Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

August, 2021:

Bella Ciao, Anguilla

It is time.

Inertia is easy. Change is hard. This is very hard.

This is the longest I have called anyplace home in my entire adult life. April 18, 2001 seems like a lifetime ago and like only yesterday at the same time. Today we leave Anguilla after 20 years 109 days.

So Whaddididoallthosedays?

Everything and nothing. There were a billion frustrations. And hopefully a greater number of joys. There was even terror (yes, I am looking at you Irma and Covid.) There were lots of those beach walks that I thought would fill my every day until regular life intruded on my time and bad backs and bad knees made walking on sloping sand a tad less enjoyable. But there was always the house and the view and the weather to make it all worthwhile.

And the full moon light on the Caribbean Sea. That was heaven touching earth every single time.

At the end of the day, though, the thing that I will miss the most will not be the sand or the beach. It will be the people. I will miss the friends we made here. The kinship.

When we first moved here and people asked what it was like living on a tiny island, I always said that it was a bit like living in high school…not always in a good way. Small, clique-y. With everyone knowing you and your business. But it was also like being in school in that it was easy to make friends based on the shared experience.

The easy connection with people on island was surprising especially to a couple of generally anti-social individuals like us. But in retrospect it shouldn’t have been. When we first moved here and met multiple people who came here single and found their soulmates, I marveled. How was that even possible? On an island with a total population of, say, 12,000 back then? How many of those folks are in your target demographic? Of those, how many are single and looking for someone like you? That elimination process alone would leave you with maybe, what? 200 possible matches? If I randomly picked 200 people from JFK airport or all of Miami, what would be the odds of finding THE one in that group? And yet, it happened time and again. In fact, for one woman I met just recently, it happened TWICE.

Over the years, however, I have come to realize that the mere fact that a person comes here, to a tiny desert island in the middle of nowhere naturally selects for a certain kind of person. I would say that people who move here tend to be out-going, hard-working, risk-takers who are open to and even embrace change. If they stay, they have to possess a hefty amount of adaptability, patience and good humor. So friendships here don’t just grow out of the shared experience of being here, but they are all rooted in a lot of common, compatible personality traits.

In our days here, we have made friends, good friends, with people from all over the world and from all kinds of backgrounds who we would never have met had our lives stayed on that comfy, suburban, California cul-de-sac. Each and every one of them has contributed to the experience of living here by making it fuller, more interesting, more enjoyable and really just ‘more’ than stunning water and fine, white sand would have been. To all of them I am eternally grateful. I will miss them most.

In parting, here is a picture of the tile that Michael hand-painted and hung next to our front door those many days ago. We will leave it for the new owner, but I have amended the image here. We are so lucky.