It’s hard to believe that last week this time, I was traveling across the beautiful island of Barbados. From enjoying local delicacies of dolphin (also known as mahi-mahi) and macaroni pie, to walking on white sands and swimming in clear blue waters, I definitely enjoyed my first experience in the Caribbean and look forward to my next visit.
But my trip wasn’t solely focused on getting an awesome tan and enjoying rum punch — it was about exploration, discovery and independence. If you can recall, back in mid-May I raised over $1,500 for a Detroit-based non-profit called Atlantic Impact. Winning the blogger challenge not only afforded me the opportunity to travel to Barbados, but I also got the chance to know seven really bright and inquisitive high school juniors. Each of them had their own unique talents, stories, struggles and ambitious, but were over all grateful to have the chance to travel abroad for the first time.
There were so many things I enjoyed about this trip, but the most impactful moments for me were learning new things with students. From visiting an old slave plantation turned burial site, to shadowing a 25-year-old entrepreneur that established one of the most respected non-profits in the Caribbean, I was just as fascinated as the students to learn about the rich culture and history of the island.
After a long day of traveling up and down the island, it was nice to unwind and enjoy the night life that Barbados. Oistins (Friday nights are the most popular) and the St. Lawrence Gap were both lively scenes that had great food, music and vendors with souvenirs.
But the coolest thing about vacationing in Barbados? Aside from snorkeling with Nemo and Crush, it was using Barbadian money — 2 Barbadian dollars to one American dollar! While it seemed expensive using Barbadian money to pay for things, it was in fact half if I paid for meals, souvenirs or anything else. But of course, when you’re out of the United States, everything is much more expensive.
Overall, I really enjoyed the relaxation, enchanting beauty and rich culture that Barbados had to offer. But most importantly, I’ve been blessed to gain not just one new mentee, but SEVEN! These kids have inspired me beyond belief, and I’m just so grateful to have the opportunity to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them.
Again, I want to thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart for supporting me throughout this entire journey. I’ve been bitten my the travel bug, so this is definitely the first of many adventures I hope to take.