A Bermudian in Seychelles: Paradise on earth
“I live where you vacation.”
That’s a saying that Jecoa Tucker can proudly boast after moving to the Seychelles three months ago.
The 115-island country is frequently described as paradise on earth. The archipelago sits in the Indian Ocean, just off Africa.
Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned there in 2011. Other high-profile guests who have visited are Sir Paul McCartney, Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek.
Mr Tucker moved there after he got a job as assistant housekeeping manager for the five-star Constance Ephelia. The resort is based in the capital city Victoria in Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles.
“I knew Seychelles was beautiful and was known for its abundance of rich plantation and unique granite mountains, but I didn’t know too much as I had only heard about the country a year prior to coming to the island,” the 28-year-old said.
The islands together are more than eight times the size of Bermuda. Many of them are uninhabited, and used as nature reserves.
Mr Tucker remembers looking out of the aeroplane window as it touched down in the French-Creole/ African nation and being blown away by the beautiful landscape.
“My first impression was thinking this is truly paradise,” he said. “It was definitely screen saver quality. I was awe-struck.”
The Seychelles proved to be just the change he was looking for after a stint working in Dubai.
“I felt coming to the Seychelles would provide me with both the cultural and professional challenges I was craving,” he explained.
“With God’s grace I landed the job in July 2014 and moved here last September.”
Mr Tucker helps run the resort’s housekeeping and laundry department, which has more than 160 employees.
He has one day off each week.
He spends his spare time learning about the island and its people.
“The lifestyle here outside of work is so humble and relaxed,” he said.
“The locals know how to live life, enjoy family and each other’s company through simplicity and there are always lots to do as far as activities and entertainment.”
The move has exposed him to some new foods — a tropical fruit known as jamalac, and an authentic Creole dinner.
“I didn’t expect there to be as much diversity as there is here,” he said.
“From Muslims, to Christians and even Hindus, there are so many religions and nationalities among the community.
“When people first see me they speak to me in Creole because I look like I am Seselwa [one of the country’s indigenous people].
“It’s only when they hear my accent that they realise I’m not from here and start asking all sorts of questions about my nationality and Bermuda.
“Most local people I have spoken to don’t know much about Bermuda, which for me is a plus because I enjoy being able to describe and explain how Bermuda is and how it is different and similar to here.
“I’ve always enjoyed promoting my country and being here has taken that joy to an even higher level.”
His advice to other young Bermudians looking to travel is: take the leap.
“A lot of times we as Bermudians get so comfortable with our daily routine that we refuse to break it and don’t have the desire to try new things,” he said. This way of thinking will only hold you back.
“There are so many opportunities in the world that await you if you just take the time to look for them.”
He continued: “If you want something in life simply go for it. One of the best feelings in life is knowing you gave your best trying to reach a goal and not having any regrets later in life. No matter what industry you are in, international experience will always put you a step ahead so never be hesitant to relocate in the world.
“Embrace the opportunity and challenge, travel with an open mind and enjoy the adventure.”
Mr Tucker likes this luxury man-made island because of the atmosphere and surroundings. “The background is surrounded by luscious mountains and greenery,” he said. “It’s full of very good restaurants, shopping and a casino, which has been popular with both tourists and locals. It’s definitely one of the main hot spots on the island of Mahé.”
Mr Tucker said he enjoyed walking around this town on his days off. “The town is not big, but it’s very lively and has a lot to see and do,” he said. “Being in town also gets me talking to the locals, which allows me to work on my Creole.”
Beau Vallon Beach
This is one of the best beaches in Seychelles, according to Mr Tucker. He said: “I love this beach because of its stunning beauty and the fact you can find a good mix of things to do. The beach is a long strip full of high-end hotels and restaurants, but if that’s not your thing there are plenty of small side food vendors with local assortments to choose from. You can enjoy the glitz and glamour of the five-star hotels or have a relaxing day cooling off on the beach and drinking fresh cut coconut water. The choices are there. Beau Vallon has all types of water sports available as well.”