I always have these conversations with friends about why I want to travel and why I get so weak and giddy when the discussion of travel comes up. It’s a regular thing. Most of my Jamaican friends think I’m nuts to want to go to places like India or Egypt or Israel. My reason, at least my main reason, have always been the same. My answer to that question first and foremost was, “why not?”
I’m not sure if it is a culture thing but the Jamaican friends I have cannot get my desire to see most places. I even had someone asked, “why do you need to travel?”
The straight truth is my love of travelling came from my love of reading. As a child, I would read everything they put in front of me–from magazines to Hardy Boys and Harlequin romance. Books were my escape from everything in my life back then. Harlequin I started reading at 8 years old. I read about these wealthy men from exotic lands. Sure, I didn’t pay much attention to the naughty bits–I just wanted to know about the countries.
I would read Jules Verne and all these spectacular authors who, for most of the world had gone into the olden age–meaning people stopped reading them because they weren’t ‘hip’ at the time. I didn’t have a choice. I was brought up in Jamaica and the books we got at the time was the out of style ones.
But reading about magical places always made me happy. Reading about the places The Hardy boys vacationed to and getting into international Espionage, or reading about James Bond in Russia or even Captain Nemo–all these things fuelled my desire to see mysical places and with lush and historical architecture. I haven’t been able to find someone who understood that.
Then there are the many cultures in the world. Sure, I live in Toronto and we have a little village of many different cultures littering our city. From Littly Greek Town to Little India, we have it all. The foods and music and movies and art, and languages–all of it makes for a rich city. But, going to a Holi celebration in downtown Toronto isn’t as mind-blowing as going to one in India. Looking at a picture of the great pyramids does nothing for me–except feeling the need to see them in person. Eating Sushi in Japan, better than what we have in Toronto or anywhere else… And a I told someone a few years ago I was obsessed with going to Cuba. Someone asked me why the need to go there and my answer was simple. I told him “I want to see the sunset from Cuba.” His reply was to tell me the sunset was the same everywhere but travelers, you know what I mean. The sunset is not the same everywhere. There is something special about seeing the sunset from another part of the world–something almost magical.
There is no reason to sit at home when there is so much to see and experience in the world.
Booking a hotel isn’t a simple task. It’s not go online, find a hotel and book it.
So in December I’m thinking of going away for a little time. This would be my first time leaving the country (excluding the US) on my own. So I will be planning my own vacation, paying for it etc. Finding a good flight is pretty easy, finding one with a good hotel to go with it, is a whole other kettle of fish.
I find when you’re going to certain countries or cities you can rough it and stay at a motel or a 2 star motel or something like that. But certain countries or cities, nothing against them, but you don’t want to go to anything below a 4 star. You just don’t want to risk it. To make matters worse, my parents would absolutely have a cow if I told them I was going back to Jamaica and staying at a motel somewhere off a left turn of Timbuktu.
In Jamaica, I will be heading to either Ochio Rios, Runaway Bay or Montego Bay. Yes, I am not sure where yet because of pricing when I am going to get my ticket. I am currently waiting for my friend to get her passport straight and then we can decide together. But it seems the closer you are to a tourist destination the more expensive it is. There are so many things to look into when choosing a hotel.
- Is it around spring break time? And will there be a bunch of college age kids running around and partying?
- How many stars is it? Are you good with staying at anything below a four star?
- How accessible is the hotel? Do you have a to climb a massive hill then to the tenth floor because they decided they won’t be putting in elevators? (this happened to me a few years ago. They refuse to put elevators in because the hotel was in a historical building – *eye-roll*) – how close to the action is your hotel?
- If its a little bit of a drive, do they have access to licensed cabs.
- Is it all inclusive? And by all-inclusive I mean, do you get all your drinks and food included?
- If you’re a person who is joined at the hips to social network, does this hotel have free wi-fi?
- Is the hotel in a safe place?
- What are other people saying about this hotel and its staff?
- Is there a secure safe in the hotel that you can leave your things?
And those are just some of the questions you need to ask. It may sound like a bunch and I’m being obsessive but you want to make sure you do enough on your end to have an amazing time away. And sure, you may say why do I care? I just need to sleep there and leave my stuff there!Valid points but when you do go to sleep you want to make you are comfortable.
Picking a hotel should be something to do based on your personality as well. If you go to a party hotel when you’re a reader that wouldn’t end very well because you would have no quiet time at all. If you go to a hotel that caters to adventure seekers, that is not a good fit either. For people like me, the romantics. We love the thought of being in love and being in love with. We need a hotel with spectacular views of the ocean by day and the city at nights. I want a hotel with places I can wander on the property and just dream while breathing. So scenic trails and beach views during dimmer is super important. I will post more on the Jamaica Inn in another post but this hotel has all of that it seems.
The next time you look for a place to stay, look into it and make sure it caters to you.
Hello my lovely, lovely readers.
So I know, I’ve been MIA a lot lately and that’s because there has been some stuff happening in my life from deaths in the family to a whole slew of other things. But I have returneth and I have a few things I wanted to write about. Everyone was going through the winter games (Yay Canada!) and so much focus has been switched to Russia and the whole Ukraine deal that it’s been almost an unpleasant start to the month. But you know what? I can’t let all that affect me quite yet.
Last week I took off from Toronto to go spend some time in Cambridge with my friend A. It may not be vacation to anyone else but that was vacation to me. Correct that, any time I can leave Toronto for more than a day, it’s vacation to me.
It was like old times for us, our college days, without my BFF. But we called her and text her and after a while it was almost like she was there, almost. We listened to music we used to listen to back then and talked about our lives now and in college. It’s amazing how much you miss someone until you get to spend a few days with them. I hadn’t hung out with A for about five years. Sure, we talked on facebook and texting and phone calls but it’s not the same as if you could lay across your bed while your friend dance around the room to Go Ninja Go Ninja Go by Vanilla Ice (lol). As you can see, we know how to party! We spent the few days driving around the city, hitting up some spots and just having a little bit of fun. I let loose and went to wing and beer night while watching hockey games in an actual pub – those wings *drool and swoons* so good. This place called Juniors was to die for.
That was good but the last night I was there A took me to Lonestar. She told me it was a cowboy bar and I was kind of expecting to see more cowboys but only saw one. There’s a story behind that but I don’t know if she wants me to tell it lol. We were escorted to our seat by a waitress even though the little kid inside me was on the ground, rolling around screaming, no no no! I want the cowboy! But I’m a lady. I behaved – besides, I was wearing a dress.
Still I was highly entertained by it. It seems at Lonestar, when it’s a child’s birthday the child become an honorary cowboy, sit on a wooden horse while they scream “ATTENTION! ATTENTION! IT’s (insert child’s name) (insert child’s age here) today!” Then they clap and sing a birthday song to the child. I was enjoying myself clapping. It is fun to watch a little boy with a cowboy hat enjoy his special day.
The food was good – I had a bar-b-que burger with fries because they didn’t cook the fried steak well done and I wasn’t about to take a chance with the little bit of red. If I was going home after then it wouldn’t be bad but I was going to someone else’s house *bites nail*
So, that’s my little trip away from the city!
A few years ago I was addicted to the history channel. They used to show this breath-taking shoes of places all over the world–old, historic places that were so beautiful and interesting. One of those places was Petra, in Jordan. This lovely place is carved out of rocks, surrounded by mountains and filled with gorges and secret passage ways! Maybe its the writer in me but how has no one thought of writing a secret agent book that’s set in Petra?
But I digress.
Petra is a Nabataean city to the south of Jordan founded around the 6th Century BC. It was an important center for trade and commerce until a major earthquake destroyed most of the city and crippled the water system around AD 663. It was abandoned after Saladin’s conquest in 1189.
Today, Petra is a UNESCO Heritage site and one of the NEW seven wonders of the world!
According to wikitravel:
Entry Ticket to Petra costs 90 JD (=127 USD) for those who are Day-Visitors to Jordan (i.e. those tourists staying in Israel or Egypt who will spend the day in Petra and return without spending the night in Jordan). Tourists (overnight and cruise visitors) pay 50 JD (=70 USD) for 1 day’s access to Petra, 55 JD for 2 days or 60 JD for 3 days. Students have to pay the full price, unless they have a valid Jordanian University ID; then the entry fee is 1 JD.
Well my traveling, eating beauties, another year has come and gone and I wish to take the time to wish you all a happy holiday season. If you are traveling be safe and remember not to drink and drive. Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean this rule does not apply to you. It still does because this is one instant it is better to be safe than sorry I always say.
If you are in your home land, the same advice applies to you. Have fun with your family this season, hug them extra hard and tell them you love them a little louder than you would normally. Remember, take nothing for granted and love will sooth you every time. Again, from my home to yours, love, laughter and blessings and I look forward to see you all in the new year!