It’s been about a week since I last wore shoes, looked into a mirror, or checked the time. I don’t even remember exactly which day I got here. All I know is that the moment I got off the panga and set foot onto Little Corn Island, everything slowed down to the delightful pace called ‘island time’.
I meant to stay here for two nights but didn’t manage to leave this enchanted gem in the Nicaraguan Caribbean until a good week or so later. There are no roads here, no cars, and no motorbikes. Except for a few bicycles everyone walks along mostly sandy trails. In fact, you can only circle the island on foot – it takes about an hour – and half the time you will be walking along beautiful beaches such as the amazing Playa Cocal.In general, time is of little importance here, the only thing spot on are the sunrise and the sunset. Showers are mostly cold, internet – when available – is slow and electricity is on and off, meaning that occasionally you find yourself in pitch black darkness until the generator kicks in (if it does at all), with only the moon and stars above you.To me this is what I consider luxury but I know people who would not stay here for more than an hour. With hardly any material luxury available this begs the question how this is luxury? To answer that I have to ask another question: What does luxury really mean? The word itself today is used at such an inflationary rate that wherever you look, products, services, and goods are advertised as luxury, whether it’s toilet paper, cars or lifestyle in general. There is even a luxury tax!In 1846 the Brockhaus encyclopaedia defined luxury “as anything that is more than necessary”; in 1890 Meyer’s lexicon narrowed this down to anything “which is more than ordinary”. Funny enough, today most lexica have become a luxury themselves (the Encyclopaedia Britannica has a $1’400 price tag).
Per general definition I would say luxury stands for extravagance, for something desirable that is expensive (or hard to obtain), for something very pleasant you might not necessarily need? In any case, it is meant to satisfy some human need or desire and thus have a positive effect on a person. You can go on and break luxury down into qualitative luxury (referring to single items) and quantitative luxury (the excessive amount of resources), but that’s a different story altogether and you can find out more about the Necessity-Luxury Continuum here.Back here on Little Corn the absence of qualitative luxury is compensated by what I regard as the highest form of luxury: time. Time to travel, time to explore remote corners of the world, time to spend with family and friends, time to be in the sun and enough time not having to look at a watch, time to do what you want to without rushing or even thinking about what to do next. In short: enough time not having to think about time. In this fast paced world we live and work in having time is no longer ordinary, it has become extraordinary. Feeling the sand between my toes as I am having breakfast, a Caribbean breeze and the morning sun in my face, I am content and happy as time slowly passes. I spot Brandon fly-fishing in the surf, casting his rod with a steady rhythm. For a moment I am thinking whether I should go fishing but really I don’t want to have to choose what to do next at all. Arthur Miller once said: “Where choice begins, paradise ends, innocence ends, for what is paradise but the absence of any need to choose?” And Marcel Proust adds: “The only true paradise is a paradise we have lost”.
I don’t want to lose this paradise that is Little Corn, but as I am having another cup of coffee I realise that I will at some point, and that it’s only a matter of time.
Comments are closed.