I’m not sure about you, but when I first started traveling all of my experiences involved charters to big box resorts plunked on the coast of the Caribbean and I thought that this was the cat’s meow. All of the food and drink I desired, fancy accommodations with all of the amenities and, of course, the pristine beaches and palm trees placed perfectly around the strategically crafted pools. From the Mayan Riviera to the Dominican Republic, this was the only way I traveled. Occasionally, I’d venture off the resort for a touristy excursion, while, more often than not, I spent most of my time waking up early to place my beach towel on a lounger, just to reserve a spot amongst the crowd for the day.
As time passed, I tired of the cookie-cutter chain resorts and started to break free from the traditional resort packages and began seeking out my own experiences. After all, once you’ve seen one resort, it would appear as though you’ve seen them all. Was I sitting on a beach in Jamaica or Cuba? The Dominican or Playa del Carmen? I really couldn’t tell, nor did it really matter if I wasn’t stepping into the heart of the island or country I was visiting. Aside from the shuttle to the resort, I really wasn’t seeing the heart of the places I was vacationing and I certainly wasn’t immersing myself in the culture and magic of my new surroundings.
On one of these earlier trips, I met Michael, a German wedding photographer and local resident, at a resort in Jamaica. Like many of my travel friends, we stayed connected via Facebook. Over the four years that followed, I watched him pour his blood, sweat and tears, into bringing his own dream to life and, just recently, announce the completion of his own luxury rental villa in Ocho Rios; a contemporary European styled guest home that was so carefully thought out and detailed, I’d be lucky to stay if I ever made it back. Trendy and posh it would be a dream to stay!But, wait a minute. Wasn’t this the year I was dedicating to bringing my own dreams to life? Wasn’t this time away from the classroom spent building my own remote business my personal “Leap of Presence” to follow the callings of my heart? I actually did have the time to pack up my MacBook, grab myself a flight and spend a week indulging in the amenities of the stunning “One Luxe” Jamaica Villa–and I did just that!
From the moment I stepped inside, I could really sense the “art and soul” that Michael had put into designing this gorgeous “home away from home”—what an incredible manifestation of a heart’s desire! From the sparkling, refreshing pool at the center of the villa, to the trendy blue lights that surrounded the perimeter of the ceiling in my modern, spacious room, there was a whole lot of thought put into its creation. I made my own breakfast in an upscale, fully-equipped kitchen each morning and was able to stargaze and enjoy the jacuzzi tub under the island moon on the soothingly lit rooftop each night. Listening to the coqui frogs in the evening was incredibly relaxing in a time when my life is filled with so many unknowns.
Catching up with Michael and his beautiful wife, Sofia, was one of my favourite treats of the entire experience. It didn’t take long to see that Michael and I were living parallel lives from different latitudes. Michael anxiously awaiting the arrival of new bookings, while I was living in the faith of gaining a clientele for my own new business venture in the online world.
While I toured Jamaica’s backyard with Michael and Sofia, I got to see and experience the true essence that is Jamaica. The one that is hidden by the tall structures that are scattered about the coast, blocking the real heart of the island. My gracious hosts took me sightseeing through Fern Gully, into the mountains and the center of real Jamaican villages. They shared their favorite restaurants, made knowledgeable recommendations for activities and sights to see in and around the area and really made me feel at home–encouraging me to partake in the fruits of the surrounding gardens (coconuts, lemons and limes…oh my!). The beach was a short three-minute drive up the road and I enjoyed being on the other side of the resort boundaries to explore it. I made friends with the local bartenders and even got to learn a little Jamaican “Patois”—an English-based creole language with West African influences.
One of the Patois phrases that really spoke to me was “soon come.” Jamaica, has a very laid back vibe, with little regard for urgency of time, that can be extremely frustrating as an outsider, yet, we could likely stand to learn a few things from off island. This phrase generally means “it will come”, but that can mean tomorrow, next week or when you’ve completely forgotten you were even waiting for something in the first place! It really does require a lot of patience. And patience is hard. It requires faith, a positive mindset and an absolute belief in divine timing; that when things aren’t going your way, you have to let go of the control you wish to have and trust the process, knowing the Universe is working on your behalf, potentially preparing the delivery of an even better outcome than you could have possibly planned yourself. It was easy for me to see that this is where Michael and I were at on our own journeys, both growing something new and stepping into the unknown.
The “One Luxe” Jamaica Villa Rental Ocho Rios was the perfect place to reflect upon the experiences of the first month into my new life adventure and an excellent reminder to move in the direction of my dreams with patience and faith. Whether a snowbird preparing your winter reprieve or an island lover in search of something new, I encourage you to step off the beaten bath and enjoy Jamaica as a local, rather than a tourist, in this beautiful villa. You can contact Michael and Sofia at 1-876-433-8776, www.OneLuxeJamaica.com or join their online community on Facebook where you will find more beautiful pictures and booking links. When you fly into Jamaica you are always greeted with a warm “Welcome home!” and Michael and Sofia will be sure to make you feel that way.