If you’ve travelled to a tropical paradise you know exactly what we’re talking about. It’s likely part of the reason you travel to an Island in the first place, right? Well, for those who don’t know, and you’re considering a trip to a Caribbean Island, it’s something you should be aware of before you go.
For some it’s frustrating and unexpected, but if you embrace it, it makes for some of the best vacationing ever had.
What is Island Time?
To us, Island Time is a magical, unhurried, relaxed state of mind that instantly forces you to slow down and chill. What’s the rush? Where are we going? What time is it? Who cares! You’ve arrived in paradise, leaving behind the concrete jungle for the calmness of palm trees, white sand and turquoise water. Take a minute to breathe. Island Time erases all worries from the soul and lets you fully accept the art of ‘chillin out.’ Island Time means you’re officially in Vacation Mode.
It usually takes us a couple days to really “unplug” when we’re in Turks and Caicos. With all the excitement of finally being on vacation, planning what we’re doing this day and the next, where to eat, which beach to go to, you know, highly stressful stuff like that (wink, wink…..), it’s most likely our second full day on The Island when all those plans go out the window and we’re on Island Time. All that planning quickly turns into “lets just see where the day takes us” or “we’ll end up where we end up.” And THAT sort of scheduling makes for the best laid plans if you ask us!
The more locals and expats you meet along the way, the more you realize, this is a wonderful way of life. Everyone shares the same story of ‘life’s too short’ and ‘we need to slow down and appreciate what we have’. And you know what? We think they’re right.
While we’re happy to embrace this slower pace, we realize that some tourists might experience a little frustration when adapting to Island Time. When you’re used to being in the hustle and bustle of a big city, where information is at your fingertips, when in need of something it’s delivered in the most efficient way possible, you may take a little longer to adapt to Island Time. It’s important that you realize, this is a way of life. It’s not being lazy, it’s not being inattentive, it’s not being ignorant, it’s simply a lifestyle.
If you're out having a bite to eat and some of your groups meals come and others take a little longer, dig in and enjoy while it’s hot. The others are coming. Those still waiting will be stealing bites from your plate just as you will when their meals arrive. Look on the bright side, you get to try everyone’s meal! Take in your surroundings before getting angry and complaining to the manager. I assure you, the staff are doing their best to deliver you a fantastic meal. They've probably spent twenty minutes hearing about your adventures and offering up some ‘must see' tips to ensure you have a wonderful holiday. It’s not the end of the world if you have a to wait a little longer for your food. What’s the worse that can happen? You order another rum punch and take in a great view. Still makes for a pretty good meal if you ask us. All in all, it’s not worth ruining your night or someone else’s over. Enjoy it for what it is and chalk it up to another Island experience.
We mentioned in our Price You Pay to Drink post that everything needs to be imported to the island which means higher prices. That includes groceries. Be patient if the shop is out of stock. Be patient if your item is three times the price you’d pay at home. It’s not the check out clerks’ fault, there’s nothing they can do till the next shipment of supplies come in, nor can they control the costs. Try not to dampen someone’s day over something that’s out of their control. And why let it ruin your day either? Shake it off, move on to something else. Island shipment deliveries are sometimes on island time too.
We absolutely love the slower pace of The Islands. So much so that we even find ourselves walking slower by the time we leave.. Now in fairness, that may be from all the food we’ve eaten but we’ll blame the laid back vibe instead. We fully realize some travellers may have a harder time letting go of the fast pace they’re used to and may find it a little irritable. So, if you’re one of those travellers, just be mindful of a more relaxed lifestyle.
You’re visiting a different Country, be kind and love it for what it is. You’ll be back to your hurried life before you know it. And ironically, that’s when you’ll fully realize how great Island Time is…