Not being a tourist

Walking home at sunset

Walking home at sunset

When I was 19, I was very lucky to get a job that had me travelling. Within the first 3 months, I had a long 3+ week trip to Scotland … which I hated. Being a nerd, being shy and being awkward all combined to me spending all my time, either on the job, or sitting in my room watching the few channels that I could on TV. It made my 3 wk trip feel like 3 months. To be fair, I never got to see Scotland on that trip, I did get to see the room in my bed and breakfast.

Apparently the boat had a monkey infestation ...

Apparently the boat had a monkey infestation …

Arriving back at the house ...

Arriving back at the house …

On my next trip, I worked hard on going to dinner on my own, going to movies on my own, and just walking around … made time go a little smoother, yet it wasn’t much fun, I would say, it was very lonely … and an experience that I didn’t really look forward to … On my third trip, I went looking for things to do … things that I would do at “home” … so I spent most of my off time hanging out in marinas and boat yards, trying to visit every one I could. It was sort of a quest for me, you had to figure out how to get there (I usually had no car, as I was too young to rent one), get back, feed yourself, etc

Since I had an interest in boats, and I was around people with boats, conversation came easy … before you knew it, I was talking to people <g>, and I was getting involved. Usually it didn’t take long to get on a boat and go sailing … once they realized you had a passion for it, the rest was easy … I explored many countries this way, met some great people, sailed some interesting boats and got to know the place I was in … at least that community, which often led to other things … this has always stuck with me. I don’t want to be a tourist, I want to be part of the community. I want to be in the experience, not just witness it.

Learning a new combo at DanceSXM

Learning a new combo at DanceSXM

Ihndhira teaching Kate ... she studied in New York and Amsterdam ... danced her way through Europe before coming home to open her studio

Ihndhira teaching Kate … she studied in New York and Amsterdam … danced her way through Europe before coming home to open her studio

Dance studios look the same ... Kate liked the wood floor ... this studio is on top of a casino :) ... which apparently is where the parents hang-out while the kids dance.

Dance studios look the same … Kate liked the wood floor … this studio is on top of a casino :) … which apparently is where the parents hang-out while the kids dance.

As a family we try to keep the same approach and motto, be part of it, not just a witness to it. Here in St. Martin, we are meeting some very nice people, some by chance and some because of shared interests.

Kate has started dancing at DanceSXM, a dance studio here on the island. We spent a couple of days trying to find the different places (there are 2), we then tried to get in contact with them, which led to getting a meeting and then some lessons … Kate is now dancing twice a week and having a great time. The company at this studio performs every week at a local restaurant, they asked Kate if she would open for them on the next show … so tomorrow, Kate is dancing on stage, at Toppers, opening for DanceSXM.

The "Equestrian School" ...

The “Equestrian School” …

Looking where she is supposed to go ...

Looking where she is supposed to go …

Jaci on Mirage, getting back on the saddle :)

Jaci on Mirage, getting back on the saddle :)

Roman explaining to Jaci that she needs to be more relaxed and not so upright ... Jaci explained later that Ms. Karen says to do the opposite :) ...

Roman explaining to Jaci that she needs to be more relaxed and not so upright … Jaci explained later that Ms. Karen says to do the opposite :)

Maybe this is how Giraffe's evolved ...

Maybe this is how Giraffe’s evolved …

Jaci rode yesterday for the first time since leaving Florida, a little nervous, but did great. There are 3 “stables” on this island, 2 that cater to tourists; focusing on offering trail rides and beach rides … and one, that is more locals taking lessons. We found each of them (took a couple of days), and met Roman; who runs the Colombier Equestrian School. We got there a little early and watched a young French girl ride. Jaci was asked to help Anita (from Italy) to get the horses ready … within minutes, through a shared love, these girls who did not share a common language where smiling and laughing and tacking their horses. I had a large smile on my face when I watched her ride, with Anita from Italy, Carlos from Santo Domingo and Roman the instructor from France … just listening, I could hear 4 different languages all inter-mixed … truly awesome. We plan on riding twice a week.

Along with common loves, we are pursuing new ones … Kate and Jaci are taking sailing lessons from Neil (from the UK, reminds us of Louise’s friend Charlie) … they are having a great time and laughing a bunch. All 4 kids are taking tennis lessons, well, Kate and Jaci are learning to hit balls, while Jack and Genna are ball runners :)

Heading to lessons in the car ...

Heading to lessons in the car …

Waiting for lessons to start at the St. Maarten Yacht Club

Waiting for lessons to start at the St. Maarten Yacht Club

Neil teaching the girls how to sink a boat ... or is it right a boat :)

Neil teaching the girls how to sink a boat … or is it right a boat :)

This island is sucking us in … we are very much enjoying all our time here … the people, the place, the experience …

6 thoughts on “Not being a tourist

  1. That’s cool Neil reminds you of Charlie 😉 He lives near us now so we see quite a lot of him. He is teaching in the school him and Tom went to. Xx

    • The more time we spend here, the more we learn about the place and the more we like it. We had someone explain to us that St. Martin was the most “civilized” of the Caribbean islands :)

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