Having grown up on an island, I never thought anything more of it than that. The United Kingdom is an island but compared to Reunion, it doesn’t feel as intimate. When I first arrived in Reunion I had thought I would arrive on a sand runway and be able to walk around the island in a matter of hours. How wrong was I!
The novelty of living on a small island has not worn off, even two years after moving here. I love the fact that I can drive around the island in a few hours, or I go to the cinema in St Paul and have to drive half way around the island to get there. It feels very surreal. To drive around England would take a day or so, so there really is no comparison.
I was on Instagram a few months ago, and I suddenly came across a post about “islomania.” This is a word I had never used before. Islomania is an obsessional enthusiasm for islands. I immediately thought, this is me. I love reading about small islands and wonder what it’s like to live on such a small island. Since living in Reunion, I have been to Rodrigues and the Seychelles, islands, which are even smaller than Reunion. For some people, they hate the fact that the islands are so small and that besides the beach and the landscape there isn’t really much else to do. But for me, this is fascinating. I love the idea of seeing open ocean and nothing else and knowing that for thousands of miles there is nothing. For others this is their worst nightmare.
I now want to explore other smaller islands and atolls around the globe to see what life is like and how different cultures survive on such small areas of land. Although I have been to many islands, they have all been reasonably developed in terms of electricity and running water. I would love to experience islands where this infrastructure isn’t in place and see the challenges you face with this. Maybe in this situation, I would hate living on such a small island…
So I guess Reunion Island has made me “suffer” from islomania, or did I always have this enthusiasm for islands?
sand – sable
runway – piste
a matter of hours – quelques heures
to wear off – se dissiper
landscape – paysage