They call the U.S. Virgin Islands paradise. After spending a week here, meeting the locals, eating the food, wandering the streets, and immersing myself in the culture I can say yes, it is paradise. But not just because of the natural beauty of the islands but also the beauty of the people that live here and call it home.
I cannot remember a destination during my travels where I have met friendlier, more hospitable, more gracious or happier people. It's a small town where everyone knows everyone and looks out for one another, where you smile and say good morning to everyone you see, where if you needed a ride home at night you could turn to just about anyone and they would take you home with great pleasure. It is an island of people who understand the meaning of gratitude. You ask someone how they are, they reply with "I'm just happy to live another day." They don't hold grudges against their neighbors and they treat each other like family. Whenever the taxi drivers pass by someone they know on the road (i.e. every other car) they honk twice and wave. As you can imagine, that's a lot of honking during a car ride. It never failed to amaze me.
My taxi driver Kenneth, a kindred soul, who had been driving me around for 3 days, dropped me off at the ferry when I left St. John. We hugged, I thanked him and my entire ferry ride to St. Thomas I was crying uncontrollably because I was so humbled by the hospitality that Kenneth showed me and the passion and knowledge he shared with me. But, unbeknownst to him, Kenneth taught me so much more about life, about kindness and grace. I knew at that ferry dock, it was the last time I would see Kenneth. It wasn't until I visited the other two islands that I realized everyone I would meet on all three islands was a Kenneth. Truly a beautiful place that I will never forget. 💙
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