Greetings loved ones,
Welcome to our second installment of IFF: Islander Edition! I decided to feature my dear friend Wilson for a few reasons, but these are the big two:
a) Aside from our wit and giant hearts 😉 Wilson and I lead pretty different lives on St. Thomas so this provides a different perspective on some of the island quirks
b) Wilson is leaving island this month (tears) which I believe puts him in a point of unforgiveness and nostalgia regarding his view of island life which I felt would be interesting
Allow me to provide a quick background on how I became acquainted with Wilson. A couple of months after I started at the Ritz-Carlton a new set of employees had been hired, a few of which were working at the restaurant adjacent to the towel stand. One day I made a comment to my co-workers that St. John looked like the mountains of Mordor to which the three guys replied, “the what?” Needless to say, I was devestated to be surrounded by the 3 people I’ve ever met to not get that reference when here comes Wilson walking passed the towel stand with his glasses and smiling face (the obvious criteria for someone who’d understand a LOTR reference), so I kindly stopped him and asked if he would agree with that statement. He smiled and said, “It does look like Mordor.” Several witty exchanges later, and I basically sat with him at lunch and forced myself into his life from that moment on until he gave up and just became my friend 🙂
And here’s his take on being an islander (with a little of my *censoring):
1. Why did you move to St. Thomas?
I moved to St. Thomas partly to get away from the mundane existence that is stateside living. I also moved here because it’s (*gee golly durn) beautiful, and I’m never more than 3 miles from a beach.
2. How does the cost of living compare to what you’re used to?
Living on St. Thomas can be really expensive if you aren’t willing to live simply. If you’re willing to downsize and give up some things, the cost of living can be pretty decent.
3. Do you feel safe in the VI?
Most of the time, but then again I’m a dude. I know a few females that get daily catcalls and harassment though. That and there are a few places I wouldn’t go at night, but that’s anywhere.
4. What’s the hardest part of island life?
Dealing with a different mindset when it comes to my sexuality. West Indians don’t take to kindly to anyone of the lgbt community. I’d like to think that I’ve changed a mind or two on the subject.
5. How would you describe living on an island?
It’s mindblowingly awesome, it (*fantastically) sucks, and everything in between. Sometimes within the same day.
6. Name your top 3 places/things to do in the VI.
1) Boat trips of any kind (Jost van Dyke being a personal favorite).
2) Scuba diving/snorkeling (Dive Cow and Calf rocks. Be careful though! Seas can be rough/Snorkel Cinnamon or Waterlemon bay)
3) Go to St. John, hike from Mongoose Junction to the top of Caneel Hill, hike from Caneel down to Honeymoon Beach to cool off, hike from Honeymoon back to Cruz Bay, eat delicious chinese food at 420 to center, get ice cream from St. John Scoops (multiple servings is best. Get the waffle cones, they make them and they are so worth it), and lastly catch the 6pm ferry back to St. Thomas to ride into the sunset.
4) Go to Latitude 18. Eat, Drink, and be merry.
7. What’s the one piece of advice you wish you’d been given before moving down here?
Leave your expectations behind. It’s less than you expect, but it can be better than you could ever imagine if you let it. The people are what make the place worthwhile. That and nothing good happens in Redhook after midnight.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned more times than necessary, the hardest part of island life for me is the fleetingness of the amazing people I’ve met on island, Wilson in the top of that list. I hope you enjoyed a different perspective on island life, and be sure to follow Wilson as he’s traveling the country on his motorcycle! Here!
Thanks for checking in!