It’s Friday afternoon, mid-Feb, and I find myself staring at my laptop wallpaper. The photograph I’m staring at is a panoramic view of the Charlotte Amalie harbour, taken from my hotel room (Marriot Frenchman’s Reef) just months prior. This very photograph has taunted me since boarding the plane to return home…but I can’t bring myself to change it.
Toronto(home) is bitterly cold at present, and I’m at odds with my surroundings. We’re in the heart of another frigid Canadian winter and according to the local news, I’m to believe that the current -9 degrees celsius is cause for celebration. We will “enjoy single digit negative temperatures for the next few weeks” said the local weatherman cheerfully, a “warm spell” uncharacteristic of the usual double digit negatives we’re used to (in February).
Since my first trip to St Thomas in the spring of 2013, I was totally captivated by the raw, natural beauty of these sleepy Caribbean Islands. The US Virgin Islands are comprised of St Thomas, St Croix, St John and Water Island, and the eight days my wife and I spent there play back in our minds like a highlight reel of spectacular vistas.
“Every angle is a postcard view comprised of fluffy, cotton-ball clouds, aquamarine water and powdery-white sand…the same sand that Christopher Columbus was drawn to in the 15th century”
The people of USVI are odd, because they’re content. Contentment is something we’re not programmed to understand stateside. Warm and welcoming, I think it may be the people of USVI that separate this little blip on the Caribbean map from all the other beautiful locales. It’s hard to quantify my connection to the Virgin Islands. Like many before me, you just feel different when there. It’s almost like you blossom under the island sun, abundantly full of energy(though the locally distilled rum might have something to do with that). There were days where I would find myself frolicking in the ocean like a child with a garden hose, completely content without Facebook, text messages or Kardashians.
Island life has a way of shifting your priorities. You take pleasure in your surroundings, you cherish your relationships more and worry about the material things a lot less. The Virgin Islands taught me that.