By Joe Pike
Krista Nilsson is a Ponte Vedra woman, through and through. And here in this tight-knit community she has seen many different types of successes and forms of happiness, ranging from owning her own business, purchasing her first home, playing sports and even getting involved in charitable organizations. While Nilsson admits that she has a real passion for travel, her first and true love is being a Ponte Vedra Beach resident.
How do you like living in Ponte Vedra Beach?
I love living in Ponte Vedra Beach. I have lived here since I was five years old and before that I lived in Jacksonville Beach, so I am a Florida girl through and through. I met my husband, who is Canadian, in Ponte Vedra Beach. We got engaged and married in Ponte Vedra Beach and five years ago we purchased our first home in Ponte Vedra Beach. So not only is Ponte Vedra Beach my home, but it is a really meaningful place to me as well.
Is it true you used to own a clothing boutique?
I opened up a women’s clothing boutique, called Therapie, back in 2009, which was located in San Marco Square. I loved every minute of owning and running it, and it was a huge learning experience for me. I learned valuable business, and life lessons – ones you can only learn by taking risks and running your own company. Seven and half years after opening Therapie, I made the decision to close it in order to pursue another passion of mine, outside of the retail world. In January of this year, I took a leap of faith and closed Therapie in order to work from home for a safari company, Aardvark Safaris Tanzania, and an orphanage, St. Lucia Orphanage, both based in East Africa.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy all sorts of different things. I grew up playing soccer, so I love to be active and get a good sweat going. But, I also enjoy diving into a good book and reading until my eyes can’t take it anymore. My parents started traveling with me when I was a baby, and the trips and traveling continued through my childhood, so I have the traveling bug instilled in me. I love to travel to new places and learn about the culture and history of where I’m visiting.
You mentioned your involvement with St. Lucia Orphanage. Can you elaborate on that?
St. Lucia Orphanage is located in Arusha, Tanzania. Its focus is on abandoned children that are HIV positive. Currently, St. Lucia Orphanage is home to 20 amazing children, 18 of whom are HIV positive. The age range of the children currently living there are one and a half years old (twin siblings) up to age 19. The needs of the orphanage are countless and the challenges they face are daily. As an example, sometimes the orphanage will go days without water for washing or even drinking. No matter how horrific their pasts may be, the children of St. Lucia Orphanage are happy, loving little humans that make the absolute most out of their situation. I am in the process of filing for a non-profit, 501c3 status for St. Lucia Orphanage, in order to maximize my fundraising efforts. Although it has been a fairly new change for me, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life right now. I am living out my dream job, helping the sweetest kids I love like my very own.
If you were trapped on a desert island and could only have three things with you, what would they be?
Sunscreen, water and goldfish crackers.
Photo courtesy Krista Nilsson