Formentera: Life in a basket

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Formentera was one of the most beautiful islands I have visited. Fresh air, crystal clear ocean, white sand, exclusive beaches, thick forests, haunting mountains and a sense of tranquility that you can only find on a relatively untouched island.

There were mainly 3 sorts of people we encountered on this trip. Valenciano’s (yeah!), hippies, and Valenciano’s turned into hippies.

(N.B: I don’t like using classifications for people, for today especially, being a ‘hippy’ is being in fashion. Such people classifications follow modas and are superficial. Being a hippy to me is more a state of mind and way of living, with nothing to do with the way you look. To clarify: if you have dreadlocks, piercings, torn, dirty yet colourful and striped clothes and smoke pot, it doesn’t make you a hippy. Just like wearing a suit and having a picket fence house, doesn’t make you a yuppie.)

So what were these hippies? Perhaps the real kind. Although they did look stereotypically hippy, they also lived in the forest with no roof, electricity, or water. They were not quite sure where they would get their next meal from or where they would sleep if it would rain. They all carried their belongings in a basket or small rucksack. This normally included: a few clothes including a jumper and socks, soap, a book or two, a notepad, pen, and certain invaluable (pricewise) though sentimental, that they had gathered there, or when they had to get rid of most their stuff. Punto. This was their whole life, in a basket.

They made music on the street, sold handmade articrafts, smoked pot and were forever smiling. Some had come to Formentera for a week, and landed up staying a year and counting. Ex-bar tenders, painters, real estate agents now lived here in total abandonment of everything, not a care in the world and not a penny in the bank. This was about half of the island. What is everyone running away from?

Some said that Formentera has this effect on people. It is an island with the effect of a magnet. An island that takes you on a trip into yourself. Lets you just be. Hmm. I think it let me be too, for those 5 days I was there. I think it’s the nature the island allows you to be in – without a million people around you. The island is quite undeveloped. Allows you to be in as natural a surrounding as possible.

We rented bicycles while we were there and went to 3 points of the 4, of the island. Rode up hills, through forests to a lighthouse. Effortlessing rode down at sunset, breathing in fresh air, not a soul in sight. Rode along the coastline, from beach to beach. Swam and bathed in the ocean, ate organic food and slept in the wilderness. Although I’ve done similar things in Thailand and Australia, it is not entirely the same. Thailand and Oz, both have their own charm, and so does this island.

At night we didn’t have means of getting around. After riding a bicycle all day, it can get tiring to hop on again at night, and if you fancy a drink – it’s not a good idea. No taxi’s, no buses. You have to hitch-hike. And bless all those people who stopped to give us a ride. All those people who didn’t – shame on you. One day when you need a ride, you won’t get one. It’s karma.

All in all, a great trip. A bit expensive – as everything is imported on the island, but well worth the trip if you fancy a simple get away in the heart of nature.

(ARGH: for once I have decent pics, can’t upload them for some reason! 🙁

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