Welcome to my life in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts!! This is the longest I’ve ever been away from home, or from my family, but I am nothing short of amazed at what was right around the corner for me in my life and I had no idea!
Moving 20+ hours away is of course not for everybody, but I am here to tell you that there is SO much power and room for growth and opportunities in just doing anything that switches up your life from the norm, whatever it may be!
On May 3rd, a little over a month ago now, I said goodbye to Alabama and traveled for three days and finally arrived on the Vineyard! I could go on and on for hours and tell you all of the unique and beautiful things about Martha’s Vineyard, but I won’t, because some of the best things about the island are worth keeping secretive for now – that’s what Martha’s Vineyard is about, truly – and, I’ll wait til the end of summer before I create the absolutely complete Martha’s Vineyard travel guide that the world needs!
I wanted to write this blog post because in one simple month I know that I have learned more about myself than I ever have in my whole life and become more confident and more adventurous, curious, and eager to know than ever just by taking a chance, and a year ago would have loved to read a post like this for that time in my life!
If you’re anything like me, or at the point in your life that you feel as if you know there is more out there, you want to seek out what more is out there, and you’re ready to start living out your dreams, I can wholeheartedly encourage you that taking the opportunities you have is the best gift you will ever give yourself.
I never would’ve thought that an internship search that began for New York City would’ve led me to Martha’s Vineyard, and I really wouldn’t have ever thought taking the internship would’ve been so powerful to my life. When you hear about moving away for an internship it’s common to think about being the office slave with a few good Instagram posts along the way, but I can promise you that the right internships are so far from that. My internship consists of learning anything and everything there is to know about running a retail business, whether that be my own or someone else’s. My internship pathway is set out to teach me enough so that at the end of my internship, I could run the business I am working for completely on my own (I’m old enough for that?!?) because of one amazing boss and an incredible Harvard-grad founded company, Soft As A Grape, Inc. Soft As A Grape is a New England based wholesale apparel company with 13 retail stores along Cape Cod such as Falmouth, MA, Woods Hole, MA, Chatham, MA, Mashpee, MA, Newport, RI, Plymouth, MA, Hyannis, MA, Pt. Judith, MA, and three on MVY in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, and one in Celebration, FL. I work at the Edgartown store, right next to the ferry to Chappaquiddick! If you’ve ever bought a travel destination apparel item that has block letters spelling out the name of the place, or fun MLB apparel, you’ve probably bought Soft As A Grape!
Since being on the Vineyard, and being truly on my own for the first time, I have entered completely new phase of life that has been so, so rewarding more than I could have ever deserved or dreamed of.
Within the first week of living on MVY, I met some incredibly influential people that will forever impact my life that I will be surrounded by for the duration of the summer, which was so helpful in the transition to living in a new place.
These people have constantly reminded me that this will be the best summer of my life. If you’ve never visited MVY or aren’t familiar with MVY, having the best summer ever is a little different than what you would imagine just a summer at the beach to be. MVY is completely uncommercial, meaning there’s no fast food, no chain restaurants, no beach chair rentals on the beach, no chain hotels, no billboards, no Publix, no Target, no Home Depot or Lowes, no ANYTHING that I’ve always been familiar with my entire life in Alabama. More than just spending money, this makes the biggest difference in your life more than you realize at first. The speed limit is no higher than 40 on the entire island, I’ve been under maybe 1 (?) red light, and the best part: life is extremely stress free.
I don’t think until you’re without it that you would normally realize how much noise consumes your life, and on MVY, life is so quiet. Of course, there’s summer visitors EVERYWHERE, no parking spaces to be had, lines out of doors, wait times at restaurants etc., but there’s just something about life on MVY that’s so stress-free that you don’t even realize what day it is because Mondays can be just as good as Fridays.
One of my favorite things that some important people to me on this island have preached to me that I can now understand and live my life by is that every single day will be the best day of my life.
I will have an amazing day every single day and nothing or nobody will take that away from me. This is my life and I will live with zero regrets and always be as happy as I can be. I will do exactly what makes me happy and I will live to the standard of my own happiness and forget about the things that try to take that down! Why wouldn’t I?
What the islanders have taught me is that they are people who are always looking out for you, as I should be for other people. This can be seen in so many different big and small ways along this island, even such as that when I am pulling onto a road with traffic, within 3 cars passing by someone will always let you out in front of them. People that come into the clothing store that I work in are always engaging in ways to better me and help me make connections. The community of MVY is always working together and helping everyone they can along the way.
While new things and places can be awkward and hard, I’ve always remembered that it’s truly not where you are, but who you’re with that makes the impact. Luckily, I am in an amazing destination, but the people here are what makes this island Martha’s Vineyard.
Some of my favorite things so far that I love about MVY are the many peaceful beaches, the sunsets, the seafood (lobster + shrimp), the natural beauty of the entire historic structure, watching the boats, the local shops, and the uniqueness of living in a world that’s not-so up to date, tech savvy, trend savvy, or out there for the world to see. MVY is quaint and hidden off of the northeastern coast, and the mix of countryside, beach, and small-town USA make this island such a gem to the United States.
And, of course, never be fooled by believing someone’s life who you read about on the internet is always put together and perfect, because trust me, it’s not always sunny and definitely not always warm here (I’m behind on some beach days), and I’d give absolutely anything to have a Chick Fil A and pay Alabama prices for food and gas again (funny, but true), but what I have learned throughout this journey so far is that your life does not always have to be either picture perfect or a sad story. The most important thing you will ever, ever learn is that your best life is lived when you are one thing: the essential, authentic, real, raw, and true you.
Your life is your own and your life is what you make it to be, in every situation. On this island, I’ve met some of the most highly blessed and highly tragic struck people, but each carry themselves to life the happiest life they can live day by day. The people of this island are all here to enjoy the simplest parts of what makes life so great, and I’m forever thankful that I have seen this lesson before my eyes.
Overall, what I love about MVY and what I’ll carry with me forever, is that I can see a movie star, CEO, Kennedy family friend, movie producer, President, you name it on this island (yes, I’ve sold a sweatshirt to a few roles I listed), and they won’t look any different than anybody else. I think everyone should live in a place where you’d never guess who people are or what they have, because they value and enjoy life by measure of quality and nature more than materials and things. MVY is a dream, simply because there is so much to take away from everything around you.
If I can inspire you with anything that I’ve learned or experienced so far, it’s that your life is 100% what you make it to be. Life is full of opportunities and doors, and it’s up to you to take them!