As we approach both the nine-month mark of traveling and the end of 2016, we’ve become more reflective. Lisa and I have now been on four continents, met many amazing people, added some new favorites to our top food lists, rode beach waves, stood on glaciers, marveled at mountains, trekked through rainforests, lounged on beaches, rode motorbikes through metropolises and countryside, went into the crater of a volcano to watch blue flames dance, and so much more. Just writing this makes me realizes that this has been the most fruitful nine months of our 10-year relationship. As grateful as we are for this opportunity and as rewarding as our travels have been, I find myself wishing I could make one change; I wish we could experience this with our family. Even though we have met people along this journey who have made us feel a part of their family, there is no substitute for the real thing.
The holidays (which make us miss our family more) have caused us to give the idea of traveling with family a lot of thought. We don’t know exactly when we will be coming back to the US or even the Western Hemisphere, but when we do, we know what we’d like to do; take a Caribbean vacation with the family! We’re not yet sure where in the Caribbean we will go, but with 28 island nations and more than 7000 individual islands, we have options! We imagine using Caribbean Luxury Vacations to rent out a beautiful home and fill it with the people we love! Here are some of the ideas Lisa and I are considering for the family:
Food: Nothing brings the family together like a good meal! Our all-time favorite dishes almost all include curry, and Jamaica has lots of curries. It doesn’t matter if you use vegetables, chicken, goat, or oxtail, if you curry it we will come!
Mountains: Traveling has given us an even greater appreciation for mountains and their views that seemingly go on forever. A great way to burn off some of the food we’ll be eating while literally seeing more of Jamaica is to hike the Blue Mountain Peak in The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The biggest challenge will be to convince the family to get up before sunrise to begin the 14-mile hike so that we can see the sun rise over the island (no problem!).
Music Festival: There may be nowhere on God’s green earth that you can go and not hear the sounds of Jamaica filling the air. Reggae is a sound that has delighted the world and meant so much to our family, so it only makes sense to enjoy a reggae music festival where it all began. Depending on when we visit we can catch Sumfest, the Jazz and Blues Festival, or Carnival.
Waterfalls: There are few things that we enjoy more than waterfalls so we’re always looking for opportunities to see new ones. The Dominican Republic does not disappoint in this area as Damajagua provides 27 waterfalls to descend. By the time we finish we’ll have waded, swam, climbed, jumped and hiked our way into waterfall bliss.
Whale Watching: Our family loves nature and the sea, so what could be better than spending a day watching the many humpback whales that make their annual trek to the warm waters of the Dominican Republic?
Winter baseball: Baseball is called America’s pastime, but I’m sure the Dominicans have something to say about that. For such a small country they have produced some of the baseball’s biggest heroes! Spending an afternoon with the family while enjoying the sunshine, passionate fans, and stadium food sound like a great day to us!
Cooking Class: Step one – explore a new culture and eat everything. Step two – learn how to cook everything that makes our stomach happy. In St. Lucia we can connect with Chef Nigel Mitchel to learn how to make delicious local dishes that will remind us of the beautiful island every time we make them at home.
Sulfur Springs: Life is often too serious so why not mix things up and unleash our inner child. At St. Lucia’s Sulfur Springs, we can enjoy full-body mud baths (what’s more inner child than playing in the mud) and finish it off with a soak in a steaming sulfur pool.
Taking in the Pitons: Sometimes the best things are the simplest. With that in mind, it’d be nice to keep it simple and hire a boat for the day and relax under the peaks of St. Lucia’s iconic Pitons; we’ll leave the hikes to everyone else.
Hopefully, we are able to indulge in some of these activities with our family in the very near future. When we do, we’ll be sure to write about it!
Have you been to the Caribbean? Would you like to? Let us know!