Urban Beauty Collective brings you Yaminah Ahmad, a writer with a purpose Her written words of challenge and change will help to inspire a New Year of adventures.
Hey HelloBeautiful family! It’s been a while since we’ve connected. Life is happening and I’m taking it all in. I had to take a moment and share something with you.
I was recently blessed with a trip to Barbados from author and journalist Gil Robertson. Unfortunately for Gil, he had to attend a book signing for his latest effort, “Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American Today,” but fortunately for me, I was available to take his place to cover the annual festival Crop Over. I packed up, and a week later, I was swimming in the salt water of the Caribbean Sea! (Thanks, Gil!)
As soon as I stepped off the plane, I checked into my room at the lovely Accra Beach Hotel, changed into my swimsuit and headed to the beach. Since Atlanta has no natural body of water and I was starved for it, I made a morning ritual of communing with the seashore. I’d get up about 6:15am and take a walk, feeling the sand between my toes and occasionally dipping them in the warm seawater. I’d work up a sweat and then get into the water, and listen to the waves. I’d look up to the sun and make a mental picture of what it looks like from this side of the world. By the time 9am floated around I had already been to heaven.
During my morning walks I was joined by several couples, many of which were interracial with no noticeable African heritage. After passing by the second mixed couple I made a mental note: I guess interracial isn’t just black and white or black and Hispanic. My world broadened just a little with that observation. Some would greet me good morning while others smiled, a universal greeting surpassing all languages. I also noticed that none of the couples, based on what I saw, were Barbadians. I thought to myself, “Is everybody on vacation here?”
Honestly, my idea of a vacation was… well, I had no idea what a vacation was. I’ve always had a working vacation. Now, I’m not complaining at all. But, I’ve never searched the globe for a tranquil vaca-locale and saved money solely for the purpose of luxuriating for a week. The thought of maxing and relaxing for seven whole days with nothing to do is foreign to me. Wow, I guess that means I don’t know how to take a vacation – a real vacation. I don’t mean take off from work so I can work on my personal projects or run errands. I mean truly doing nothing but enjoying myself for a week. Wow.
When I wasn’t attending tours with the lovely team from the Barbados Tourism Authority, I’d sneak in some beach time with what seems like most of the occupants on the island. Side note: ladies…and some of you gentlemen, if you like dread-headed guys, then Barbados is heaven for you! I’d admired the assorted eye candy, have small talk with neighboring water worshippers and laugh at the children trying to outrun the big waves. While I was out there I met a woman was from Brooklyn, New York. She’s a financial advisor who decided she needed a break from the economic crisis. She scheduled a 4pm massage and was killing time by hanging out at the beach. She mentioned that she’s been to Barbados a couple times and attended carnivals in other countries. I said, “Wow, you know how to enjoy life.” She smiled, not really thinking much of it, but it made an impression on me. I continued to bump into people who had been to other far distant lands. And some of them had the same blasé attitude. For these trekkers, it was a natural part of their psyche to live a life that includes travel with much R&R.
What I perceive to be the extraordinary, the lady from Brooklyn and everyone else I spoke with believe it to be a natural part of life. They believe they’re supposed to travel, see the world, and have new, exciting experiences. Ironically before I left, I was reading in the book, “Discover the Power Within You,” how at one point in time, flying was an extraordinarily new, and what some perceived to be dangerous, form of public transportation. I guess it was hard to imagine that 400 people could gather in a big piece of metal and be transported from one location to another. It was a hard pill to swallow. So much so, they had a barf bag easily accessible at every seat. The bags disappeared when flying became as normal as driving.
I have to admit I’m learning to luxuriate. It’s not such a foreign concept as it used to be, but I still have work to do. There are people jumping on planes jet-setting around the world with the sole purpose to enjoy life. And their carefree, nonchalant attitude says they know they deserve it! What a wonderful gift to give to yourself.
Well, I have over 50 empty squares in my passport left and a few years before it expires. I plan on filling it up and having fun doing it. Maybe I’ll catch you on the beach.