Nostalgia is a powerful thing. It can soften the hardest heart, wear down even the most forward focused mind, and in the case of this week’s Caribbean Wallpaper, get me to share an old St. Croix sunset… And a few memories.
Steve and I grew up along these shores.
Our dad used to chauffer us through this very sunset 35 years ago tucked in the back of his enormous green Oldsmobile on our way home from rare family beach days at Cramer’s Park.
Later, I used to ride my bike along the same roads hidden in the shadows of this photo – my best friend easily outpacing me, leaving me with nothing but my thoughts, the tropical view, and my fatigue to keep me company.
How many times did I drive to Shoys beach in my red truck with friends and a cooler full of ice-cold greenies and rum in tow? How many times did I swim in that water?
How many times did I see the sun set over St. Croix?
I moved to the states almost exactly 20 years ago.
As the days rambled by, St. Croix grew more and more distant. After all, there was this whole new continent to explore. Now, I could simply get in a car and drive, for hours! It was amazing.
There were mountains. (Real mountains. Blue Mountain is not a mountain, people.) There was snow. There were literally millions of girls. Mail arrived in days not weeks. Movies actually hit theaters the same week they were released!
It was mind-blowing.
I didn’t return to St. Croix for 11 years!
What brought me back? Nostalgia.
My new wife had grown up behind the iron curtain in East Germany. Imagine me trying to explain to her what it was like to grow up on this tiny island in the Caribbean! Words failed me… And to be honest, so did my memory.
So we made the trip. Once my feet touched the warm tarmac of Henry E. Rohlsen Airport it all came back in a wave of sunny flashbacks.
Since that first return trip, I’ve been back to “the rock” only twice: once for my thirtieth birthday and again to ground myself after spending a month in the wilderness of the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains. (That’s a whole ‘nother story!)
And now I’m going back again for a weekend 25 years in the making.
The official Uncommon Caribbean reasons for my return include the staples of Caribbean travel writing – basically bringing the best of the region to all of you, our amazing readers.
But there’s more to it than that.
This weekend also marks the three-year anniversary that Steve and I have been populating these pages with daily bits of Caribbean travel inspiration! That occasion alone warrants the special, rum fueled meetup we’re planning for this Friday at Eat @ Cane Bay (RSVP here)… But there’s even more to it than that!
This weekend, nostalgia will reign supreme.
It’s rare enough that Steve and I are in the same place (as we recently were in Tobago), but this weekend our other brother Peter will also join us. (Technically, we’re joining him, but again, that’s a whole ‘nother story.) We’re almost never, ever in the same place at the same time and it’s probably been around 25 years since we’ve all been back in St. Croix at the same time.
So, yeah… I’m expecting some old talk to go with all the usual rum.
Nostalgia is indeed a powerful thing.
Download this week’s Caribbean Wallpaper and see what days gone by its glowing rays, silhouetted landscapes and serene sees take you.