Karin Olsen's past Customer Service experience, from retail cosmetics, receptionist, gym instructor, nanny, hotel front desk, cruise ship beauty therapist, and tour leader in Egypt and Spain, helped prepare her for an opportunity, in 2011, when Bravo Tours began bringing charters from Denmark to St. Croix.
"I was hired as a Danish Tour Guide but first had to do my homework reading information and books about St. Croix sent to me by the "destination manager." Bravo Tours gave me training as well, with Danish University teachers, but we still had to read a lot of books and research St. Croix online. When I came to the island a month in advance, I was shown around by established tour guides, Sweeny Toussiant, Nina York and Frandelle Gerard; they helped a lot so a St. Croix program could be put together. It was a great experience.
I learned to do a 3-hour Walking Tour of Christiansted with the arriving Danes, showing them Government House, the Christiansted National Historic Site including Ft. Christiansvaern, and telling them about the history, showing them good places to eat, and where to shop. The Island Tour was done with Sweeny's St. Croix Safari to Whim Museum, the St. George Village Botanical Garden, Cruzan Rum, Frederiksted, and through the Rainforest. Boatloads of Danes got to see Buck Island with Big Beards Adventure Tours; Tan Tan tours took them in Jeeps to the North and West End.
My hometown is called Koege, an hour's drive outside of Copenhagen. I did not hear of St. Croix before 2011 and my family has never been outside of Denmark. I have been creative my whole life, always drawing and coloring. My Mom is very crafty with sewing and my sister carves in glass. My parents always let me take art and crafts classes, so maybe that influenced me. I feel this interest is just something inside of me.
I like to use pencils, charcoal, markers and acrylic paint and I change mediums depending on my mood and what I want to produce. I like to paint with acrylic because it dries quicker, especially down here. I have been doing more animation drawings lately with pens, markers and computer editing. I actually only started to paint in 2009. Art, in general, means a lot to me. If I don't paint, I for sure draw every week. It is relaxing for me, almost like therapy. I am very excited that the magazine wants to use my art on the front covers!
I've enjoyed doing portraits and St. Croix scenes while here but I have also gotten into animation and book illustrations, https://www.facebook.com/kokosgallery/. I wrote my own children's book last year with my animated character Art, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019VO81II. I also have my own website (in Danish) about St.Croix, http://www.altomstcroix.com/, where I write information for the tourist--what to do and see while on island. I also have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/AltomStCroix/?fref=ts where I hope to attract more Danes to St. Croix. With the Norwegian direct flight, more people are traveling without agencies. I like to help them find a place to stay and give them advice before they come down.
I didn't know too much about the VI, unfortunately the schools in Denmark don't teach much about the old Danish West Indies history and a lot of Danes don't know that we used to have a slave colony for about 200 years. Since I had been to St. Thomas with my work on the cruise ship, I knew it used to be Danish and I knew a bit from what my mom had told me. The older generation of Danes knows more about the history than the younger. I am hoping to change that through my website and Facebook page (in Danish) about St. Croix, to build more awareness.
This season I have not worked as a Tour Guide; I am finishing up my online degree in Hospitality, Tourism & Service Management and will see where that takes me. I wish it could serve me on St. Croix but it is hard to get permanent employment here as a Dane.
My 5 x 7, St. Croix postcards can be found at Tropical Bracelet Factory and Love and Light Book Store in Christiansted. Two original pieces, Whim Sugar Mill and Fort Christiansvaern (July cover), are on display at Hotel St. Croix (Club Comanche). Prints of my original paintings can be ordered by messaging me through my Facebook page. Depending on image and size, I will make arrangements for printing and shipping.
St. Croix This Week | St. Thomas + St. John This Week
Location: # 1 Havensight Way, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Mailing Address: PO Box 11199 St. Thomas, VI 00801-4199
Telephone: (340) 774-2500
Fax: (340) 776-1466