How the book ‘Caribbean’ changed my life

Some books are special. Not only because they are good reads, but because you read them at a special time in your life, or in a special place, or both. Some books really make or mark a change in your life. For me, ‘Caribbean’ is such book.

How the book ‘Caribbean’ changed my life

Back in the nineties, I used to read many of James Michener’s ‘historic novels’. When I visited my father, who lived in Curacao in 1994, I read ‘Caribbean’. I was traveling the region and I was seeing a lot of things I could not place or understand from my business background, so this book gave me insights.
I had recently graduated from a BBA and my dad was pushing me to do an MBA. I had even taken a GMAT qualification test and had scored so high that universities were calling me to ask if I would please come and study with them… I had a vague sense that studying (more) business would not make me happy, but to be honest, I did not have an alternative, either.

Then I stumbled upon a chapter in the book where an anthropology teacher spends a season on a cruise ship, teaching anthropology to students as they discover the Caribbean. First time ever that I heard about anthropology.

Everything clicked. I would study anthropology to make (more) sense of the world around me and the different countries and cultures I encountered. This book prompted me to make a choice that was completely new in the world where I came from and that was uniquely my own. So I registered for a Masters in Latin American Studies and Anthropology at the University of Florida.
There was a summer between this epiphany and the actual start of the university. And guess what happened? I got invited to a work as a hostess on a cruise ship!

Nowadays I combine my business background and my anthropological worldview in exclusive ‘cruise your business’ trips; taking small groups of entrepreneurs on inspiration journeys across the Atlantic.
Interesting how – only 20 years later – you can fully appreciate the impact a book has had on your life. That’s why yesterday I decided to read it again.
And guess what? This boarding pass from (I guess) 1997 fell out of the book. That year I was doing my thesis research with the Maya indians in Guatemala and Belize, studying their natural medicines and belief systems around health.
How times have changed! Check out the advertisement on the back for ‘in-flight calls’! How long since we haven’t seen these?

How the book ‘Caribbean’ changed my life
How the book ‘Caribbean’ changed my life