JAMAICA.

Have you ever been on a vacation that makes you want to quit your job and just begin a new life somewhere else?

Well, this was definitely one of those trips! Over nine days and eight nights I emerged myself in the culture of Jamaica. From the hospitality, beautiful views and amazing food it was an experience filled with a lifetime of memories.

As I traveled along with my friend Keila and her family, they gave me the best unexpected tour of Jamaica anyone could have ever asked for. Leaving the Kingston airport we passed through several cities on a two hour ride to Santa Cruz. Even with my luggage being lost due to delayed flights and reassigned terminals my spirit was high as they shared many childhood stories along the way.

For the first few days we stayed in Santa Cruz where I was introduced to some of the best authentic and traditional Jamaican food. We had some of everything – beef patties, curry goat, brown stew chicken, ackee and saltfish, sourdough bread and I can’t forget the grapenut ice cream!

We visited the town of Mulgrave, where her family grew up and went to school. The houses were built on such deep foundations, high in the mountains with sharp turns and very narrow roads. We went to church to honor her grandparents who were very essential members in the community. All the natives there were filled with such genuine joy.

On the third day we traveled to Ocho Rios where we stayed at the ClubHotel Rui Resort. There’s nothing better than indulging in the all inclusive drinks and food while on vacation. The pool bar quickly became my favorite spot and a much needed escape from my daily routines at home. Cold drinks on a sunny day combined with the calm, soothing sensation you get from the water was so relaxing. The hotel provided some of the best views of the ocean both at sunrise and sunset.

Memories of the beach flood my mind after returning home and my only regret was not writing the entire time I was in Jamaica. I took my planner, journal and a book to read and never made time to keep up with my writing schedule. I feel guilty about it now, wishing I had documented the trip even more but I know better next time. I’m looking forward to planning my next trip!

– Monique Janean

Monique HowardComment