Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Since I love to travel, I follow quite a few travel writers on social media. I live for their stories. They paint pictures with words, inspiring readers to one day share colorful narratives of their own, of lands “far, far away.” So, when one of my “faves,” April Thompson of Absolute Travel Addict, posted an Instagram update of her plan to organize an "Urban Escape" travel group to Kingston, Jamaica, I immediately went to her website and pressed "Book Now." I didn't personally know April. I also didn't know that my bank account was teetering on the edge of being a "no-count." However, I did know three things: 1) I had never been to Jamaica, 2) I wanted to go, and 3) I wanted my introduction to this “island in the sun" to be authentic. Based on April's posts, pictures, and videos throughout the country over the years as a tourist and, later, a resident, I had a feeling that she would be the perfect guide.

I pictured myself sipping coffee in the Blue Mountains while watching hummingbirds hurriedly do whatever hummingbirds do. Sunning in the sand alongside locals. Gnawing on guineps while waiting for my next meal of fresh seafood (or jerk chicken), bammy, and juice. Meeting a Jamaican boo - like Stella met Winston. 

For six, hot, August days, I did all of that and more throughout eastern Jamaica, and I did it with April and seven other curious travelers who simply wanted to experience "yaad" and what makes it "a yah so nice.” 

Over the next few weeks, I plan to write much more about our Jamaican journey, which was filled with adventure, artistry, and pure awesomeness. However, in the meantime, here are three of my favorite highlights:

George "Georgie" Robinson. His first and last name may not ring a bell, but his nickname should - especially if you are familiar with Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry." In the second verse, Bob sings about "Georgie, who makes the fire light, log wood burnin' through the night." Well, this is "Georgie", who is now 84-years-old, and spends quite a bit of time at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. What an honor to meet him! It's cool to be able to put a face with the name.

Giddy House. This place is cool and creepy at the same time. The Giddy House is located in Port Royal, and was once used to store weapons and gunpowder near Fort Charles. However, it was hit by an earthquake in the early 1900s and partially sank. It gets its name from the "giddy" feeling you get when you enter it and try to stand straight. Some people can walk a straight line while inside; others, like me, hug the walls while carefully moving across the concrete floor like drunken seals.

Jerk Chicken Spring Rolls. After the first bite, these spring rolls made me want to sing every love song on Bob Marley's "Kaya" album. And I do mean EVERY song. That's how good they taste. On our first night in Kingston, we ate at Tracks & Records, a sports bar and lounge owned by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. I ordered these springs rolls and a Cobb salad. The salad was ok; the spring rolls were manna from heaven. The chicken was tender, and the rolls had the right amount of crunch. Pair that with a savory dipping sauce, and child...."Is this love that I'm feeling...Is this the love that I've been searching for..."

This is just the beginning of the unforgettable people, places, foods, and moments I experienced throughout Kingston and its surrounding areas.

So, stay tuned. More blog posts "soon come...."

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