Like a castaway


Curaçao blue

Holidaying in the Caribbean is indeed a lifetime experience. Sitting in the sun while gazing at all the different hues of blue the sea renders in this part of the world is indescribable. However, I must confess that no sooner had I set foot on my destination than I started to ponder the reasons for choosing a holiday by the sea. For a start, I am hopeless at swimming. Moreover, my skin is rather sensitive and gets sunburned very easily. And to top it up, I am positively not fond of sand at all.

But then, here I am, like a modern Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, spending a week under the Equatorial sun, surrounded by water and travelling alone. Have I unconsciously chosen my destination so as to be forced to look inside myself and find what remains good, uncorrupted and noble? Will I be able to accidentally run into my “Friday”, the “bon sauvage” (noble savage) lying dormant deep inside myself? Will I be able to project into him all my inner feelings of independence and self-sufficiency – maybe to conceal my feelings of inadequacy? I can certainly say that there is no better metaphor to explain my mental status at the moment than that of being stranded on an island. I have been feeling lonely, unreachable, inadequate. I have been battered by waves of incomprehension and winds of misjudgement. An island is symbolic of our individual egos according to the Hindu tradition. Jung also used the same allegory when referring to our ego (our sense of who we are).

Gazing at the blue sea and listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves reaching the shore induced me to look inside the depths of my mind and analyse my ego. Yes, I took the plunge! Not into the sea, of course. In an almost meditative state, I thought of my life and what and who had to be rescued so that I could ensure my own survival (pun intended).

Robinson Crusoe came to my mind again: He desperately wanted to leave the island he had been cast away not because he was never able to become self-sufficient while there. He was. Nevertheless, he knew he would never feel completely independent. And semantics do matter here: I argue that Crusoe knew that although he could make shelter, maintain his orchard, fish, hunt, design, sew and mend his own outfits, etc he was not an independent man. He was dependent upon the people he loved the most: his family and friends. In the 28 years he lived as a castaway, never had the idea that he had been forsaken crossed his mind. The first thing he did when coming back to England was to look for his family who, for his dismay, believed him to be dead.

However much I have done to show otherwise, I am neither self-sufficient nor independent. And after just three days here in the Caribbean, I fear going back to those I care the most, only to realise they already believe I am dead.

Does anyone have a dinghy to spare? I have pressing businesses to deal with on the mainland.

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