We just returned from the most fabulous trip to BVI (British Virgin Islands)~ Specifically Tortola, BVI. This trip to Tortola was chosen by my son Sam who recently graduated from high school and was given the opportunity to choose our destination. It was a family vacation full of adventure and fun. I do cherish family time now more then ever as the kids are getting older and time does not seem to be slowing down. With college schedule’s, work schedule’s and just the plain “busyness” of life, vacation time is my favorite time. When you get away to a place like this, it becomes PRICELESS!  I learned so much from our time in this very special place and wanted to share…

People here treat you like neighbors. They wave and smile and have a story to share wherever you go. Upon arrival in St. Thomas we stayed at the neatest little place called Olga’s Fancy. We spent one night here as our flight came in too late to catch the last ferry to Tortola. The owners were friendly and made us feel at home instantly. They were actually waiting for us to arrive! The morning before checkout we sat in the outdoor lobby space and listened to the owner tell us his experience of riding out Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria which hit USVI and BVI almost head-on within a couple of weeks of one another. His story of courage was amazing and beyond belief. When you listen to someone tell a story of survival/courage like that, it transforms YOU forever~ his story changed me! He shared that he and his wife hunkered down with a bottle of rum and their pets in their cement shelter for hours. YES HOURS! When they came out of their shelter they saw damage beyond what you and I can possibly imagine. Destruction and loss of many lives happened with Hurricane Irma. When Maria hit shortly after, she packed rain… and loads of it. They bailed water for what seemed like days. This was just one story of many I took home with me… embedded in my memories forever. We heard stories from many people on the beach, at bars and restaurants, and on our day of boating with Captain Simon. If you EVER visit BVI please book a tour with Simon. You will have a day you will NEVER forget.

Resilience & Perseverance are the two words to describe the beautiful people of USVI and BVI. 1 1/2 years have passed since Hurricane’s Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean and residents are still getting back on their feet. There is still much destruction everywhere you look. But, there is also much reconstruction and promise everywhere you glance! From dawn until dusk we could hear the sound of hammers and saws in the distance. Families trying to rebuild all they had lost. The islands are becoming green again with the planting of young palm trees and a couple weeks of sporadic and much needed rainfall. We took a one day excursion to Jost Van Dyke ~ our favorite beach White Bay Beach and bars called Ivan’s and Soggy Dollar. This is where we noticed the most significant change by far. Ivan’s and Soggy Dollar were both flattened by Irma. Ivan’s is literally gone and serving out of a “shack”. Ivan is re-building and destined to be better then before. Soggy Dollar was back up and running but looked quite different from our last trip. Palm trees will grow and people will continue to visit this most happiest place in the world.

Simplify! I have learned how very blessed I am to own the clothing I wear and eat the food I eat. I have seen and personally witnessed how much happier life is when you put your phone away… not just in your pocket… AWAY! No texting because we were out of the country and only had WIFI when at our vacation rental. We did not watch TV for 9 days and it was outstanding! This is the family time I cherish the most. We played games, hung out and talked, cooked dinner together at our home away from home, walked the MANY beaches on Tortola, snorkeled and did things we don’t do at home in Greendale. It is time for me to simplify. Time to put the cell phone away. Time for me to really think before I purchase anything new. Time to get rid of things and just enjoy life in a simpler way.


To sum things up:

Our vacation changed me! I have learned to treat everyone you meet as your neighbor. Smile and say hello and listen to others’ stories ~ we all have them!

Be resilient in everything you do!

Simplify… and you will realize how much easier and more blessed life is!

TRAVEL … see the world. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer!