The mongooses lurk behind shadowy palms, while rum washes over the local rabble. Aside from the mongooses and imbibing roamers, there are several feral cats, mosquitoes, and an 8-hour hike overtop a mountain to one side and nature’s swimming pool to the other. In essence, it is paradise.
The island of Jost Van Dyke (an eight square kilometer island off the coasts of St. John and Tortola) is a place to drop-off the grid and escape the trivialities of everyday living that begin to embowel our very existence. It is the kind of place to enjoy the company of a fellow human being, read books, listen to bugs, waves and wind, and to reconnect with oneself. Sometimes the noise of society drowns out humanity and it requires the nourishment of a remote island to re-spark the soul.
Sunday night I begrudgingly returned from a week on Jost Van Dyke and am already resisting society’s demands to speed my pace. But, I’m still humming Jack Johnson’s, “Banana Pancakes,” and won’t feel guilty if I choose to sit in the sun all day contemplating peace, love and what I might eat next.
Food on the island is plentiful, although there is no real grocery store. In fact, to buy food on the island is quite expensive. Most of it comes shipped in on ferryboats and therefore takes a lot of time and shipment costs. But there are trees.
So, my co-conspirator of hermitage and I plucked the island of bananas, key limes, mangos, tamarinds, and coconuts. (We also plucked it of its rum, but that we harvested from a local establishment called, “The Soggy Dollar.”) And then we cooked (Well, in all honesty, I let my co-conspirator do most of the cooking, minus one morning of egg sandwiches. He’s a cook-type. I’m a baker-type and frankly, in the time it took me to make a mediocre grilled cheese, he could prepare something I hadn’t even imagined yet.)
We ate fried, green bananas every morning and since my return, I think I’m experiencing withdrawal. It was a food so simple, so delicious, and it kept us full for long swims and invigorating hikes. And not once did I miss eating cake. The coconut rice (even without sugar) kept my sweet tooth at bay. That, alongside a sweet rum drink.
It is amazing the things that we can go without when we slow down and get back to basics. With no need for phones, corn syrup, computers, or cars, I found myself falling in love with a place for the simple offerings of the island…fried bananas, a bit of rum and a few people with whom to share.