Thoughts of a Caribbean Small Island Millennial
A brief glance at the pros and cons of living on a small island and what I learned.
Imagine sitting on a beautiful beach, one serene and tranquil in all its qualities. It’s guarding a secret- the power of being able to extract your innermost thoughts, pull them away in its gentle lace and send them far beyond your reach.
It is here, this very place that I choose to reflect on my experiences of life growing up here. I ponder on the realities and the what-ifs, on the good and the bad.
So here, I give you a little insight on what it’s like, from my perspective, a born and bred Local.
There is no greater place than where the sky meets the sea and connects to the beautiful sun-kissed shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea- at least to me there isn’t!
Living on a small island may seem like all Pineapples, Mangoes and Sunshine (the good stuff), but truth be told, like any other corner of the globe, there are pros and cons to living here. There are things that remind you to be grateful for where you are and yet there are things that nudge you towards the edge of frustration.
The Pineapples, Mangoes, and Sunshine
The landscape and seascape of the chain of islands in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles are speechlessly beautiful. We boast the lushest green hiking trails, warm and inviting people (most times) and a closeness to the community.
Here are some of the things I absolutely adore.
The beach is a stone’s throw away
Of course, this had to be the first on the list of pros!
The beaches are literally a walk or inconsequential car ride away. This has to be my favourite thing about living here. It’s the perfect place to sit and think, to observe the multifaceted display of life, colour and energy.
The best time of day is early in the morning, just after sunrise, when the air is still crisp and fresh and unpolluted by music, vehicle fumes and the whiffs of non-medicinal, barely illegal, Marijuana smoke.
It’s also the time of day to find the older folks benefiting from a “sea soak” to ease their arthritic pain and head colds. The propitious interaction among them warmer than the rising sun. It reminds me that at any age, your mindset and the willingness to enjoy your life’s advantages is what keeps the soul young- Not the measured time spent on Earth.
A true appreciation for the abundance of natural food
Whether it’s the red plums in April or the Sorrel in December, the year-round bananas and the Mangoes of May, the island is abundant with fresh produce. I dare to declare it an atrocity to habitually consume drinks marked “artificial flavours” in a place like this
For a couple of years in my childhood, I lived on the northern, leeward side of the island where I have forever etched memories in my mind of cheekily wandering off alone and exploring my Great Grandmother’s land and sampling every Mango tree, Plum Tree and Orange Tree along the path.
The vast array of fresh food is a luxury I will never take for granted, especially for the health benefits in a place where the health care system is sub-par.
You can probably say that this experience built and nurtured the need for me to have solitude, the all-important time to recharge my batteries and dwell with my thoughts. May it’s the introvert in me.
Where do I even begin with this one?
The experiences here are quite unique. Filled with raw, inexpensive fun.
Not many people can say they’ve hiked a 4000ft active volcano, made it down into the crater (well almost- story for another day), bathe under 60-foot waterfalls and swam in some of the most beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The ease of hopping on a EC$ 25 (US$ 9) ferry to the Grenadine Island of Bequia when in need of a “little getaway” is a privilege many locals get to enjoy.
The Sandflies, Mosquitoes and Hurricanes
Something happens when you’re in one place for too long. The imperfections begin to seep through and you begin to realise that you need new experiences- you need change. After a few years, that desire for change becomes the only thing you can think about. And it’s up to you to determine how you’re going to respond to those emotions.
I’m going to be honest here and tell you the things that peeve me on occasion. After all, I’m human and life surely is not only made up of roses and rainbow and sunshine. It rains- even in paradise.
- The lack of attention to the access of adequate medical facilities
- Everybody knows everybody- Trust me at times, this can be a bad thing
- Small-town mentality is a real thing
- The job market leaves much to be desired
- Banking and online services are outside the modern era making it difficult for online creators in this neck of the woods
The list to some may seem like first-world problems, but to a millennial trying to find her place in the wider world, they can bring a layer of discouragement.
As with any of the 195 countries in the world, there are bound to be some upsides and downsides of each. The beauty of this globe we occupy is that it’s so diverse- multifarious in cultures and experiences.
What matters is the mindset we acquire and maintain through it all.
Over the recent years, I’ve been learning not only to appreciate whatever circumstances I face at any given moment but to cherish them. That includes the good, the bad and the ugly. The good, well, it’s good! The bad- I believe there is always an opportunity there to learn.
What truly matters in any given scenario is how we pick ourselves up and carry ourselves out of the situations we view as less than stellar. What matters is what we do to develop ourselves in the process.
Although you may be nettled by some of the unfolding realities of your own territories, never allow them to stifle your ambition. There is always a way out. You may have to work 10 times harder than the average person to get over the hurdles, but with enough determination, your success is inevitable.
In the meantime, be grateful for what you have, while you work your ass off for what you really want.
Let’s go forth and be great.