Think of time travel. Think like a jumper – and wake up in another place and culture….You board a plane on one side of the world and through a blur of a time warp you arrive at a new destination point. That’s the allure of traveling!
You emerge from the plane, and the sun and heat engulf you with exotic smells mixed in the breeze caressing your face. One deep breath and you step into your next grand adventure in the Caribbean Islands.
Riddled with islands, this part of the world is one shot short of paradise. Leave the sunburned tourists back in the distance and explore these new lands as though you’re in another world – because you are. Just imagine what it’s like to live here and all that you see around you is …well from a local perspective, just normal!
What’s it like then in Barbados? Well, you first walk down the boardwalk instead of the noisy streets and you nod to the early morning joggers as you head to the centre of town for shopping. You might pass the local fisherman mending his nets in the shade, the delicate whiteness rippling in the ocean breeze.
Off the beaten path in Antigua, you laugh and clown around with your neighbour who caught these fish for his family’s meal that night. Poor little beasties!
Behind the fish market you mingle with the housewives and chat with young teens selling seafood from the back of their truck. Maybe you’ll decide to barter for a cheap lobster for your own meal of the day.
If you live here you might recognize your neighbour’s daughter, all dressed up in vivid yellow with her friends for the dance event in a tourist show.
Or perhaps you’d chat with the local craftsman trying to make a dollar or two from the tourists.
Interesting people are at every corner discussing the local gossip and news. If you want to know what they might be talking about, read the local news in the Times Caribbean newspaper.
Maybe you’re tired of walking? Hop on a bus then. They always go somewhere, then turn around and come back!
But if you actually lived here, you might drive over to the Atlantic side of the island to see your friends. So let’s rent a bright red car and do it! You’ve got to drive carefully though, especially since they all drive on the “wrong side of the road”.
Most tours for the tourists are highly over-rated and exorbitant in price when you can bump along the same scenic routes to the best beaches by a rented car or even the cheap local bus. If you don’t want to drive yourself, grab a few tourists nearby and arrange your own sight-seeing tour with a friendly English speaking taxi-driver. He’ll be much more fun and authentically informative anyway. Decide on the price before you get in though!
But with your own car, you can discover hidden little beaches like this one along the more rugged coast of the island.
Barbados has few signs on the rural roads and you’ll probably get lost many times but not for long because it’s only 20 miles long. At the end of this gravel lane, there’s a puppy sleeping in an unusual place for a dog!
Once some wild monkeys crossed our tight little road winding down to a coastal community. Here was life being lived in a neighbourhood Sunday party. Reggae music is belted out by the local band.
You could get some friends together and rent a skiff to swim with the sting rays! They’re so soft and smooth to pet, like fine wet velvet!
One of the crew members will even rub it over your back for an exotic Caribbean massage. Docile beautiful creatures, with funny little mouths, not like the four-foot long barracuda I met underwater which I sure didn’t want to try to pet.
Lots of bigger colourful fish at Turks and Caicos….a gorgeous beach and very flat low landscape. One tsunami would swallow it up. A few years ago the Turks and Caicos government asked to join Canada as a new province but negotiations weren’t successful. Now wouldn’t that have been a coup? Short sighted politicians if you asked me!
Some of our best snorkelling was found by researching online from home for the best areas on each island. Then we asked the locals for directions to get to the exact beach. I wish I could have filmed myself underwater when I made friends with one of the huge hawk-billed turtles.
He and I played follow the leader. I learned how to use my arms as underwater wings just like he did while swimming a little above him. Eye to eye contact with a sentient underwater animal was truly an other-worldly experience.
Some tourist activities are too irresistible though. You too, might jump at the chance to crew in the America’s Cup sailboat race on St. Maarten. We threatened to mutiny though until they assigned us to the Canadian sailboat called the True North.
As main grinders we reeled in the big sails while carving through the turquoise waters, and quite proud of our Canadian flag fluttering from its hockey stick at the stern!
OK, so vacations can be expensive but the memories you file away become priceless in the years to come. And you can cut costs for a dream vacations (See Who Me, Go on a Cruise?). Make them happen! Go now! Each decade of life we pass adds to/or limits our library of self-defining experiences.
So take that last stroll along the beach side path. Sink into the scene and absorb it. Etch it in well.
When you get back home you’re going to be just a little bit different because your mind gets expanded as you assimilate these memories into your reality of normal. But then you start thinking and remembering. Where then, is the next jump going to be?
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