It was the adventure of a lifetime. A tropical paradise, full of sights and sounds and a landscape so familiar through pictures it was almost surreal in person. The mix of humidity and cool ocean breeze gave life to a dream. To an island.
Five islands, to be exact. We traveled by ship over seven days celebrating our love for one another and our commitment to share that love the rest of our lives. My wife and I were beginning a new adventure together, amidst the sun baked sands of the Caribbean.
But let’s be honest, a cruise ship screams tourist. And for the most part, the luxurious accommodations and constant pampering were perfect for our honeymoon. The shows, the games, the food. It is nice to be comfortable when you are trying to be romantic.
But let’s be honest, a cruise ship screams tourist. And true paradise isn’t found at the souvenir stand next to the lady getting her hair braided. Nor is it found in the Pirate Excursion with all you can drink rum punch. We’ll pass, thank you.
Barbados was one of the last opportunities we would have to find that true adventure we were looking for. But it didn’t start out so hot. The port was a usual trap, complete with busy city streets crowded with people stuffing themselves into duty free shops and counting their Barbadian exchange. We got duped into taking a short taxi ride that was sold as one thing, completely something else. Back in the city, the wind left our sails once more when we noticed the man in front of us wearing a FREE OJ t-shirt. We were still surrounded by the headlines and rat race of home. Not exactly the exotic getaway we had planned.
When in doubt do as the locals do. And so on a whim we did as the locals and hopped a bus headed out of town. We stood grasping hand holds for balance and smiled at the sea of brown eyes looking at us with confused suspicion. It was clear we weren’t from around there. But as the bus pulled out of the city, with its overcrowded sidewalks, tall buildings and duty free shops, the road before us yawned out for miles into the country and stretched out toward endless fields with mountains in the distance toward the center of the island to our right.
The road seemed empty save for our bus. And through the windows we could see the turquoise sea flash its brilliance between the trees and rows of tiny cottages that peppered the road to our left. My wife and I looked at each other in silence and smiled. Soon, the bus stopped to pick up a passenger standing along the road and as it did my wife and I hopped out. The choke of the bus gave way to silence. We were removed from the stifling heat of the cramped transport and returned to the warm, sweet humid air that was touched by an ocean breeze. We held hands and crossed the empty two lane road, sneaking our way between seemingly empty cottages and onto the beach beyond.
The soft sand, baby blue water and tropical warmth washed over us in one singular emotion of happiness. We dug our towels from our packs and shimmied out of our clothes, revealing our bathing suits underneath. The serene lapping of the calm Caribbean current offered a pleasant soundtrack to our hidden oasis.
We were alone. Unbothered. On a perfect beach, with soft and silky sand that fed itself into an ocean as inviting and refreshing as a cool sip of tea on a hot summer day. Quiet solitude.
We couldn’t believe we had begun our day amongst the throng of tourists fighting their way through each moment in hopes of capturing the perfect trinket to remember their tropical vacation. Fighting their way. It seems appropriate to say it that way…
We stayed a while. We enjoyed our memory and our piece of the island. The adventure. Oh, it didn’t end there, we had to walk part of the way back to town and thus the ship because we didn’t have a bus schedule and as I mentioned before…the road was empty. But we made it.
We made it. We made it an adventure. And a memory to last a lifetime.