GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER…THIS IS ALL ABOUT EXPERIENCING NEW THINGS!
I used to believe that as you get older, “firsts” start to occur less and less until they stop altogether. When you are younger, you take your first step, say your first word, have your first day of school and so on so forth, but as you age it doesn’t seem like there are as many “firsts.”
However, after moving to St. John I realized that this is just NOT TRUE. I had so many “firsts” on St. John and I want the rest of my life to be filled with lots of “firsts.” Here are some of my “firsts” this past year.
1. Living on an Island – While working in the corporate world, I would often daydream about how nice it would be to live on an island. All I wanted to do was to lay on a beach with a strawberry margarita in hand and kick back and relax. After a while I thought, why am I just daydreaming about this? Why not make it a reality?
With Mike on board we started to research different islands and choose St. John. Living on St. John really surpassed my expectations. The island is so quaint and perfect. I love how there are only between 3,000-5,000 residents year round.
Everyone is so friendly and almost everywhere you go you are bound to know someone. Living on a small island is so convenient, with St. John having only two small towns, most things are within walking distance. Island life is definitely for me!
2. Hiking – Before moving to St. John I had never hiked in a National Park (or really done any hiking for that matter). Now I can say that I hiked every single trail in the St. John National Park (check out Mike’s recent hiking post “Hiking on St. John – A Summary of Awesomeness“). To be honest, I cannot believe I have never hiked before, because now I LOVE hiking! I didn’t know what I was missing! Hiking is now one of my most favorite activities and I hope to hike many more National Parks in the future.
3. Stand Up Paddleboarding – Wahoo! Before moving to St. John I had never even heard of SUP, but after my first paddleboarding experience I knew that I would love it. The concept of paddling while standing on a board (almost like a surfboard) sounds very simple, and it is, yet it is such a great workout. The best part of SUP in the Caribbean is being able to paddle over the clear water. You can see turtles and fish swimming right under you – it’s pretty amazing.
4. Swimming with a 15 Foot Manta Ray – I know this sounds absolutely insane, but back in January there was a 15 foot Manta ray hanging out in the Caribbean Sea very close to two of St. John’s beaches. Mike and I were lucky enough to be able to experience a 10 minute swim with this guy. At first I was scared, this thing was huge and I was just feet away from him, but he had no intentions of hurting anyone, and to be honest, I think he loved the attention. This may be one of my all time favorite memories from St. John. I will never forget this experience.
(I found this image online. It’s not the actual Manta ray I swam with but looks just like him)
5. Driving on the Left Side of the Road – If you know me well you know that I am a very paranoid driver, I drive super slow and have never received a ticket. The thought of driving on the opposite side of the road really scared me, but to my surprise it came very naturally (although it did help that St. John only has one lane in each direction). I guess I will have to get used to this type of driving, considering that in Oz they drive on the left side of the road with the wheel on the right hand side.
6. Owning a Jeep – A little secret of mine is that I have ALWAYS wanted to own a Jeep Wrangler. When we first arrived on St. John, Mike was very against buying a car but after a month of walking up and down our ridiculous hill with groceries he caved. Now that I had him on board, all I had to do was find a wrangler. Luckily it only took about 2 weeks to find our perfect car – Bella! She was a beauty and treated us very well for the 10 months we owned her. Fortunately, Cyndal (one of my close friends on island) purchased her from us so I know she is in good hands.
7. Visiting the British Virgin Islands – Before moving to St. John I had never been to the British Virgin Islands. Since St. John is located very closely to the BVI’s, I was able to visit often (especially because the catamaran I worked on went there several times a week). My favorite part of the British Virgin Islands was Virgin Gorda and White Bay. “The Baths” at Virgin Gorda are gorgeous rock formations and if you visit St. Thomas or St. John, I definitely recommend taking a day trip over to see them.
White Bay summed up in one word would be “FUN.” Home of the Soggy Dollar Bar, it’s where everyone goes to drink, eat and party… it really doesn’t get better than that!
8. St. John Carnival – Experiencing the St. John Carnival was also one of my top memories from this past year of living on St. John. The Carnival is a week long festival and it is full of eating, drinking, dancing, singing and going wild. Checkout this post to experience the St. John Carnival in more detail.
9. Eating Conch – While snorkeling, most people see a conch or two. When I see conch I think “what a pretty shell,” I do not think “that would be tasty.” Mike on the other hand, was excited to eat it. One random day Mike went on a conch search and brought a bunch home. He cleaned and fried them up, and to my surprise it was pretty good. I also tried them again at Ms. Vie’s Beach BBQ a few months later (this time they were sauteed) and they were really good again.
10, 11, & 12. Waitressing/Hostessing, Being a Crewmember on a Catamaran and Being a Hiking Tour Guide
Check out this post for more details about all of these jobs and Working in Paradise.
13. Skydiving – I did not skydive on St. John, however, when Mike and I came home for 2 weeks in April to visit friends and family we went Skydiving. It was my present to him for his 30th birthday and it was AMAZING! I was petrified, but there is absolutely nothing like this experience and I want to do it again!
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As you can see, I have had so many “firsts” this year that this list is most likely incomplete. It just goes to show that life can ALWAYS be filled with “firsts,” no matter how old you are. I love having my “virginity” taken away each and every time I do something new… it feels AWESOME! 🙂
When was your last “first?” Please share your experience in the comments below!