A tidal wave of nausea and cold sweat hit me this morning, as I uttered the words “see you in September” to someone. No clue how it happened so fast, but this is going to be our last weekend in Anguilla, which means it’s officially time to panic about such things as packing, organizing pet care and not having a car in the US for our road trip – undoubtedly a rather important part of the road trip concept. But also, if this is our last weekend here, then that means it’s time to let go, which basically means I’ll be spending the weekend hyperventilating.
Yes, I know we will be back, maybe even before September, maybe just to pack, maybe to stay here for a while and strategize. But I know full well that once we leave in a few days, the island we know and have loved for 8 years won’t be here when we return. Regardless if we do or don’t find a new right place to live, Anguilla will have changed. We will have changed and this place will once again seem foreign and inconvenient, with a pretty 210 degree ocean view but so much tranquillity it’s deafening.
Anguilla has taught me so much – how to be still, how to listen, how to allow those tiny voices to bubble up, even though they don’t usually tell you anything you want to hear.
It’s here where I learned to be at peace and how to be a single parent to the four kids – sometimes even simultaneously. Turns out having nobody else to rely on (or blame) takes away all your leeway and excuses and forces you have to try harder. Or something different. Either way, it makes you try something.
Actually, Anguilla made us all try harder and it taught us how to work together as a family in order to cope with “indoor camping” and the often overwhelming inconveniences of island life. Not having stores forced us all to learn reeeeally creative problem solving, which is both a giant pain (when it happens to me) and a beautiful life skill lessons (when it happens to the kids).
Anguilla also taught us about connecting with people, to be open in ways I am not sure I know how to be in civilization. Here we learned to observe more and judge less and Anguilla has allowed the kids to find out about being a minority in the gentlest of ways possible.
This island has a way to make people feel safe and let go of layers of bullshit and defences, which usually results in people interacting in ways which are both genuine and strangely healing. And I do worry that particularly the girls will feel lost or somehow less important in the US without this, unable to understand why people don’t look them in the eye and say “good morning”.
I also worry that with all the conveniences and stuff the US has to offer, we won’t need each other the way we do here. That we’ll have to try less hard to make life work.
I worry that I don’t know how to pull off 6 weeks on the road without accidentally strangling a kid or two. And I worry I won’t hear myself think or have enough time and space to be still, while constantly moving. But I suppose all that is part of the point of this trip.
Six weeks is just enough time to be dazzled by unlimited, potable water and the opportunities of life in civilization and forget a lot about what Anguilla really is like. Six weeks is just long enough for all kinds of things to fade into the background, so that being open to something new has a chance. Something I am hoping will happen, somewhere along the road between New York and Florida.