Sunset in St Pete., FL. Photo: Adrienne C. Wilson
Since I’ve been back home and catching up with friends either on the phone or over dinner everyone has been probing and picking at my brain. What have you been up to? Where have you been? Why did you go there? For work? For play? 2007 has been a colorful year, painted with journeys to the other side of many sides and back. My passport has been stamped and I have learned more about myself than ever before. I was planning on saving these fine highlights of my life for my end of the year blog extravaganza, but I feel as though now is a good time to relive and share.
Why Did I Go To___________ This Year?
Why did I go to St. Lucia this year? I had a week of vacation time from work in March. The original plan was to go to the Dominican Republic and swing through Haiti with my boyfriend at the time. After a series of events starting in as early as January and ending on a very heart-breaking Valentine’s Day, it became clear that I needed to change my vacation plans. QUICK! I no longer wanted to go to the D.R. because my Spanish language skills were not up to par and since I just wanted to get away and enjoy my time off of work still I opted for an English speaking Caribbean destination. I picked St. Lucia and had all my flights re-routed accordingly and changed my hotel reservations all by the morning of February 15th. It was impulsive, but it worked out for the best!
I took off as planned in March for seven days on my own and I had an absolute blast! Not only is St. Lucia beautiful, the people are very hospitable and kind, the food is pretty yummy and it makes for a wonderful place to re-energize. I’d recommend solo travel to St. Lucia for anyone. However, you’ll notice many vacationers are either honeymooning or getting hitched. With the state my heart was in it didn’t bother me at all. In summary I did not plan to go to St. Lucia. If you had asked me last year I would have told you it was no where on my travel radar anytime soon, but I’m glad it fell there. I paid more than a nickel and a dime to go on my own, but it was not outrageously expensive either. I’d go again.
Why did I go to Haiti this year? As noted above I had originally planned to go to Haiti in March while in the D.R. I had done a lot of research, planning, contacting and coordinating to make for a safe and enjoyable time in the country. I didn’t want all that effort to go to waste and so I took off for Memorial Day weekend. For 3.5 days in Haiti the cost of this trip was quite pricey. I flew out of LAX and I had purchased my ticket last minute so I didn’t get a good deal. (There are however, many good deals to Haiti if you look ahead.) I also had to hire a driver and a guide since I don’t speak Kreyol and it isn’t one of the safest countries to go to in the world. The primary purpose was to gain a glimpse of how bad the poverty situation in Port-au-Prince was and to see how life in the sleepy beach town of Jakmel was in comparison. Anyone who knows anything about most places in the world with a bad rep is that there is the good and the bad. Haiti is just that and hopefully will one day rid of the brutally bad images keeping people away. The beach town of Jakmel is magnificent though. It is beautiful. It has a lot of culture and great food. For anyone curious about visiting Haiti you can read my trip reports by clicking here. My only advice – do your research and find someone to show you the ropes. I’d most certainly go again.
Why did I go to Mexico this year? Let me start off by saying I have nothing against Mexico. I love Mexican food. The culture is colorful and the people are delightful. However, my desire to travel and explore Mexico has never been a burning one. If I could spend money traveling I’d see all of the Caribbean and Africa and then hit Mexico and South America, but here is the tale of a young woman duped by love and passion. First off I had another week off from work. I went to Mexico this year because a friend of mine of five years who I had started dating after the horrible break-up earlier this year wanted to go and explore Mexico. He is Mexican – fair enough. I liked him and I was sure it would be great times. WRONG! From those who have followed the blog on and off this year you may recall how short I was on describing Mazatlan and Guadalajara. In fact I let all the pictures do the talking.
The problem with pictures is they say a thousand words and not always the right ones. You couldn’t have paid me earlier to confess that I had been dumped by my boyfriend in Mexico, but looking back I can laugh at it – sort of. Did we get in a major fight? No. Did I see it coming? Of course not. I was blindsided, pissed that I had spent pesos and dollars to fly across the border to get my heart stomped and demolished once more – now in some foreign land that didn’t even tickle my travel fancy. I couldn’t even talk to anyone in English to take my mind off the situation and for the last four days I pretended to be cooler than tossed tamales in the basura. Needless to say this didn’t help convert Mexico into a future destination of choice. I’ll probably never pay to go to Mexico again. I’ll let someone send me on their dollar. Just so I leave you with something nice about Mexico – Mazatlan was pretty and Guadalajara is a big bustling city. Would I go again? No. Not for vacation.
Why did I go to Vancouver B.C., Canada this year? Well I was working in Portland, OR and it was Labor Day weekend. I’d never been to Vancouver, but I had heard several great things about the place. I went with my co-worker for the weekend and had a very good time. Vancouver is a beautiful city and I wish I had more time to check it out. That being said I would most certainly go again for another weekend. Maybe even in ski season.
Why did I go to Ghana this year? Here again is another trip I hadn’t planned in previous months and just happened to go on. I went with my friend, tagging along while he was there for business and sightseeing every chance I could. I went because I had time between looking for new gigs and wanted to make sure I got some travel time in before getting locked into a new position. My pictures and trip details can all still be found below in previous blog entires or by clicking the link above. In short I went because I had both time and spare change. (I won’t say money, because I’m not rolling in the Benji’s here.) Would I go to Ghana again? Absolutely. I’m thinking now that I have a visa good for five years I might be back within the next two years. Maybe even in 2008.
I guess the real reason I felt the need to write this entry was to clarify some points that got left out the first time. I’ve sadly left some people to believe that just because I go on journeys near and far that I am not one to get dumped in foreign lands, food poisoning (didn’t happen this year) or have common problems like everyone else hanging tight on solid ground. I suppose Stevie Wonder’s “Love Light in Flight” would be a great addition to this year’s travel soundtrack.
So why did you go to…. this year? Was it a successful romantic escape? Was it all mucky business travel? Did the company foot the bill? Were you able to finally take that dream trip? Did you tell the boss to screw themselves before booking one to the Cayman Islands? Please share in the comments or leave a link to your travel stories. There’s always a reason behind every trip – what’s yours?