Leaving St Helena
“She said, where’d you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some fairy-tale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can miss
I want something just like this “
Something Just Like This- The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
In the last few weeks I have made the difficult decision to leave St Helena in September. This is because someone incredibly special came into my life, totally unexpectedly, and I’ve planned to follow my heart and see where this love will lead. It is not a decision I have made lightly and I am grateful for the true privilege I have had working here.
When I left Iceland, in August 2016 I knew I had to see this infectiously charismatic and wonderful New Yorker again. In less than a month, he had flown from California where he was working at the time, to Dublin for three days to meet me. Then he took six weeks off to travel with me through the USA and Europe. This year, 2017, he took four flights and ten days on a ship to visit me on my little island paradise. I have had him chase me around the planet for almost a year.
That is why I have made the decision to get on a plane to New York City and see where the adventure will take us.
It is difficult on several levels. As someone who is proudly independent, the thought of giving up my job to follow my man is not easy, but I know that there needs to be some compromise if I am ever going to allow someone into my life.
It is hard to leave St Helena, an island I have become very familiar with. Its ten by five miles pack in a lot of stunning walking, beautifully kind people and more personal drama than you can shake a stick at. I have had a great time here so far and with the 99 days I have left, I aim to make the most of every day, diving, exploring and drinking wine with friends.
I will be leaving my smart car to continue to roam around this island to live out its days. The only smart car so far on the island. Though, I haven’t taken it down to Sandy Bay Beach…yet.
Whether I leave on the Royal Mail Ship or on one of the first SA Airlink flights out of here I do not know, but either way it will be as significant time in the history of St Helena.
I have been able to experience a unique British Overseas Territory at a time when the only way to transport visitors is on a five-day voyage, where fresh vegetables are a novelty, rather than a staple and where the royal family and the commonwealth are celebrated in a way not seen in the UK since the 1950s. I will miss the waving to everyone, the friendly chats I have with all manner of different people in town and the adventures to see the gorgeous unspoilt beauty this place has to offer.
I have been blissfully cut off from world events here. Watching from a far while the world moves on with weird and wonderful elections and seeing with great sadness as my home country was hit by terrorist attacks. The isolation has been a gift, but also a challenge as we grappled with months without any way on or off the island, apart from a passing survey ship, when our RMS was being repaired.
If you ever get a chance to visit St Helena I highly recommend it. It provides a slice of time before ATMs and people being glued to their mobiles. There are no MacDonalds, no Starbucks and there is abundance of nature and wildlife. Swimming with the whale-sharks on my birthday was a definite highlight. I think it will be a while before the increase in tourism will change the island but I doubt St Helena will ever be this remote again.
I hope I have made a difference to the families I have had the privilege to care for. I have been welcomed into the lives of people here and I will never forget this unique place.
To 99 days of St Helena. The outside world is calling me back.
I will try my hardest to remember not to wave at everyone that looks at me in Brooklyn or stare wide eyed at the entrance to Tesco on my return.
I will continue writing about my time on St Helena on here and later when I get to know the wonderful vibrant city of New York.
Let me know if you want me to send you a postcard from St Helena. I might beat it back home (especially as the mail isn’t going via Ascension anymore) but hopefully it’ll get there before Christmas!