The Virgin Islands: A Tale of Beauty, Love and Loss

For a number of reasons, writing some of these older blogs are difficult because of the feelings associated with the memories surrounding these trips. When I look back at some of the trips I took with a significant other, I consider myself pretty lucky. I got to spend a lot of time with some pretty amazing & caring people. People that helped me grow and get to a better place within myself and my life. I’m forever thankful for these moments & these exes, but still… it’ll always be weird to no longer be talking to those I held dear in my life’s past. I can still remember hearing Genna’s voice daily over the phone, or the sense of calmness I’d have being around someone like her. A year or two ago we talked on the phone for the 1st time in a while. It was weird hearing her voice again after not hearing it for a while, especially since she was someone I used to talk to daily. Now, she is happily married to what looks like a real good guy. Of course I had to check up on her on Facebook every once in a while. When I see that she found someone good, I can’t help but smile. It’s nice to know that someone I cared so much about found happiness. Each person we date gives us a clearer sense of what we want. With Genna in particular, I’m forever thankful to learn that having a sense of belonging was something I’d continue to look for. Her & her family took me in and treated me amazingly well in ways I never experienced growing up. To this day, this is still something I look for in someone else & a quality I try to emulate myself. It’s part of why it’s so easy for me to get up and move. When you don’t feel close to those around you, it’s that much easier to get up & go. This is probably why so many travel bloggers say it’s easier to travel when you’re single. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have wonderful attachments to family and friends all around the world. I miss my friends, my cousins & my god daughter daily. But nothing takes as much energy & involvement than a significant other. I’m still unsure if having another person that close in my life is something truly meant for me. People will often tell me that there’s someone out there. Maybe, but with the more relationships & adventures I have, the less this becomes an important thing to me. If this wandering life is my destiny, that is something I’ve embraced and am totally fine with. And maybe that’s the lesson I’d like to impart with this blog. Everything in life happens for a reason. If you’re dissatisfied with the results then change what you put in to the world around you. Eventually, to some degree, you’ll start to find the outcomes that you were looking for.

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January, 2010: Genna & I had almost been dating for 2 years and what better way to celebrate than going to a beautiful island together. We get off the plane in St. Thomas and there’s shots of Cruzan rum waiting for everyone. As we get ready to taxi to the port where a boat will take us to St. Johns, we get on some strange open seated bus thing. Now, island roads are at quite the incline, and here they drive American cars on the left side of the road… They also drive REALLY FAST! I remember everyone laughing at how crazy these island drivers were. They floor it through blind spot areas and if another car would approach they’ve just swerve & honk at the last second. Trust me, it’s something you have to experience for yourself to get the full scope of. We get to St. Johns and would soon come to learn that we’d have to take these $15 one way taxis basically to anywhere we wanted to go. Once we arrived we would get a beautiful view of Trunk Bay, which is still to this day one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to. The sand was so soft and squishy!

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Trunk Bay may still be my favorite beach to this day. I’ve enjoyed many others for various reasons. However, like any gem out there, eventually one day tourism will get to it. As a traveler I try my best to leave everything looking just like it did before I got there. For the most part Trunk Bay was calm & quaint. However, on the weekend, cruise ships would arrive and hoards of people would flock to the once peaceful beach. It’s like having your own perfect little thing get stomped on…

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The weather would go from cloudy to clear throughout the week and the water was so beautiful & incredibly see through. We spotted a stingray & even a barracuda!

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No, this isn’t a picture of either, but look at that water! So clean.

Other adventures on this trip would include going to other beaches on the island and even hiking to a waterfall. This would be the first time I ever hitchhiked. Thankfully, another couple would pick us up. My advice, if you go to St. Johns, just rent a vehicle. They charge you up the butt to taxi anywhere so it probably comes out the same, if not cheaper. The views around the island were incredible.

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Further on our trip, we would venture out to Virgin Gorda & part of the British Virgin Islands. For me, this would be the first time I ever went to another country. Once there, we’d taxi to an area called The Baths National Park. It’s an area of the beach covered in giant rocks that you can climb under, on & around. It was magnificently beautiful!

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This shot below was one of my favorite picturesque places I’ve ever seen.

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The Virgin Islands are truly beautiful once you get off of St. Thomas. Still, even with all of the beauty there are some great memories back where we stayed. Genna & I found an eco-hut village where we could stay for about $10 a night. I think it was called Elsa’s hall or something like that. It’s basically like an island hostel with separate eco huts. These were as basic as they come. A bed, fridge, open walls and an aluminum sheet roof. You were surrounded by jungle sounds, weather & the distant ocean if you kept your ears open. I still vividly remember the peace I felt being here. Occasionally, we would even get visitors inside our eco-hut.

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Lastly, I can’t forget the people we would meet at the resort (Yea, resort is a strong word…) Meeting fellow travelers is always one of my favorite parts about any adventure.

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I’ll be honest, I’ve not thought about this trip as extensively since I dated Genna. Sometimes it’s easier to bury memories when an ex leaves in order to move forward. Even writing this blog has taken many attempts to even want to think about it so deeply. However, the more I did, the more I smiled at how many good memories we had together. The more I blog, the more I find myself telling more than just where I traveled to and what I saw. Traveling is about the experiences that go into it and what we got out of it. What I got out of this was the happy memory of having dated someone who would help me grow in so many positive ways, even when I wasn’t ready to. I take these lessons & experiences with me to this day and know that Genna was someone I was meant to meet in order to become the better person that I am today. I’m thankful & so happy for her that she found someone to share her life with. Maybe one day, I’ll stop moving as much & adventuring, and find myself in one place with one person…… HAHAHAHAHA! After all this time, the adventuring & traveling has become a lot easier and more fun to do.  No one knows what the future holds, so all I can do is embrace the present and make each moment as good as it can be. This is why I counsel. This is why I travel. Living a life a value is what motivates me to trudge even through the thickest of mud. Sure, I never enjoy the trudging yet it’s part of what makes the good moments worth while. It’s also what makes meeting great people so memorable and valuable so you don’t take those people for granted. As my blogs evolve I really hope to do as good of a job as I can of showing you that traveling isn’t just about the pictures and the destination. It’s about how you get there, who you take with you, the unique moments that stick with you, the powerful moments that stop you dead in your tracks and lastly what you become…

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