Staycation Diaries I

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Hey Fam! Welcome! I am so excited to be doing another post for you. This has been so therapeutic and educational for me thus far and I hope this journey has also been beneficial for you.

Over the past two and a half years my lifestyle became extremely stressful. I was able to better manage the stress because I gave it over to God, I changed my lifestyle and ate healthier but instead of the stressful situation becoming easier over time, more problems were added, one after the other and I felt I was going to burst.  There are times when I am blinded by frustration and so overwhelmed that breathing deeply, counting to 10 and being positive do not cut it. So I decided in those times I would need to take breaks from it all to help me cope and replenish my spiritual, physical and mental health. I wanted to do relaxing vacations overseas for several weeks at a time out of the year with my husband but let’s be real I have a full time job, plus commitments involving loved ones and it would be unnecessarily expensive to travel overseas for just one to three day periods. I decided to do small staycations instead which is to holiday locally rather than abroad for short periods including day trips to local attractions. In this post I am going to share with you my adventures in Y.S. Falls, St. Elizabeth and Blue fields beach in Westmoreland.

My friend, KW, accompanied me on this trip and while waiting in the car outside her home for her to come out I decided to take some selfies. It’s so important to connect with friends, plus she’s going away for quite some time so I had to see her before she left. Even though we have busy lifestyles and it was hard to schedule a time to meet up, it was important for us to get away from it all and reconnect.

I got this beautiful statement beaded chain from my lil’ sis, which I don’t get to wear alot; and I swear she gets offended because I don’t. So G, this is for you; and I got this hat from a local tourist shop in Negril on my honeymoon last year.

I travelled from Kingston which is about 122.4 km in distance and takes me about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to Y.S. Falls, St. Elizabeth given the traffic (trucks and trailers ascending and descending spur tree hill), the road conditions at certain points and the fact that I have a ritual, thanks to my mom, where I have to stop off at Juici Patties in Clarendon and buy breakfast or lunch  (depending on the time) and stop at Bamboo Walk in St. Elizabeth to take pictures.

Driving tips:

  • After the highway, there are signs  telling you the speed limit, but not alot, which is mostly 50km/h and rarely 80km/h but when in doubt do not go above 60km/h.
  • If you are travelling from Ocho Rios to St. Elizabeth it will take approximately 2 h 59 min (133.3 km) via B3
  • If you are travelling from Montego Bay to St. Elizabeth it will take around 1 h 58 min (80.1 km) via B7

Juici Patties is one of the main rest stops between Kingston and Clarendon especially if you travelled along the highway which bypasses some major towns, hence bypassing other food stops. You do not have to throw your health standards out the window when eating here, maybe tweak it a little. If you cannot find anything inside you may see vendors outside usually selling delicious Jamaican fruit. On this trip I ordered a medium-sized red peas (red beans), meat only soup and a fried chicken meal served with potato wedges, fries and a roll in the drive thru. I had the soup first to, as we say in Jamaica, ‘break up the gas’ and I planned to eat the chicken meal once at Y.S. Falls. The fried chicken meal is usually sold with soda so I opted to get bottled water instead, which is no extra charge and I did plan to eat the skin of the chicken nor eat the roll.

After leaving Clarendon, I took on the hills of Manchester like a boss, took a few pics at Bamboo Walk and shortly after we reached our destination. Y.S. Falls unfortunately was closed for the day as it was raining too heavily when we got there. But having been to Y.S. Falls before I will share pictures of my trip from last year December. It is an amazing location from the trolley ride across the property through the lush vegetation to the thrilling zipline over the falls and through the trees. I even saw a cotton tree. It is very refreshing and therapeutic to just lay out in the falls and have the water cascade around your body. There are also great areas to just lounge around for a relaxing day if the activities are too much for you. I know I will return over and over again.

I hope you enjoyed those pics but that is not how we were feeling at the time after driving for so long only to realize that we couldn’t go in and enjoy the falls this time around. So we sat in the car feeling dejected. I ate my fried chicken meal from Juici patties, it tasted just as sad as the situation, the fries were limp and the chicken had no taste as I had removed the skin. We managed to cheer ourselves up a bit, reminiscing on the fact that we had great conversation and fun en route to our destination. Then the rains eased down so KW and I decided that we could not let the trip end like this and concluded that there should be somewhere else to go that is not too far away and that is pro-rain and wet. That’s when Bluefields popped into my head, we researched it and google informed us it was twenty minutes to half an hour away, what a lie, lol. It is about a 45 minute drive from Y.S. Falls to Bluefields Beach. Bluefields is one of the few public beaches left in Jamaica and it is beautiful but not very big. It was not raining at all but the sea glistened with the light from the sun. Given its beauty I was surprised it was not packed, it almost felt like a hidden gem as we were a part of two handfuls of people including the hotel guests of Bluefields Bay Villas. You are not allowed to use the hotel’s lounge chairs or take out their kayaks. The water is so amazing and warm. It is not too hot as there is great shade provided by trees. I had a great time just chilling, swimming, getting my hair braided and many failed attempts at a photoshoot.

Sea Water tips:

  • Open your eyes under water, it will sting initially emerge recover and do it again the next time you emerge there will be little to no discomfort and then you can be one with the seas and actually see where you are going.
  • Sea water can reduce inflammation and help cure many skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis and eczema as they cannot survive in salt water conditions. So the longer you stay in the water the better it is for you if you have a skin condition. Just ensure you use enough sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours.

All in all, I can say this staycation was successful and even though Y.S. was rained out, Bluefields beach delivered. We had such a great time that even though our journey back was filled with heavy rains, flooded roads and even getting a little lost, it didn’t matter and it did not dampen the mood  because we actually got to relax; we even recorded an entire EP on the journey back into Kingston, lol. I learned that all I need for a great relaxing staycation is a great location (please research the weather) and have a great partner(s) in crime who is down for adventure; but also one that you can have deep, intelligent and meaningful conversation with. I can’t wait to go on my next adventure and see where it leads. Where do you go on your staycays? Have you ever been to Y.S. Falls or Bluefields comment below and let me know what your experience was. Thanks for stopping by Fam! See you in the next post…

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