6th August marked the 56th year since the Independence of Jamaica. And in honour of this I have decided to repost an article I wrote for a magazine a couple of years ago.
This piece is a personal reflection on why I love Jamaica. You may have read this before and hope you still enjoy it.
Why I love Jamaica
The moment the doors open on the airplane I am hit with the signature heat accompanied by that familiar yet indescribable smell of the tropics. I know I have arrived, Jamaica I am back.
Like the continent of Africa, Jamaica is my ancestral home. It is where my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born. My family’s history in Jamaica has been traced as far back as the 1800’s. My Jamaican bloodline is a fusion of African, Spanish and Scottish and is reflective of Jamaica’s rich and also painful history of slavery and colonisation. This is one of the main reasons that Jamaica’s motto is “Out of Many, One People”.
I consider myself fortunate because as a young child, my mother infused me with stories of Jamaican history and folklore as well as teaching me about our extended family. So much so, that when I arrived in Jamaica on my first trip at age 7; I was able to recognise some of my family and my mother’s friends and felt somewhat familiar with the local surroundings because of those regular stories. Why is this important? It’s important to me because I fell in love with Jamaica even before I visited.
JAMAICA HAS IT ALL
I couldn’t help but fall in love Jamaica’s beautiful landscape. From the picturesque beaches to the cool shaded rivers. From the gushing waterfalls and winding roads that take you deep into the hills and mountains to places where the views are lush and breathtaking.
My people are known for having a magnetic vibe and rhythm. I feel it even more so when I am in Jamaica. We are very proud of our culture and have a saying, “Wi likkle but wi tallawah” (meaning: we are very strong-willed, fearless and not to be underestimated or taken lightly). I remember speaking with my father some time ago about Jamaican traditions. I expressed my sadness to see that over the years some of the old traditions were dying out; such as the making of coconut oil for cooking and personal care. We Jamaicans have a natural hustle and a determination to overcome any adversity that comes our way. We adapt and update aspects of our culture to meet the current times. It still amazes me that an island with a population of 2.8 million people has music, mouth-watering foods, sport and fashion that continues to influence the globe. I am not surprised that CNN voted Jamaicans The 3rd Coolest People In The World.
My trips to Jamaica will be increasing as my husband, Tony Greyson-Newman, is the only sprint kayaker to represent Jamaica and has been appointed as the Brand Ambassador for the planned aquatic centre in Kingston, Jamaica. The Kingston Aquatic Centre will give us the opportunity to give back to Jamaica by ‘helping to change lives through sport’. The motto affirms that the centre is more than just about competition and medals.
JAMAICA IS THERAPY
You may know of this quote as it is ‘viral’ on the internet and a very popular t-shirt motif that says “I don’t need therapy, I just need a trip to Jamaica”. And that is exactly how I feel. I have traveled to a number of countries in the world yet I am always excited to visit Jamaica. I have never lived in Jamaica, however, I have visited many times. My mother has returned and I consider trips to Jamaica as home away from home (especially as I have my bedroom ready and waiting for me).
Jamaica welcomes all with open arms and is one of the tourist favourites of the world. Jamaica has also been named The Best Caribbean Destination by Trip Advisor.
So what are you waiting for? Experience all that Jamaica has to offer for yourself.
For more information on traveling to Jamaica go to www.visitjamaica.com