Jamaica has stolen my breath and given me life again all in just one week.
Nine months. Nine long, painful, arduous, life altering months I stayed in the same place while I died inside just a bit more day by day while every fiber of my very being screamed for me to leave. Go somewhere. Anywhere, it said. Anywhere but here. Just go so you can breathe again. Live. And so I did, and here I am. Nine months is the longest I have ever gone between escapes. Never again.
Jamaica is even more beautiful than I remember. The hot, humid air sits wondrously heavy and thick against my skin as I write. Warm caribbean breeze washing over, perfectly timed like a loving caress as I sit in silence and solitude writing to a backdrop of the sun setting beneath the Caribbean Sea. Every blue and green imaginable touch upon each other in perfect harmony from the second the descent over the island began.
When I travel I feel like it is as close to true happiness I will ever be allowed, even if it is only under false pretenses (so to speak). Temporary in its moments. I am still finding it very difficult to want to leave in the morning. There are very few things that I am looking forward to coming home to as the past week I have lived. Well and truly lived and I don't want to end this feeling of pure elation and happiness.
I rode ATV's through the ruins of a sugarcane plantation. Dust and rock of hundreds of years all within my reach to touch and explore. Ziplined through the rainforest canopy in the pouring rain and had my breath and words stolen as my heart tried to free itself from my chest like a caged bird; first, from anxiety, then from sheer elation. Tubed down the Martha Brae and partied on a Caribbean Beach in a white dress with one too many Rum punches and a bonfire.
Snorkeled with eel and puffer fish and burnt to a crisp on pristine white sand beaches on the shores of the Caribbean where every color of blue and teal dances to the depths of the sea.
Perused the streets of Falmouth, rich with history; and was humbled by the sacred burial grounds of tombs of those lost long ago. Reverently walking among the dead. Silent and forgiving as feet marched above their final resting place. Conch shells adorning burial sites as only the Caribbean natives do to pay homage to loved ones lost.
Swam in phosphorous infused waters, glowing brightly under a blanket of stars until my arms were so sore I floated, staring at the landscape of space above me. Stars burning bright a million light years away; many no longer there at all. A soul for every star, as Plato wrote. Thankful I have been able to experience such a wondrous thing for a second time in my 33 years on this earth. Arms so tires I could barely pull myself back up onto the boat once I finally tore myself away. I will never get enough of the natural wonders this world has to explore and experience. I want to see, immerse and indulge in them all.
Took a trip three hours deep into the mountains and explored the Black River, complete with crocodiles, and soared above the Black Falls. No harness, no security. Mountain air fresh in my lungs as I inhaled deeply to still a frantic heart. Feet firmly planted on rocks, body poised waiting. Ready. Eyes closed for just one short sweet moment as I exhaled and jumped. Free falling first 8 feet then again 15 feet down the falls and into crisp cool water.
Toured the Appleton Rum plantation to see where the lovely spirit of this island comes from and indulged in a tasting, albeit a bit too much of some of the most delicious rum. The hell ride to and from the estate through the mountains and countryside simply amazing, if not terrifying at times, to be on the edge of a mountain with no guardrail or safety net between the road and cliffs, parishes and forests.
Rode through the rainforest on a horse named Storm Tracker and up a rather small mountain and down into the ocean. I must say, the views were breathtaking. I've ridden in the ocean before, but this time I had the chance to cleanse a rather distasteful memory and replace it with something fresh.
And so, as day turns to night and the sun has now sunk to the murky depths of the sea, it is with a heavy heart that I reflect on a week of grand adventures that is over all too soon. I'm forced back to reality in the morning. Flights back to the states in less than 12 hours.
I am already itching for more and working on wondrous plans for travels through the fall; for without adventure and exploration I would be a burnt out shell of a human being. Check back soon for more pictures to come. Until then, lovelies.