Life on a Rock: Going Home.

roccos final

So this week we introduced you to Carol and David Rocco, a Midwestern couple who moved to the island for one year. We initially intended on running one story about their yearlong adventure, but we were so captivated by the couple and especially by Carol’s writing that we decided it was worth more than just one post.

Today we cap off their story as they prepare to leave the island. But before we do, we asked Carol a couple of simple questions about their journey. Here’s what she had to say:

Would you recommend that anyone else do this?
Island life is not for everyone. I have found that there are 3 kinds of people who aren’t happy here: 1) Those who did not have a realistic expectation of what they were getting into, 2) Those who get here and think they can change the system, and 3) those without a sense of humor. This may be a U.S. territory but it’s not America. For those considering a move, read everything you can find on the subject and talk to people who have already done it. That’s one of the things I love about the STJ expat community — most of them are happy to share what they know and lend a hand to open-minded newcomers. We have met people here that have changed our lives and will remain lifelong friends.

Would you do it again?
In a heartbeat.

And here is Carol’s last post in its entirety:

Arrested Development

The countdown app on my iPhone says we depart for America in 1 day, 23 hours, 9 minutes and 14 seconds … but who’s counting.

Our last days are filled with the things we love the most about the islands ~ roaming barefoot along the sandy streets of Great Harbour (Jost Van Dyke), hiking the trails, sitting under the leaning palm on Salomon, camping out at the Beach Bar awaiting the most spectacular sunset on earth, laughing with dear friends ~ and you know me, I’m snapping up pictures like paparazzi stalking Lindsay Lohan.

I could sugarcoat the story and tell you everything’s perfect but that negates the purpose of sharing the reality of the roller coaster ride. Truth is, emotions have been on red alert this week largely because we haven’t sold our two high dollar items: the boat and the vehicle. Did I mention we leave in 1 day, 23 hours, 9 minutes and 14 seconds? Given that every little detail fell so beautifully into place to get us here, I am thoroughly confused by the about-face. In fact, I am not the least bit amused.

While contemplating the Universe’s stalling tactics this morning, I get a message in my inbox:

No matter what happens or doesn’t happen this week, Carol, this entire week will already be looked back upon with the greatest fondness because of the miracles you’ve already performed, which will become more and more evident as time passes.

That’s how I see it now, The Universe.

I’m convinced that the Universe speaks directly to me so if you got the same message, don’t tell me (www.tut.com).

11 thoughts on “Life on a Rock: Going Home.”

  1. Thank you Jenn, for doing an amazing job of telling our story and keeping people informed about STJ in general. The News of St John will continue to be our daily read as we return to the States.

  2. Carol, I’ve been captivated by your journey with David. Your writing is impeccable! Thank you for sharing. Maybe the couple who is moving into your apartment can also do the same thing by passing on the apt and sharing their thoughts. Kind of like, paying it forward with peace and serenity. Everyone needs and opportunity to experience the humbleness that being on the island provides. It’s truley a place to reflect on life and realize how much beauty their is in this world. I wish you the best as you move back to the states!

  3. Thank you to both (actually all three of you), News of St. John and the Rocco’s (OK, it was mostly Carol but David was there too… : ) ) for sharing this story. As fellow Missourians and also lovers / enthusiasts of St. John, my wife and I have enjoyed this three part story. Having been tourists and visitors of STJ at least once a year (sometimes more) over the past 6 years, we can relate to the wishing and wanting to “live” in paradise, yet knowing deep down there would be some claustrophobic moments. You know, actually residing 24 7 on an island that is less than 20 square miles in area (or about 2/3 the size of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and population of about 5,000) and with most who only live one speed (theirs, VERY slow yet relaxed and mostly loving “Life on a Rock”. For now, we will look forward to taking our family and friends again in late July. Preparing to spend an enormous amount of hard earned $, hanging out at our favorite beaches, venues, driving on the wrong side of the road and experiencing other memories / moments of the sites and views you can only believe if you see for yourself. Cannot wait to be “Way Down There”, “On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful”, “When I See this Bar” and overlooking Cruz Bay “When the Sun Goes Down”….

  4. Good day David and Carol. The first thing u both will notice and missed, is when walking in an office, store and other public places and no one returns ur usual ‘greeting’ or glares at you like ur from another planet. That’s when u both will forget fast, d setbacks of Island Life Style and remember d good memories of ur sabbatical year.
    Please don’t let ur emotions of moving back in d FasTrack lane take over ur new Spirit of Life in d VI, ‘Paradise’…
    “Live Slow…Sail Fast”
    ps: David & Carol keep in touch.ok
    [email protected]

  5. Yes thank you Jenn for bringing attention to this blog! I read the entire thing yesterday. It is very we’ll written & informative as well as entertaining. I know I have seen the Rocco’s on STJ in the last year, (my husband & I have visited 3 times in the past year) , too bad we didn’t meet. We would have enjoyed chatting with you over a drink at the Beach Bar! We are looking forward to our next trip back for this years Carnival. Best of luck to the Rocco’s & thanks again for a great story!

  6. Happy Return to the mainland. I suggest, make a deal for the boat and vehicle with your predecessors. They may need these two items while “living on a rock”!!!!!

  7. This blog was fantastic. I give u both credit. Every year we visit (#11 in July) I leave with tears. I absolutely love STJ. What a big leap u took, an experience you’ll never forget. I don’t think I would ever have the guts to move there for a year even though I constantly tell my husband we are retiring there. I wish you all the best as your adventure back to the states begins……..

  8. The Universe speaks to you lol! Well The Fact l Know whom speaks to and Created the Universe and Everything in it: The LORD Maker of Heaven and Earth and the USVI, Buruch Yeshua!

  9. I read the entire blog and thought it was well done and interesting. The one thing that stuck in my mind was that they left their dog behind. I’m not so sure I could have done that. We’ve raised our beagle, Butkus, from a pup. No way I could leave that little guy.

  10. Thank u for ur beatiful story! I was captivated when I started reading I could not stop. U should be a writer as there is something with ur writing that pulls one in – like the magnetism of STJ. We appreciate ur realistic/honest view of island life because Im sure it is much more challenging than one would consider. We are saving saving saving our pennies (bucket loads of em) and hoping to one day take a similar journey to STJ but its stories such as yours that help to prepare us and keep our heads on straight with our adventure. We are smart enough to realize it will be a far different story should we choose to live on STJ. We have been staying for 3 weeks at a time lately in a villa and we try to live as of we would be truly living there minus the villa. The bugs are the only thing that drive me crazy. I hate spiders and STJ got some bigguns plus the scorpions and millipedes. But spray can be purchased so thats probably least of our worries. We r pretty content to picnic with a PBJ and an iced cold beer and we are not afraid to hike rather than ride. All in all , all dreams can come true if u want something badly enough but it sure is nice to share the dream with friends and family who guide ur path ! It sounds like u both have made ur impression or “footprint” on STJ yourselves and that ur a part of what makes it so special and loved. I think thats what makes STJ so special And so unique and makes one feel that magnetic pull- because the people there are just magical – whether local or visitor- it just makes u a better person! Thanks so much for sharing ur journey with us ! It touched my life! ;-). May all of your jouneys be filled with adventure, surprise, joy and love!!!!!!!

  11. Captivating story and awesome writing. Really makes one think. Ironically my countdown clock just tipped the 24 hour mark until arrival on the Ferry dock for our annual trip down there. We have definitely contemplated the idea of an “extended stay” just for the island experience. As it is we keep our stays modest (no villas, resorts, expensive rentals…etc) to save money, and feel more of what real life is like down there. Most people would think that we were insane for spending our vacation money to stay in a buggy, damp cottage in the jungle and take one minute cold showers to save cistern water, but it truly is a lesson in simplicity and a slower pace of life. Good job guys, ya’ll did what we (and probably quite a few others) haven’t worked up the nerve yet to do. Thanks for sharing the experience

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