The Real Blessing of Travel

I have had the good fortune of traveling to a good many cultures and climates in my brief time on this big blue marble.  I’ve seen the Rocky Mountains of the western US, and traveled its beaches from coast to coast.  I’ve tasted beaches and ruins from throughout the Caribbean and the Cote d’Azur, and marveled in the history of some of Europe’s greatest cities.  However, when asked, what is the one thing we love most about our travels, we always come back to the realization that the greatest pleasure in travel is in the friendships we develop along the way.

Such was a chance meeting in our recent travels this past summer.  Little did we know that a photo contest we ran in December would pay such lasting benefits to us.  You may recall our Warm Faces, Warm Places Photo Contest,  that featured a prize of a new jewelry box featuring the winning photo.  The contest ended on December 24, and the winning image

Bridget’s Winning Photo on the Finished Product

was this stunning picture taken of Megans Bay in St. Thomas.  As it turns out the photographer, Bridget Skjordahl, lives on a quiet hillside overlooking this familiar beach.  In fact, Bridget has the terrible misfortune of having to view this beach from her home every day!  As they say, it’s tough work, but someone has to do it.

As we began to plan our June buying/sales trip,  we began to target St. Thomas as a destination for this tour.  It was to be our first trip to the island, but I assure you, it will not be our last.  During the planning stages I reached out to Bridget for advice and insights, and found her to be a wealth of information and a most willing guide.

As we finalized our plans, we agreed to meet up while on island, and upon our arrival, Bridget quickly set about arranging a time to meet for an evening together.  We quickly accepted and were supremely rewarded!  Having people on the “inside” is a huge benefit.  Membership truly does have privileges!

They invited us to an evening out and dinner at Banana Tree Grille, on the grounds of historic Bluebeard’s Castle, and overlooking the beautiful harbor of Charlotte Amalie.

View of Charlotte Amalie from Banana Tree Grille…Seriously Stunning!

Meeting her husband Marty, a pilot for Seaborne Airlines, was a another great pleasure.  Finally I’ve met someone who is as supremely Type A as I.  It’s nice to meet a kindred spirit.  They filled the evening telling us of their move from corporate life in middle America, to true island spirits.  By evening’s end, I was ready to toss my return ticket and start my own House Hunters International.

Large Silver Carnival Inspired Red & Gold Tribal Hoop Earrings

And, as an added bonus, as it turns out, Bridget is an artist in her own right. Bridget produces her own line of handmade custom jewelry, created in the islands.  Please take a moment to check out her Facebook Page at B. Skjordahl Studio Handmade Art Jewelry.

She gave us a couple gifts to remember her by, and we are thrilled to see them as our new island friends.  You can see more of her unique creations in her Etsy store at Paradise Made Jewelry.  Quite aptly named we think, given the stunning beach she overlooks from her island home.

We love the words Bridget uses describe her works and her passion,

Handmade Limited Edition Sterling Silver Sea Shell Pendant Necklace

“I live to experience and share everyday love, joy, and beauty through a multitude of methods and media. Every piece of art you find here is my answer to the call, to express my interpretation of these values, through the lens of the paradise in which I live.

Staying true to expressing my heart is paramount. Each day is a new day, unencumbered by yesterday or tomorrow.”  Now that is the true spirit and appreciation of Paradise!  We envy her for her little corner of Paradise, but most of all we are thankful for her genuine spirit of friendship and open arms.

This, my dear friends, is the true blessing of travel.  The people and the open welcoming hearts we encounter.  As we left our evening together, we couldn’t help but ask, “Could this be our future home?”  Well only time will tell, but it certainly has the gears turning, and we know that wherever we travel next, we can only hope it is a Paradise filled with friends like Bridget and Marty.

Perhaps you will see us again in ‘our’ little corner of Paradise.  Time will tell, but keep the lights on just in case!

Live the Life,

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