Island Traveling

This week on the BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge, the question is about one of everyone’s favorite destinations…the islands:

We want to hear what you love about islands, what your favorite indie travel island destination is, which island you’re most longing to see, or why you think islands evoke such strong emotions in travelers.

Island Hopping…Sort Of

Since we left town in November 2011, we’ve managed to hit 5 different islands. Hey, we’re island hoppers! Well, we haven’t exactly been hopping around the Caribbean or the South Pacific, but an island’s an island, right?

First, we spent a weekend in the Lowcountry Islands of South Carolina: Edisto, Kiawah, and Seabrook. A few weeks later, we found ourselves in Key West. Then, about a month later, after a return trip home for Christmas, we made our way to Grand Isle, LA.

Of the five, our favorite would definitely be Key West. Edisto would come in 2nd, then Grand Isle, with Kiawah and Seabrook not really registering as places we’d spend much time. They’re just not really our scene.

What Other Islands?

If we had to pick two other islands that are incredibly high on our list of “places to go,” they’d be…no, not Fiji and Tahiti…Iceland and New Zealand. Those probably aren’t the islands high on most people’s lists, but that’s part of the reason we like them!

In Iceland, you have pristine landscapes and the Northern Lights, glaciers and whales, hiking and skiing. In New Zealand, you have Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf, and Aragorn. Well, at least you have the landscapes that were in the Lord Of The Rings, plus plenty of lamb to eat.

Why The Islands?

So what is it about the islands that gets people’s juices flowing? Well, without conducting a survey, there’s no way to know. But here are three things we think would come up if such a survey were conducted, not necessarily in this order:

  • Seclusion – You can’t just drive to an island. You have to hop a boat or a plane or be a really good swimmer. Even though many of the Caribbean and South Pacific islands are major tourist destinations, there’s still a feeling that you’re going somewhere that you won’t find the masses when you’re heading to an island.
  • Closed Cultures – Because of the seclusion, island cultures tend to have retained, if not all of, at least some of their native culture. Of course, there’s Westernization everywhere, but you’re more likely to find a culture that’s been around for awhile on an island than in a place more easily infiltrated by outsiders.
  • Sunshine and Beaches – Let’s not discount one major reason people “go to the islands”…fun in the sun! The existence of resorts like Sandals and Beaches on tropical islands proves that a lot of people aren’t going to experience the culture: they’re going for the sunshine and sand.

Why do you go to the islands? What’s your favorite island?

3 thoughts on “Island Traveling

  1. As you know, I’ve been to many Caribbean islands, yet none of them have been my “dream” island. My dream islands are the Galapagos Islands. The animals and birds there are phenomenal and I would love to do a photo shoot.

    • Oh, we really want to go to the Galapagos islands too! Edie loves turtles.

      I love the ocean too. Funny thing though, I spent a little over a year living two blocks from it and other than looking at it, I didn’t put it to use much. Laying on the beach just isn’t really my thing. I have found that I greatly prefer the mountains.

  2. Oh yes, to answer one other of your questions. We do go to the Caribbean islands for the sun and sand and they are usually fairly inexpensive. After some time in the Ohio Valley and the weather changing every 15 minutes, it’s nice to go and bask in the sun and smell the sea air. The ocean is such a draw for me. I love to listen to it, smell it, and watch it. Of course there is nothing quite like a sunset over the ocean either.

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