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You step off the ferry still a little lightheaded from the trip. You look around as you walk around the island and see the shops, the tourists coming and going, the many, many bikes riding around, a beach dog that decides to adopt you and follows you part of the way. You may not know it yet but you’re starting to experience the ‘sticky island’ effect. I don’t know how long you were going to be here but be prepared to change your plans; you might want to extend your stay. That’s what happened to me; and I kept wondering what made this place so hard to leave.
It might be its nature. Walking through white sand beaches, your feet paddling in the ocean surrounded by mountains. For those of us who come from big cities this is the picture you paint in your mind while sitting on the subway at rush hour wishing for teleportation.
It might be its people. There were two things that struck me about the people in this island when I first arrived. First, that everyone seems to have such a chill energy. Again, big city habits, I was expecting the typical frowning faces when I approached someone with my ‘tourist questions’. I was surprised when I found that people here always greet you with a smile, they take the time to listen to and they are always willing help you.
Second, that there are so many expats living in the island. You meet people from all over the world who decided to build a new life here. You keep hearing stories of how they quit a stressful routine to slow down and enjoy life here. As a result, you find yourself surrounded by a big, diverse community of people living peacefully together in the place they actually chose. You can really feel the good, happy energy.
Or it might be its overall relaxing vibe. You can do yoga in the morning, take a walk on the beach during the day, enjoy a beautiful sunset in the evening, and a go to fun party at night. Next day: repeat. How could anybody get tired of that? Maybe what keeps us here is the fact that each days go by in a loop of good experiences.
After thinking and thinking, I still don’t know what makes this island so ‘sticky’. It may be a combination of all, or it may be different for each person. All I know is that I came for a few days and ended up staying way longer, and there’s not a day where I regret my decision.
Written by Magdalena Irrazabal
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