My First Solo Trip

I love to travel.

I hate going places alone.

So those two things together, has stopped me from going a lot of places because I’d have a great trip planned out but because I could never find anyone to go with me or anyone with money or anyone with time and/or interest, I’d end up cancelling my dreams of going anywhere if I didn’t have a travel partner.

But then this Jamaica trip came along. To make a long story short, I was invited to go, they ended up not being able to get out of work, I still wanted to go so I asked someone else and they said YES! So I booked my plane ticket and they …didn’t. And they didn’t even tell me.  They stood me up. But I already had a plane ticket and I wasn’t about to waste that money so I was going to Jamaica alone!

I was scared, I’m not going to lie. I don’t even like going to restaurants alone but here I was about to go out of the country…BY…MY…SELF! I was kind of excited though because I have been wanting to go on a solo trip but never had the courage so this was my chance!

The flight over was fine. I think my total flight time was a little under 4 hours from North Florida and I had a layover in ATL. Once I touched down, I just followed everyone else to customs because I had NO idea where I was going. I gave the lady my passport and she asked me, “Have you ever been to Jamaica before?” in her beautiful accent. I said, “No“, then she asked me, “Are you alone?” I said, “Yes“. I felt like that was a trick question! I was thinking, “Omg everyone heard me say no and they all know I’m in this country alone!”. Then she asked me where I was going and I told her the AirBnB name but that wasn’t enough. So she told me to follow her and she took me to a holding room with a crackhead looking pregnant chick and someone who looked like her mom. Her mom spoke to me but I had NO idea what she said so I just shook my head and smiled.

I was really scared at this point! I was scared because I had no idea what they were going to do with me since I didn’t have all my information and I’m a foreigner. I thought they were going to deport me back to America!! The manager ended up coming to get me and he helped me go online and find the address and a contact number to my AirBnB. I had the name of my AirBnB and thought I had the right address but the way Jamaica is set up…I didn’t have everything. Jamaica doesn’t have house number so you can’t say, “I live at 4325 Main St” it’s more like, “Go down Main St and it’s the blue house on the right”. So the manager at customs, Damian, helped me get all the info and gave me his number in case I needed any help while on my trip. He was such a HUGE help and I’m forever thankful for his help!

So on my way to the airport in FL, at the airport, on the plane, even once I touched down in Jamaica, I didn’t feel like I was going to Jamaica. Not until I walked out of the airport! Once I walked out of the airport, the sun was shining so bright, the palm tree leaves were swaying in the wind and everyone had beautiful dark skin! I was in love! I went to get my rental car and the guy gave me like a little pep talk telling  me to remember that they drive on the left side of the road. “Pass on the RIGHT side!” he kept telling me. I got in the car and had to get my mind wrapped around the fact that they sit on the right side of the car too. I slowly drove out of the parking lot and got on the highway for my 1.5 hour drive to my AirBnB.

My AirBnB was like a huge house with separate rooms with their own private bathrooms and there was a common kitchen that was free for anyone to use. Once I arrived, everyone was so nice to me! This older white lady, another guest, asked me if I was alone…of course I was suppose to say no….but I said yes. I obviously just got out of the car alone and I was going to be there for 5 days so there was no way she would believe I was with someone after 2 days of seeing me alone. So why lie and get caught up? lol She then invited me to her wedding that she was having across the street on the beach in a couple of days and told me to come to the reception too. I told her I would try but I wasn’t sure what I had planned for that day. It was pretty late so I stayed in my room that night and got prepared for my first real day in Jamaica!

resized

So since I had initially thought I was coming on this trip with someone, I hadn’t planned too much to do because I figured I would do that with my “travel partner” but since that fell threw I had NO idea what I want to do in Jamaica. So with such short notice, I figured the best thing to do would be to go on a tour! I would get to meet people on the tour and I’d have a tour guide to take me around since the driving there was horrible and they could tell me more about the island. So I googled tours and ended up emailing ‘Pete Taylor Tours” and luckily they had a spot open for the very next day so I booked it! I got a call in the morning saying my ride would be there to pick me up around 10 am to go to Dunn River Falls and the Blue Hole. I googled both places and they looked amazing and they were recommended tourist attractions so I figured I should add it to my Jamaican experience!

The next day, at 10am, my tour guide came to pick me up in a van. I tried to climb in the back, “with everyone else” and he tells me to sit up front. I get in the van and it’s just me! I ask Pete, my driver, “Where is everyone else? Are we going to pick them up?” and he tells me it’s just me! At first I was a little weary about that but then I thought, “Cool! A personal driver and a personal tour! I can dig it!” It was a bit overcast on the drive to Dunn River Falls but Pete and I chit chatted a little and he told me it would clear up. It’s island weather so it doesn’t rain for long. Dunn River Falls is a waterfall that you’re allowed to actually climb up. Like literally climb up it while the water was coming down. Not climb up the side of it but actually through it! It was so much fun and so beautiful! When I got there, everyone was looking at me weird because I came last and I was alone. They were all with their families and friends so I just smiled and thought to myself, “I’m gonna have a great experience even if I’m here alone. I am in Jamaica and I am not going to let my social anxiety ruin this experience for me!!” so I joined the tour and had just as much fun as everyone else!!

After Dunn River Falls, Pete took me to the Blue Hole which was majestical! Truly beautiful! I thought Hawaii had amazing water but I think Jamaica had them beat! The water was SO blue! It was a little late in the day so all the tourist were gone and there were just locals hanging out and jumping in the water. Pete knew some of the people who worked there and got one of them to walk up the river with me! I wish I could post video on here because I got some amazing footage! Maybe I’ll start a Youtube channel for my adventures!

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DAY 2

I didn’t know what to eat for breakfast so the bellman, Mr. Grey, took me to get some “local” breakfast. Jamaica’s signature dish is Ackee and Saltfish so I had to try it! I was not impressed to say the least. I actually didn’t like it at all but I ate it because I didn’t want to be rude. It was VERY salty (duh, right?) and the ackee taste like…tasteless scrambled eggs almost. But here’s what it looked like:

After breakfast, I went to the Bob Marley Mausoleum. Not his museum, that was 2 hours away in Kingston, but the mausoleum is where he use to live.

 The twin size bed was suppose to be Bob’s but why would he put a cover of himself on his own bed? lol They could have made it more realistic. lol The rock Im sitting on was one of the rocks he sat on when he wrote his music and the guy taking that picture was selling weed in a little shack because it’s legal EVERYWHERE! When I went to see where Bob was actually buried,they told us we couldn’t wear our shoes, we couldn’t take pictures/videos, we couldn’t smoke cigarettes, but we could smoke weed!! Isn’t that crazy? lol And Bob’s mom made dolls out of clay, that’s what’s pictured 🙂

After the mausoleum, I got to get on a bamboo raft down the river! This was probably the highlight of my day! It was just so beautiful and relaxing!!

DAY 3

Pete took me to Negril to go to Nine Mile Beach, I guess it’s one of the most popular beaches and it was full of tourist. I saw the most white people there then I had seen on my whole trip so far and even though I’m use to white people in America, they kind of took me off guard because I had been so use to only seeing black people for the last two days lol

*Fun Fact*

I only have ONE dimple, on my left cheek. Pete only has ONE dimple on his right cheek! So I told him he was my long lost dimple! lol

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My long lost dimple, Pete!

Rick’s Cafe was a highly suggested restaurant to go to for the best sunset because it’s on the west side of the island! So that’s where we went for dinner. I was so happy because they had American food! 😦 Im not a fan of Jamaican food, I can say that for sure!

 

DAY 4

My last full day in Jamaica

I had run out of things to do and was running out of money so my last full day in Jamaica I decided to just make it a relaxing beach day. Pete took me to Portland which was about a 2 hour drive. Good thing me and Pete got along really well because we spent a lot of time together in his van! lol

Portland was BEAUTIFUL. Just the drive over was amazing. The blue water and the warm breeze was so relaxing and felt like a dream. On the drive, Pete stopped me by a fruit stand to try some Jamaican fruit! Yum! I wish I would have taken some pictures of them but I didn’t, I just have videos. But I did take a picture of me trying a coconut for the first time. I hate coconut meat but I heard coconut water didn’t taste the same so I had to give it a try. They were right. Coconut water taste nothing like the meat but it was equally nasty to me! Gag*

Then we stopped at a black sand beach! I love going to different beaches with different color sand. I just think it’s so beautiful!

We stopped at Frenchman Cove which was kind of a private and secluded beach. There wasn’t many people there at all and it wasn’t a long beach but it was very nice!IMG_20170116_150136

Then we stopped at the Blue Lagoon which was one of the prettiest, bluest water I had ever seen. The photo definitely doesn’t show it but just imagine the bluest of blue and that was the color of the water lol. It slopes down to 100ft in the center and they say they let people swim in it and they have never lost anyone lol. This is definitely on my To-Do List the next time I go back!IMG_20170116_161727

TIME TO GO

While in Jamaica, alone, I decided I was going to have a good time no matter what and I

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Nelia

definitely did. I also realized that in order to make friends, I must make myself friendly (wise words from my mom). Especially when I’m in a

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Ajay

foreign country and  I don’t know how to do anything! lol. But the people at my AirBnB were SUPER friendly and I am forever thankful for them because they made my first solo trip very comfortable!

It was Nelia who took care of all of my AirBnB needs when it came to the comfort of my stay, whether it was helping me connect to the WiFi or  telling me all the places I should visit. Then there was Ajay who sat on the porch with me, walked with me to the store, and told me how he just got saved and then there was Mr. Grey, who took me to the

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Mr. Grey

bank and helped me figure out Jamaican currency,  he went with me to some local spots for breakfast and dinner, he made sure I was ok everyday and was like my Jamaica grandaddy (and everyone thought we looked alike.lol) As scared as I was initially to go to Jamaica alone, I don’t think I would have had as much fun, met as many people, or explored as much as I did. I am DEFINITELY going back soon, by myself or with someone else, I don’t care but I’m going! It felt like my second home, like I was suppose to be there! I got to the point where I was walking around by myself because I felt so comfortable there and everyone thought I was local anyway! lol If you want to go on a solo trip or just want to get out of the country to see a different culture, I definitely recommend Jamaica, mon!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any comments or questions, leave them below and if you want to take a trip to Jamaica and need some connects, let me know! I’ll hook you up!!

 

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3 thoughts on “My First Solo Trip

  1. I am proud of you my friend!! Sometimes you got to venture out and see the world on your own and you did!! Jamaica suits you well.

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  2. Wow, that must’ve been so intimidating and upsetting to be stood up like that but it’s commendable just how much you allowed yourself to do regardless. I think you’re the first person I’ve come across who said they don’t like our food, especially ackee & saltfish, lol. Whenever you return, hopefully you can pick up some ideas from my site.

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