Ibiza Forever: What Happens When you Decide to Make Ibiza your Home

Where it all began…
It was in the early 80’s when I first set foot on this island, the parents of my best friend were part of the so-called ‘Jet set’ movement, wealthy people that travelled the globe via jet plane, originally motivated by participating in social activities but it became more and more a term for rich people showing off. Today you would probably say VIP, another of those words that was ripped off its original meaning, because Very Important Person does not necessarily mean that this person is rich, it means ‘important’ – but that is another story…

Anyway, as I first set foot on Ibiza something happened to me, something that I did not overlook in all its bearing, but it would change my life forever. The holiday was basically relaxing at their beautiful finca in the hills above Jesus, with a few excursions to get to know some beaches and Ibiza’s beautiful landscapes. Mass tourism was not a term back in those days and Ibiza was certainly not known to millions of tourists around the globe.

How it was…
The overall feeling of the island in the 80’s was that of total freedom, the mixture of Ibiçencans, Hippies and travellers was totally harmonic, there was a mutual respect and nobody cared about anybody being different. In the following years I returned to the island almost every summer, my parents were not part of the Jet set so I had to work back home to be able to afford my holidays and I was lucky enough to find some jobs on the island as well, helping to create amazing hand painted decorations for a club called ‘Amnesia’ by the hands of a good friend who was in charge of the visuals. In 1989 two friends of mine and myself rented a finca ourselves and I was about to stay forever, when this good friend of mine sent me back to Germany to study Graphic Design in order to have a profession that I could build my life on.

Ibiza in the 1990’s…
In 1996 the moment arrived when I finished my studies and already worked 2 years in advertising agencies in Germany, knowing that I would leave it all behind to make a living in Ibiza. With that said and done, we opened a bar in Ibiza town and simultaneously started a small pocket magazine dedicated to the emerging club life that spread all over the island. By the millennium I had already learned how tough it is to survive here, not knowing what happens each day to the next day as this is one of Ibiza’s main characteristics, life here is not linear, the people here work to live, they do not live to work, as I knew it back from my home country, Germany. I remember that we were shocked by the number of tourists back then which, for the first time, exceeded the magic number of one million.

That was about the time that many people said this would be the end of Ibiza as it was, mass tourism started to change the face of Ibiza forever, prices exploded, real estate agencies sprouted like clover in spring all over the island and the flights were so expensive that it was almost impossible for average people to be able to afford a decent holiday. But one thing still stayed the same, the mutual respect of people not judging others for their race, sexual or political orientation or their way of life, their dress code or social status. Nowadays we are run over by more than 8 million tourists per year, a number that seemed to be impossible just a few years ago, based on the fact that there is war on the other side of the Mediterranean, so at least 30% only come to Ibiza because their usual holiday destination is currently impossible to travel to. The consequences are endless traffic jams, even more exploding prices for apartments, an infrastructure that is amplified year after year to keep this island running even in high season with devastating effects for the islands beauty.

 

Ibiza now…
But even with all these people invading the island, and with all the problems that come with it, Ibiza still has this air of freedom, of tolerance and mutual respect, and let’s face it, the climate and it’s location in the heart of Europe make this island a unique place, big enough to offer you all sorts of diversion but small enough to maintain its own vibe, independent from the main land and the rest of the world. Some of my friends left the island in the past few years to find a new Ibiza somewhere else and I can tell you that almost all of them did regret their decision shortly after, with some of them returning to Ibiza appreciating the way of life more than ever.

Ibiza was, is and always will be a safe haven for libertines, creative people, free spirits, dropouts and everybody who does not fit in any pattern, and as such becomes more and more a paradigm of how all these different people from all over the globe can live together in harmony. And if you really feel like this is not your island then please leave, go somewhere else to see if you fit in there and be happy, life is what you make it, and you better make the most out of it.

About Andi Hofer

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