“You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” Mark Twain
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Da
Introduction: Heading to Bermuda for a much-needed break may have been crazy in the middle of another COVID-19 surge, with Delta and Omicron variants spreading like wildfire. Nonetheless, after getting 3 COVID-19 tests in 6 days (all negative, thankfully), it may have been fundamentally the best vacation I have ever experienced. Why? Two reasons: First, the sheer beauty of this small island country. Second, the amazingly friendly, sincere, and caring inhabitants of Bermuda. Stunning scenery and heart-filled people.
My take-home message from this trip to Bermuda is summarized below and it is applied to life lessons learned and ways to live better with a chronic disorder like Parkinson’s.
“The best moments are those that are unexpected.” Michael Bliss
Life-lessons from the People and the Island of Bermuda:
- Be polite; People definitely respond positively if you are polite.
- Use good morning, good afternoon or good evening with an opening greeting; including a name just improves the chance of a response; Begin your hello with a greeting, show respect to all, it greatly results in a sincere reply.
- Never drive a motorcycle, scooter or moped;The main roads are simple winding up-and-down very small two-lane roads. And scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles are everywhere. Do not consider driving one of these two-wheel machines, no. End of discussion. Please, no.
- Be kind, heart-filled; Everywhere you went, people greeted you with sincerity and they shared their heart-filled stories and lives with you.
- Have empathy for all; Understand the feelings of others, regardless of their appearances and backgrounds; and sharing these experiences makes us all a better human being.
- in Bermuda, COVID-19 is a personal disease; Consider the entire population of Bermuda is ~65,000 people; thus, when 100 people die from COVID-19, they are relatives, loved-ones, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Their compliance to the government’s COVID-19 mandates is beyond extraordinary. The risk of COVD-19 is real, be careful if you travel, be cognizant of your environment, follow their rules, follow your rules, it all matters. We did obtain a travel insurance policy that reimbursed one for any reason related to COVID-19, and a significant reserve to pay for any quarantine or hospitalization costs (if needed).
- Fresh air with (apparently) fewer allergens leads to less sneezing; I do not remember sneezing the entire time in Bermuda. The air each morning was simply fresh.
- Peaceful, easy, and love-filled moments happen, be prepared to say thank you a lot; People there were filled with joy and smiles, for example, while waiting in line at the Post Office in Hamilton to get a COVID-19 test, people joined the line dancing, singing, and smiling.
- Amazing green/blue ocean leads to waves of pleasant evening sleep; My favorite part of the beach is the symphony of sound of the ocean waves hitting the coastline. Such is the sound of this small island.
- Sounds of silence (the absence of the usual sirens of fire, police, and ambulances) could renew a fractured soul; Yes, the location of the resort we stayed at probably made a difference, but during the day at times when out and about, there were still no sounds of sirens.
- Golf there was something magical; With holes overlooking the ocean, with walls of old forts as part of the scenery, with contour and shape of the land going up-and-down led to some crazy approach shots to the greens, collectively, an almost mystical and fun-filled day of golf at Port Royal Golf Course.
- The people of Bermuda were simply the nicest, sweetest, most caring people, truly good and friendly hearts; From the resort, bus, ferry, to walking down the street, the natives of Bermuda were all approchable, friendly, and the most sincere people you will ever meet. Just being around them made you a better person.
- Walk more, and if needed, use transportation by ferry or bus;With three main roads that run east-west across the island (North Shore Rd., Middle Rd., and South Rd.), there is also a well-organized transport system of ferries over the Sound connecting the townships to the town of Hamilton, and buses go everywhere. However, for much of what we needed, we walked.
- Be thankful and grateful for what you’ve got; Bermuda cannot be compared to the USA, it stands alone for many of the reasons given above. Thus, I’m grateful for this opportunity to travel there, although I’m very happy to be back in North Carolina. But to witness this beautiful island and see the green/blue water along the coastline was special. Furthermore, to be able to converse with so many of the people who live in Bermuda, their approach to life is much admired and most appreciated. Definitely, would love to go back to Bermuda in the future.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Unknown
Parkinson’s Pointers from the Time Spent in Bermuda: The list below is not new to anyone with Parkinson’s, but a few days away on an island paradise reveals the importance of several things. Before going into Bermuda, I was a little down, just tired from a long year, and ready for a change in scenery. However, coming back to North Carolina from this Bermuda break left me energized, renewed, and ready to start 2022 off strongly. You are familiar with everything below, but to thrive and live with Parkinson’s, try to make sure you follow this relatively simple list:
- Eat well and balanced meals;
- Sleep longer;
- Reduce stress;
- Exercise daily;
- Live in the current moment;
- Stay hopeful but be persistent;
- Smile more.
“Believe.” Ted Lasso Motto
Bermuda Facts: The archipelago named Bermuda is ~24 miles long and averages <1 mile in width for a total area of only ~21 square miles. The main islands are clustered together in the shape of a fishhook and are connected by bridges. The largest island is Main Island, 14 miles long and 1 mile wide. The population of Bermuda from the 2020 census was ~65,000 inhabitants. For more information about Bermuda, click here.
“Self-discipline begins with the mystery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do.” Ashley Curtis
Where we stayed: Part of the magic we experienced in Bermuda was provided by where we stayed: Pompano Beach Club (https://www.pompanobeachclub.com/). We had a room that overlooked the ocean, had sparkling gree/blue water right below, and every day at sunset, we had an up-close and personal view of the most serene and beautiful setting sun over the ocean. However, what made our stay so wonderful was the genuinely compassionate, caring, and friendly people that worked at Pompano, starting with Cindi at the front desk, and everyone else including Lawrence Lamb, the General manager and part-owner of the family-run property in the southwest part of Bermuda. Reading the reviews online made us convinced this was the place for us to stay (yes, it was expensive, but it was also a much-needed break).
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius …” Steve Jobs
Cover photo image by Frank Church “Bermuda Sunset.”