1. No one is ever really a stranger.
I lost count of the number of times someone came up to start a conversation with me. I didn’t know these people from a bar of soap, but we spoke as if we could have been long lost friends. We had real conversations. They were genuinely interested in how I was and how my day was going. I was even asked “How’s it going today” by someone who was walking behind me. In Bermuda, no one is ever enough of a stranger – and I never thought I would be so grateful of a stranger’s recognition. I felt the ultimate sense of welcoming; it wasn’t fake or forced. It was completely and totally genuine. I mattered to them which made every day a pleasure to walk down the street.
2. Even if you’re having a bad day, there is someone in the world who is dedicating their life to making sure you can be happy.
Johnny Barnes is 93 years old. He sits at Bermuda’s busiest intersection from Monday to Friday, waving at every passerby. And he’s been there for 40 years – never missing a day. When he started, everyone thought he was crazy. But as a bus and train driver, he said he saw so much sadness and pain, so he wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to giving a little piece of happiness to as many people as he could. Johnny Barnes taught me that there is little pieces of happiness all around. They may be small pieces scattered around the world, but when you find them hold on to them and appreciate them. And remember, sometimes the best things in life are the simplest – even if it’s just a wave or a smile.
3. Every day is a Bermudaful Day.
Every person is proud of their island and they do everything in their power to make this known. Whether it’s the street cleaner out sweeping every day or a corporate businessman, they’re all out and about doing their piece to make a difference. Everyone is equal on the island and it shines through the relationships proudly represented on the streets of the inner city. The island itself is beautiful, well kept and very clean, but the people make it even more beautiful than it really is. They take it the next step further… it’s just Bermudaful.
4. The Bermudian way is infectious.
We met a lot of amazing Bermudians. They were cool, calm and as smooth as a Blues Brothers song. You kind of expect this from the locals, but what was even more amazing was the stunning nature of the expat British, Americans and Canadians whom live on the island. They had been fully infected by the completely loving and welcoming nature of the island which overrode any societal instincts from their home countries. On two separate occasions – by a British & American and an American couple – we were invited into their homes for food, drinks and accommodation. It was almost mind boggling for us as it is nothing we have ever encountered anywhere in the world before (even after being around the USA & England multiple times). They left behind all of their past ways and completely absorbed the Bermudian way.
5. Who needs Facebook when you have a horn.
If you ask anyone around the world what they would typically use a car horn for, they would reply “To show if I’m angry or to get someone to move along” – not Bermudians. The island consists of 60,000 people of which – thanks to the climate – 90 percent are out and about every single day. Whether you’re walking down the street or riding in a car, you don’t need to send a Facebook message to your friend, you just hang out the window and toot. Toot to say “hello”; toot to say “how are ya”; toot to say “was sup”; and toot to say “I miss you”. Not one toot will be ill willed in Bermuda. But it does get pretty noisy.
Bermuda is a beautiful and unique place with treasures hidden all around. You don’t hear much about it and it was certainly hard to get any insight before I arrived from the other side of the world, but what a delight I found. I want to say – “Thanks Bermuda” – Thanks for opening my eyes and making every day so much more worthwhile.