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Livin’ the life!

With the right preparation, it is possible to combine the best of both worlds and enjoy a fulfilling career in paradise.

By Debbie Hennings

It is possible to be that person everyone says is “livin’ the life.”

“How?” you ask.

Work hard. Work very hard. Never stop learning. The idea of retiring to a tropical island is appealing for many reasons: the warm weather, stunning scenery, and the laidback island lifestyle are just a few of the things that make living in paradise so desirable. After spending many years working in the high-stress environment of owning my own freelance agency in Atlanta, Ga., St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands was a much needed change of pace.

While the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly had a profoundly negative effect on the world in terms of its death toll and economic, social, political, and educational impacts, one positive outcome for court reporters is that now, more than ever, it is a highly portable profession. This means that retiring to a tropical island doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your career. With the right preparation, it is possible to combine the best of both worlds and enjoy a fulfilling career in paradise. By ensuring you have the necessary technical requirements in place before you start working remotely from an island, you can create a secure and productive work environment that allows you to work efficiently and effectively.

A stable and reliable internet connection is essential. I currently do remote deposition/court work from my home on St. Croix. And not only do we have the highest speed WiFi service available here, which surprisingly is very good, we also have a Starlink satellite internet provider and a military-grade generator that will run for months in the event of an outage. We typically use solar power, but if need be, we can switch to the electric utility provider on the island. All that being said, if we’re in the middle of a monsoon … Fuhgeddaboudit! While most days are sunny and beautiful, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather and not accept assignments if you know there’s going to be extreme storms in the days ahead.

Is it for everyone? No. Do you need to possess an understanding of your internet speeds and how fast your broadband WiFi handles uploads and downloads? Yes. Do you need to have a backup game plan? Yes. It is important to consider the pros and cons before taking the plunge and moving to a remote location. Understanding that your resources are limited and you are faced with challenging logistics such as to and from the mainland can help in setting expectations. So whether you’re looking for a change of pace, a new challenge, or simply a slower and more relaxed lifestyle, working remotely on an island can be a dream come true, and you can be that person “Livin’ the life!”

Debbie C. Hennings, RPR, is a certified court reporter based in Christiansted, Virgin Islands. She can be reached at