“Island life is either your thing or it’s not – and it’s impossible to justify to those who are not mentally transported to another realm simply by listening to Jimmy Buffett’s Son of a Sailor.” -Carol Rocco
You could say that Carol and David Rocco have been living the dream for the past 12 months. After being fed up with long, cold Missouri winters and the fast-paced lifestyle that typically accompanies corporate America, it was the untimely passing of both of their fathers that really made them reevaluate their lives. Realizing that life is simply too short to watch it pass by, the Roccos made the decision in April 2013 to move to St. John for one year. Carol and David’s island adventure ends this week, and on Thursday, they will be on a plane back to the States.
We were so captivated by Carol and David’s story that we wanted to share it with all of you. Carol’s been blogging throughout the year, so we thought it was best to share a few snippets of her writings. This will allow all of you to live the journey through her own words, and I’m certain you’ll all enjoy it as much as I did.
The Deep End – April 28, 2013
After much contemplation, we have decided to hold hands and jump into the deep end. Anyone who knows me knows how analytical and meticulous I am, so there should be no doubt as to whether I’ve done my homework. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that I am willing to trade 1,800 square feet and a sportscar to pull up to a bare-bones studio in a tired old Jeep. David on the other hand, has liveaboard experience as well as a military background that has aptly prepared him for this endeavor.
Sure I could play it safe, do what I’ve always done and save money for old age. Then I remember watching my father take his last breath just a few short months from retirement; and I think of David’s father who tragically died in a plane crash before he could enjoy his retirement … and I know I will have no regrets for taking this leap of faith.
Seeking Shelter – May 23, 2013
Until recently I was beginning to wonder if our money was no good in the VIs. We have been probing the internet each week in search of suitable accommodations and inquired on a number of properties. Only occasionally have we received a response.
When I called the local inn to reserve a room, the nice gal on the other end said, “Send me an email – I’m tending bar right now.” So I did. She acknowledged my email a week later. I had to chuckle, knowing this must be God’s way of helping me learn the island way.
Paradise = Sacrifice – June 19, 2013
Most of you are under the impression that we are living in paradise – and yes, we are. Paradise defined as one of the safest Caribbean islands surrounded by picturesque palm trees, turquoise water and the most beautiful beaches in the world. However we are not sipping Painkillers from our veranda nestled in the hills overlooking the deep blue sea from one of those dream homes on House Hunters International.
The intent of our blog is twofold: a) to keep our friends and family informed of our adventure, and b) to provide fellow travelers with a realistic expectation of what it’s like to live here. So please allow me to elaborate on a few practicalities of living in this Garden of Eden.
Unless you are particularly wealthy, you will count your lucky stars to find a decent apartment in town (Cruz Bay) for less than $1500 a month. Add electricity at a rate five times higher than on the mainland, water at 50 cents per gallon (out of a cistern), drinking water at 75 cents per gallon, propane, internet and satellite tv if desired.
Automobiles are overpriced and repairs are frequent due to the wear of climbing mountainous terrain at 20 mph. Gas at the one and only station is currently $4.55 per gallon, however they ran out so you get premium at $4.91.
Groceries are up to three times higher than in the states so you shop for the best deals at all four stores. Examples: cereal $6.99, crackers $5.99, 1/2 gallon milk $4.59, one gallon orange juice $11.59, 1.75 liters of rum $8.49. If the price of groceries doesn’t drive you to drink, the cheap price of rum will.
As for doing business, allow several hours to open a checking account. Allow most of the day to visit the motor vehicle bureau. You may have to wait in line while someone breaks for lunch. The more impatient you are, the longer it will take so take a book and pretend you have nowhere else to be.
Conscious Living- June 26, 2013
Normal used to mean buying more hangars several times a year to accommodate a growing closet, floor-to-ceiling storage for 60+ shoes, and enough cookware to outfit three kitchens. Betty Crocker would’ve been proud but the fact was, I had more restaurant take out numbers on speed dial than friends.
That all changed the moment we started seriously considering a move to an unincorporated U.S. territory reachable only by boat. I began researching minimalism once I discovered shipping our belongings in the smallest 20 ft container from Miami would cost $4,200. So we accepted our mission to downsize and to my surprise, purging excess ‘stuff’ felt strangely satisfying. As my possessions began to dwindle, so did the clutter in my mind.
Some would call minimalism voluntary poverty. I call it conscious living. It doesn’t mean we can’t have things – it means the things we have are meaningful. Though I know I am conditioned to the American way, I’m still genuinely ashamed of how wasteful I have been and how much I took for granted. That simple realization alone has made this island experience worthwhile.
To be continued…