I’m not sure why everyone else’s travel life seems so glamorous. My experience, every time I talk about it, seems so vastly different from just about everyone else. And I’m talking specifically about everything leading up to sticking my feet in hot white sand. So therefore: the airport.
Actually, now that I think about it almost no one talks about the airport. Are y’all out here getting frisked by TSA like me? Because that’s why I don’t talk about the airport, and I must have an implant I don’t know about. And what’s worse than getting pat down yourself is seeing your parent get pat down. My father traveled with me and they did him the courtesy of taking him to a private room, which I always opt out of. I want them to pat me down in full view of everyone else (I actually feel safer that way). But this is what the airport is for me and probably a lot of other people—a tense performance of holding your breath and keeping your head down until you make it to your gate, your seat, or your destination and you exhale. Anyway, I digress, this is how my trip started.
My husband and I have traveled with our parents numerous times. In hindsight it’s hilarious, but in the moment it’s mostly slow and embarrassing (only West Indian children will understand this lol). So let’s start this post out this way. Getting the crazy mess that happened out of the way first before diving into the good parts (because it’s always something, right?).
After my father and I get screened by TSA and half way jog to our gate we realize the plane is already there and boarded. They send us on to find our seats which by then has been occupied by other people. IN HINDSIGHT this is hilarious; in the moment I felt like I was standing there in front of 200 hundred other passengers with my d*ck in my hand. Furious.
Naturally they led us off the plane and shuffled us to the next flight an hour later, and it took literally that whole hour for us to walk the 16 airport miles to the next gate and make that flight just in time. When we finally land in the center of the hot universe, otherwise known as Montego Bay Airport, my brother informs me that he got his wires crossed and drove to pick us up at Norman Manley Airport—which is in Kingston and is a casual five island hours away from Montego Bay. So we stand there, ride less, in the heat that we haven’t adjusted to yet, and we now have to come up with a plan to get to where we plan on staying, which is about 2.5 hours from Montego Bay. Within a half hour my dad gets a taxi that’s willing to drive us that far. By this point I’m so exhausted I barely consider our lives and safety and simply dive into the cool air conditioning of the taxi van.
We made it to my brother’s property in one piece. And other than coming back to P.A. with crippling chest pain and rushing from Philly International to the E.R. to find out I have pneumonia, it was smooth sailing and the trip was awesome.
If you haven’t been to Jamaica yet, seriously what are you waiting for? I know there’s a lot of people who think it’s over hyped, way too many people go there to floss and show off so therefore its played out, etc. And truthfully, my opinions are heavily biased because I’m Jamaican, but seriously, WHAT are you waiting for! Jamaica is an experience. It’s worth the hype—I promise. It’s one of the few places in the world that has in its small capacity the ability to be a relaxing getaway, a family retreat, a paradise, and the turn up of your life. I went for a little bit of everything. I traveled on December 21st, and with my birthday just two weeks away, going to Jamaica was a kick start to my celebrations.
Where I stayed
I spent the first four days of my trip in Mandeville, Manchester. It’s in west central Jamaica, and super far from the typical touristy areas on the coasts. It’s nestled in the mountains, far from any beaches, and is one of the coolest cities on the island. I spent my time at my brother’s property, The Golf View Hotel, in one of their executive suites. The staff was amazing. I spent the entire time being always on the edge of drunkenness and deep relaxation. It was the perfect way to start my vacation as I was super burned out by 2019 at that point. My brother was also kind enough to treat me to an afternoon at a local spa. I got the facial my skin was longing for, got 6 years scrubbed off my feet and was treated to the most serene hot stone treatment. It was divine. The food, ambiance and alone time was exactly what I needed.
By Christmas Eve I drove into Kingston where I spent the remainder of my time with my husband’s family. My mother in law’s cooking is undisputed, and my husband flew in on Christmas Day to partake in it just in time. The next six days was a whirlwind of fun and way too much eating.
I’m accustomed to everyone staying on the coast, but in the last few years I’ve heard quite a few people mention “leaving the resort” and “partying in Kingston.” Y’all brave brave. But I see everyone is anxious to be exposed to how the locals live. Who do we even blame for this? The first celebrity I remember partying in Kingston was P. Diddy back in 2011. Since then I’ve noticed a lot of people, celebs and tourists a like, are comfortable being in the city and enjoying the genuine Kingston night life, and even other areas off the north coast like Mandeville, St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth and Portland. So even though my time in Jamaica is very much anti-tourist, I see that’s how a lot of people are choosing to enjoy the island as well and I am here for it.
We fully failed to actually document most of this by taking photos! It’s important to live in the moment but it’s also nice to have something to show you all! We learned our lesson. Next time we’ll be better prepared with pictures and videos. For now you guys are going to have to take my word for it that it was a magnificent time, that we had way too much fun, partied too hard, stood 10 feet away from Usain Bolt (fake played it cool though because we were at a party), had my first strip club experience, and flossed like a true Yardie—all of it you’ll just have to believe lol! Most of these scenarios couldn’t be photographed, but I’ll make a better effort next time.
I was at a loss as to how I was going to spend my birthday, but Jamaica is always a good idea. Spending time with family, and having some time to myself was a great way to end the decade. I love being in Jamaica because you are never too far from the beach, the next party, or a great hideaway spot. Its home for me but I’ve always felt it welcomes everyone.
I’d love to hear what everyone’s travel plans are for the rest of the year! And let me know in the comments if you ever plan on visiting Jamaica; its so worth it!