Welcome! Tally ho!

Our B.V.I. Adventure is designed to give our family, friends and any other interested followers a look into the life of two expatriates making their way on the island of Tortola. Tortola is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands.

So, why did we move 2,000 miles away from our home in Knoxville, Tennessee? Michael accepted a position as the director of retail and international sales for a Caribbean clothing brand.



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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

If you can't go left, go right. If you go right, you can't go wrong.

I'm not sure that applies here in the BVI, because if you go right, you might hit an on-coming car!

Driving on the left hand side of the road isn't as hard as I thought it would be.  It's definitely intimidating at first, but I caught on pretty quickly.  What's still taking some getting used to are the steep inclines at every turn.  Take our driveway, for instance.  Here it is!  Notice how you can only see the top of that tree?  That's because the driveway drops off to the road below.

Once you're precariously stopped at the bottom of the driveway, you have to pull out onto another steep road.  If you turn right, you're crossing a lane of oncoming traffic and headed down the hill.  It's much steeper than it appears in this photo.  If you're turning left, you're headed around a blind curve.

So, why drive on the left side of the road???  We have to go WAY back in history to understand...

Some historians, such as C. Northcote Parkinson, believed that ancient travellers on horseback generally rode on the left side of the road. As more people are right-handed, a horseman would thus be able to hold the reins with his left hand and keep his right hand free—to offer in friendship to passing riders or to defend himself with a sword, if necessary.

The first legal reference in Britain to an order for traffic to remain on the left was in 1756 with regard to London Bridge. The Highway Act 1773 contained a recommendation that horse traffic should remain on the left and this is enshrined in the Highway Act 1835.

In the late 1700s, the shift from left to right that took place in countries such as the United States was based on teamsters' use of large freight wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. The wagons had no driver’s seat, so a postilion sat on the left rear horse and held his whip in his right hand. Seated on the left, the driver preferred that other wagons pass him on the left so that he could be sure to keep clear of the wheels of oncoming wagons. He did that by driving on the right side of the road.

Countries that became part of the British Empire adopted the British keep-left rule, although many have since changed. {Source material: Wikipedia}

The British Virgin Islands was not among those that made the switch.