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