How I Conquered My Fear & Had The Best Jamaican Vacation
Have you ever been on the edge of something new, exhilarating, and a little scary and suddenly thought…Why would I jump from something stable and comforting into the unknown?
The fear of the unknown can be a buzzkill – to say the least. We find comfort in our routines, favorite meals, hometowns, and much more. But breaking the mold is sometimes necessary to drive the change we want to see in our lives. From experiencing new adventures to adjusting our eating habits for a healthier and more energized life.
Several months ago, a Facebook memory popped up reminding me of my goal to visit the entire Caribbean before turning 50. Coincidently, my good friend invited me to join her upcoming Jamaican vacation the very next day!
Honestly, I was a little nervous. I’ve always heard it’s not safe to leave the resorts there because of the high crime rate. But I trust my friend, who has been visiting Jamaica for 20+ years and dove into the unknown.
I had no idea what lay ahead. But I know from experience that getting out of my comfort zone is what leads to great things. From retiring from my career as a flight attendant to starting Add Spice 2 Your Life – life is better (and more exciting) when we shake things up.
Successfully Vacationing In Jamaica
My career as a flight attendant sent me to new places all the time. But those late-night check-ins barely left enough time to eat, let alone explore all that the destinations had to offer. So when I booked my flight to Jamaica, I knew I’d be facing fears, eating new foods, and actually spending quality time in a new-to-me location.
Waking Up In Jamaica & Walking Into The Unknown
After a successful day of travel, I made it to our resort in Negril feeling rested, thanks to my Melatonin and Jet Lag supplements. Ready for what the first morning had in store, I was immediately tasked with overcoming my fear of leaving the premises to find breakfast.
As I bashfully crossed the street through rays of sunshine and the sounds of street vendors, I quickly stumbled upon a little beach restaurant. My heart rose out of my stomach as I started to feel more comfortable in this foreign land.
First things first – coffee with an ocean view. But, of course, this local Jamaican breakfast spot wouldn’t have my usual good-for-my-health coffee creamer. Instead, I was served a cup of piping hot Green Mountain Coffee with raw sugar and sweet condensed milk on the side. It was smooth, robust, and quite frankly amazing! I was so happy to step out of my usual lifestyle and allow myself to enjoy this sweet coffee.
Next up: breakfast. As someone who is not a breakfast-food fan, I opted for ham and potatoes. The potatoes were sauteed with onions and peppers and seasoned with salt and pepper. The ham was thick, tender, and flavorful with just the right amount of fat. On the side was sliced papaya and banana with the skin on – both tasted fresh and sweet. These whole natural foods energized my mind and body for what the rest of the day had in store.
Imagine the manager’s face when I asked where they get their ham. Perplexed, he responded, “the Ham Man.” I forgot at that moment that, unlike the states, other countries get their meat directly from the local farmers who raise the animals.
Onto the next adventure!
Leaving My American Mindset In The States
One of my favorite things during my Jamaican vacation was hanging out with the locals at Rudy’s Backyard Bar. With no signs advertising the establishment, this little gem is accessed down a gravel driveway tucked between 2 apartment complexes and a house. Only the locals are hip to this joint. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined a place like this existed.
I found myself with locals who would hang out at Rudy’s to listen to music, sing, dance, sip the best rum punch on the island, and enjoy the cooking from the small shack next door.
The food shack didn’t have a menu. And the cook moved at his own pace – on Jamaican time. Plus, cooking with whole foods takes time, and I appreciated his care and diligence. We were officially out of the food-on-demand mentality of the U.S.
After I saw what the cook was working with, I noticed a vendor selling vegetables from the back of an old pickup truck. The produce was organized and minimally processed – freshly plucked from the ground and still covered in dirt. I purchased spicy peppers and asked the cook to grill them with my fish.
While it took an hour to get my fish with the cook on Jamaica time, it was fresh, hot, and delicious. I can’t tell you the name of those peppers – but they brought the heat this spice girl loves. And I’m not too proud to admit that I surprised myself by tapping out towards the last few bites, but it was well worth it!
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Acknowledging My Fear & Jumping Anyway
The next impromptu adventure led us to Rick’s Cafe, cliff jumping and all! The energy was off the chain. The DJ was spinning high-energy music to a crowd dancing in unison while the MC invited people on stage to compete for the best moves.
We meandered to the other side where people were jumping off a 40-foot cliff! I knew I had to jump, as it was already on my Jamaican vacation bucket list. But, I won’t lie. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was professionals making that 40-foot jump, and amateurs like me could start at 8 feet.
As I courageously got my toes on the edge, the fear set in. Why would I jump from a stable structure into the unknown?
But I jumped anyway. And it was exhilarating.
Suddenly in the water, I realized boats were zipping in and out of the cove, producing massive waves. As I fought the waves to reach the ladder, a fellow jumper told me to stop fighting and trust the waves would bring me back in. And he was right.
Then I moved up to the 11-foot jump.
And then I jumped 2 more times.
You could say I was getting the hang of island life.
Someone commented that my last jump wasn’t my best and gave me a 3. But I was the one taking a risk and doing the work. In life, there are spectators and there are players. Another player will help you improve, while the spectators are quick to criticize. All that matters is in my mind, my jump was a 10.
My Jamaican Vacation Takeaway
My health is an investment, and I don’t let travel deduct from my hard work. So when I fly for pleasure, I choose flights that are conducive to my sleep schedule. Plus, I don’t want to be off my routine when it’s time to play!
Bringing my supplements with me also helped to keep me feeling energized and fabulous. Seasonal Shield, Melatonin, Trace Minerals, and Jet Lag supplements from Full Script are my not-so-secret weapon. Plus, I always pack protein bars to hold me over on long flights and car rides.
One thing I wish I had better prepared for was getting bottled water immediately. Next time, I’ll coordinate a driver to take me to the store for a case to last me the week.
Frequent flyers may be accustomed to auto check-out at hotels these days. But when visiting a country like Jamaica, you must allow for more time. They handwrite the itemized invoices. And you have to wait while they inspect your room and inventory from the minibar.
Above all, my favorite thing about travel is trying new foods! Here are a few of my favorites from Jamaica:
- Fish Estovich
- Jerk pork and jerk pork sausage
- Jamaican curry chicken
- Fried plantains
Ready To Conquer Your Fears And Travel Like A Pro?
The food was delicious, the excursions were exhilarating, and I returned from my Jamaican vacation feeling rested and energized. Now, I want to share all my travel tips with you.
From my insight as a former flight attendant, including the best TSA-approved snacks and supplements, to finding hidden gems off the beaten path and jumping into the unknown despite what is holding you back. My Travel Well Class was created to help YOU conquer your fears and break the mold so you can enjoy life outside your daily routine.
Ready to make the jump? Sign up for my Travel Well Class today!