Contributed by Donna Marie

I’ve always prided myself on taking time out of my routine to take care of myself—whether it’s long walks, sitting in the park, having a cup of coffee or tea at a favorite spot, relaxing baths, traveling for fun, beauty treatments or meditating/going into the silence each day.  What I hadn’t done in recent years was to simply get away without an agenda, to vacate the familiar surroundings of home and environs to a place where I’d just be…not sight-seeing, not diving, not doing anything in particular, just relaxing, just being

Well, as life would have it, I planned a trip to Jamaica with very little scheduled except for daily sea dips, peaceful surroundings, all my favorite foods and visits to my aunt, uncle and brand new nephew.  What started out as a birthday getaway ended up being one of my favorite trips ever—I connected with myself and in the process with all the beauty that is nature, the unexpected, friends and family.

Each day began with walking on the beach with my Dad where my bare feet connected with the sand (as a friend describes, nature’s loofah) and I sought to avoid the pebbles or occasional seashells which would cause momentary discomfort.  All the while I noticed the day dawning ever so gently yet deliberately as the moon waned each day.  In fact, on the last day of this nourishing trip, it was a crescent.  Dad and I talked about whatever was there to be shared in the moment, sometimes saying nothing as we briskly walked side-by-side. 

The sea brought its own mood to the day—sometimes peaceful and serene, sometimes excited and playful-whatever showed up, I soon merged with the sea (that I thought of as nature’s swimming pool) which was as soothing as a freshly drawn, warm bath.  As I cooled down from my energetic walk, I felt the sea enveloping my body as the sun caressed my skin.  I rode the frolicking waves, swam to the buoys, came close to skinny dipping, floated and beheld the blue cloudless sky.  It is a perfect way to begin the day.  It got me thinking, ‘how could I create such a beginning to each day?’

Leaving the seaside, I take the short walk to our villa where the smells of breakfast waft through the air—mackerel & banana, ackee & codfish with Johnny cakes, freshly caught fish, breadfruit were some of the meals that were thoughtfully prepared and enthusiastically consumed.   Each day brought its own specialness yet the spirit and tone was the same—peaceful, relaxing, nurturing, caring.  From the first day I realized the importance of truly getting away, truly being away, where time is inconsequential and life is lived moment-to-moment.  I even felt compelled to do a Facebook update, something I very rarely do—Sometimes you don’t know how much you need a vacation until you’re on one!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade the trips I’ve taken to France or Italy or Spain—there’s definitely a place for those experiences.  And, there’s no denying what I experienced on my Jamaican Sojourn.  I re-discovered the value of being away—the value to my body, mind & spirit.  Now that is some delicious food for my soul. 

Thanks Henry.  Thanks Nikki.  Thanks Helen & Vincent.  Thanks Andrea & Emmett.  Thanks Joy & Beverly.  Thanks Desmond.  Thanks Old Forte Bay.  Thanks Jamaica.

What is one of your favorite getaway experiences?  We invite you to comment in the box below.