Craig and Michelle Felix took the COVID-19 pandemic as a sign to retire early and trade Midwest winters for Caribbean sunshine, after she had spent 26 years teaching English at Milwaukee Area Technical College and he had spent more than 15 years as a full-time commercial photographer for Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp.
In August, the couple moved from the Milwaukee area 2,600 miles south to the island of St. Lucia. The decision wasn’t as drastic as it sounds: Craig is originally from St. Lucia, and in the years since they married, the couple had visited the country together and with their children every 12 to 18 months.
“It’s very familiar to us, and it’s a second home to them,” said Michelle, who continues to teach English as a second language part time for an online university based in Barcelona, Spain. Meanwhile, Craig tutors a woman from Mexico in conversational Spanish – via Google Meet – and has landed a few local photography gigs.
The semi-retired, island life for the couple consists of daily swims in the Caribbean Sea – either early in the morning or at sunset – the occasional beach day, enjoying the local cuisine and spending time with new and old friends.
“It’s worked out that we have some leisure, but we also have enough work to keep us stimulated,” said Michelle.
Using St. Lucia as their home base, the couple will spend the next few years travelling, whether that’s to other parts of St. Lucia or to neighboring island Martinique – just a ferry boat ride away – or voyaging further for longer periods of time. In February, they’ll head to Mexico, where they’ll stay for a couple months.
“(Relocating) was a hard decision in that we had a full and happy life in Milwaukee … but it just seemed like we had an opportunity to do this. … And so far, so good,” Michelle said.