A Walk In The Sand Around The Sun

365 days ago, I woke up in the basement at my moms house having a full on meltdown. I begged my parents at 4am to help me pack my suitcase as I sobbed on the floor. I got to the airport late and while I waited in line for security I prayed I would miss my flight. A five hour flight, a grumpy taxi driver and a new roommate later, I laid down and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I decided to give everything away, say goodbye to my family, and move 2,000 miles away to a tiny island in the Caribbean. One year ago today I made the most terrifying, yet best decision I have ever made. 

In my last trip around the sun I have learned more about the world and more about myself than I ever have. I have made more incredible friends than I ever have and I have never been so genuinely happy. It took a little while to get here and I still have a lot to learn, but things are really good. I just started a new job, I moved to a new apartment and I’m living alone for the first time, I’m doing a little better with my finances…all of that is good. I am also going on crazy adventures, getting completely wasted and singing terrible karaoke, not keeping up with my laundry and smoking the occasional cigarette- BUT, I can’t grow up too much because that wouldn’t be any fun. 

It is still pretty crazy to think that this is just my life now. Carly and I called this a productive day because we went to the beach instead of staying in bed all day. Laying out on Cinnamon Bay with my best friends is now what I consider to be productivity. It’s great. While we were on the beach, a high family posed in front of us in the water for a picture and they were all so genuinely happy and it was so adorable. All of the sudden I was a bystander to this incredible moment, watching a picture being taken that will hang on someone’s wall and every time they walk by they will think back to how happy they were on St. John. I get to have that feeling every day. 

During my first few days here all I could think about was when it would be acceptable to leave. I made a huge deal about moving, posting shit everywhere, starting a blog before I even moved… I was so terrified that I didn’t even care what people would think if I just gave up and failed miserably. I didn’t stay to prove anything to anyone, I stayed because as soon as I calmed down I remembered why I love Saint John and I fell in love all over again. When I was visiting, I didn’t know St. John the way I do now. I didn’t know the ins and outs, the best kept secrets and the people that make this island so great. I didn’t know the drama, the coconut telegraph, and the feeling of seeing the same person every day that’s also breaking your heart, either. I have learned how to have an insane amount of fun while also like, avoiding death, and I have also learned how to be tough and handle situations that I would never experience if I didn’t live on this tiny little rock in the middle of the ocean. 

So, raising my glass (of  ginger ale because I’m doing Sober January) and toasting to the best year yet. I am eternally grateful to have support from home, and for every person who has crossed my path on St. John and taught me something about this life. Everyone who has been in or out of my life in the past year has done something to make this experience great, memorable, and successful and for that I thank you. And thank you for those people who keep reading these things…you’ve made this year a lot more fun, too.

2016: That’s A Wrap.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?

I moved to an island. That was a new thing for me. I did a lot of new things this year actually; but that one is the most appropriate to share on the Internet.

  1. Did you keep your new years resolution, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t think I made any resolutions last year. I moved on January 2nd, 2016 so at the end of the year I was a little too preoccupied questioning my sanity and life choices to think about the future.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Danniele and Caleb welcomed their little baby Camden! She is the cutest little peanut and I’m so glad I got to meet her!

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

My dog. Sammie. I wanted a puppy so badly when I was little and my mom and step-dad surprised me with her one day when my dad was dropping me off at their house. I walked in and Sam was so tiny, sitting there on my moms lap. Being on St. John and losing our family dog really sucked, but she was 15 and it was her time so there was comfort in that. I loved that stinky, rat-looking mess.

  1. What countries did you visit?

I bounced back and forth between the Caribbean and the states a few times. And over to the British Virgin Islands…Jost van Dyke, Cooper Island, Norman Island, Tortola, Sandy Spit, Little Jost, Virgin Gorda…not a bad year in the travel department.

  1. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Money! Not that I didn’t make enough money, I just didn’t keep any of it.

  1. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 2nd, because I moved. April 30th, because I was supposed to go on this boat trip and it was pouring down rain so we had to turn around and instead we spent the entire day drinking in this crazy villa and my 12-hour alcohol binge led to…you guessed it…a boy! Which happened to be a significant lesson/part of 2016. December 25th, because it was my first Christmas away from my family, which was really hard, but it ended up being a really amazing day.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I would consider not backing out on moving and staying here for a year a solid achievement considering how I felt when I got here. Also, not hitting anyone in the face when they really deserved it. Patting myself on the back for that one.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Probably my money management. Because it did not exist.

  1. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

I had Zika! That wasn’t fun. And also several dozen hangovers.

  1. What was the best thing you bought this year?

I really didn’t buy many material things this year. I bought this dress from Big Planet that I wear way too often but it’s my “flower dress” and I love it. I bought a lot of tequila which probably made me dance too crazy in my flower dress.

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Rent! Food! Tequila!

  1. What did you get really excited about?

Sunsets. Cheap bottles of wine. Traveling home to see my friends and family. Boat trips.

  1. What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?

Hurricane (Artsy Remix)- Halsey

Hello- Adele

Monster- Mumford & Sons

Lost Boy- Ruth B

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? Way happier.

  – Thinner or fatter? I haven’t owned a scale in over a year, but boys still talk to me sometimes and I haven’t had a heart attack so I’m probably fine.

– Richer or poorer? Poorer. Way poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Traveling. I have so many islands near me but I only pop over on boat trips. I want to spend a few nights on Tortola, and Jost and Puerto Rico.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Drinking. Eating. Crying over f-boys.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

I had a really great Christmas. I made breakfast with Carly at her house and we had friends over, then we all went to the beach and drank champagne all day, then we had dinner at a friends villa. It was a really great day.

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

Shameless. Stranger Things. New Girl.

  1. What were your favorite books of the year?

Milk & Honey- Rupi Kaur

  1. What was your favorite music from this year?

It takes quite some time for new music to reach down to the islands, so I spent a lot of the year listening to throwbacks. I listened to Ignition (Remix) probably 200 times. A lot of Matchbox Twenty & Goo Goo Dolls. Also, every song Hannah and I listened to during off-season which was only like 3 songs but we listened to them on repeat for 6 weeks and it was great.

  1. What were your favorite films of the year?

I actually saw a few movies this year while I was in the states! I saw Finding Dory, Bad Moms, and Office Christmas Party. I am honestly the worst movie critic because I love every movie I see. I really can’t think of more than 5 movies in my entire movie that I haven’t loved.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 23. My mom flew in on my birthday. We had a perfect dinner at Banana Deck, she had balloons and a cake and a card already there when we got there which was like magic but that’s my mom for you. Every year I give my mom flowers on my birthday, since she birthed me, and I was really happy to be able to give them to her in person instead of sending them. That was probably the best part.

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Maybe punching a couple of people in the face. But other than that, 2016 was a pretty satisfying year. Also, I’m really not a violent person at all so I’m not sure why I keep talking about hitting people so I guess that’s something I need to work through.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Uh. Bathing suits. Faded and stretched out tanks and shorts. Flip flops.

  1. What kept you sane?

My friends. Overlooks and sunsets. Cheap wine.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

If you aren’t happy, make a change. No matter how hard it is, or crazy it is, make the change. It will pay off.

  1. Your guilty pleasure?

Frozen drinks at Rum Hut happy hour. Landing shrimp and Sweet Beans. Burning half a tank of gas and driving around the island, blasting music and singing way too loud. Champagne out of the bottle at the overlooks. 

  1. Song lyric that sums up the year:

“She’ll be here until she runs, some just have to chase the sun. She’s a wild child, got a rebel soul and whole lot of gyspy wild style.”