When I left London Town to settle on the Rock I moved from one island to another. From one that used to rule half the world to another much smaller one that used to be ruled by half the world. The weather and the quality of life might be a lot better on that smaller island, however, both pieces of land suffer from island mentality at different stages of severity, despite both countries being exposed to plenty of foreigners.
As former British colonies gained independence and initially all citizens of those lands were free to enter, live and work in Britain, the country has experienced a steady stream of migrants from all over the world. As Britain and its capital developed in the post-colonial era and the English language had become the lingua franca since the Second World War, not only people from former colonies flocked to the British Isles. Despite these foreign influences the UK still suffers from island mentality: calling continental Europe ´Europe´ as if the country weren’t part of it, but a continent on its own, having been a reluctant member of the EU since it joined the Union´s predecessor the EEC in 1973 and just wanting to do things differently believing it is still a superior force in the world.
Malta has been ruled by several foreign powers including the British. Many Maltese almost seem proud to have been colonised by British folk, which I find, having parents from post-colonial states, rather peculiar. Despite a history of foreign rule, an influx of tourists from all corners of the globe and the presence of a considerable amount of migrants and foreign workers, quite a few of the natives suffer from proper island mentality. I guess they can´t help it. Although the place is small many people who were born and raised in a certain locality tend to stay there for the rest of their life. Dark Fairies are still considered rather exotic, attitudes are conservative to some- divorce got legalised only a few years ago and abortion is illegal- and provinciality is almost an art form.
Island living can give you island fever and I was warned of this condition before moving to the Rock. I have submitted myself to something I called a hermit month, in which I don’t go out to increase focus and save some funds. So, without exploring the island further, engaging in few to no social events, my world has become particularly small as I work, live, do my shopping and go the gym within an area of less than 200m² (no joke). As my hermit month is coming to an end and I am in desperate need of some exploration, which will be happening throughout party month December, I’ve come to think that island mentality and island fever is not necessarily determined by place, but is mostly in the mind.
When I lived in that most vibrant City of Cities I suffered from the same phenomenon. London might not be an island, but it is a cosmopolitan bubble. London is not England or Great Britain, it’s an entity of its own, where its residents suffer from its own superiority complex and many don’t venture out to the peripheries. In the cosmopolitan bubble of London there is also this urge to escape all the metropolitan action now and again.
Island mentality might keep you safe, but often this is a false safety, which can lead to island fever. To the Dark Fairy life is about exploration and although one might have the need to retreat to an island of one´s own, I sure need to come off it, if only once in a while. Not only to keep my sense of sanity and fun, but also to keep exploring. The essence of progression and innovation is discovering and learning new things. So bollocks to island fever in the name of new Dark Fairy Adventures and let the exploration continue.