“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Out of all the famous Ernest Hemingway quotes, none quite sum up his intensity and passion for the art of writing quite like this one. Hemingway lived a life like no other. Constantly in transit, searching for the next big adventure, he was a true adrenaline junkie. His journeys around the world gave him the perspectives and insights that fueled the creation of his award-winning novels. But there was one destination in his long list of travels that influenced him differently than the rest. Bimini gained and maintained the reputation as Hemingway’s favorite escape. It’s an island that honors his life and legacy to this day, and one that will always hold his spirit in both its land and sea.
Born in 1899 in Illinois, young Hemingway frequented Michigan for its nature and wildlife. It was there that he developed his deep-rooted passion for hunting, fishing, and appreciation for the great outdoors. Hemingway’s interests since his youth were largely shaped by his constant fascination with competition and self-improvement. His high school days were largely spent working on the school’s newspaper, writing, unsurprisingly, about sports. Throughout WWI, WWII, and the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway spent years working in various high intensity occupations, from an ambulance driver to the Italian army in WWI, to a war correspondent for the Spanish Civil War and WWII. He had a constant desire to be present at every key event, not just for the thrill, but for the purpose of finding inspiration for his works of writing.
Hemingway’s desire to travel and experience the cultures of the world only grew with age. After extensive travels around Europe, he moved to Key West in the sunshine state where he finished his famed novel A Farewell to Arms. When he wasn’t writing, Hemingway continued to pursue his relentless desire for adrenaline-filled moments of intensity. He frequented Africa for big game hunting, Spain for bullfighting, and what soon became his new home for big game fishing – Bimini.
When Ernest Hemingway docked his boat, the Pilar, on the shores of Bimini in 1935, he instantly fell in love. He quickly joined the rankings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Zane Grey as both American icons and passionate anglers. He lived on the island from 1935-1937, gaining invaluable experiences with Bimini’s nature and wildlife. He spent his days out in the turquoise waters of the island, constantly in pursuit of his next big catch. Hemingway found a beauty in the diverse marine life that ultimately inspired many of his most famous works. He admired these fish for their speed, agility, and resistance to being caught. He admired the battle between anglers and fish and the determination that each has to have their way.
Bimini became Hemingway’s muse. He made the island his home, and the fish his neighbors. His years spent angling throughout the island’s waters gave him the passion and knowledge to write The Old Man and The Sea and Islands in the Stream, winning him a Pulitzer Prize and securing Bimini as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World. Hemingway continued his pursuit of adventure after leaving the island, moving around the world, and writing more award winning novels. Hemingway had many romantic pursuits throughout his life, but perhaps the biggest romance of his life was with the island of Bimini. Despite his constant need to keep his life in motion, he felt such a passion for Bimini that he chose to settle down in the island and get to know it to its fullest extent. It gave him the inspiration to ultimately win the biggest literary awards of his lifetime. The adventures that can be had in Bimini are unlike any other in the world, and Hemingway recognized this from the moment he docked the Pilar on its sandy shores.
To this day, Bimini honors Hemingway in every way, from its museum walls to its various establishments. At Resorts World Bimini, Hemingway’s love for the island is revered in every aspect of the resort. Stop by Hemingway’s Restaurant for an experience in eclectic Bahamian and American fare in a laid-back setting you’d easily find Ernest Hemingway frequenting during his Bimini days.