Travels with V
Many people are fascinated by islands. Books have been written about this phenomenon. I myself used to live on an island for many years, V on the other hand has always lived on the mainland. But when we look back on our years travelling together it’s striking how often we have ventured to islands.
NORTHERN ZANZIBAR WITH THE ISLAND OF MNEMBA
Sri Lanka, Cuba, Galapagos, Sardinia, Zanzibar and Pemba. Indonesia, a country made up of thousands of islands. Islands of Belize and Mexico. The Greek island of Ikaria. There’s a special attraction to islands, they’re like small worlds, but still, if they’re not to big, possible to encompass. And people on islands often have a special mentality.
Take for example Ikaria, a relatively unknown and remote island in the Aegean sea. Its isolation both geographically and politically has produced a sturdy and stubborn population that will always help a neighbour. Their attitude towards guests is friendly and straight, not smirking or submissive, just simple and open.
Islands also make their own versions of traditions and culture. On Ikaria it’s the Panigiria, the nightly village fiestas, on the Indonesian islands it’s various religious manifestations, different for different beliefs. On Cuba it’s of course the music and dance. And so on.
On large islands you will discover variations. On Cuba the nature and mentality clearly differs between the west, the middle and the east. On the neighboring Belize islands of Caye Caulker and San Pedro the moods are very different, Caye Caulker is so laid-back it’s almost too much, on San Pedro it’s much more buttoned up.
Sri Lanka, that beautiful island, is like a much simpler and calmer version of it’s big chaotic neighbor India. And the Turkish “Prince” island of Buyukada is a pastoral relief when the buzzing giant city of Islanbul gets on your nerves.
But you don’t need to travel around the world to find “exotic” islands, one of our most enjoyable island stays was on Livø, a Danish “inland” island in Limfjorden, the fjord that cuts right through the Danish mainland of Jutland. The island is a nature reserve with famous eco-farming but also a secret summer resort. Many years ago it was a kind of asylum for “mentally disabled” people. Their old homes are now rooms for rent. The atmosphere on Livø is really magic.
Islands are sometimes like your kids, you realize that they have different personalities. And this is reflected not least in how their inhabitants appreciate tourism. We always prefer the ones where people stick to their own peculiarity and welcome us to join them on their terms, not ours.