At the beginning of June, I had the opportunity to connect with nine fabulous island women (and all at once, I might add!) when I was invited to be an attendee at Women Who Live on Rocks first island writer’s retreat in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Pretty exciting right?) As a girl not originally from the islands asked to attend to represent my “island home”, Key West, this was pretty much manifestation at its finest. #ROCKtreatPR was a magnificent meeting of beautiful hearts, creative minds, and fierce and inspirational women—a magical gathering and collaboration of true island souls.
Old San Juan, with its historical blue cobblestone streets and architecture, incredible food, endless activities, and entertaining nightlife, provided the perfect midpoint to bring these women, connected by their love for all things sea, sun, sand…and words, together. Ideas were shared, adventures abound, and an amazing new bond grew between 10 women who had only ever known one another from their online presence—all of us leaving with hearts full and new stories to add to our interconnected book of life. I was nothing short of inspired by these women and the brave choices they make every day in their own island lifestyles.
From feasting like queens at the top restaurants, paddle boarding with manatees (watch us here!), and all of the VIP treatment we received at the Mall of San Juan, this 4-day weekend ROCKtreat in the heart of Old San Juan really did have us giggling, and bonding, like a bunch of silly island sorority sisters. We found this ironic since none of us had ever even belonged to a sorority, so decided we should make our own…and Kappa Kappa Rock was born! I’m beyond blessed to now call each one of these women “friend” and could not miss the opportunity to share these creative island souls with you here!
So, grab a cocktail, along with your iPad, and get comfy under a shady palm, while you dive deeper into the island happenings of these international island women, that I know will be sure to inspire YOU, too!
Name: Chrissann Nickel Hometown: San Jose, CA Current Island: Virgin Gorda, BVI My previous job: Hotel Sales My current job: Creator, Writer, & Editor for Women Who Live on Rocks My favorite island pastime: Boating around the BVI with my pup, Diego, and friends My favorite island dish: Johnny Cakes My island pet peeve: Mosquitoes My island super power: Connecting island girls near and far Website: womenwholiveonrocks.com Facebook: /womenwholiveonrocks Instagram: @womenwholiveonrocks
Name: Lizzy Yana Hometown: Bloomington, IL Current Island: St. Thomas, USVI My previous job: Sales My current job: Momming My favorite island pastime: Entertaining company My favorite island dish: Coconut Curry Chicken My island pet peeve: Litterbugs My island super power: Seeing the funny in the ugly Website: islandlizzy.com Facebook: /islandlizzy Instagram: @lizzyyana
Name: Riselle Celestina Hometown: Curaçao Current Island: Sint Maarten My previous job: Event Planner and Radio News Anchor My current job: Owner of a small travelers’ inn; travel and island lifestyle blogger My favorite island pastime: the beach My favorite island dish: Saltfish and Johnny Cake My island pet peeve: Hearing outsiders complain about the island ways. It’s a privilege to live here and, although not perfect, it is pretty awesome. Besides, if it’s not for you, there are dozens of flights leaving from our international airport every day. Choose one. My island super power: I can sip on a drink while floating in the water. Website: thetravelingislandgirl.com Facebook: /thetravelingislandgirl Instagram: @thetravelingislandgirl
Name: Jen Morrow Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Current Island: Puerto Rico My previous job/My current job: Director of Project Management Office (PMO) for Information Technology (IT) company – self employed My favorite island pastime: Scuba diving, snorkeling, or sailing My favorite island dish: Fresh caught, grilled Red Snapper fish or pork anything My island pet peeve: Never knowing if I should call ahead, make an appointment, or just show up. Whatever I choose, it is wrong. My island super power: Living, working, and thriving in Puerto Rico Website: jentheredonethat.com Facebook: /jentheredonethat Instagram: @jentheredonethat
Name: Liz Wegerer Hometown: Milwaukee, WI Current Island: Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean My previous job: Lawyer My current job: Writer My favourite island pastime: Kiteboarding My favourite island dish: Baka Stoba (beef stew) My island pet peeve: Periodic fruit shortages…makes it challenging to whip up tasty tropical cocktails. My island super power: I can fly! (Ok…not really, but I can jump really high when I’m kiteboarding, and that feels like the same thing.) Website: theadventuresofislandgirl.com Facebook: /theadventuresofislandgirl Instagram: @islandgirlwrites
Name: Claudia Hanna Hometown: Harrisonburg, VA Current Island: Cyprus My previous job: Senior Financial Analyst My Current Job: Mediterranean Lifestyle Coach My favorite island pastime: Picking olives, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers and more from my garden – then eating them when they are still slightly warm from the sunshine. My favourite island dish: Grilled octopus (or tabbouleh or grilled halloumi or spanokopita or taramosalata or…you get the picture!) My Island Pet Peeve: Terrible parking manners! Cars parked on sidewalks, leaving little room for pedestrians to get around. My Island Super Power: Whipping up an extravagant meal from humble ingredients. It’s a little trick we Mediterranean goddesses possess! Website: livelikeagoddess.com Facebook: /livelikeagoddess Instagram: @live.like.a.goddess
Name: Brittany Meyers Hometown: Chicago, IL Current Island: Tortola, BVI My previous job: Recruiting Manager My current job: Owner of Aristocat Charters; wrangler of three little girls My favorite island pastime: sailing to a nearby anchorage to explore, and relax for a few nights. I must admit that I also enjoy beach bars very much. My favorite island dish: I love making plantains and black beans. Not exactly native to my rock, but island-ish! My island pet peeve: Driving!!! The drivers here are reckless, hills are steep and roads too narrow. My island super power: Raising babies on a sailboat without losing my mind (I actually love it!) Website: windtraveler.net Facebook: /sailwindtraveler Instagram: @windtraveler
Name: Mariah Moyle Hometown: Snohomish, WA Current Island: Nassau, Bahamas My previous job: Island Administrator on Norman’s Cay, Exumas My current job: Co-business owner of Out Island Life (Chief Editor & Web Designer) and M&M Management (Marketing Manager); Sales Assistant for HG Christie Real Estate My favorite island pastime: Kiteboarding, surfing, snorkeling, boating and taking my three island dogs to the beach My favorite island dish: Conch Salad My island pet peeve: Power outages and how terrible the drivers are in Nassau My island super power: Expert on Out Island living, travel and relocation Website: outislandlifebahamas.com Facebook: /outislandlife Instagram: @outislandlife
Name: Jennifer Legra Hometown: Edison, NJ Current Island: Dominican Republic My previous job: English Teacher My current job: Author of Drinking the Whole Bottle; Independent Consultant for Rodan & Fields My favorite island pastime: Riding ATVs My favorite island dish: chinola margaritas and mofongo from Freddy’s My island pet peeve: The driving. Dominican driving is the craziest!! My island super power: finding humor and uncorking life in all situations. And of course, drinking whole bottles. Website: drinkingthewholebottle.com Facebook: /drinkingthewholebottle Instagram: @drinkingthewholebottle