Here’s some things that are ‘wrong’ with this area. It is way too hot in the sun. The primary activity for several hours during mid-day is to find shade, preferably with a breeze. There is no soft sand — it’s all bits of coral, not something you would want to dig your toes into. Pretty much everything except fish is brought in by boat. Supplies are very limited, and expensive. It struck me as funny today when we decided to stop into a store, after a walk in the heat, to splurge on an expensive ice cream bar. “Sorry, no ice cream until the boat comes tomorrow.”
And yet, many think this is paradise. I’ve been thinking about what makes it so, and sitting in the cockpit in the cool breeze at the end of the day, watching a beautiful sunset, I came up with a one answer. Here you live outdoors. You feel that you are a part of the natural world, rather than apart from the natural world. You can swim in cool refreshing water that is clear enough to see the fish all around. You can sit outside with little or no clothing and enjoy the warmth and the breeze. There are no insects interfering with this enjoyment. It might rain, but it will stop in ten minutes, and you’ll be dry again in another ten.
I don’t think I could live here long. The sun erodes your will to do things, it seems to me. It becomes too easy to sit and do nothing. I would likely lose the satisfaction that I find in doing my projects (like circumnavigating, for example). Not much happens here; not much changes. I would never tire of the weather, but I would not like to be so far from friends and family. And a supermarket with a steady supply of cookies and ice cream (yes, and fresh vegetables, too).
So if I can’t live here, is there some other paradise for me? Or some aspects of this paradise that I could find or make at home? It’s challenging to spend time outside in Maine. The mosquitoes and other insects immediately come to mind, and the cold for much of the year. Would it be significantly different further south in the USA? Should I be focusing on building a screened deck with a heated floor and a hot tub and a view…? Would that be my paradise…?
5 thoughts on “Where is Paradise?”
Very nice piece. I fully intend to live vicariously through the medium of your work. I’m excited! I’ve only just dropped in so I hope you’ll be sailing for a while yet.
It’s the people, not the place…
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How about Abaco, Bahamas? The Loyalists from South Carolina who moved in around 1775 have made a good living there custom boat building, with a little smuggling on the side. The beach sand is just right, the bugs are rare, the temp is in the 80’s most of the year with occasional winter lows in the 50’s. Miami is a day’s motoring or sail away if you can’t find what you need locally. My only experience has been Man-O-War Key for 10 days, but it sure looked like Paradise to me.
I FEEL EVERYBODY HAS THEIR OWN IDEA OF WHAT PARADISE MEANS TO THEM, , I FEEL ITS NOT SO MUCH WHERE I AM BUT A STATE OF MIND:) COOKIS & ICECREAM ARE A BONUS!
such a great inquiry and has led to insightful comments. i’ve been asking this question too for a few years. after tiring of ‘winter’ i skipped out of Colorado the past 3 winters seeking ‘paradise’ – or at least for that 6 months of the year. i thought it might be Thailand but after this winter, I’m feeling it’s too far also from family and my ‘tribe’ (to concur with Amy on how the people are a big part of it). But on an unexpected trip to Maui on the way back to Mainland USA, i fell in love. Maui has beaches – with perfect sand, water temps and a variety of different ones – and it has mountains, which is also essential for my particular paradise. There are cooler temps up country and boats galore. There are spiritually minded people, community theatre and a great cultural arts center. i didn’t get to see the sea turtles this time (i have snorkeled with them in the past) but they are magical beings. there are orange trees, avocado trees, banana trees – all food i love just sitting outside. Amazing! i agree that living as close to the outdoor world is a key part of what paradise is for me… skipping of course the mosquitos! I’m working on a plan now to get back there this coming winter and figure out more details to make it possible to have a winter home there. it’s just about listening to your inner voice and following it. it may be the ‘right thing’ or it may be a learning moment on the way to the right thing. but if you stay home, you’ll never know! Glad you’ve ventured out and happy sailing Zeke!
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