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From Zero to Paradise in One Easy Step

Driving for Amazon Flex just wasn’t enough. Not enough money, not enough consistency, not enough purpose. So I told god in no uncertain terms, “enough, change this, now!” I had grown satisfied with sleeping on the side of the road in a van. I had enough. It was time for next.

I walked away from a six figure IT career because it wasn’t enough. I have done that a couple times. And I am still going. I tried a number of strategies to create something larger and went bankrupt trying. They all say “fail fast, fail often.” but rarely talk about what it is actually like to lose everything and call it done. They all say you have to be broke to get rich, but don’t really dwell on how much is sucks to be broke. And I won’t either. Just trust me. There is a reason very few try at this game for long, for long enough to succeed.

So I told god in no uncertain terms, “enough.”

And shortly after a simple thought came into my head. Why not get a groovy IT job in St Thomas? Followed by, “where is St Thomas, anyway?”

I discovered, the virgin islands craigslist because St Thomas in in the US Virgin Islands. I found an ad for IT techs or something, “must be willing to travel.” All caps, several exclamation points. I figured, I’ll send a resume for practice, never expecting to hear from them.

So now I have a groovy IT job in St Thomas. I am the IT Lead for the team that is here to fix houses after the hurricanes.

It’s chaos. It’s an actual disaster area. Nothing works. Hot water is rare. A few of the missing traffic lights have been replaced by temporary installations. Most are just missing or mangled and not working. All the street signs are gone. There are a lot of blue tarps and after six months yesterday, there is still a lot of debris, everywhere. There are wires on the ground. Everywhere. There are poles laying on the ground. Fences down. Roofs missing and bare foundations where there once were houses.

It’s paradise. Whenever I get a little down, I stand up and look around or out a window. The whole place is drop dead gorgeous. The people smile and say “morning morning!” There is a lot of honking. A lot of honking. It took me a while, me a Seattlite, to realize a lot of the honking was happy honking. Someone waits at the broken light and lets someone into traffic. Honk! Wave. Smile. A lot of honking. I’ve started honking. Smile. Wave. Honk! Yay!

Morning morning!

The cruise ships come. Great cities tied up to the pier, three end to end sometimes. The locals standing on the street corners offering bottles of water. “One dollar!” Smile. Wave. It’s paradise.

The only way to make this better is if the schooner to the left was my boat.

We work hard. Twelve, sixteen hours a day, six, seven days a week. We have a lot to do. There are a lot of blue tarps. No one home. They need to go home. We are here to help. The people are getting to know us. A young man stops me while I’m driving by. I have the sign on my jeep. He asks, “will you be hiring soon?” Yes. Many. I explain the sign. Smart kid. He will find work I am sure. We are just here to help. The locals will be doing the majority of the work. They need to go home. We are here to help.

My coworker shot this with a drone.

All I did was listen. I told god in no uncertain terms, “enough.” And then I listened. And answered one ad. And now I am in paradise. In one easy step.


“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson