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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous.

Traveling has always been a passion of mine. I get jittery and excited knowing I am going somewhere new. But one place in particular has stolen my heart; St. John, in the US Virgin Islands. In the summer of 2011, Austin and I lived on the island. We bought one way plane tickets on a whim and decided to go for it. We had never been to St. John before. Let me tell you, after setting foot on that island, my life has never been the same. Now I know that sounds cliche, but there is something about the island that makes me feel whole, makes me feel at peace. Since that summer, we have returned many times and even got to share our “home away from home” with our families. The beaches are incredible, talk about perfection. The sand doesn’t even get hot. The views are to die for. My ideal day on the island consists of laying on Cinnamon Bay for hours, playing frisbee in the water, and picnicking on the beach. You really can’t go wrong spending the day on any of the beaches. Each offers its own unique feel. Cruz Bay is the main part of town with all the restaurants and entertainment. I have spent weeks there and still haven’t tried every restaurant, it’s on my list though. My absolute favorite place to watch the sunset is at the Beach Bar. You can literally sit on the beach sipping something yummy while watching the sky turn purple and pink. It really is my happy place. Three fourths of the island is the National Park, meaning more than half of the island can never be built up. This act of conservation will help keep the island beautiful forever. I love the effort the locals put into to keeping their island pristine. I know that here, on St. John, I have never felt so in tune with nature, in tune with life, and in tune with myself. It is here, standing with my toes in the sand that I find my inner balance. I hope everyone gets the opportunity to find the place that sets their soul on fire, the place that makes you feel so alive and so free. I now know why so many people who visit the island decide to stay, we almost did. Who knows, maybe one day we will be back for good.

Peace and love, Mary