I was six years old the first time I visited the Caribbean island of Nevis. My parents first went fifteen years ago for their tenth wedding anniversary. I don’t remember much from my first trip—only scattered memories of beaches and plane rides, sunsets and swimming. By then, my parents had already taken quite a liking to this island. Nevis has a certain quality of liminality for us—that is, it is a balance between home and away, here and there. That is something we all seek in travel; to feel comfortable and easeful, and still removed from what it is we have left behind.
Nevis lies in the heart of the Caribbean Sea alongside its sister island, St. Kitts. After two seemingly endless plane flights and a rather nauseating boat ride across the sea, we arrive. The dock is lit by soft lamps, their light reflecting gently off the clear blue sea. It is beautiful and calm, that sense of calm that I so often seek. We walk across the line where the dock meets the sand and head toward our room. A golden hue hovers over the resort, the vibrant stars scatter across the sky. I can never help but viscerally react to a sight as lovely as this one; year after year, I stop in my tracks to take it all in. The sight is beautiful and captivating and one the camera never seems to do justice.
We are fortunate enough to be able to visit Nevis almost every spring break and always stay at the Four Seasons Resort. It is one of very few hotels on the island and employs about 1200 of the island’s 12,000 inhabitants. There is a plethora of activities and excursions, from sailing or water skiing, to visiting the island’s sugar canes or a local restaurant. The island is a small, tight-knit community, and each time we return the people we have known from years past greet us with open arms. Year by year we have grown closer with the staff and now keep in touch with them year round. Every year we leave for Nevis, we bring an extra suitcase packed with supplies which our Nevisian friends need from the States but do not have access to. The people are what breathe life into Nevis, and what sets it apart from other frequented spring break destinations.
Kurt “Humpy” Browne was our first Nevisian friend. Humpy has worked at the resort for nearly 22 years. He is gracious and welcoming; each time we arrive on the island, Humpy is waiting on the dimly lit dock to be our first hello. He stocks our rooms with my mom and I’s favorite sodas and enough potato chips to keep us there for months. I suppose it is to this friendship my family owes our closeness with the island. His friendship and jubilance are what first drew my parents back to the island.
We met Curvis and Vincia, two of the resort’s employees, at one of the restaurants, The Coral Grill. My parents are the type of people that like to be very chatty in restaurants, and this one was no exception. The absolute earnestness and enthusiasm with which Curvis and Vincia spoke with us was far different from the awkward nods and short replies my parents usually get at restaurants in the US. These restaurant conversations have evolved from introductions, to discussions of Nevisian politics, to planning sessions for the hikes Curvis and Vincia would take us on around the island.
Roxanne is another friend we have made — she works on the beach at the resort. Roxanne and I first became friends on the beach, as Roxanne took a particular liking to my hair. It is now custom for Roxanne to pet my hair when I speak to her — in fact, I’d be very thrown off if she didn’t. I’m not usually one for the beach, as it serves yet another source of sunburn, but I know to pack and extra bottle of that Neutrogena Baby Super Strength sunscreen each time spring break comes around so that Roxanne and I can catch up.
I’m not sure when I will be going to Nevis next. My spring break this year has been filled by a different trip. But, I feel that Nevis is never far away—its people and culture are as a part of me as my hometown. I hope to find more places like Nevis in my life. Feelings of comfort and calm are rare in the 21st century lifestyle, and we must hold on to the places that let us feel effortless and free.
All photos by Bobbie Edmunds.