I have a confession to make.
* deep breath *
You see… I’ve made plans to visit another island besides Anguilla, and I’m feeling pretty guilty about it.
I honestly don’t believe that any other place on Earth stands a chance at taking my heart away from Anguilla, but I feel that I at least need to find out what other islands are like so that I have no doubts that AXA is the one for me in the long run. I’ve met quite a few people who have been island-hopping for 10 or 20+ years who have told me that Anguilla is the only one to which they return year after year. I feel lucky to have found it so early in my Caribbean travels, and not a day has gone by, since my last visit, where I haven’t been thinking of how to get back there on a more permanent basis.
The thing is, though, I’m sure that every island has its dedicated fans. So, even though I believe that I could be perfectly happy to never visit another island, I at least owe it to myself to learn what else is out there.
So, once I decided that I was going to visit another island, I was faced with the task of trying to choose one. With so many options, how could I narrow it down to one? Well, I figured that if I was going to risk falling in love with another island, it should at least be a place where I would have a better chance at staying and making a living if I wanted to do so.
You see, in Anguilla and many other foreign nations, there are laws that require employers to hire locals before bringing in someone from abroad to fill a position. The idea is that they don’t want jobs to be taken away from Anguillian citizens so that they are unable to support themselves in the place that they live. If no local is qualified for the position, then steps can be taken for a non-citizen to obtain a work permit to take the job. However, because of the current status of the economy, few new jobs are opening up even for locals, let alone foreigners, and the word is that work permits are very very difficult to get these days.
With that in mind, I figured that I should probably head to the US Virgin Islands where, should I ever decide to stay there long-term, it would be relatively easy to secure a job since I’m a US citizen. Of the three major islands that make up the USVI, St. Thomas is the most developed and offers a bustling city-style atmosphere. St. John, on the other hand, is the most undeveloped and is largely covered by National Parks. Development-wise, St. Croix is somewhere in between the other two, but this island has the reputation of being the “friendliest” and the most laid-back of the three… and that’s totally my style. So… St. Croix, here I come!
The really crazy thing is that I only booked the trip in the last few days and I leave in less than three weeks! I was just browsing flights and hotels online one day and, all of a sudden, I just went ahead and made the reservations right there on the spot. Anyone that knows me will tell you that this is completely out of character for me, since I’m usually a long term planner and I rarely make spur-of-the-moment decisions like this. I like to think that’s the easy-going island vibe that’s taking over me, but I could just as easily be completely nuts. :) Whatever it is, it’s a bit liberating, to tell you the truth.
I’d like to do some research before I go but, for the most part, I think I’m comfortable with letting my exploration of St. Croix (STX) happen however it happens. No need to over-plan, right? STX is definitely different from Anguilla in terms of topography – Anguilla is completely flat and dry whereas St. Croix is mountainous and is partially covered by a rainforest. The photos of St. Croix beaches that I’ve seen don’t even compare to the beaches of AXA… but I’ll have to confirm that with my own eyes before I render a final verdict on that. I think, though, that as long as the people are as friendly as I have heard them to be, I’ll be perfectly happy.
I am definitely looking forward to this new Caribbean adventure and to keeping you posted on how it goes. I only hope that, in time, Anguilla will forgive me.