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  • Writer's pictureKim Hanlon

The Pros of Being Far From The Madding Crowd

It’s quite hard to put into words a description of what just happened to the planet overnight, literally. Spending the guts of five years on this little island had lulled me into a false sense of security, and that we were immune to the outside world. Something we’ve often joked about, visitors and residents alike.

Walking around the supermarkets is beyond surreal, most people just wandering around doing their regular shopping, encountering the odd weirdo with a shopping cart full to the brim with 108 rolls of toilet paper, 60 cloves of garlic, boxes of the weird shaped pasta that nobody outside of Italy knows why it is in existence, umpteen bags of dino chicken nuggets and as much bottled water as the cart can carry without buckling underneath them.

It feels like an impending hurricane is about to hit, but the difference is that this disaster is invisible to the naked eye. Buildings are still standing, ports are still open for supplies, stores are still fully stocked, despite the doomsday preppers attempts to buy everything out. The taps are still running, unlimited drinkable water is available to everyone. The internet and electricity companies are functioning as normal, nobody is without Netflix, or social media…..

This is both a blessing and a curse, and what we do with it is up to us. I don’t know about you guys, but I, and most people around me, have been glued to our phones and news channels over the past few days. Every 5 minutes there’s another shocking headline, more countries are going into lockdown, another celebrity has been struck down and tested positive with this b*starding virus. The shift in social media has gone from mindlessly scrolling through endless topical memes, to witnessing people having a full on Apocalyptic meltdown.

Just yesterday I was awoken to the fact that our airports will be shutting down for a few weeks starting from Sunday. This led to an islandwide dilemma amongst residents here. Do we make a mass exodus while we can, or do we stay and ride out the upcoming invisible storm for the unknown weeks ahead....

This beautiful little tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean sea has been home to so many of us for so long, how can we just pack up and leave it all behind? Should we be travelling at all? Should we go back to our families or to the countries we came from? Or, do we stick around and keep the island running as best as we can so that the island that our visitors have come to know and love, along with its economy, is still here to come back to. Just as they have always done.

Facebook statuses pinging all over the world voice the variety of opinions on the matter right now. Many of our visitors proclaiming that they’d rather be here right now than anywhere else in the world, but they don’t currently have that option. Some people are cancelling their trips, and that is to be expected with the nature of this unprecedented beast. Many, many more are simply postponing until the time comes when this nightmare is over . And we, for one, are planning to be here to welcome them with open arms, not elbows, when the dust masks have settled.

Until that time comes, we as a community have got to look after each other. There is no doubt that there is an eerie feeling outside, the world is a very strange place right now, something most of us have never experienced in our lifetimes. Thoughts are going on in our minds that have never been thought before. How do we deal with our mental health in all of this commotion? By keeping busy.

We are so lucky to have so many available amenities on this little rock of paradise . Acting like everything is normal is the only thing that will keep us sane. Respect the measures in place regarding social distancing. They are in place for a reason, and the government is doing the right thing at the right time and nipping this in the bud early, so we can get back to normal as soon as is humanly possible.

If you have recently just walked off a plane, please do the right thing and keep yourself inside and don’t waste all of the efforts put in to place by everybody else. We all want everything back to normal as soon as possible.

Go to the beach, have a dip in the ocean where this virus doesn’t swim, share a drink ( at a proper distance ) with your usual bartender, eat at your favourite restaurants that have undertaken extra precautionary measures to allow you to do so - safely, order some take-out. Get your rollerblades out, nobody is judging anyone in these crazy times.

This is also the perfect opportunity to learn something new, something you’ve never had time to do before. Be it studying a new skill online, picking up an instrument on E-cay and getting lessons, or teaching yourself how to play. Probably badly, but who knows what your hidden talent is, besides flipping your eyelids inside out. I have had a voucher to learn how to kiteboard sitting in my drawer for the longest time and have been putting it off for no particular reason, but, if possible, maybe now is the time for me to find a new long term island hobby.

We are surrounded by water, and if you haven’t learned to dive yet, now is the perfect time to. Ask any diver and they will tell you that diving is just as therapeutic as yoga, if not more so. With the added bonus of knowing there are no annoying, waterborne, life destructing viruses floating around trying to ruin your day.

Check around for local businesses social media, see what's running and what offers are to be had. We have to look after ourselves physically and perhaps even more importantly, mentally. So let's help each other out and get things back to normal as soon as possible….



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