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TRAVEL is a magazine by and for a community of people severely bitten by the travel bug. A place where travel and adventure fanatics can either come read other travelers' experiences, find inspiration for future trips or simply share their own interesting personal accounts.

A Trip to Remember

A few years ago my family and I decided we were going to spend our spring break in Jamaica. This is the first time I had ever travelled out of the country and it is the trip that has fueled my desire to travel more. We departed from Norfolk's airport early in the morning and flew to Atlanta which is always SUPER hectic! I was so anxious waiting for the flight to Jamaica since it was going to be a pretty long flight…YIKES! The flight was definitely a lot faster than I had anticipated. As we were about to land I looked out the window and saw the beautiful island of Jamaica. It was covered in lush trees and other greenery, the beaches were visible with their white sand, and the water was the most vibrant shade of blue I have ever seen. The airport was so small compared to what I'm used to, I don't even think it would have been possible to get lost in there. There was a bus waiting for us at the airport that was going to take us to Negril, where the resort was. The driving situation in Jamaica was probably the most terrifying experience of the entire trip. The roads are insanely narrow and the drivers drive SO fast…like scary fast. On our trip to the resort our bus driver even hit a goat…like a live goat…it just jumped right into the road and then BAM! At that point I was telling my mom “Oh this is great. We've been here 30 minutes and this already happened…we're doomed”. When we got to the resort there was blood on the front of the bus from our unfortunate encounter with the goat. It was truly disturbing. We went to check in, the resort was GORGEOUS by the way, and the concierge tells us our room is not ready…like what? I was honestly convinced at this point that this trip was going to be a catastrophe. We hit a goat and now our room isn't ready…what else could go wrong? Since we had to wait for our room we decided to explore the resort a little. There was a bakery and a restaurant, the pool was gorgeous and had a swim up bar, there was a few little stands to get food, it had everything you could ask for right there on the property! I wanted to go check out the beach but before we could we got a call saying our room was ready. So you know how I was wondering “what else could go wrong”? Well we get to the room and there is one bed…ONE BED…I guess this is where I should tell you that I was traveling with my family consisting of FIVE people…one bed was not going to work with that many people. So my mom had to pull up her confirmation email and deal with the concierge some more until they finally sorted out the issue. They brought us to our actual room and then we all got changed and finally headed to the beach. I have never seen something more beautiful. I am a beach girl at heart, the beach is my happy place and this beach had me full out ecstatic! The sand was so white and soft and the water was crystal clear and warm. It was straight out of a dream for me. I was truly in paradise. It was pretty late so we swam in the water and watched the sunset and it was just the most amazing, beautiful thing I have ever witnessed in my life. After the sun had gone down we all headed back to the room for the night to get some rest for the next day. We woke up bright and early ate breakfast and then headed out to the beach. The resort provided tons of activities! There was a tubing, windsurfing, paddle-boarding, surfing. My brothers and I went tubing together and then they decided to go swim with my dad while I tanned with my mom. It was so warm and sunny, it was the perfect morning. Around 3pm we went up to the resort to head out on the boat for our snorkeling trip. They got us fitted for our life jackets and snorkels and we were off. The boat had a glass bottom and the water was so clear so you could literally see everything. It was a little nerve racking jumping off a boat in the middle of the ocean…you don't know what you're going to see once you're in the water. As soon as my head went under though I was in love. There were so many fish and other intriguing things to see. There was a guide with us to show us different things like types of coral and fish, there was even an anchor and a part of an old wreck. It was definitely an experience I will never forget! We got to free snorkel without the guide for a while and I just took every opportunity to get close to the colorful fish and coral. Eventually we had to go back to the boat and head back to the resort. We swam in the pool until it was time to get ready for dinner. I was so hungry that my salad that night tasted like the heaven! After we ate we went back to the room and watched TV until we all knocked out. We woke up pretty late the next morning and I was eager to get out to the beach again so I grabbed some fruit for a quick breakfast and headed out to the beach. I have surfed a little but I had never tried paddle boarding so I finally decided to try it out. It was definitely a workout but it became a new passion of mine! It was really cool being able to paddle board there since you could see through the water to the bottom! I saw at least three decent sized stingrays and it was the coolest thing ever! That was a pretty chill day, just hanging out on the resort. For dinner that night we went to Ricks Cafe. Ricks is this restaurant that is on a cliff so you can cliff dive and it is so much fun! I'm an adrenaline junky so that was just a dream for me! Flipping off the cliff into the water, diving, it was just too much fun! Honestly every night when we got back to our room we all just kind of passed out. We kept ourselves so busy during the day that it was hard to stay awake super late. Our last day there we took a bus to go hiking and see some waterfalls. On the way to the falls we stopped and got some authentic Jerk chicken from one of the street vendors. It was sooo good and extremely spicy. We got some water and then drove to the falls. It was definitely a workout but totally worth it. When we got to the top of the falls there was a rope swing that you could use to swing into the waterfall. I expected it to be warm since it was like 90 degrees out but the water was freezing…like chills and goosebumps freezing! We swam and hiked for a few hours and then drove to our next activity which was a river tour. We saw the HUGEST crocodiles like they were giants! After that we got back on the bus stopped to get some ice cream and then went back to the resort. That night we had a nice, private dinner changed into our swimsuits and spent our last night there playing in the ocean and watching the sunset. We got back to our rooms finished packing and went to bed. The next morning we grabbed our bags, got on the bus and headed back to the airport. I basically slept through all of our flights and when we were finally back home I was desperately missing Jamaica. That trip was the trip that ignited the need to travel and seek adventure in me. I want to have experiences like that all the time. I want to try new things and see new places! I want my life to be exciting and always keep me busy!

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