St. Thomas

When Vacation Becomes LIFE: One Woman's Big Move

I met Nikki about three years ago in St. Thomas while I was on a Parlour Magazine Travelfly Solo trip. We met incidentally on an island excursion where we were the only two people of color in attendance (annnnd the only two that couldn't swim, ironically). She was there on vacation and I was also there on vacation (but with the group). 

Over iconic Painkiller cocktails fresh from the isle of Jost Van Dyke, we spoke about our love for traveling and the Caribbean while sitting atop the Bad Kitty speedboat. With the sun baking and browning our bronze bodies we spoke about how we'd love to relocate to where the weather was always warm. 

Today, Nikki has done just that. 


You recently left Chicago for sunny Puerto Rico. What made you choose Puerto Rico as your new place of residence? 

It all started with a promise to myself, that I'd relocate my 20th year anniversary with the company. I consulted with our HR department regarding finance opportunities with the company outside of Chicago. The response was California and Puerto Rico. California just didn't excite me but Puerto Rico did! I started networking with employees in PR, did tons of research and I made my mind up to move to the island.

Hurricane Maria caused a lot of damage and devastation. How has this impacted your move, or has it?

Hurricane Maria did cause a ton of damage and devastation to the island but did not impact my move. I'd say the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people, with recovering, motivated me.

Has moving to the Caribbean always been a dream of yours? How far in advance did you have to plan?

Actually it was always a dream of mine. It became a dream once the idea was presented!!


Besides the obvious - beach, shimmering turquoise waters, and warm weather - What's the best part about living in this tropical location?

Beside all of those wonderful things I feel the best part about living in this tropical location are the beautiful spirits I run into daily. Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. They remind me life can be tough but it's still meant to be enjoyed, celebrated and shared. 

That is exactly what I appreciate about the Caribbean culture. Last but not least, do you miss being stateside? 

In the two months I've been here, I haven't missed being stateside!


Thank you Nikki for taking the time out to chat with Coconut + Concrete. Whatever your dream may be just know that it IS attainable. You never know where YOU may be in three years. Keep pushing ya'll. 

Quality in Travel

I've been traveling all my life. I was seven when I went on my first cruise to Bermuda. My aunt liked to take me along; we were either cruising the tropics or flying down south somewhere. I'm thankful for those experiences because they made me appreciate and want the finer things in life. I recently mentioned this in an IG post: I could care less about designer clothing, bags or shoes. Since becoming a mom in 2015 I can't even remember the last time I dressed up! And that's okay with me. I just need access to the Caribbean several times a year and all is well in my world.

This leads me to my next point: I want quality when I travel now. In the past, I constantly wanted "cheap"; trying to find the cheapest flight and settling on decent 3 star hotels were satisfactory to me (there are still many great 3 stars out there though). Cheap flights can be good but they aren't always great and can be quite draining. For example, I was able to find a "cheap" flight to Providenciales but I had THREE layovers. It was horrible. I told myself "never again". 

I can easily say that at the age of 36 I now don't mind paying for quality when traveling; especially if I'm given an option to pay over time. I've come to appreciate travel agents for this very reason. I'm also in the process of setting up my OWN agency to provide this exact service. 

Because everyone deserves to experience a little luxury from time to time. 

Stick with me!



Get Excited: St. Thomas from JFK, $702 Roundtrip (Air & Hotel)

Travel Dates: Sept. 25 - Sept. 28

Airline: Delta (this package comes with great NONSTOP flights) 

Airport Codes:

St. Thomas: STT

New York: JFK

Hotel: Crystal Cove at Sapphire Beach  

*I found this amazing deal on Orbitz, oh and btw - if you're an NYC public school these dates are for you ;-)  

Happy travels! 

*Disclaimer: Flight deals usually include an overnight flight and/or 1 or more layovers, plan accordingly!