Our Trip Home from the Island of St. Eustatius

Documenting our trip home from the island has been on my to do list for the longest time and yay for me….I finally finished sorting and editing all our photos from the trip and am super excited to share them with you! Just in case you’ve been waiting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Get ready because there are A LOT of photos….
Leaving Statia was hard. Despite the fact that we knew the time was right for us to leave, there was still a certain amount of sadness at saying goodbye to the friends and the places that had been such a part of our lives for the past 18 months. Saying goodbye to our sweet landlady was particularly hard. She was like a surrogate grandma to the kids during our time on Statia and we knew we were going to miss her a lot.
After we’d said our goodbyes and were waiting in the tiny Statia airport for our plane to arrive, sadness began to turn into excitement. The kids were really looking forward to riding on the tiny plane and we were spending 3 days on the St. Maarten and they couldn’t wait to explore a new island. 
The plane finally arrived, and we walked out the airport doors, onto the runway to board. I couldn’t believe the kids weren’t nervous about the plane trip at all…those tiny planes make me so uneasy, but it didn’t faze them at all. As we took off we looked out the window one last time to see Statia fade out of view and in just 15 minutes we were arriving on St. Maarten.
They shuttled us from the airplane to the airport doors and once inside we collected all our bags + grabbed some lunch. Airport food never tasted so good! :)
We’re just going to skip the part of the story where we had to figure out a way to transport the 6 of us + 10 suitcases + 1 stroller + a collection of carryon bags to our hotel and move right along to the part where we arrived at the hotel, changed into our swimsuits and headed straight to the beach. :)

We explored around front street in Phillipsburg, saw the cruise ships + had some fun on the jet skis. The kids fell in love with the white sand and when the sun started to go down we ended the night with ice cream. What could be more perfect?
The next morning we grabbed breakfast and explored around our hotel a little bit. It was like a zoo around that place, with talking parrots, monkeys, rabbits, turtles and all kinds of beautiful birds.
Fifi the parrot was Emily’s favourite. ๐Ÿ˜‰
After visiting with the animals we all packed into the rental car to do some exploring. We found some great views and were even able to catch a glimpse of Statia from one of the lookouts. 
This was one of our favourite beaches and I’m sad I can’t remember the name of it now. It was a beach that the locals frequent, so it was quiet, there weren’t any big waves, which was perfect for the kids and it was absolutely beautiful! We stayed there for a good part of our second day and played in the sand and water, ate french fries and I of course took a few pictures…
A trip to St. Maarten wouldn’t be complete without visiting Maho beach and watching the planes land and take off. It’s amazing to see! This was the kids favourite spot. The waves were absolutely huge and Emily and Carson had a blast playing in them. The little girls were content to play in the sand and watch the airplanes go in and out.
We stopped of at one other private beach on the French side that day but didn’t stay long after we discovered it was the sort of place that clothing was optional….ooops. We had a quick picnic on the beach and then headed back to the hotel for the night to get ready to leave the next day. 

We attended church in the morning at the small LDS chapel on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, then headed back to the hotel to pack up and begin the task of transporting all our luggage back to the airport. When we finally boarded our plane to Toronto we breathed a huge sigh of relief. Me and the Mr. were getting pretty tired by this point and getting home was all we could think about. We spent one more night in Toronto and then we were on our way to Calgary early the next morning.
The kids were all such good little travellers. Alivia had her moments, but she’s two and we forgive her. ๐Ÿ˜‰ When the kids finally caught their first glimpse of snow out the plane windows as we arrived in Calgary there were squeals of delight!
And speaking of squeals of delight…as we came down the escalator and all the super special people who were waiting there to greet us came into view…there were a few more! And there were tears and there were hugs and it was awesome and it made every exhausting moment of the trip home worth it!
We are so thankful to be back home. Sure, there are days that we find ourselves missing our little island and the sunshine and the beaches….but we’re getting used to this new life {or is it our old life?} and are looking forward to figuring out where we go from here. The future is exciting and scary and unknown all at the same time, but I have faith that its all going to work out exactly the way it’s supposed to. 
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Rebecca Cooper is a 38-year-old wife and mother of four from Alberta, Canada. As a photographer, crafter, author, and blogger, she finds joy and fulfillment in celebrating everyday moments. She loves to read and eat chocolate, and is a firm believer in afternoon naps. Rebecca shares her familyโ€™s adventures, photo tips, simple craft projects + more right here at Simple as That.

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  1. Els Manning says

    Won’t lie. Cried a bit. Spend some time traveling, left family in Holland. And settled in the US. Have kids in other states, and so that airport scene, watching people come and go and seeing the smiles, and tears…. Leaving people behind. Rushing to see the ones waiting. Bitter sweet isn’t it. Your family is just lovely. Oh wishing you so much love and happiness in your next phase of your life….

  2. The Gambrel Family says

    Rebecca, you amaze me with the moments you capture, you truly have a gift. I loved seeing your pictures and wish the best for your family. I hope you are getting settled back in at home.

  3. Laura says

    Thank you for sharing all the sweet/sad moments that lead up to this next phase of your life. Love the colors and editing in your pics as they look serene and certainly remind me of the beach. One question: I’m sort of new to photography and was told never to bring my DSLR to the beach for fear that sand would harm the camera. Any thoughts on how I could prevent this from happening? My only camera is a DSLR and I want to take pics this summer at the beach. Thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. hizles says

    What a beautiful story and the pics are gorgeous just as always. The kids will thank you for documenting that trip back home. They will be able to also see photos of all their friends in Statia and remember all the fun they had while they lived there. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Jackie says

    What a great story teller you are. I can’t say I would be glad to see snow…but I know kids love it. Great photos, and with the narration, I felt like I was along for the trip.

  6. says

    Well we are glad you made it home safe and sound! What a lot of work but it looks like you had an amazing time! LOVE your pictures of the trip home so beautiful! Before you leave on your next adventure and its warmer and nicer can we do family pics again with you we’d love it! Darren on the other hand won’t ha ha! Glad your home!

  7. says

    Looks like you had a wonderful journey back home. Glad to see your children didn’t wear flip flops and shorts on the plane ride to Canada. There was a family on our plane to Utah this December coming from the Carribean. They didn’t own any cold weather clothes. Brrh!

  8. Kelly Harper Photography says

    What an adventure!!! LOVED reading through your experiences and fun and your images are unreal. I just love how simple and clean your photos are. And, your family is beautiful!!!

  9. says

    Fantastic photos! I saw your earlier post about your current favorite photoshop actions – did you use a few in particular to edit these? I love the soft faded colors and vintage tones. Can you share? :)

  10. Heather @ Cookies For Breakfast says

    Love this! Your family is gorgeous, and as always, the photos are breathtaking. I love your family’s story – living on a beautiful island for over a year – something most people only dream of. Thanks for sharing the journey with us!

  11. Henrietta Hassinen says

    I just love some much kids on the beach pictures. They are so cute. My all time favorite is the little one from back side with the sand bucket on her hand.
    Have nice weekend.

  12. says

    I just found your blog from a pin on pintrest and I’m so excited!! My husband and I took our family to Statia while he attended med school at USESM. We are in Toledo now while he is fishing up residency but if you guys need any information about clinicals or residency we would totally love to help. My e-mail address is [email protected] or if you just feel like chatting with someone who lived on Statia too…
    ps your pictures are amazing!! Totally felt like I was back in Statia again.

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