Going to Barbados was like moving into a country full of my cousins. By the way everyone interacts with one another you could mistake them for being one big family.
I just got back from one of my favourite holiday's ever. Barbados is in the Caribbean, so naturally it has some of the most breathtaking views I have seen in my life. However, what made it so special for me was the people there.
Public transport in London has created horrible memories for some of personal space being invaded, sweaty commutes and delays. When I was riding the government bus in Barbados (which comes once every hour, pretty much whenever it feels like showing up) my initial thought was to be very grateful for TFL; considering I was riding a bus that sounded like a giant bag of bones as it moved. Then two things happened that snapped me back to my senses.
A man got on the bus who had two little girls with him. All the seats were taken so the lady next to me let one sit on her lap and another passenger made room for the other little girl to sit down next to her. On another journey, a lady got on the bus with lots of heavy bags. Again, the bus was packed so there was only a slither of standing space left. Another passenger who was sitting down offered to hold onto the lady's bags for the whole journey so that she could hold on for the rickety ride!
Maybe these events don't seem like a big deal to some people. Of course in different countries and cultures this way of living and interacting is probably common. However, it was a bit of a culture shock to me as someone who lives in London. Behaviour on buses here is a lot different.
(I have a theory that Londoners are nicer than they appear on public transport. However, since we've all become accustomed to appearing self-concerned, we'd much rather stick to the status-quo.)
I have plenty of other examples of random acts of kindness that I saw whilst I was away, from a 20-year old man who committed to driving an old-lady to do her shopping every morning (simply because she was his across the road neighbour). To a man who will forever be known as "Uncle Henry", who cut a lock off a door to the old lady's house at night because she couldn't remember where she put her key (Using an angle grinder wearing wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Sparks flying everywhere. No mask, no gloves... he wasn't even wearing shoes).
The culture in Barbados is amazing . I was so shocked by how considerate everyone there is! Shocked because whilst I was experiencing life with some of the most generous people I have ever met, there were so many tragic events going on around the world.
When I thought about how intuitive it was for Bajans to just help each other out it made me wonder why I don't see that in my everyday. Some may ask if it is because our world has become closer technologically but more distant socially? As I said before, whilst I was away there was still plenty going on around the world and unfortunately it wasn't a lot of good news. However, technology allowed us to see people come together to support various communities in a way that wouldn't be possible 100 years ago. News just could not travel so quickly.
Whether it was staging a protest to support the Black Lives Matter movement or thoughts and well wishes for those killed in Nice. People were doing something and our online connections gave us a way to engage with what was going on.
"People were doing something and our online connections gave us a way to engage with what was going on"
Still though, our online community felt stronger than our physical one. In Barbados however, the opposite was true. I wonder why that is and I don't think I have the answer.
I'd encourage you go and see for yourself what I mean about the culture in Barbados, if you get the opportunity to go there take it! It is amazing (Not to mention the great food, nightlife and attractions). But if you can't go, we can do more to create some of that culture here by simply looking out for each other, not just online but in person too.