While October has indeed been proving itself to be the new September in terms of extended closing dates, extra parties and plenty of traffic, the fact remains that it is the time of year we also start having to say goodbye to island friends old and new, as they move onto different ventures, places and adventures in the winter. As the innocent Dorothy quipped in the Wizard of Oz: “People come and go so quickly around here!” Personally, I have never been able to understand why some people feel the need to get off the island (their words, not mine) just as it really comes into its own… and I am sure those very same people wonder why I don’t suffer from island cabin fever after a hectic six months.
I find it difficult to leave Ibiza even for a holiday – I mean, this is my dream destination! Why would I go anywhere else? Even when I do have time off from work, I want to spend it in Ibiza (though I do occasionally island-hop to Formentera) because it’s here that I find everything I’ve ever wanted or dreamed of in one easy 35-kilometre stretch of beautiful terrain. That’s not to say I don’t want to travel. It’s not to say I don’t travel, though when I do it is done with much consideration for the potential experiences on offer. (Note: I actually didn’t travel for a long time, such was my initial love affair with Ibiza).
When I do reach my destination I love discovering other cultures, meeting new people, buying new clothes and oh! Trying new cuisine. I must admit there are times in Ibiza when I would just KILL to go to a restaurant that wasn’t serving up Mediterranean fusion food and had some kind of hipster pulled-pork taco concoction with an intense spice rating that you could wash down with an artisanal beer or a mezcal before raving about it on Instagram. But as good old Dorothy also said: “There’s no place like home.” She was right. For me, Ibiza is home. It’s where my cats are after all. In good times and bad times, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, Ibiza and I will be together.
I have never ever been anywhere else in the world that brings me such happiness, such a feeling of contentment, that is accepting of who I am and what I believe (no matter what that may be) and that is just so damn beautiful every day of the year. It is in this spirit of accepting people for who they are and what they believe, I totally respect those who leave Ibiza in search of new experiences in the coming months. After all, the dwindling numbers of the community population in the winter months is part of what makes the off-season so special. Plus, it gives us something new to talk about when they finally return the next summer, breathing new life into old conversations, and instilling new enthusiasm for the months ahead. Just last night I said my (temporary) goodbyes to two long-term Ibiza friends.
One who lives here every summer season, and another who returns every year for a holiday. It makes me sad, but it also makes me happy knowing that we – this quirky mix of year-round islanders, seasonal workers and loyal holidaymakers – all have one important thing in common. The desire to return to Ibiza, whether it’s after one week, one month, the entire winter or even a full year. The energy pull of the island is strong, and even though we find ourselves saying tearful goodbyes to each other once a year, we know we’ll always find our way home to Ibiza and be reunited once more.
There’s a pretty well known saying here on the island that Ibiza either swallows you or it spits you out. After you’ve been here quite some time, you can start to predict those who will be ‘spat out’ after just one or two seasons. It’s usually those who don’t respect the island and her mysterious ways. Sure, you can come here with your big city attitude, your big bucks and your big ideas, but Ibiza never quite delivers what you expected. It seems to be those who come here to exploit the island, to profit from its commercialisation, to make a fast buck and then spend the off-seasons kicking back in luxury who get spat out. Adios – it was nice knowing you. But if the island swallows you, you will have the most rewarding experiences of your life. You will make the very best friends in the world. And (like it or not) you’ll eat a fair amount of sea bass baked in salt.