“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” – Goethe
A major attraction of moving to a tropical paradise like Cayman is that you can escape the hustle and bustle of the over crowed city streets many of us had grown tired of. In densely populated areas it’s easy to get caught up in the anonymity of the city, people become disenchanted with politicians and big corporations, disengaging with society they grow blind to wider social problems often times leading to an introverted view of the world. People look after themselves and begin to ignore each other, thinking “what difference can/do I make?” Cayman couldn’t be further from that. With just 50,000 people spread across 3 islands you’ll make a difference here whether you want to or not!
As the population shrinks your influence grows and it gives rise to an opportunity to genuinely impact the society you live in. Cayman’s sunny shores help to melt the entrenched social idioms of home and apathy subsides as you re-engage and realize you can make a difference. Here are some examples of how Cayman cultivates such a great sense of community and offers unique opportunities.
People make places…
There is notorious assumption in the UK that you know when you are in “the north” because shop keepers, bus drivers, strangers etc will take the time to interact with you. They ask you how you are and exchange a little a small talk to pass the time. Being a friendly loquacious northerner, who has ventured south of Manchester in my time, I can say the old adage has more than grain of truth to it. But if the north of England is more sociable than the south, then Cayman is like the north after Middleborough won the league cup final! People may not be literally dancing in the streets, but strangers are happy to strike up a conversation or offer a helping hand, and there is a general air of good will. A few months back, my car broke down near Eastend and no less than 6 people stopped to offer help (more seemed to stop when my wife was by the road and I was hidden under the car bonnet but I think that was just coincidence). If that doesn’t convince you, read this – http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethgreenfield/2012/10/24/the-worlds-friendliest-countries-3/
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.”
The support for charity here and the sheer volume of events is amazing. I don’t think a week passes without some fundraiser taking place which directly benefits Cayman and its residents. There are so many ways to get involved with fun runs, marathons, sea swims or if you prefer something a little less physically challenging there are many sponsored lunch/dinners, auctions and general charity nights. Recently, much of the local community was involved in the Heroes for Hannah head shave event. This was the second year the event was held and shavees participating had increased by over 200%, which is testament to how willing people here are to support a good cause.
When’s the last time Obama invited you for dinner at the White House?
“Six degrees of separation” is the theory that everyone and everything in the world is six or fewer steps away by way of introduction, through friends of friends etc. (A popular incarnation of this is the Kevin Bacon game – if you haven’t got much work on this afternoon amaze yourself with this http://oracleofbacon.org/). Well if six degrees is the global standard, then in Cayman, it would be a half a degree of separation! Granted this can become an issue when you are doing a quick run to the shops and you bump into over a thousand people you’ve met on nights out, but it also affords you unique opportunities. It’s actually very likely that you will meet politicians, even the premier and company CEOs, this close proximity not only keeps high society in touch with the rest of the island but it also offers you the chance to share your opinions with people in power. By meeting people with influence you can become that influence.
PS. Dear “the South” please take note – http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Friendly