I now know the secret to living happily ever after on your island. It’s actually not to be perpetually laid-back and to just go with the flow, although that probably would help. The secret isn’t to avoid having one too many rum drinks, although that will clearly help your waistline and your decision-making skills. At least for this island girl, I recently discovered that the secret to island living is to, well, get off the island.
After five and a half months as a resident of St. John in the US Virgin Islands, I will admit that I was starting to think I’d had enough… Enough of the heat and the hills and the mosquitoes and the general craziness of living on an island in the middle of tourist season.
I was longing for shopping malls and dishwashers and time with my friends and family.
I was feeling particularly fluffy as a result of my diet, which has changed quite drastically since I moved to St. John from Charlotte. I started a gluten-free, caffeine-free diet upon my departure, but that’s a story for another day.
With the fluffiness, I was also really missing my workout classes that brought me so much joy.
I longed to feel chilly, so that I could hop in a warm bubble bath.
Wish granted. Scarf, check. Sweater, check. Hot tea, check. Hunter boots for the cold (and rainy) day, check.
I wanted to meet my friends’ new babies and snuggle with my furry loves who reside in the states!
After eight days of being in Charlotte and Kannapolis, I observed that my friends are just as sweet as ever. My family still misses me, but they are excited to see me living out my dreams.
I found Whole Foods to be blissfully unchanged.
SouthPark Mall and the surrounding boutiques were still dangerously addictive. That said, I found myself slipping right back into my same old habits. I felt like I needed to spend lots of money and acquire more things. I shopped and I shopped and I shopped.
Luckily, since I don’t have my six-figure corporate America salary anymore, it was refreshing to find that I didn’t see much that I really needed or even that I really wanted (with the exception of a swimsuit and coverup from E Martini and a couple new Lululemon pieces… justified by functionality). I may be crazy, but thank goodness I was rational enough to know that buying things that made sense in Charlotte weren’t worth the space they’d take up in my luggage. My life on St. John is simpler, and it’s best to keep it that way.
Back to Island Life
I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to go back home. I’m equally grateful that after eight amazing days, I got to come home. I have two homes now. Both have their merits; both have their challenges. And you have to constantly be on the lookout for what makes people and places so special. If you’re not, you just might take them for granted.
It turns out, the secret to island living is actually the secret to living a good life. Sometimes you have to find a way to put things in perspective. Wherever you are and wherever you go, it is up to you to create the experiences that make your life unique and magical. Traveling with your joy will always fill a bigger, more important space than anything you can buy at the mall and stuff in your check bag.
I already feel like I’m a better island girl. Getting off the island did wonders for my heart. And The Lord welcomed me right back to my island home with the most spectacular gift.
St John, USVI Blogger