At 3:20 am on January 21, 2013, I got out of my bed and set my feet upon the cold floor of my bedroom. Although it was the middle of the night, and the middle of a cold January in Alberta, I was wide awake and full of anticipation. I was about to embark on a long journey...both literally and figurtively. I was taking my very first solo trip to anywhere. Once upon a time, it wouldn't have been a big deal for me to do such a thing - I was an idependant, free spirit...however, as I have approached my 40's, and become more dependant on those around me, I also have become more cautious and fearful....which is really not a good thing to always be!
Not that I'm old, by any stretch....but you get caught up in the whole having babies, raising children routine and forget what it feels like to just "do"...So...I suddenly found myself in the midst of a huge life change...I could either stick with the status quo, or I could start listening to that adventurous voice that still whispered inside of me from time to time....
Now something that I should make known about myself is that I am a planner...which goes along quite nicely with me being a travel agent, I might add....I need to know when, where, for how long, how much will that cost, what should I/will I be seeing...when I took my family to Walt Disney World, I literally had a huge manilla envelope full of print-outs, schedules, and lists of must-sees. OCD much??
So now here I was planning this solo trip to a place I had only been to briefly three months before. I didn't book my flight until 4 days prior to me leaving. I didn't book my accommodation until the day before I left - and even then I only booked it for my first night. Seriously. Who was this crazy, no plans, see what happens person? I was nervous, excited, exhilirated, and totally shocked at my own non-OCD actions.
So, back to the wee hours of January 21...my two daughters were fast asleep in their beds as I showered, wrote them a note telling them I'd call them later, and quietly left the house. I was doing it! Here would be a perfect place to also let you all know that I am a big believer in "signs"...not the No Parking, or speed limit type (although if there are any RCMP reading this, I TOTALLY believe in those too...), but the "ok, if I'm meant to do this, give me a sign" types. I had been practically beaten over the head with signs telling me to go on this trip - crazy, make you laugh out loud, obvious signs. So I just knew I was on the right track. Fast forward to my 2 hour drive up to my friend's house where I would be leaving my car while I was gone....I get to her place and we sit and have a coffee while we wait until it's time to deliver me to the airport. All the while I still can't believe I'm doing this. Just 4 months prior I had to go to Calgary to a trade show by myself and I nearly had a panic attack...now, I was literally minutes away from boarding a plane and heading to another country...ALONE!! We hugged at the departures gate and she wished me luck and I was on my way.
Now I guess it would be a good time to let you all know where I was off to...if you recall I mentioned that I had visited this place for the very first time three months prior on a brief, 4 day, travel agent familiarization trip. From the moment I stepped off the plane I felt like I was on familiar ground. I felt more alive than I had felt in a very long time. What was this magical place? It was Jamaica, my friends....some place that I had wanted to go to for as long as I could remember. During our whirlwind trip I fell head over heels with this place, it's food, it's music, and the people who lived there. So much so that I was now stepping so far out of my comfort zone just to have the opportunity to visit it again.
My morning flight from Calgary to Toronto was smooth and uneventful. Oh and we had not one, but TWO priests on our flight!! How's THAT for a good sign!! haha! As I sat at the gate in Toronto, waiting to board, I was looking around at all of the other people waiting with me...and I was the ONLY one who was alone. Was I imagining them giving me strange looks? What the heck am I doing? Are they thinking I'm insane? Be cool, Jodi....breathe...it's too late to turn back now...thankfully, it was then time to board my second flight of the day and the one that would take me to Montego Bay. I was one of the last to board and I made my way to my seat and discovered that I was sitting with a couple on their way to Jamaica for the first time. Becca and Mark. Becca has no idea but she was a Godsend for me on that flight. We hit it off immediately and literally talked the entire 3.5 hour flight...I know that you will be reading this Becca and I want to say thank you to you!! I believe that everything happens for a reason, and people come into our lives for a reason as well...our easy conversation on that flight calmed me, reassured me, and pumped me up for the trip I was taking. PLUS, she's a really cool chick and I think we have some good laughs in store for our futures!! Mystery Trip, right Becca!! ;0)
One of the great things about when you land in Montego Bay is seeing the GORGEOUS Caribbean water that is literally right beside the runway...well, we were arriving in the dark, so that was a no-go. My nerves and excitement were building...I did not even have a ride waiting for me to take me to my guesthouse for the night. Another great/fun thing about MBJ airport is the trio of musicians that are playing happy, infectious music to welcome travellers as they come through security...well, as we were the second last flight to arrive of the day, the airport was all but quiet and deserted....not helping...however, I did receive one last - I think quite major - sign before I passed through customs. I was waiting in line to get my passport stamped along with everyone else. A window cleared and I was told to head to that agent...she greeted me and asked my purpose for my visit. Then, as she stamped my passport, she said to me "Well today is your lucky day."..."oh really? Why?"..."Because it was me who stamped your passport and welcomed you here for the first time 12 weeks ago...". I'm literally crying right now as I think back on this. Are you kidding me? What are the chances of that? There cannot be a clearer sign telling me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was then that I knew that everything was going to be great and that I was embarking on something that was going to change my life.
I hope that the blog posts that are to follow make you laugh, make you want to travel, and mostly, make you want to step out of that comfort zone!!