & beyond at first and to not think you're above anything. Learn from people who are doing it around you. Everything is a lesson, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. Put in your dues, there are no shortcuts!
IF YOU WANT TO CREATE A DREAMY INSTA FEED LIKE MONICA, CHECK OUT HER PRESETS HERE. THE CARIBBEAN BLUES PRESET IS MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE AS IT GIVES ME ALL THE TROPICAL FEELS. I THINK NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO ADD SOME CARIBBEAN VIBES TO YOUR LIFE DON'T YOU?...
MONICA'S GUIDE TO ARUBA'S BEST BEACHES:
Glamorous, sun-soaked Aruba - there's a reason it's one of the most visited Caribbean islands and it may have something to do with its glistening shoreline. This island is steeped in powdery, white sands and hypnotizing waters that transport you to a place where worries don't exist, Piña Coladas are on tap and you feel like you're far away from it all. There's too many beautiful beaches to choose from on this gleaming Dutch Caribbean island, but we've picked just five of our favourites.
1. ARASHI BEACH
Arashi Beach is a secluded, narrow stretch of shoreline with charming tiki beach huts and alluring waters filled with marine life. A top local spot, this beach has a large parking area so you can set up camp on the warm sands and find a shady spot under one of the swaying palms.
2. PALM BEACH
A two mile stretch of never-ending turquoise, clear water and soft white sand, rated one of the best beaches in the world, once you set foot on this gorgeous shoreline you'll have to drag yourself away. With a back-drop of upscale, high-end resorts, its ideal for families looking to entertain kids or couples who just want to flop out on a lounger and bake in the sun.
3. EAGLE BEACH
The widest and most sparse beach on the island, Eagle Beach with its aquamarine waters and famous fofoti trees is one of the most popular tourist spots. With parking and picnic areas, this is a great choice for a day spent beach-bumming in Aruba. Zip around on a jetski or take a few snaps chilling on your lounger. Be careful at sunset as Loggerhead turtles tend to hatch their eggs around sunset at certain times of the year.
4. BABY BEACH
A protected natural cove with bright blue, warm shallow waters. This stunning crescent-shaped beach offers incredible snorkelling. Take a stroll out to the waters edge where you can gaze at the brightly coloured coral or strap on your snorkel and expect to see blue tangs and other Caribbean species of fish. If you're feeling lazy, grab a beach bed and a bite to eat at one of the charming beach snack shacks. You'll find the beach about a 45 minute drive from Palm Beach.
5. BOCA CATALINA
A small, secluded rugged beach that's a little off the beaten path but a sublime place to swim and snorkel away from the crowds in the Malmok Beach area. You'll find tons of fish and starfish in the gorgeous, clear Caribbean sea if you swim out a little way past the rocks.
*excerpt taken from https://www.monicawalton.com/
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