10 Things I’ll Miss Most About St. Helena

07/17/2017 03:03 am ET

I came to St. Helena with a project called Six Months A Saint to document the unique achievements and challenges of the island as it is going through a time of rapid change.

Six months is not nearly enough time to really understand this place. I’m about finished with my time here and there is still so much I need to see, do and learn about.

I’m hoping for another six months as “a Saint,” but until I return, here’s what I’ll miss most:

1. Sunsets

Every night is spectacular and always a little different. On a clear night with no clouds, you can see the green flash.

Sunset from the back of Old School House.
Sarah Pitts.
Sunset from the back of Old School House.

2. People know you

Even if they don’t know your name, most people hear about you or what you do. Before we got here people knew that “the two American Girls” were coming. I sometimes went by “Emma’s friend,” since Emma is a St. Helenian direct descendant, and some people knew I was with Six Months A Saint after introducing myself.

A post shared by Emma Weaver (@emtheresa10) on

3. Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is completely safe and easy to do around the island. You don’t even have to stick your thumb out to have someone stop and offer you a lift. Sometimes a friendly taxi driver will even give you a free lift when it’s raining.

I mainly hitched rides into Jamestown - this was a usual route for me.
Sarah Pitts
I mainly hitched rides into Jamestown - this was a usual route for me.

4. St. Helena Coffee

The Arabica beans on St. Helena are thought to be some of the most pure Arabica beans - the plants haven’t cross-bred with other beans because of the isolation of the island. While a small bag is sold in the U.K. for around 100 pounds, you can buy one here for just over 8 pounds.

A latte (and espresso) from The Coffee Shop in Jamestown.
Sarah Pitts
A latte (and espresso) from The Coffee Shop in Jamestown.

5. The RMS - the lifeline for St. Helena

After two months without the Royal Mail Ship St. Helena coming to the island at all, it’s always comforting to see the ship in the bay. Everything feels complete when the RMS is here.

The RMS from High Knoll Fort, looking over Half Tree Hollow.
Sarah Pitts
The RMS from High Knoll Fort, looking over Half Tree Hollow.

6. Post Box Walks

There are 22 walks around the island that each have a Post Box at the end with a notebook, stamp and pen. Each walk is completely different, offers spectacular views and is a healthy workout. We only completed seven, but I’m determined to eventually do them all.

Leo Jackson and James Fantom at the Post Box at High Hill.
Sarah Pitts
Leo Jackson and James Fantom at the Post Box at High Hill.

7. Sunday Lunch

A St. Helenian Sunday lunch is magical - think curry feast, traditional roast and drinking from early afternoon until you’re ready to fall asleep - with family and friends.

This was a special Sunday lunch for Easter.
Sarah Pitts
This was a special Sunday lunch for Easter.

8. Waving

People wave to each other on St. Helena, even if you don’t really see who the person is, or you do and haven’t actually met them yet. I’m sure I’ll be met with strange looks at home when I automatically wave to everyone.

Walking down Main Street it’s common to wave to those you know and those you don’t.
Sarah Pitts
Walking down Main Street it’s common to wave to those you know and those you don’t.

9. Fresh fish

After living in landlocked states for most of my life, the ability to have fresh fish is such a treat. One day we bought a huge hunk of tuna, freshly caught that day. Some fishermen climb around steep the cliffs and rocks to find a perfect spot.

Catch of the day from Emma Weaver and James Fantom back in April.
Sarah Pitts
Catch of the day from Emma Weaver and James Fantom back in April.

10. Red tea

Rooibos tea, which I still struggle to pronounce properly, is a South African specialty and is common on St. Helena. It goes well with coffee and the combination can be served as a Red Latte.

My first Red Latte in Cape Town. My attempts to replicate it did not look this good.
Sarah Pitts
My first Red Latte in Cape Town. My attempts to replicate it did not look this good.
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