Growing up on the outskirts of a busy city, surrounded by the beautiful English countryside, I had a great upbringing. I had the best of both worlds, from a bustling town filled with shops, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and some great schools in the area, to the calm of the lush green Yorkshire Dales with stunning landscapes of river valleys and hills.
My parents used to take us on day trips all over the place. We went on country walks, had picnics in the park, visited farms, explored medieval ruins, had summers on the Southern coast and spent days by the good old English seasides.
Life was great for my brother and I growing up, however, for Gavin and my little one we have chosen a different environment to raise a child. Living in the city in this day and age is very different to how it was back then. With all the new technology, young children are glued to their mobile phones and computers. They read social media every day and the general lack of outdoor activities nowadays, makes me happy we have chosen a different route to go down. There is so much pressure on which new phone to have, what designer clothes they must wear to impress their friends and so much time spent taking the perfect ‘selfie’ to post online, they have no time to enjoy their childhood and really spend time exploring the amazing world around them.
Even though I will miss Léna growing up with my friends’ babies and having coffee mornings and playgroups, I feel she will get more out of life growing up on our little island (at least for the first couple of years until we are ready to sail the world). As the climate is amazing year round, she will get her natural dosage of Vitamin D rather than having to take supplements most young children require at home. Daily activities will include swimming, walking and being on and under the ocean enjoying the nature around her. Due to the lack of clothing stores, toy shops and having to enjoy indoor activities (because of the weather!) she will hopefully learn to appreciate the little things in life and enjoy her life experiences more than material items.
I’m really looking forward to watching our little girl growing up outdoors and enjoying taking in the environment around her.
Life runs at a much slower pace on the islands and there are definitely a lack of activities compared to living on the mainland, however these are the things we get to enjoy living in the Caribbean.
Days at the beach – On Tortola we have some of the most scenic and untouched beaches in the Caribbean. From the lively Cane Garden Bay, where you will find bars and restaurants, meet friends and locals and have a great opportunity to sit and people watch all day, or Josiahs Bay where you will find amazing waves to surf and body board, to the deserted beaches such as Little Bay where you can have a perfect picnic or BBQ and enjoy the snorkelling all to yourself or with a group of friends.
Exploring the National Park – Sage Mountain has 12 different trails you can walk and hike. Taking the North route you can take in the breathtaking views of Sandy Cay, Jost Van Dyke and the Tobagoes whilst climbing over large boulders and old growth forest. You can take the central trail through the ‘rainforest’ or climb to the highest point in the BVI and take in the panoramic views of Tortola, all the while exploring the flora and fauna of the park.
Fun at the pool – Many locals love a pool day where you can grab a drink and a bite to eat at the bar, bask in the sunshine and play with your kids in the water.
Hiking the islands – There are many hikes around the islands most of which lead to the top of the hillsides and give the most spectacular views. It’s tough work, especially if you decide to go in the heat, but it’s definitely worth the climb.
Baby Yoga – Léna and I have recently started baby yoga on a Friday morning. The amazing Abby Young teaches at the beautiful Frangipani studio on Tortola. The adults try and get a little bit of peace and relaxation whilst the babies crawl around the studio playing with toys and joining their mummys for a little yoga action themselves. It’s great interaction for the kids and nice gentle exercise to ease the stress of the parents.
Playgroup – Every Tuesday morning at the ‘Save the Seed’ center, Killi Killi have organised a playgroup for babies and toddlers. It’s a great 2 hour session where children and parents alike get to interact with others, have tea and biscuits and have a good chat about island life.
Days at sea – Living on an island always has its perks of being able to go out for a day here and there on the sea. We are lucky enough to have a small boat of our own which we can travel on to some of the nearer islands, and there’s always a friend who has a boat we can all enjoy a nice day out on from time to time. Whether it be a day to another island to spend time on another beach, visit a different restaurant or go for a hike, it’s always nice to breathe in some fresh sea air.
Raising a child can be difficult without the support of your family around you, especially when Gavin goes out for a week at a time on charter, and it’s sad that we don’t get to see them as much as we could if we were living in our home countries. However, when they come to visit it’s the best, and the grandparents get to spend a great deal of time with their grandchild and spoil her rotten, whilst I get a well deserved break!
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