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Clappy hour

The last time I wrote a blog, our island and country (in addition to much of the world) was teetering on the brink of a lockdown. Will they, won’t they? Is it real, or is it overreaction? Like many people out there, I took it kind of seriously a few days before the isolation period was due to begin – I bought an extra packet of loo roll (just one!), a couple of extra jars of pasta sauce and packets of pasta, plus stocked up on a few weeks’ worth of kitty litter and cat food… just in case. It wasn’t exactly panic buying, and you use all that stuff anyway eventually. That was my way of thinking. That same day, I wrote a blog about spending the last night of potential ‘freedom’ with my friends… but I honestly don’t think I had any idea about the real ramifications about what was to come. The very next day, Spain – which was the third highest country affected by the Coronavirus at the time – declared a state of emergency and put the entire nation into lockdown, excluding any essential services. I’m sure you’re now all too familiar with what these are, so I don’t need to list them for you. Since then, I’ve been confined to my home with my beloved cats, which anyone who knows me will tell sounds like my dream come true, but it just goes to show you should be careful what you wish for. Because wanting something, and being told you HAVE to do something, are two very different things.. As I type, I’ve been home for 21 days straight, aside from two trips to the store and one visit to the pharmacy. And I read in the local newspaper (online obvs) today that the Spanish government are deliberating on extending our lockdown for another 15 days. Does that bother me? Es lo que hay. It is what it is.

I started writing ‘quarantine diaries’ on the first day, thinking that when we got out of lockdown in two weeks it may be a funny way of reflecting on the experience, after it was over. You know, deep and meaningful thoughts like: ‘will I ever wear a bra again’ or ‘do I need to ration my mascara for FaceTime calls now?’ and ‘what happens when you binge drink a week’s worth of wine in two days?’. After we were told the lockdown would be extended for another 15 days, this gave way to some more existential thoughts that I won’t bore you with (surely we’ve all thought the same by now) and by about Day 17 (which I later found out was only Day 16!), I gave up. The situation no longer felt amusing. It didn’t seem like something appropriate to blog about. Blogs in the time of Corona… as catchy as the headline sounded, it just didn’t feel right make light of the lockdown – no matter how many memes I’d LOLed at on Instagram privately. Why then, you might be wondering, have I experienced an about face and decided to write a blog today, on (what I think might be) Day 22? Well, I’m glad I pretended you asked. Because after three weeks of reading about doom and gloom, of feeling the stress and strains of the pressure of working on an island that relies purely on tourism, and from riding on an emotional rollercoaster, I realised that writing blogs simply makes me happy. And while I’m certainly not qualified to report on COVID-19 stats, or comment on the current state of political affairs, what I can do is offer some real life, human commentary from Ibiza. And right now, amongst all this sadness, suffering, sickness and stress, there are still things happening on this island that make me happy. I figured, if they make me happy, maybe they’ll make someone else out there too. Perhaps that’s an ethos that stems from my love of the book Pollyanna as a child… As usual, I digress.

The first thing I wanted to write about is what I like to call ‘clappy hour’. You may have seen it on the news or on Instagram already – at 8pm every night, everyone in every town and village on the island comes out onto their balconies, terraces or stands at their front doors to applaud our heroic healthcare workers. At the same time, police cars and ambulances do laps of the local hospitals with their sirens on, and all the boats in the port blast their horns. Someone is even projecting a giant ‘gracias’ light show onto the walls of Dalt Vila. I like to think that this nightly standing ovation also extends to the police, supermarket workers, public transport operators, garbage disposal people and more – to everyone who is contributing to keeping our island functioning. It started during the first week of lockdown, and has become a nightly ritual… even when it was pouring rain a few days ago, everyone in my square still popped their heads (and hands!) outside to keep it going. What is so beautiful about this experience is that after more than a decade of living in this neighbourhood, I have finally met all of my neighbours. I’m not going to lie – the first night I joined in was a little emotional for me. I felt so shy as everyone was shouting rapid-fire Spanish to one another across the square after the clapping stopped, and I saw that everyone else in our plaza was part of a couple or a family. It seemed I was the only person who was alone (as a human, I mean, my cats are of course the best company). Afterwards, I ran inside and burst into tears, but I wasn’t crying because I felt lonely – far from it. I was crying because it made me feel so connected, and that the kindness of strangers who I had been living in such close proximity too for so many years was almost overwhelming. Each and every person had straight away asked my name, asked if I was doing OK, told me to let them know if I needed anything.

Over the last week, more and more elderly people have started to come out on their terraces, and I realise they must also be living alone. I wonder if they had also felt too shy to come outside in the early days of clappy hour, and I wish I could invite them over for a cup of tea or glass of wine and get to know them better. But instead, we all clap and wave from a safe distance, asking the same questions – are you ok, can we get you anything – along with chit chat about the state of the island, and making funny faces at babies, dogs and cats. I hope when this is over that we can actually connect in person. This week, two of my vecinas have had birthdays, and on both days, when the regular clapping and commotion was over, someone brought their Bluetooth speaker outside and blasted ‘cumpleaños feliz’ (the Spanish version of ‘happy birthday’) over the square and we all sang along (I mumbled the middle bit – it’s different to the English version and I never quite learned the words!). Once again I got totes emosh and cried (in a good way) when I went inside. It was a really moving experience. It may not be as glamorous as Italians singing opera to one another across their plazas, but to me, clappy hour is a reminder that (most) human beings are inherently good. It also makes me ensure my hair is brushed and I don’t stay in my pyjamas all day (well… most days anyway)!  From where we are, in the elevated plaza of the old town, we can hear the echoes of clapping all over Ibiza town and even coming across the port from the Marina – we see and connect with our immediate community, but we all know we are part of something much bigger. It’s a small gesture of gratitude, considering what those on the frontline are going through, but at the same time, it seems to be igniting the face-to-face human connection our society had so desperately been missing.

As I go inside after clappy hour every night, I’m always reminded of a song that Aussie crooner Barry Crocker sang for the legendary 80s TV show that launched the career of my favourite ever pop star (you know who!): Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend. Neighbours should be there for one another. That’s when good neighbours become good friends. Maybe one day I’ll get my Bluetooth speaker out there and play that for them too. Who knows – when this is all over, maybe we can even binge watch it together (with Spanish subtitles, of course). NB: Photos not taken during happy hour because you know, I’m too busy clapping!

Where everybody knows your name

‘Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got; taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name… and they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same – you want to be where everybody knows your name.’ So said one of the greatest television theme songs of all time (and if you’re not already singing along in your heads – Millennials I’m talking to you here – please Google ‘Cheers’ immediately) and in these uncertain times, I’m sure many of us are feeling this way. We don’t know what’s going to happen in a week, in a month, or beyond that into the future, but one thing I do know right now is that tomorrow night there’s a place in Ibiza that’s going to be ready to welcome islanders to take a break from all their worries: the island’s very favourite drinking den of iniquity, Paradise Lost – aka, the place where everybody knows our names (seriously – see the photo below as proof).

Paradise Lost was very quickly adopted by islanders in the know as THE place to drop in, hang out and get lost (and yes, get into trouble while they were at it) from the very first day it opened in May 2016. Since then, it’s kept us all entertained and watered with the finest quality cocktails, drinks and banter all year round, aside from an annual short sojourn so the team can take a very well-deserved break at the end of the season like most island residents do, and then another in February, to give their hardcore winter customer base a chance to dry out and detox before the real season begins. Tomorrow night, that’s all about to change as the Paradise posse – aka Captain Jim and V-Dawg – officially reopen the bar for retox, rambling and refreshments, served up (if you’re one of the lucky ones like me!) in your very own pewter tankard. Yes! That’s my name (well, my pen name) up there on the wall, keeping company with some of the most awesome people in Ibiza if I do say so myself. And in case you were wondering (and even if you weren’t), Jim and Vanessa do indeed know my real name though they’ll never tell you – you’d have to be a pretty good spy to hang around the bar, wait for me to arrive and spot me unlocking the tankard from its place of safekeeping to work out who I am, dear readers. Having a Paradise Lost tankard is like a badge of honour on this island – they’re rewarded to loyal patrons and friends of Paradise, and if you take a look around at all the plaques around the top of the bar, you’ll probably recognise quite a lot of the names. I’m always chuffed to see mine hanging there proudly at the top right corner opposite the bar and I keep my precious tiny padlock key on my keyring at all times, because you just never know when you might ‘accidentally’ find yourself in the neighbourhood (conveniently for me, it’s also a five-minute walk from my home).

For many of us who live in Ibiza all year round, having our very own version of Cheers is so important. It’s like a port in the storm of summer, when everywhere else is super busy and packed with holidaymakers – it’s a place where you can walk in alone and know you’ll find friends, and quite possibly make some new ones. It’s a place where you don’t need to look at the menu because Jim and Vanessa already know what you’re going to order (mine’s a Rosita Mala and a tequila shot) and started mixing it the moment you walk in the door. And then in winter, when so many other venues up and close for the off-season, when seasonal workers fly the coop for warmer climes, and when there’s not always a whole lot to do but you just don’t want to order takeout and watch Netflix again, it’s like a cosy oasis in the back streets of the boarded-up gypsy quarter of the old town – a place where you can catch up with those same friends and not lose touch with what’s going on around the island. It’s a place that still retains the essence of ‘old’ Ibiza – where billionaires are sitting next to bus drivers, where who you are and what you do doesn’t matter, where you feel truly at home away from home and always walk away feeling like part of the family. It sounds like a cliché, or something I’ve been paid to write (it’s not!), but I promise you from the bottom of my heart and swear on my cat’s life, this is the truth. Whether you’re looking for a place to find new friends, a place to catch up with old ones, a place to celebrate an occasion, even a place to commiserate something, or just a place to hide from the outside world, (I can attest I have done all of the above here), Paradise Lost provides the perfect platform.

It’s been quite scary and eye-opening watching the news unfold over the last few weeks, and especially the last few days, as so many of us (and when I say us, I mean we who live in Ibiza) have been travelling, have close friends who are quarantined in other countries or are affected by the global lockdowns in some way, or are already feeling the angst and unease of what could happen to the island and our businesses if the spread of the virus affects the tourist season as we know it. Now, that’s definitely a conversation, or a blog, for another day, or a certain local group on Facebook if you really want to get involved, but the way I see it is, if ever we’ve needed our port in the storm, now is the time and Paradise Lost is the place. There are already plenty of people on the island who are already self-isolating or keeping themselves at a two-metre distance from other people in public. I don’t want to make light of the situation in any way and respect those who’ve chosen to make decisions or take precautions like this. But I, for one, want to be surrounded by my friends, as we take a break from all our worries by getting into some trouble of our own. As I type, there’s no indication that Ibiza will go into lockdown, or that we are at any major risk of contagion, but as we’ve witnessed in other countries, that can change overnight. We’d be fools to ignore that it’s a possibility. Alternatively, life could just go on as usual (albeit with a whole lot of extra hand washing and toilet paper purchasing) – there’s just no way of knowing. If you’re brave enough to come and get in close quarters with me and the rest of my fellow tankard holders, I’ll see you tomorrow night at Paradise Lost. Who knows, by the end of the night I might even tell you my real name. Come as you are, come dressed in full hazmat suits, come wearing rubber gloves and a face mask, or just come packing extra hand sanitiser – no matter how you choose to turn up, our troubles are all the same. Cheers! Bad iPhone photography by myself and blondewearingblack – just another day in Paradise!

Visit the White Ibiza bars guide to read more about Paradise Lost
Ibiza goes on tour

Ibiza people are a special breed. And when I say ‘Ibiza people’, I mean those who’ve adopted the island as their homeland, those who were born and bred here, and those who live elsewhere but have a love for the island that is so profound, they visit as often as they possibly can. They’re the people who feel Ibiza running through their veins; who feel its undeniable energy the second they step off a plane; and who cannot live without being a part of the culture here. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a fairly high chance you probably identify as an Ibiza person yourself.

Some refer to us as a tribe, others call us family and we’re also a bit of a cultural phenomenon in my humble opinion. Where else in the world do so many people from other countries and cultures flock together, and bond so strongly, based purely on the love of a destination and its lifestyle – in this case, a little island in the Mediterranean – despite their differing backgrounds, varying interests, wide range of ages and unique personalities? New York City springs to mind as somewhere that perhaps has a similar vibe – it’s a place that makes you or breaks you, just like our own little island has a reputation for swallowing you or spitting you out – but the population is just so much larger, forming an intimate community like we have here isn’t an option. There are lots of micro-communities in NYC of course, but New Yorkers can’t possibly get to know everyone on their island. You get my drift, right?

So what do you get when you take a huge group of Ibiza people and plonk them on the other side of the planet together? Without Ibiza as a common ground, do our bonds remain as strong? Are we really as close and open minded and (even if it is a little self indulgent as we think) as special as we think? I got the chance to find out last week, as I joined a large group of Ibiza people from over ten countries (plus some who were born and bred islanders) in a place where 99% of the population have not even heard of Ibiza (a fact which blew my mind, but more on that later). We all took planes, trains and automobiles over 8,344 kilometres to India, to celebrate our dear friends Mr S and now Mrs SS’s wedding. Some of us travelled in convoy, some trekked alone, some tacked it onto a huge trip, some breezed in and breezed out for the wedding alone and others made a vacation of it – but we all did whatever we could to be there for our Ibiza girl and her groom (who is obviously now also an Ibiza person!). You may remember a few months ago I wrote about organising a hen party for the former Miss S (that’s our girl!) aboard the good ship Saga – turns out that feeling of togetherness was just a mere taster of the main event that was to come. Once again, I won’t spill the details of the event or share photos because A. I would not be able to fit all of the amazingness that we experienced over the course of those few days into a single blog (it’s much more like a novel!); B. privacy laws and all that; and finally C. I have vowed to respect the time-honoured tradition of ‘what goes on tour stays on tour’.

India and Ibiza couldn’t be more opposite in so many ways, yet both share a certain sense of openness, warmth, hospitality and harmony, and we were welcomed like family not only by the bride’s actual family, but by every single person we met, from strangers on a plane (if only I could share some stories about our adopted Daddy India – but WGOTSOT), and drivers (I’d love to tell you about the king of tailgating, Mr B, but WGOTSOT) to tailors (if only you could see all the incredible custom-made Indian outfits we all wore! But WGOTSOT) and safari drivers (I’m holding back from telling you about the time our jeep was charged by a mama elephant protecting her bubba – WGOTSOT) plus legendary Bollywood DJs (oh, I wish I could tell you about some of the b2b action from the final night, but WGOTSOT). I’m the first to admit that being in a country like India with a group of people (Ibiza people!) such as ourselves made me incredibly aware of my own privilege, and that of everyone around me, but it was also beautiful to see our friends all be humbled by the experience too. You never know what kind of a travel companion someone will make until you physically go on tour with them – a bit like a housemate in that sense – and our team totally nailed it. Being able to spend quality one on one time with friends of friends, or with people you may only see a few times of year in social situations, or actually getting to party somewhere new with your friends who are too busy working all summer to go out in Ibiza, and getting to really know people you’ve only ever worked with before – it was all so special.

As I type all of this, I am very aware it sounds a little cliché. Because to many of our readers, this is probably the exact same feeling YOU experience when you travel to Ibiza. You gather a collective of your Ibiza-loving buddies, you organise a villa, boat trips, club nights, beach club days, amazing meals in restaurants – I know the drill. You meet other Ibiza lovers when you’re here on the island and they become part of your future Ibiza crew too, then you all make memories together and have life-changing experiences. I guess I never really had that experience before – I just came to Ibiza with just one friend (shout out to Miss G for getting me here) and never left (it seems to have turned into a voluntary lifetime tour of duty!) and so my trip to India with our gang really drove home that feeling of camaraderie, friendship, and more so than ever before, family. What I learned over this past week is that while we all love Ibiza, and Ibiza was the place that brought us all together, the island doesn’t define us. Our collective connection to this island will never waver, but our connections to each other have become much more personal (WGOTSOT) and much stronger. For someone like me – who makes a huge fuss about not ever wanting to leave Ibiza – it was an eye-opening and cliché as it may sound, totally life changing experience (but don’t worry dear readers – I’m not going anywhere else any time soon – the season is almost upon us!). What I will take with me to my grave is this: You can take the people out of Ibiza, but you can’t take Ibiza out of the people. And I’ll leave it at that because what goes on tour stays on tour! Congrats (and THANK YOU!) to Mr & Mrs SS and happy honeymoon! See you back in Ibiza for the after party, obvs…

The obligatory V-Day love waffle

Doesn’t time just fly when we’re having fun here in Ibiza? Another year has flown by and Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. Love Day, V.Day, Saint Val’s Day, Singles Awareness Day, Singles Appreciation Day, The Hallmark Holiday – whatever you call it (personally I have always thought of it as my mother’s birthday!), the day is approaching when couples all over the world feel compelled (or perhaps pressured) into publicly displaying their love for one another, through flowers, gifts, dinners, trips, proposals – you know the drill. And so, today, like many other bloggers around the world, I find myself in the position of needing to write some obligatory V-Day waffle… Mmmm, waffles.

Have I ever told you how much I love waffles? They weren’t really a breakfast staple where I grew up, so when I first travelled to the USA, I became a HUGE fan of waffles, especially when they were part of a high-end hotel’s breakfast buffet. You could say it was love at first bite (sorry!). That crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside batter, those perfectly shaped hollow squares just waiting to soak up gloops of silky sweet maple syrup (interestingly, another condiment I had never tried in my home country – thank you good ole US of A for that one too!). Sure, you can put some strawberries on top to make them look beautiful, maybe a dollop of cream or some powdered sugar, but waffles in their most basic form are indeed a beautiful thing.

Perhaps a heart-shaped waffle would make the ideal Valentine’s Day breakfast? In the absence of The Giri Café (whose wonderful waffles are pictured above, but don’t open until March, I wonder if I put a special request in to my dear friend Lana Love (I mean really – LOVE is in her name, how can she say no?), the creator of Ibiza’s legendary Passion Cafes, for a heart shaped brunch waffle, if she could have her chefs whip it up for me? Now that – that would be love. After all, people can show love to those who aren’t their significant other. In fact, we do it all the time – it’s just not given a name or a special date to celebrate it on. Whether it’s kindness to another human being, showing compassion when someone else needs it, paying attention to how your friends are REALLY feeling (not just how they appear on social media), taking a homeless pooch for a walk, helping someone out when they need it – in my humble opinion, these things also fall under the love umbrella.

So today, as V-Day approaches, I think we should all focus more on the everyday kinds of love that takes place in our lives. Not the kind that involves dating, or diamond rings, or decadent dinners, or even a partner. But the kind that happens just while life is passing you by. It could be the love you feel when you get out of your car and realise you park in one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sites every day (OK, maybe that’s just me and a handful of others, but I’m trying to paint a picture here). Or the love you feel when a stray cat lets you stop and stroke it (is that one just me too?). Maybe’s it’s the love you feel when you take that first bite of Vegemite toast in the morning (you can replace it with Marmite if you’re one of THOSE people) and feel like you are eating a slice of heaven.

I feel love all around me in Ibiza, no matter where I might be. Sometimes it’s in the local SPAR (supermarket) when the lovely ladies always greet me with ‘hola nena’ or ‘hola cariño’ (basically babe and darling, but not in a condescending way); other times it’s how certain bartenders in certain bars (you know who you are!) always fill your wine glass up when you’re not looking, but never charge you for another glass. It can be the way the lady who waxes my eyebrow apologises SO profusely and sweetly for making my face red (it’s not her fault, I asked for it, paid for it, and I just have sensitive skin, which she knows after ten years but continues to apologise for) every time she shapes them. It might be how my corner shop owner always asks how my cats are, because he’s my go-to-guy for kitty litter.

I feel it when I listen to my friend Miss S’s 12-minute WhatsApp voice messages (I call them her podcasts) because she KNOWS I don’t like talking on the phone, but she likes to talk, so she invented the perfect compromise. LOVE! I feel it in nature too. I feel absolutely filled with love when I see the almond blossoms in full bloom (now people! Get out there!), and I feel almost overflowing with love every time I see the blazing sunset skies over Dalt Vila. Music too, fills me with love and it could be anything from a random Bon Jovi song from the 80s coming on the Rock FM airwaves, to streaming Taylor Swift’s Lover on repeat for six hours, to singing along with Disney songs while watching movies (I generally alternate between The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast and Frozen) to getting lost in the plinky plonky dreamy soundscapes of Ricardo Villalobos on Instastories (watch this space for a full report on that in the future). My love for music knows no bounds (well, except Michael Jackson – was never a fan) and so as long as there’s music on, I’m feeling love.

That cheesy Wet Wet Wet song (that you now won’t be able to get out of your head after reading this) really had it right: Love is all around us. We don’t NEED Valentine’s Day, Love Day, V.Day, Saint Val’s Day, Singles Awareness Day, Singles Appreciation Day or The Hallmark Holiday to know this. We just have to be a little more aware in our day to day lives to FEEL it. We don’t need to hold onto this overblown idea of finding an epic, all-consuming love. Perhaps, all the little tiny daily doses of love we receive add up to be more than enough love to last more than a lifetime anyway. So to wrap up my love waffle for 2020, I’d just like to send everyone who has read this far lots and lots of love, today, tomorrow and beyond…

Procrastinating what I preach

When it comes to Ibiza, I am, I suppose, what newspapers, magazines and travel agents refer to as a destination expert. I live and breathe (and constantly write about) this island, and if you want to know what to do, where to go, who to see or what to buy on any given day – and I mean 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – I’m your girl. I love planning an Ibiza itinerary for friends – of all ages, with kids, on romantic holidays, party holidays, the lot. I can give you the lowdown on what you might need to book well in advance, where it’s ok to just walk-in, what you should pay for and what you can hold out for guest list for, and sometimes, even when somewhere popular is booked out, I can probably still help you get in. Not that I’m bragging or anything. But when it comes to organising a holiday anywhere else… I am THE WORST!

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I’m not a big fan of travelling. Leaving the island is hard for me – like, it hurts my heart to get on that plane, not to mention creates all kinds of inner emotional turmoil for me. But that’s another story. And one that makes me feel good about my own carbon footprint, if nothing else! Today’s story – well, the one on my mind anyway – is about the process of travel planning. Clearly, some people excel at it (literally, like Excel spreadsheets detailing every minute of every day of their travel plans – yes, I am looking at you Mrs B), thriving on getting to know their destination prior to arrival – reading all the books, from the Lonely Planets to the historical books and the novels alike. And then, there are people like me, who leave absolutely everything to the last minute, ignorantly arrive at their destination with very little idea of local custom (in my teensy tiny defence, I always do learn how to say please and thank you on the plane), and hope to god (or Buddha or Garuda or Ganesh or Itzamna) that someone else knows the way to all the good stuff.

I wasn’t always like this. I remember when I was planning my first ever trip to Ibiza… I was all over the internet, every minute of every day (and for this I apologise to my former employees). I had ALL the books, I knew all the myths and legends, I had a list of must-visit places, should-visit places, probably-visit places, and places to visit if there was any time left on the itinerary. I knew all about the climate. I knew how the public transport system (or lack thereof) functions, I knew how to get myself on a guest list, I knew who was who in the clubbing hierarchy. I guess you could say that even back then, well before I’d even stepped foot on island soil, I was almost a destination expert. So what has changed?

Is it that Ibiza just takes up so much space in my brain – not a bad thing, by the way – that there’s no room for any other destinations? Is it that the thought of leaving the island (even for a FUN holiday and celebration with friends) terrifies me so much that I just try to block the fact there ARE other cool places in the world out of my mind? Or have I just become 100% useless at organising holiday plans? I often blame my intense procrastination on getting my travel plans in order on the intensity of my work. I do often work up to 12 hours a day… but I’m also able to manage sneaking in a few episodes of Gwyneth’s goop lab on Netflix at the end of the day (don’t judge me) so, err, am I really using my own time wisely?

Take today for example. I got up early – like, really really early – so I could do all things necessary to get my visa and book my flights to go to my friend Ms SS’s wedding next month (the date is scarily close). I washed my hair, I put on make-up, I played around with Photobooth trying to find my best angle for the visa picture, then I decided that the lighting wasn’t flattering enough so I would need to go to a photo lab to have proper passport style portraits taken. I started to search for the flights – I KNOW exactly which flights I want to take already – and then I started to wonder about the connecting flights to BCN and whether I had the resident’s travel certificate that allows us 75% of the cost of flights to the mainland or other islands, and then realised it was expired so I had to go to the town hall for another one.

By that time, I needed to get to work and so both tasks have again been relegated to tonight. On top of that, I know I need to go to the doctor (do I need vaccinations? Or don’t I need vaccinations? Also, I need some sleep-friendly meds for the flights, antibiotics just in case, and so on, and so all – but when I try to make an appointment via the clinic website, it says my password isn’t valid, when I ask to resent password nothing happens, I figure, the hospital is just a ten-minute walk from my house so I’ll go sort it out in person… later. But later, after I’ve finished work, the hospital is closed for the day. This is the kind of way my brain works – it just does not have the capacity for prioritising travel. And so, I end up being penalised. The cost of flights go up. Or the flights sell out. I find out there’s a three-week wait for tickets to the theatre shows I want to see. I kick myself every time I travel for being this way, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

While I do find my whole lack of planning very frustrating and stressful as the days nearing my vacation approach, I have to admit – the adrenalin of leaving it all to the last minute and letting it throw my life into disarray is kind of thrilling. And that getting on a plane, with little to no clue about what you’re about to arrive to is also intriguing. Sometimes it’s awesome – you learn so much, meet so many cool people, and discover so many new facts that you feel childlike again. Other times… it’s a disaster. You can’t speak the language, you don’t know your Ubers from your Lyfts or a Grab and a taxi, you visit monuments at the worst possible time of day for crowds and visibility, you pack the wrong wardrobe for the climate or customs, and you’re a sucker for someone looking to rip off a dumb tourist. But at this stage of the holiday planning game, I’m going to take my chances yet again.

Fortunately, in this case, I have some VERY organised friends on the ground who are like my guardian travel angels (the trio of Mrs S, Miss S and Ms SS), and who I am most grateful for. But when I’m planning my return route back to Ibiza, you can rest assured I have every step of the way meticulously handled. I choose connecting flights at a certain time of day to get the best light and views from the plane windows. I know which window seats to choose so I can watch the wing dip over Dalt Vila and take a classic Insta-snap as we fly high over Es Vedra. I know how to navigate that luggage carousel like a master, and am one of the first people (touch wood) out of the arrivals hall and into a taxi, having already added (or removed, depending on the season) layers to my outfit to acclimatise to the temps. And obviously I’m a know-all who always tells the taxi driver what the fastest route to my house is. I usually know exactly what I’m going to have for lunch/dinner (after reuniting with my cats of course) and calculate the exact right amount of time between my homecoming and my first work meeting so as not to have jet lag. So why, oh why, can I not do this the other way round? Answers on a postcard please…

My advice, as a self-declared Ibiza destination expert, is if you’re like me, DON’T WAIT to plan your Ibiza 2020 holiday. Because summer will be here sooner than you think! If I were you, I’d hit up our villas and concierge team so they can do all the hard work for you and you don’t miss out on a thing…
Forget Ibiza (for today) – Australia needs our help

Over the holiday break, the entire world has been inundated with heart breaking images of the devastation caused by the bushfires that are raging wildly out of control in Australia. Today, we woke up to news that rain has finally started to fall across the country, bringing some relief to fire fighters and those in the direct danger zones – but this doesn’t mean we can afford to look away. Now, you may be wondering why – in a blog completely dedicated to Ibiza – we are reporting about news from the other side of the world. The answer is simple: White Ibiza is a brand that was founded by Australians, is run by Australians and employs Australians on the island. We love our adopted home of Ibiza, but right now, our motherland desperately needs our help.

So with that in mind, I ask you to please, forget about Ibiza (if only just for today) and turn your attention down under… For once in my life, I am (almost) without words to describe the deep loss and gut-wrenching sadness I feel when looking, from afar, at what’s happening to my home country. There isn’t much I can tell you that hasn’t been said by people far more knowledgeable, more eloquent and indeed closer to the tragedy than I am. Most of us are aware of the truly horrific statistics, but if you aren’t, here’s a quick recap: over 18.6 million hectares burned, 28 lives lost (three volunteer firefighters and 25 civilians), 2,683 homes decimated (among 5900 buildings destroyed) and an estimated ONE BILLION animals killed – and these numbers are sadly growing by the day. It’s quite hard to fathom – the numbers of animals, insects and birds killed is almost beyond comprehension. But it’s a cold hard fact. Scientists are saying the fires will cause the extinction of many species unique to Australia – it’s not just the cute beady-eyed koalas who are getting all the news coverage that are at risk. Photo: Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

If you’re not from Australia, or haven’t travelled around the country beyond its major cities, you may not be able to grasp the vastness of it all – to put things in perspective for Europeans, the fires have completely decimated land mass that is almost equivalent to the size of England or Ireland; that exceeds the size of Paris; that would go from Andorra, Lleida, Girona and Tarragona on the outskirts of Barcelona, cross the entire city and jump the sea to reach Ibiza and Mallorca. You can see more on the map here. When I look at it, I can’t help but think of a poem about Australia we were forced to learn in school when I was a kid: My Country by Dorothea MacKellar and wonder if our landscape is going to have changed so much after the fires so that the poem won’t mean anything to future generations.

Mackellar wrote of her love of our ‘sunburnt country; a land of sweeping plains; of ragged mountain ranges; of droughts and flooding rains.’ She continues on to speak of ‘her beauty and her terror’ understanding all too well how Australia – for all its glory – can indeed inflict hardship on its inhabitants; but she also spoke of regeneration: ‘For fire and flood and famine; she pays us back threefold.’ All Australian expats (of a certain poetry learning age) around the world right now are hoping she was right, and are probably feeling the way MacKellar did when she wrote the poem’s final verse: ‘An opal-hearted country, a wilful lavish land. All you have not loved her; you will not understand. Though earth holds many splendours; wherever I may die; I know to what brown country; my homing thoughts will fly.’

And there, wouldn’t you know it, I’m crying again just from recalling something that as a child, to be really honest, I thought was boring! Never has it felt more apt. I have never ever felt so simultaneously far from home and yet connected to my roots. What is happening in Australia has shaken us to the core; it’s irrevocably changed not only our landscape and environment, but who we are as a nation. Indeed, it’s brought a country together – watching the heroic deeds performed by normal, everyday human beings (from our brave ‘firies’ and invaluable animal rescuers to volunteers and more) via satellite makes me far more proud to be Australian than I have ever felt before.

You may have seen in the newspapers that the government in Australia is currently being slammed for many reasons – from neglecting its duty to perform the back burns that could have helped prevent some of these fires; for its lack of climate change policy, and its poor contributions to the relief efforts. True, all of it (again, better journalists than me have reported on this – I urge you to seek them out), but I believe that now is not the time to get into politics. We can’t go back in time to prevent any of this from happening, but we can act to help those affected and those who need help now. Now is the time to help, in any way you can. If, like me, you feel helpless on the other side of the world (every inch of my being wants to go back to Australia and become a volunteer in an animal shelter right now), there are many ways you can act. Donate – anything is better than nothing. Can you sew or knit? Make joey pouches, crochet birds’ nests. The effects of this apocalyptic few months are going to last a lifetime, so the sooner we pitch in the better.

Now here’s the part where I am asking – no, I am IMPLORING you – to take ten or so minutes out of your day and do something to make a difference. Whether you donate 10€, 100€ or 100,000€ or more (I’m thinking of you here, my dear friend Chris Hemsworth for your million dollar contribution), it is ALL needed. I think it’s important that YOU decide where your money goes, so below is a selection of charity links I recommend you choose from, but of course, feel free to do your research and donate to whatever organisation you like – just check it’s verified.

If (like me) you want your donation to go directly to helping animals (those poor little creatures who cannot possibly help themselves) – from veterinary services and medical supplies to delivering food supplies (did everyone see it ‘rain carrots’ for the wallabies?) and helping to restore the natural habitats, these charities can help: WIRES Wildlife Rescue (NSW) WWF Australia Wildlife Victoria Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary If you’re watching the heroic efforts of the firies and are recognising how limited their resources are, donate directly to the state fire services below.  Maybe you have a soft spot or friends and family in a particular state. Maybe you want to split your donation across the country. The choice is yours. NSW Rural Fire Service SA Country Fire Service QLD Fire & Rescue VIC Country Fire Authority WA Bushfire Service TAS Fire Service (ask for donations through the local Red Cross) If your heart goes out to the people in the communities who have lost everything, the Red Cross and Salvation Army and the First Nations Community Relief Fund are the places to send your donations. Red Cross First Nations Communities Fire Relief Fund Salvation Army And finally, if you’re the type to be influenced by your favourite celebrities (no judgement, I promise!), then these two are by far and away the most reliable sources to send your hard-earned cash too. And I just want to say: Celeste Barber – you are my absolute hero, and should stand up and be counted alongside the heroes of our nation right now due to your incredible fundraising efforts – the largest EVER fundraiser in the history of Facebook. You little beauty! Celeste Barber Facebook Fundraiser Leonardo Di Caprio’s Earth Alliance Australia Wildfire Fund

There’s so much more I wanted to write. I wanted to write about how my mother has been living in an evacuation zone (thankfully, the fire diverted and her home is safe) and how, I didn’t even consider where she lives as the ‘bush’. I wanted to tell you how I used to walk to school through a gully every day (oh OK, I often bunked off and just hung out in the gully) where koalas really truly lived in the treetops. I wanted to tell you about the time I saw a wild kangaroo in the street outside a holiday home we’d stayed in on the south coast. I wanted to conjure up all the amazing memories I have as an Aussie kid, learning about possums, sugar gliders, wallabies, echidnas, kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, emus, kookaburras, goannas, cockatoos, galahs, tree frogs and crocs of course, and I just took them all for granted as part and parcel of our environment.

But I can’t. Because every single time I try to think back to those things, all I see are the images of THOUSANDS of charred animal carcasses in the bush – well, the space formerly known as the bush – that have been flashing up on the news all week. Seeing their little paws all balled up and their bodies twisted in pain and torture, as they’d tried to flee flames that were just far too ferocious for anyone to survive… thinking how horrific their final moments must have been. Once you’ve heard a koala scream, it’s a sound you can’t un-hear. And here come the water works again – I can’t see my screen again for tears. So what I will say is this. Please, please, please do whatever you can to help. Because even when the news fades and isn’t on the front page anymore, we need to keep in mind that this is not the last we’ve seen of the bushfires – it (terrifyingly) is only just the beginning…

Out of office on: Happy new year!

It’s that time if year when you send an email – to pretty much anyone except online shopping boutiques – and you automatically receive the out of office bounce back. It makes perfect sense; it’s the holidays, most people are home celebrating with friends and families and don’t require a lot of services, advice or witty banter online. Usually, I am not one of these people. As most people who know me know, I am quite a perfectionist and am what could be called addicted to my work, and so I very rarely switch off. In fact, I can tell you the last time I switched off: December 2016, for four days. But today, I’m feeling the urge to join the ranks of the rest of you out-of-officers and take myself a mini-break. Deep breath in!

You see, even when I travel, I take my laptop and I am the one who is frantically smashing on her keyboard on trains, in taxis, in the airport, on the plane. I’m the one who is incredibly frustrated that there’s no internet on board planes. And I’m the one who often misses important moments because she’s sitting in her hotel room ‘working remotely’ or ‘on a deadline’ or jumping on ‘one last call’. But let me be clear – this is no woe is me email. I like my life like this. I LOVE my work. But this time, starting from today, right here, right now, I’m going to try and step back just a little and see what it’s like on the other side.

With that in mind, I’m going to cut myself short (who knew that was possible?) for the very first time in my life, put my out of office on and go and join my friends in the pool. But before I do that, there’s just one last thing I’d like to say: Thank you so, so much to everyone who reads this blog week in and week out. Thank you to those who’ve been reading since the beginning; thank you to those who tune in and out on the occasions that suit them; thank you to the newbies who’ve only recently discovered it. I wish you all the happiest of new years, wherever you may be ringing in this new decade, and send you you all a lot of love. I’ll be back, rested and who knows, maybe even tanned, in time for my next blog and we can pick up where we left off. Have fun, party safe and remember what Ram Dass said: We’re all just walking each other home.

A Christmas wish list with a difference

As we’re all very aware, ‘tis the season to be shopping and while normally I’m dropping hints so big Santa can spot them from the North Pole, this year I find myself feeling a little differently towards the tradition of Christmas gift-giving. Now (take note Santa) that’s not to say I’d say no to a present if someone happens to have one wrapped and waiting for me under their tree (I’d be ever so gracious and also probably also quite overexcited), I’m just feeling a little more conscious these days. Conscious of commercialism, conscious of the waste caused by so much packaging and gift wrapping, conscious of my carbon footprint when ordering things online, conscious of over consumption and of course, conscious of budget.

So when I started to think about writing my Christmas wish list for dear old Santa – and anyone else on the good old world wide web who happens to stumble across it – I realised that all of the things I really wish for right now are things that don’t require any money; things that can’t be wrapped; things that don’t do any harm to the environment; and things that I can’t even take home with me. For a minute there I felt incredibly grown up by knowing the difference between needs and wants at Christmas, but then as I put Pikes’ Sunny’s Christmas Karaoke playlist on repeat for the fifth time today and felt the reindeer ears on my head wobble as I sang along, I realised you don’t have to be a grown up to be able to enjoy the spirit of Christmas AND live more consciously too.

Christmas wish #1: NO STAR WARS SPOILERS PLEASE I cannot express how much I am staying off social media until Christmas Eve, when the cinema in Ibiza finally (FINALLY! Do you hear me Cine Regio? We deserve it in English on opening night too!) screens Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in its original language version. It is absolutely killing me that there are people out there who know how the saga ends – with previous episodes of the franchise, I have been known to to Barcelona to watch the premiere in English (yes I’m a mega-fan) but this year, some other important commitments kept me in Ibiza so I am waiting with baited breath, buns in hair and special R2D2/C3PO leggings on in anticipation. And I’m blocking my ears, can’t hear a word you’re saying about it, fa la la la la, la la la la laaaaa…

Christmas wish #2: PEACE AND LOVE FOR ALL ANIMALS Yes, yes, and for all mankind too – but we need to be voices for those who can’t speak. There’s been so much furore in Ibiza recently (and rightly so, I believe) about animals being shipped off to be put to sleep if they haven’t been adopted, and there has been a horrific spate of goat killings in Formentera (don’t Google it if you don’t want your heart to break), not to mention the slaughter of the goats of Es Vedra, and I’ve seen two of the owners of Ibiza’s voluntary animal shelters who are being evicted from their premises who need help. Every single day without fail I see new baby kittens up for adoption on Facebook, ALL of whom have been dumped by owners. WHO are these people? HOW could you throw an animal away like garbage? I really wish a solution can be found before more animals are harmed unnecessarily – I’m not really sure what it is, or even how to help more (I have adopted enough cats, I walk dogs from the shelter and I donate to animal charities), not just in Ibiza but all over the world.

Christmas wish #3: GOODWILL TO ALL PEOPLE In today’s gender-sensitive climate, I thought it best to be careful not to colloquially say ‘to all men’ anymore! But I digress – if you read my blog last week, you’ll know that we’re all becoming more and more aware that the holidays are a tough time for many many people (and if you didn’t read it, click here to get the scoop). As I sit here writing somewhat tongue-in-cheek wish lists, I’m all too aware of my own privilege and I’m even more grateful for my own happiness. I wish that we could all just get along; I wish everyone knew that they are valued and loved; I wish nobody felt alone or hurt or helpless. I wish we could find a way to end suffering for those who can’t see a way out. I hope we can all strive to be better humans, long after the Christmas warm and fuzzies have passed.

Christmas wish #4: FOR CLIMATE CHANGE TO SLOW DOWN We’ve been talking about this till we’re blue in the face, but it’s not stopping Australia from burning; from animals (even the most basic koalas that I grew up with! Not to mention more exotic or noble creatures) becoming extinct; from people losing their homes and worse still, their lives. Talking is also not stopping the sea being polluted more than ever before, even though it seems like so many of us are living as consciously as possible. It’s not stopping places like Venice crumbling after more floods; it’s not making the world change its eating habits; it’s not keeping our coral reefs alive; it’s not stopping people from travelling to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s a tragedy that’s unfolding with each new year – now a new decade is upon us and part of me dreads to think what might happen. Which leads me to…

Christmas wish #5: PUT SUPERHEROES IN POLITICS Now, I’m not one to discuss politics (you know the rules), but things are just getting a bit out of hand now, aren’t they? Given the recent UK election, and today’s announcement that Donald Trump has been impeached, it’s actually kind of hard to stay away from these kinds of conversations. I know we live in a bubble here in Ibiza – well, those of us who are unaffected by Brexit anyway – but it would just be nice if Wonder Woman and Thor could come in and sort everything out with the lasso of truth, plus the mighty hammer. It would be nice to live in a world where the people in power looked after those less fortunate, and that doesn’t seem to be the way we’re headed. Let me just call my friend Chris Hemsworth and see what he can do.

Christmas wish #6: LET IT SNOW IN IBIZA I’m not talking about the sleet that covers the north of the island on super cold mornings. I’m not even talking about those little pretty snowflakes that float on down to the Balearics every couple of years but melt the second they hit the ground. We need more than a flurry! I would just love to see – even for just one day – our whole island covered in fluffy white powder (no jokes here people) with kids (err, and me) making snowmen and sledding down the Dalt Vila ramp. I’d love to see the Santa Eulalia river rise back up and then freeze again, so we could ice skate along it. As a girl who grew up in the southern hemisphere and spent Christmas in raging heat, I thought moving to Europe would afford me fairytale festive seasons. That’s not to say I don’t love Christmas here in Ibiza, I would just love it even more if it snowed…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (again)

Well, would you look at that? It’s already the most wonderful time of year again! Halloween came and went in the blink of an eye after we wrapped up the summer season and now there’s a giant tree standing tall at the top of Vara de Rey, quaint little wooden market huts in the square and the streets are festooned with festive lights – it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. There’s something so old fashioned and charming about Ibiza at this time of year – despite the evolution of the island, it still seems to have escaped the clutches of Christmas commercialisation…

I’m not saying retailers aren’t wringing their hands with glee at the thought of all that extra Christmas trade (after the mayhem of Black Friday is over, or as I prefer to call it, Bleugh Friday), but here there seems to be a lot less overkill when it comes to gift giving. The shops just trade their regular hours, day in, day out. They close on Sundays, like always. You hear far less Christmas carols – or bastardised pop versions of Christmas carols – than you do in any city! Gift wrapping services are minimal to say the least (think store-branded bag with a sparkly gift tag – no gift wrapping stations or choices of paper and ribbon). You don’t see countless stocking stuffer gifts that are rendered completely useless after the first moment they were opened. There seems to be a lot less greed here at Christmas, and along with that, less waste. It’s not totally minimal but it’s not Oxford Circus.

Which brings me to the lights. One of the things I’ve always loved about Ibiza at Christmas is the simplicity of the lights strung across the main streets (31 on them according to the local newspaper!). For many years, they were recycled, simply rotated from street to street so it always looked different – aside from the ‘Bones Festes’ at the entrance to Ibiza town, which still makes me giggle even though I know the translation. Last year, new energy efficient lights were introduced and hopefully these too, will be rotated around the island rather than simply replaced by a new-fangled design like other major cities in the world. The lights will be switched on this Friday November 29, 2019 at 6.30pm (which must make all the pre-Christmas naysayers happy – sticking to traditional timelines like this) by none other than the goddess Tanit, which seems like a very bizarre Christmas deity (or, err, celebrity) but hey, it’s Ibiza and who are we to argue?

In my ideal world, the official Ambassador of Ibiza, Paris Hilton (I’m not kidding – she really has been ordained), would jet into town and do the honours, or maybe her island highness Charlotte Tilbury, who was born and bred in Ibiza and could do an in-store appearance just a little down the square in Sephora after she’d done her switching-on duties. Or maybe it should be the Mambo King, Javier Anadon, alongside his sons the Mambo Brothers in honour of their A-list DJ status, with an after party. What about Carl Cox (could he also dress as Santa? ‘Ho-ho-yes!’), or Papa Sven? The truth is, once the summer is over, the remaining population of Ibiza isn’t likely to be interested in superstar DJs or famous faces (and vice versa!), especially when it comes to lighting Christmas lights – and that’s what makes it still so quaint and charming.

I have always loved Christmas. Always, always, always. I believed in Santa Claus (or at least pretended to believe) right up until the point where I couldn’t get away with it anymore, and on the inside, I still secretly hope to hear sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling too, on Christmas Eve. I have always loved the way a Christmas tree lights up a room – even without the lights on! I love collecting decorations – even the ugliest of felt decorations from the late 70s in our house had a story – each year and adding them to my collection, and I love that magic moment when the tree is finally ready and you add the angel on top. For me, it’s always got to be an angel. I love giving gifts – if I lived in a city I would be the worst for buying into the commercialisation of Christmas, so perhaps it’s better that I live here and follow a more frugal gift giving style!

But, I am indeed a purist when it come to my tree. It won’t be going up until December 1 and it will come down on January 6, promptly. These dates were instilled into me as a child and no matter how much I love Christmas, I can’t break the rules (although there was one year that I left the tree up until March, but I’d been in an accident so couldn’t physically do it – suffice to say though, I definitely did experience bad luck!). If other people want to put their tree up before D.Day, that’s their choice – and I totally understand why you would! Who doesn’t want more Christmas joy in their life? And if you take it down in February, or later, well, if you want to risk the evil spirits taking hold of your home after the ‘twelfth night’, again, that’s your prerogative.

Here in Spain, the twelfth night is actually also celebrated as part of Christmas – Kings Day, as it’s called, is the day children receive their presents (from the three kings, not Santa – though you’ll find these days they often get both), so I’ve come to love Christmas even more ever since I moved here. It’s the occasion that keeps on giving – whereas in Australia, the UK or the USA, you’ve moved onto New Year and the subsequent hangovers and resolutions, here, we take a break to party and then get back to the Christmas festivities. The more Christmas the better!

We may not have snow in Ibiza, we may not even have weather cold enough to warrant wearing a Christmas sweater, but our little island/small town Christmas is just about as perfect as it can get if you ask me (which you didn’t). We’ve got oysters and champagne in Plaza del Parque, we’ve got Christmas hippy market at Las Dalias, we’ve even got gluhwein and chestnuts roasting on an open fire at San Jordi flea market on a Saturday. We’ve got the goddess Tanit lighting our Christmas lights! We can have Christmas lunch on the beach (and yes I KNOW we can also do that in Australia, but it’s far too hot there to enjoy eating anything at all). We’ve got Casa Maca’s awesome Christmas Market. We’ve got the Three Kings Parade on January 6! It’s the Christmas that keeps on giving. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just got to go and put on my Kylie Christmas album and start unpacking the decorations in preparation for Sunday morning – because I wouldn’t dare do it a moment before, but that doesn’t stop me from singing along!

Thank you, gracias, gracies, merci, grazie, danke

The summer season is officially over, awards season has come and gone, and the winter season (as locals like to call the six month break between club closings and openings) is here. Depending on whether you call Ibiza your summer home (leavers) or if you reside here all year round (remainers, obvs), the arrival of winter will mean one of two things: booking flights to warmer climates or much colder parts of Europe, or pulling your winter coats, ugg boots, dehumidifiers and heaters out of storage. I fall into the latter category, and for me, this is definitely the most wonderful time of the year! For leavers however, it seems to be a bitter sweet time of year – which is totally understandable – as they pack up their things and say goodbye to the island and their friends.

This season it seems that the longstanding tradition of saying goodbye has transcended phone calls or text messages or the time-honoured tradition of farewell drinks, and has made its way onto social media – is anyone surprised? Since early October, I’ve been reading a string of goodbye and thank you messages on Facebook and Instagram that wouldn’t be out of place if they were read out at an awards ceremony. I’m talking about the kind of end-of-season wrap up posts that goes through the highlights, lowlights and achievements of the summer and thank every new friends and old friends (#youknowwhoyouare) for making it all possible, posts that mention every venue someone has ever danced or dined in, the posts that express so much love for the island that is their spiritual home while also expressing dread at facing reality ‘back home’ or about having to embark on ‘new adventures’, always ending with a ‘see you next summer’ kind of vibe because clearly we were all on the edge of our seats as to whether you’d be back or not…

I’m all for practicing gratitude, don’t get me wrong. I fall asleep every night counting my lucky stars and wake up counting my blessings. True story. But I don’t feel the need to post about them all over my social media accounts – well, except for my cats. You’ll always see me posting about cats. But I digress. I can’t help but wonder whether these are driven by the leavers’ hearts or by their egos? Has modern society (in Ibiza anyway) become so narcissistic that people now make thank you speeches about every day life? You weren’t fighting a war, putting out fires and unless you’re a vet or doctor, you probably weren’t saving lives. Whatever happened to one to one communication? What about getting together and expressing these sentiments with sincerity to the people who deserve to hear them, in person?

The irony of complaining about having to read unsolicited opinions/speeches from people in Ibiza is not lost on me as I type this blog. I’m 100% certain not everyone wants to read about my cats/love of winter in Ibiza/hatred of WhatsApp voice messages/obsession with Luciano (watch this space on that one!) or countless other waffling topics I’ve written about over the years. I also know full well that if I don’t like a post, I can just look away or unfollow. But let me be clear: it’s not the thought of expressing thanks that bothers me (the more gratitude in this world the better) – it’s more the idea that most of these posts (which usually come accompanied by an album of heavily filtered selfies in key Ibiza locations with ‘cool’ people) seem like an insincere attention seeking, look-at-me, desperate attempt to get more likes.

Side note: I am very much looking forward to seeing how the online world responds to Instagram’s removal of likes this week! A glimmer of hope is on the horizon…

I want to empathise more with the leavers, really, I do. Maybe I’m such a staunch remainer, I don’t remember what it feels like to leave the island after an intense summer. Almost all of my close friends are remainers, so we never get faced with the sadness of saying goodbye. Perhaps I am the one in the wrong here, having never publicly thanked everyone who has made my life in Ibiza possible! With that in mind, I would like to jump on the online thank you bandwagon and take this opportunity to express my gratitude to every single person who has contributed to my experiences in Ibiza (#youknowwhoyouare). Gracias, gracies, merci, grazie, danke, arigato, obrigado, spasiba, tak, hvala, mahalo, terima kasih and THANK YOU! It wouldn’t have been the same without you – yesterday, today and in all the days to come.