I recently returned from a trip to the only tropical destination I’ve ever visited: Bermuda. I was lucky enough to be guided by a local, and with a full itinerary, I had the chance to experience every bit of the island.
Most of us envision the islander life as full of fruity drinks, tan lines, and the luxurious amenities of a resort. It’s hard to imagine growing up in the place people vacation, and we may assume an island like Bermuda has one culture and one culture only: tourism.
But under the layers of travel brochures and souvenir shops, I discovered just how singular Bermudian culture is—and it’s even more vibrant and diverse than we can gather from just staying at a beach club.
Here are five things that I learned about Bermuda:
1. Beer pong isn’t just a frat party pastime—it’s a sport.
Yes, you read that right. Take a peek into Docksider, a local bar, on Tuesday nights and you’ll see a tournament of competitive beer pong taking place. Side note: My friend and I made it to the third round!
2. Don’t ever call a moped, a moped.
Or a scooter. It’s a bike or a blade. I made the mistake and found myself sorely insulting my gracious driver who “towed” me around. Most of Bermudians travel around the island by bikes, and it’s honestly the most thrilling form of transportation I’ve ever ridden.
3. Cupmatch = Superbowl, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July all rolled up into one.
I was lucky enough to come to Bermuda during the craziest, and most exhilarating weeks of the summer, where locals enjoy an entire weekend of events, parties, and drinking to celebrate the rivalry between their respective ends of the island—go Somerset!—in a cricket match. It was amazing seeing everyone on the island gather together and socialize on the beaches, like one giant family, to enjoy the holiday.
4. Everyone knows everything.
By the time I arrived on the island, more people knew of my presence than just the family I was visiting. When your entire world consists of 21 square miles, it’s not hard for word to travel quickly. Whether that’s a good thing is still up for discussion—though it would’ve made any rebellious high school years difficult.
5. A slow pace is the best pace.
In the States, we’re so used to being on the go. We plan our days to the minute and value our routines above all else. As a nation in general, we’re just plain stressed out. However, the relaxed pace in Bermuda—while it threw me off the first few days—offered a whole new perspective. It doesn’t matter when or what for, you just go with the flow, and since everyone else does too, there is no reason to rush or worry.
Take a lesson from the Bermudian way of life, and realize that as long as you have a smile on your face, sunshine on your skin, and a cold drink in your hand, everything is good. As Bob Marley -- whose face is the poster child of island culture -- famously sang, “don’t worry, be happy.”