In the Footsteps of a Sun Goddess: Danny Darling’s Journey to St. Thomas
Photos by Chelsea LaVere
Danny Darling could be called the guy version of Julia Roberts in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.”
During the recent winter storms across the Northeast, Danny bought a one-way ticket from Maine to St. Thomas. He has no passport, but he doesn’t need one. He packed his things up, left his pug with a trusted friend and set off for his Caribbean adventure. With no return ticket, Danny has been living at Sugar Bay Resort & Spa. His story is touching, hopeful and speaks to the transformative power of travel.
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What prompted Danny’s journey to St. Thomas? A very close friend of his used to live there, on Water Island, but she died in an accident recently while on the mainland. She used to share stories with Danny about how much she enjoyed the Caribbean island life in St. Thomas, and with that in mind, after her passing, Danny decided to quit his job as a union piper, decamp to the Caribbean and walk in her footsteps. He’s mourning her, celebrating her and healing himself.
“Emotionally, I am healing. I know I’m going to shed some tears when I go over to Water Island and talk to her friends, but then I hope to talk to them about the good times. I want to meet the people who knew her down here. One of her friends from Water Island flew up to Maine for her wake and I know that the last good times she had were here in St. Thomas. Whenever she had problems at home she would go to the Caribbean. She was a beach girl, a sun goddess.”
Healing is happening in other ways too, for Danny. He’s had multiple knee surgeries over the last 12 years and the cold in Maine used to bother his leg, but in St. Thomas, he hardly notices it anymore.
“I had to heal my body first; I needed to learn how to breathe again. To inhale and to exhale, and I’m doing that here in St. Thomas.”
It’s Danny’s first time in St. Thomas and after his planned visit to Water Island, he’s looking forward to living his life “island style,” just like his friend did.
“To me, island style means like what I did yesterday at Sugar Bay Resort & Spa. I had some strawberry daiquiris, went for a swim in the ocean right there, and then had a steak dinner. It’s the most carefree and stress free I’ve ever been,” said Danny.
“For now, I’m winging it. I’m loving it here at the resort but I’m looking into a month-to-month rental. It’s been a dream of mine to come here. When my friend passed, it really confronted me, I realized that it was time to come to the Caribbean.”
PHOTO: Sugar Bay Resort & Spa
Danny points to the bartender (Kat) and said he just found out that she went to his same high school back home (South Portland). Another woman sitting on the dry side of the swim-up bar said she was from Maine too.
“We’ve been having a mini high school reunion down here,” Danny mentioned with a smile. “There’s no guarantees in life” he said. “You may as well live the life you want to live, have the vacation you’ve been promising yourself, and see what unfolds. I love it here.”
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