After my 20 day trip around Jamaica, I've now had some time to reflect...
It was with a sore heart that I came back to Canada. Watery eyes, a lump in my throat, dreading the cold weather and cold vibes.
Jamaica is a beautiful country. The hills and mountains, the thick jungle and smells of earth, are complemented by white sandy beaches and perfect rolling waves.
The comfort I felt there was like being in the womb of mother earth herself. A floating consciousness among many, whose light shone as bright as the sun.
I could go on about the natural beauty, it's easy to find words to describe and paint a picture.
What words cannot describe perfectly, is the people.
The first voice I heard, was at the airport. A young woman who worked there, was standing in the hallway, as we walked past, into the customs area.
She was singing. She was singing with great joy and swaying to the music that she couldn't help but let come from her. That was only the beginning. Everywhere you go in Jamaica, the people, naturally feel the flow of music. Some sing, some dance, some do both. There is such a glorious expression of music and rhythm all over the island.
I traveled by local taxi and local bus most places I went and from my observation, many of the people in Jamaica deserve a record contract for their talent.
Flying down the road, sitting next to a woman, who was hitting every note in a Beyonce song, while the driver rapped a steady freestyle over it, made me feel like I was in a musical.
I witnessed a young vendor, who was selling peanuts, water and soda, have half of his stand cleared and blown over by the wind. His reaction was to spread his arms wide and sing about the wind, with his eyes closed, looking to the sky and smiling.
Also I loved the consistent respect toward one another and self policing behaviour.
When people greet each other there, it is always with warm hugs, fist bumps or hand shakes matched with: "Bless up", "one love", "respect", "Mannas"
If someone doesn't open a door for an old lady, the people surrounding them, call them out for their unkind and disrespectful behaviour.
Everyone is very vocal and straight forward in communication which is refreshing. Many of them don't waste any time with small talk, they simply let you know what is on their mind exactly or what their intentions are.
The experience of staying at hostels for most of the trip, was definitely one of the most valuable choices I had made, ahead of time.
Sharing a space with people from all around the world, who had come to explore Jamaica, was amazing. We made plans together, gave each other advice, teamed up and shared our own culture and language in a relaxed group setting. It was so interesting to hear the perspectives of people from so many backgrounds and to spend time appreciating one another.
I went on a tour of recording studios and vinyl shops with 2 guys from Ireland and a girl from Austria, spent a day/night at the beach with girls from Bulgaria, Finland, Austria and Saudi Arabia, went dancing with a girl from Sweden, a guy from Israel, a guy from Jamaica and a guy from Antigua. I learned about cooking from an Italian guy who came from Amsterdam.
Spent my birthday with a new Jamaican friend, several people from Germany, Austria and Spain.
Most of the people I met in the hostels, had traveled the world FAR more than I have. I was humbled by their stories.
We all held a very important thing in common, we all felt liberated and excited about exploring new places and meeting new people of many cultures.
I regret not getting contact information from some of these people because the impressions many of them made on me will last a lifetime.
One of the Hostels I stayed in was run by an Italian/Rasta reggae musician. I even had the chance to see him perform at an acoustic jam session.
At one point I stayed in a guest house, a beautiful villa, overlooking the ocean with a rooftop patio, run by a beautiful woman who quickly made me absolutely feel like family.
The vibes in the portland area were so relaxed and calming. So many great beaches, such kind rural folk, like the artist Charlie Brown. I met Charlie Brown while walking along the road, he had a station set up to carve beach wood and a little shop with all his work. You could tell how passionate he was by his glowing personality and the amount of work he had on display was profound.
So many little experiences along the way, made me laugh, dance and sing.
The last trip I only spent 3 days in kingston and it overwhelmed me. So this time I booked 8 out of 20 days in Kingston and got used to it. I now love kingston! For a short time I visited Ocho Rios and Nine mile. Although St ann Parish area is nice, the hostel was great and there is a lot to do there, it was hard to walk the streets there. Because the area is a huge tourist area, Ocho Rios was too much for me. It is overwhelming to walk the street there. This did not stop me from attempting to go out on my own but it took a lot of my energy, which was lacking at the end of my trip.
The main reason I went to Jamaica for 20 days this time, was because the last time 14 was not enough and again, I felt this time I spent was not enough.
So just as last time when I returned home, I plan to return for as long as I can, as soon as I can :)