St. Croix: What A Place

St. Croix: What A Place

This beautiful island is what you see on postcards.

The island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a bit like a scene out of M*A*S*H. The low brown underbrush on the hillsides with its sparse patches of green shrubs makes you feel like your right in Korea with the 4077th. The whole island isn't like this, but the part of the Manhattan-sized island I was on was. The island itself is beautiful, rich in history (something very important to me) and is populated with amazing people.

The western side of St. Croix is all hills covered in thick jungle. This is the historical side of the island, with old sugar plantations preserved from the island's time as a Danish colony. Frederiksted, the second largest settlement on the island, is home to a reddish-orange fort called Fort Frederik and was used to keep pirates away. It is also a great place to go snorkeling or scuba diving. You can normally spot any number of both off the boardwalk that lines Frederiksted's edge touching the sea. Many fish swim around the boardwalk's edges and many colorful birds flap through the breeze.

The eastern side has the distinct honor of being the most eastern point in the United States. There is even a little monument to this point on a place called Point Udall. It is more flat and desert-like then its western counterpart. It also happens to be the least inhabited part of the island. It was while walking near the dried up bed of an old salt lake that I came across a cactus. The rather large, many armed and spiny desert-dweller didn't even look out of place here. I took a picture of it, tangled all through what was left of a barbed wire fence, and continued on out to the dried up salt lake. The wildlife I saw in this desert made it far from a no man's land.

On St. Croix is a place called Christiansted. It is the largest settlement on the island and is also home to a fort. Fort Christiansværn is a yellow Danish fort. The fort was meant to keep pirates away but did little good when the British invaded in 1807. But it was from atop the small fort's ramparts that I saw a bunch of reenactors floating a replica Danish boat into the fort's dock. I watched as the little wooden craft careened nimbly over the waves, its reenactor Danish sailors tugging on ropes and jogging up the length of the ship.

When I went to the little island in the Caribbean, I left from my home in North Eastern Pennsylvania in February. When I left, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. In St. Croix, as our plane landed, the stewardess announced it was a chilly day on the island. 71 degrees Fahrenheit, she chimed. I nearly spit up my in-flight apple juice. If that's chilly, I don't want to know how hot it gets. I was soon to learn how hot it gets. It stays a constant 70-90 degrees there year round. Little spurts of jungle rain pass by, and the ground and everything soaked by these passing showers dries up in a few minutes.

During the day, you can swelter to death if you are not accustomed to it. Several members of my group went down on the second day with heat exhaustion. Sunburn and blisters were rampant. But we learned quiet a bit about Crucian culture through their Agriculture Fair. They make ethnic foods, play island music and display the best of what the islands have to offer.

All over, it was a great experience. I loved it there and would love to go back. From the little camp where I stayed, the Howard M. Wall camp, I could look down on the ocean. It was a large, blue bay with a jungle covered mountain on the far end. The mountain's vegetation hung right from the slope and into the sea. Now if there was one image of St. Croix I will never forget, it is that one.

Cover Image Credit: Andrew Trotter

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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11 Road Trip Facts Every Seasoned Road-Tripper Knows To Be True

"On the road again...I can't wait to be on the again."


Road trips are an incredibly fun way to spend time with your friends or family and see some cool places along the way. However, it's a very uniquely interesting form of an outing and with that comes its own unique set of things that every road-tripper knows to be true.

1. Driving during the night is the worst

There is no time worse than during the night on an unlit highway to be driving. My family and I ended up driving through the Smoky Mountains at night and it was a -4/10 experience.

2. A good road trip playlist is ESSENTIAL.

Boppin' tunes can set the mood the entire road trip. Choose wisely or face the consequences. Check out mine here.

3. When driving in the South, there is a Cracker Barrel every 10 feet roughly

I kid you not, there was a Cracker Barrel about every 10 miles down I-75 or closer. I can't say I was disappointed in the slightest but there were SO MANY OF THEM.

4. The Alphabet Game goes HARD

There are few things in life that get more competitive than the Alphabet Game on a long car ride. Luckily, I've always had great distance vision so I can spot those signs a long while before anyone else can.

5. A Quality Inn is only exciting when playing the Alphabet Game

Usually it's decent practice to avoid them, but there are few things more exciting than a Quality Inn when you've been stuck on Q for 40 minutes.

6. On that note, good luck with X

X is literally the worst letter of the alphabet in this game. Unless a company gets lazy and says "Xtra" or something of that variety, it's hopeless. We got lucky on this one and passed a town called "Xenia."

7. Prepare for at least 20 minutes of scheduled arguments

It's inevitable to not get grouchy when you're in the same car with the same people for continuous hours without a break. Embrace it and get back to having fun as soon as possible.

8. You are never ready for your driving shift

I don't care how good of a driver you are, you go full new driver as soon as it's your turn to drive. It's like the pressure of it being Your Turn™ is too much to handle and be a quality driver at the same time.

9. There's at least an hour where everyone gets delirious

During this time, beware. Every single thing that happens is HILARIOUS. If you're misfortunate enough to do something funny within this time frame, prepare to be crucified for it for the duration of the hour to come.

10. The drive there always feels SO MUCH longer than the drive back

It takes like 18 years to get anywhere because you're so excited, but then two minutes to get back.

11. Road trips are the very best

They have their ups and downs but a road trip is truly an incredible experience if you're doing it with the right people.

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