A New Way To Travel

I have come to discover that there exists two rather distinct classes of people. The “Haves”, and the “Have Nots”. There are those who fly by the seat of their pants, who sort of go through life in a constant laissez faire state of mind, we’ll call them the “Haves”. And then there are those who obsess over every minute detail, creating a paul that hovers over them like Pig Pen’s ever-present cloud. We’ll call them the “Have Nots”. I confess, rather unwittingly, to being the latter.

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To me, deadlines are a mandate. Meeting schedules, work appointments, even social events, have a stated commencement date and time. A time that is not as much a time for targeting arrival, but rather a time wherein you should abjectly have been in your appointed position, 30 minutes prior to said commencement. This is not the time set for establishing an on-time arrival, but more so the beginning of the period establishing tardiness.

As an example then, workers starting their day at 8AM, should be in their ready position by, say 7:30. Making adequate provisions for traffic, the unplanned flat, or the long line at the coffee shop. Mind you, this is my take. The position of the Have Nots. Many others out there, the Haves, find that walking through the door at 8, constitutes an on time arrival. Somehow there is no consideration of the time required to get to their desk, drop off the jacket, say hello to Jane at the next cube, etc., etc., etc.

But I admit there exists this other side to the coin, and as I have observed them, I find that these are the travelers I envy. The Haves saunter to the ticketing kiosk to obtain their boarding pass, completely at ease, seemingly unaware they have only minutes to spare. They don’t own a watch, and wouldn’t understand it’s purpose anyway. The Have Nots rush to be the first to board, pacing as other zones ahead of them get the nod to proceed. The Haves instead head off for coffee as Final Boarding call is announced. They live a life free of stress, totally enjoying each breath and the life it brings them. They are my example I desire to be.Departure Lounge

A recent trip to the Caribbean had gone on unscheduled for far too long. Uncertainty on several fronts left us waiting far too long to pull the travel trigger. Tickets that were normally booked many months in advance, were eventually purchased well under the advantageous 21-day window. While it did have a noticeable impact on the wallet, I survived nonetheless.

But never has there been a Have Not traveler, less prepared for the actual day of departure. My bags were packed in less than 30 minutes of elapsed time, and not until approaching midnight of the night before. Parts of which were not actually completed until shortly before heading to the airport. Products we were to take along to an awaiting client were not assembled until the morning of departure, and one connecting flight was even booked while sitting in the Departure Lounge of our initial flight.

I have learned that deep cleansing breaths help, and calling on the name of a higher power can have a calming effect too! This Have Not is seeing the value of a life less fettered. Soaring at 30,000 feet, and winding my way toward a tropical destination, I found myself wondering. Can a Have Not actually become converted?

I am making it my objective to travel this trip as a Have! To roll with the flow, to bob and weave with the trade winds of non-conformity. Waking at the break of noon, showing up for breakfast as they are beginning to shut off service, and to to consider dinner options only as I am driving Restaurant Row. Is it possible? Can a Have Not change his stripes. I am unsure at this writing. But I declare a desire to learn how the other half lives. So tell us, how do you roll, are you a Have, or a Have Not?  As for me… Serenity now!

Live the Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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THE ART OF THE DANCE

Had we known the respect she held over the entire island population, we may have been dissuaded from ever even approaching her regarding our venture.  But our naiveté of her position dictated that we forge ahead.

I initially contacted a select group of artists by email to see if there was interest in participating in a calendar project we were producing for Island Art.  It was intended to feature the works of some of St. Martin’s talented art community.  Having spent a little time on internet searches, and reading the volumes of information available about her, I admit to a certain degree of surprise that she was interested.  Having Ruby Bute in our calendar would definitely lend an air of credibility and help insure further commitments from the fence riders.

We made preliminary arrangements via email, and exchanged phone numbers for our pending arrival on the island.  A couple of brief phone conversations from the states left us excited to meet her face to face, but with an image already beginning to form, we knew that this was indeed a special woman, and that we were going to be in for a unique and rewarding experience.

…Upon our arrival we pulled up to the large painted steel gate and honked per the posted sign.  After a few minutes the gate slowly slid open to allow our passing.  Driving on to the yard we see her sitting on the front porch of her home as the gate slides shut behind us.  We were on the “inside” now.  We felt elite, part of a select few, allowed briefly to see behind the curtain.  We approach with nervousness and trepidation wondering how we will be received.

The Boardroom
The Boardroom

We were given a grand tour of the entire home and previewed a wide array of her completed works.  Numerous attempts on my part to direct us towards the purpose of our visit were rebuffed as if a pesky gnat or fruit fly.  We were treated as special quests and her hospitality was humbling.

…At the conclusion of our two-hour “visit”, she announced that she had needed to find out who this man from the states was before she committed to the project.  “Now we can talk business” she declares, “but not today.”  She had another appointment that she had to keep and would have to leave.  We were invited to come back the following day to talk business.

So we learned that this entire meeting had only been held so that she could see if there would be a need at all for a 2nd meeting.  As we drove off the lawn and back to our resort, we were jilted a bit by the lack of progress, but celebrating the fact we had passed muster.  I have not known before or since, an island resident so clearly in command of everything that goes on around her.  Nothing happens without her knowledge and subsequent approval.  To have survived this first test of character was exhilarating and left us in a celebratory mood.  We now knew that with her in the stable, the rest of the calendar would fill quite easily..

Majestic Silk Cotton tree on the grounds of the Gallery.
Majestic Silk Cotton tree on the grounds of the Gallery.

I started the business discussions by pointing to the agreement, and started to briefly discuss the merits of each article in it.  Mind you, this is a very brief legal document; only two pages in length, but nearly one half of its contents are dedicated to the discussion of royalties, the calculation, and the auditing of it.  As I reached Article 3, Royalties, she stopped me in my tracks.  “Why do we need all this?”  “Well” I explained, “I wanted each of the artists to feel I was being transparent and forthright in my dealings.”

“I understand, but I don’t want to have to worry about what this Mr. Vanderpool is doing back in the states” she said.  I was beginning to see the picture she was now painting without benefit of brush or knife.  “Would you rather have a certain quantity of calendars to sell in your own studio” I asked?

“Exactly!”  Now quite clearly pleased that this stranger from the states has finally caught up with her unspoken directive.  Now all that would remain would be to determine a proper quantity for her contribution.  So after a few uneasy moments of pregnant pause, I finally played right in to her hand, “Did you have a number in mind?”

“Well, whatever you think is fair” she coyly responded.  I now quickly make some royalty calculations in my head based upon the projected sales and first run printing.  “How does 100 or 150 units sound?”

“150 is a good number… but I was thinking of a different number.”  I laughed out loud and she too chuckled, both of us realizing we were now entering into the Art of the Dance…

To read the this story in it’s entirety, and to hear other tales of transitions to a slower-paced island life, check out the book “A Beach Less Traveled” by John Berglund.  It’s a great read for a beautiful day on the beach!

Live the Lifestyle,
JVbytheSea

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From Passions to Business

Thanks to inFlow Inventory Software for contacting us to be a part of their Customer Spotlight Blog.  We were thrilled to be selected for the story and are happy to share how our island inspired art and gift company got off the ground.  Click on the link below for the full story.  Thanks inFlow!

How passions for art and travel created an online small business.

Live the Life,
JVbytheSea

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Thankful For The Gift of Travel

While we are enjoying this special time with our family and loved ones gathered near, we hope you are as well.  Far too often we let the opportunities pass to tell those we love how much they mean to us.  Please take advantage of that time today and let them know, while the the time is still at hand.

We are thankful for many things during this season of reflection.  We’re thankful for a gracious Creator, our dear family, which means more to us than life itself, and today I am especially thankful for my parents, who from an early age exposed me to the wonderful gift of travel.

As a young child my parents frequently gifted my siblings and I to travel across the United States.  In the summer of 1969 my father loaded the entire family up like Clark Griswold, and in true Family Huckster tradition we headed off for two weeks, to trek a course to the west coast and back.

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION

With family in Vallejo, California, dad was determined to pack as much exploration into the journey as was possible, given a borrowed Bonneville and a few tanks of gas.  Interstate 70 was just recently completed and interstate travel was still in its infancy, but we were destined to explore this great country and learn much about the history and geography that heretofore had been known only by the black and white photos in the World Book Encyclopedia.

Parading westward from Kansas City through hours of monotonous and barren Kansas prairie, were it not for Dorothy we would have never heard of this place.  Save the occasional ball of twine there was little to explore or recall except wheat, corn, and the occasional oil rig.  We flew straight as an arrow towards our first destination, Denver, Colorado.  Salvation from the mundane came initially in the form of the foothills of the Rockies.

I really didn’t know what to expect save what I had seen in photographs.  As we grow and begin to experience more of what this wonderful planet has to offer, we soon come to realize that with all due respect to Thomas Edison and Eastman Kodak, pictures really do not do justice for all the grandeur and beauty that nature and our wonderful Creator can bestow.  I recall thinking upon seeing the foothills, that these “mountains” really were nothing more than big hills, “Whoop-ti-do”.  With the mountain peaks beyond, still shrouded in the darkness of what appeared to be just another bank of clouds from an approaching storm front, I knew not what lay ahead.  As we continued westward and the mountains began to unfold before us my father was at last redeemed.

www.rockymountainmagazine.com

We sojourned through all the requisite tourist destinations as we criss-crossed our way to the Pacific.  A stop at Salt Lake City was probably more to satisfy my mother’s curiosity than any other, as she was our church organist and she had to see what I was sure was the biggest pipe organ known to man.  The stop at the Great Salt Lake was rewarding enough, though I must confess the only attraction to me was in knowing that this was the spot where all the land speed records were set.  Through Reno for a quick stop so mother could drop a few quarters, a photo-op to shoot flowers at the capitol steps in Carson City, Nevada, and a short fly by along the edge of Lake Tahoe.  At long last we were back in stride heading for the coast.

Keeping in mind the times in which we lived, and the fact I was a prepubescent boy of only 10-years old, when we finally reached our family in Vallejo, I would find out much later, I had reached my Nirvana.  My cousins at the time were teenage girls in the most stereotypical blond-haired, blue-eyed California girl fashion that one could imagine.  We made short duty of the ‘hellos” and “how are yous” and somehow, I’m sure we made for the coast post haste.  I recall Otis Redding’s classic hit playing again and again in my mind as we made our way around San Pablo Bay towards our first glimpse of the ocean.

If the encyclopedia photographs paled in comparison to our first glimpse of real mountain peaks, the initial sighting of the vastness of the endless body of water known as the Pacific Ocean was spine tingling.  There is no way a picture or words can prepare the mind for what we would see.  I was instantly envious of my older cousins and wondered why my father instead had accepted work in a munitions factory in the heart of the Midwest.

ShawnXian via Flickr

And now, many years later I reflect back and thank my father for 1969, for a seemingly endless drive in a Pontiac Bonneville, and for my introduction to the beaches of California.  It has resulted in a passion that gives me more joy than anything else.  I wouldn’t trade that for all the money in the world.  Thank you Dad, I Love You!

Our Grand Entrance

Hello Travel Junkies!

We’re excited today to launch the very first edition of the Island Art blog.  Thanks for taking the time to make the inaugural step with us.

A proper introduction of who we are is probably in order.  First and foremost we are just a couple of mid-western souls in search of a salty piece of land.

They say the human body is 60% water.  If that’s true, then I think that in my case it must be saltwater.  From a very early age I was exposed to the beaches of California and Florida, and I was hooked.  Since that day, I have been drawn to the salty shores of the Caribbean islands.  Just another chorus from a favorite Chesney song, “He’s an Island Boy…”

Just an Island Boy

I started Island Art & Treasures in 2007 as a way to share our love of Caribbean art and it’s artists, and to expose their works to a larger audience.  And hey, who doesn’t like business trips that involve lazy days spent on sunny beaches on exotic locations.

Over the years I have traveled to numerous countries and to countless states across the United States.  But nothing scratches my nomadic itch quite like time spent in the islands.   I love all things Caribbean, and everything that these islands have to offer.

Island Art & Treasures gives me the opportunity to travel, exposing myself to more of the characteristics and distinct personalities of each island.  Along the way, there are numerous stories, experiences, and characters that we meet.  This blog will be an occasion to share some of our travels and experiences as we seek to Live the Life With our Toes in the Sand!

Cheers!

While reading our blog please remember a couple of things:
1.  We write from our perspective. We hope you enjoy what we have to say, but remember that these are our experiences alone. Not everyone may have the same thoughts or experiences with the same locations. And that’s okay.
2.  Grab a map or pop open GoogleEarth if you’re unfamiliar with the location discussed. It helps to drop in a proverbial pushpin and know where we are.
3.  If you get really bored, drop in on our retail site MyIslandArt.com and do a little shopping! Our Island-Themed gifts are the perfect seasoning for your life.
4.  Check back often for all or newest items and blog ramblings.

We hope to see you soon, Down Island Way!
Island Art & Treasures