This past Valentine I had the blessing to take myself on the most peaceful, yet enlightening getaway I have ever had! I traveled to beautiful Barbados, solo dolo, not intentionally are on some solo wish. I just needed to go!
I landed in Barbados on the afternoon side, and after realizing how deep in the country my AirBnB was located I was only interested in getting food and rest! I traveled up to Canada from BWI, and from there we headed into Barbados (think going up and all the way down geographically).
Upon arriving I was able to hitch a ride into town to the nearest supermarket. This ride hitching was interesting, and probably the first reality I faced that I was not only in this foreign land alone, but I was not near anything! Yikes! Thankfully the sweet lady who checked me in found a friend of hers to take me to the super market for some eats. This saved me about 50 Barbadian dollars (about $25 US). Of course, I gave her something for hustling a ride for me, although she was willing to not only find a ride, but accompany me for free. This was the first sign of how sweet Bajan people are.
The following morning I was on one mission- white sand and blue water! Anywhere else a cute uber would have gotten me there, but Barbados is definitely one of the countries that does not do Uber and a country who probably would not do it any time soon. Taxi, bus, or van ride were my only options. I wanted to be cautious with the limited cash flow I had so I decided to catch the bus. The night before the sweet lady broke down the buses and vans system to me. She was very clear on suggesting I take a blue bus for 2 Barbadian dollars, this was considered the government bus. And to avoid the vans!
Well, I headed out before noon and felt good about conquering this journey from the country to the city, specifically to Browne’s Beach. That confidence shot quick! As i waited at this very “middle of nowhere” bus stop I was greeted by a interesting man, who I later learned could have came from the jail up the street or a hospital. It was obvious he was poor, and it was obvious he had caught on to my very American, twang having accent and wanted to converse…or as another Bajan put it “intimidate me”. *see video at end for visual*
Let me just say this became one of the most terrifying parts of the trips. Between not really understanding the Bajans swift english speaking dialect and his aggressiveness or his need to continue to step towards me as we talked, and not to the mention the BUS taking forever… I was uncomfortable. But I had to tell myself to remain calm. If this was the US I would have quickly asked him to back up or cut the conversation short, simply because I would have been more comfortable. The conversation took a turn when he insinuated he knew where I had came from, “so you staying over there?”, as he pointed to my exact location. I ignored him initially, and even the second time. Finally I say “no, over there, I came from visiting a friend.” This is all I could think of instantly and remain calm.
His smirk and last comments did it for me. I did not care at this point. Whatever came first I was hoping on it. He attempted to get me to join him in catching a taxi across the road, which I ignored because I did recall the young lady the night before stating I will hop on the bus that is on side here I am headed, like most places. I start to worry more once he began to catch this van but then he did not commit to catching once he sees that I am not going. Now I am like what the hell is going on. Lord please send a BUS!
Finally a yellow bus comes, I know she recommended blue but my gut said go! He hopped on first, and I followed. Barely fitting I am now at the front of the bus holding on for dear life right next to the bus driver and the gentleman that takes your money, he’s nearly out the bus so I feel slightly secure. At this point picture a bus of 50+ people staring at you like you are foreign. This was me during the first 10 minutes of this bus ride! I tried my hardest to ignore, smile, and relax. I was safe.
We are 5 minutes into the ride guys and guess who gets kicked off the bus? No, not me, the guy from the bus stop. At this point I was amused with the Bajans honesty. They literally kicked him off the bus for smell, and he may not have paid if I recall correctly. The whole bus had comments and laughter. I was so shocked and thinking this would be a whole lawsuit in America! But I actually felt like I could finally relax a little!
Finally as we enter Bridgetown, Barbados! A sweet man and his daughter told me to get off the stop with them and he would walk me down to the Beach. I decided to do my first day at a venue called the Boatyard. For 60 Barbadian dollars you get the beach, seating, $40 to eat/drink, and free shots at this random time. *see footage*
The Boatyard was fun. I lounged out for a few hours and I met a group of cool medical students from Ross University. Out of the group the first young lady I spoke with was from Texas! What a coincidence! We shared some brews and a flying fish sandwich. I would recommend the Boatyard and Pirates Cove for anyone visiting Bridgetown area of the island.
Pirates Cove was Day 3 for me, and the entry fee was free. I enjoyed the beach view here more, although I misplaced my FitBit (nice way of saying someone took it but it was my fault for sitting it down) I really enjoyed the water, views, and music here! I accompanied my new friend Chyna and her friends. Chyna is from Barbados but lives in the US. I met her through a coworker literally the day I landed. They took me to Chefette, probably the best fast food establishment I had ever seen. I even indulged in their famous fried chicken. I can not recall the last time I had fried chicken! It was good, I was a little gut sick that night but it was worth it!
DAY 4 & 5
On day four I packed up my bags and headed to the west coast of the island. Beyond beautiful, as my taxi driver informed me, this is the money side! Chyna invited me to come to her family’s home. We visited her grandma, aunts, mothers friends, and a hilarious special woman’s beautiful home that I recognized instantly but didn’t fan girl at all (I shall respect her privacy). It was so heart warming being welcomed into all their homes, a humans most sacred and safe place- with welcoming arms! This touched my heart in so many places. As relaxing as this day was it was a lot emotionally. As a traveler, you wont always have the opportunity to be so immersed into a cultures true living and ways, and I was able to take part of this and will never forget. Thank you Chyna and your lovely mother for taking me in and showing me your beautiful country!
I was introduced to a beautiful store & coffee shop through a random day on Facebook. I found a blogger who had conducted a book drive in the past and I decided to reach out and see if she was in need of more books. I had plenty! Somehow I packed up some books in my tiny bag, and I look forward to using proceeds from my organization to mail even more. I am a servant and I believe in finding a way to serve anywhere I go! I dropped the books off at this store and I did not want to leave. If you’re ever in Barbados I suggest visiting Always Summer. I dropped the books off here and I fell in love with the store and their dedicated Barista, and truth telling signage! Give him a follow if you are a true coffee lover and/or if you will be visiting Barbados one day! He’s dope!
Now to the serious recap and things I would and would not advice! To begin, this trip was so random! Do not ask me why, or how, I booked and decided on this trip. I have no answers for you besides I am very random and impulsive when it comes to traveling. I originally planned to go to California or Miami for some fun in the sun. My main goal- beach bum! Yet, I found myself booking a trip to Barbados at 1 AM on a random week night… Yikes!
Get your money exchanged in your home country. Even if it means taking a trip to your bank to be safe. I attempted to plan ahead and get my money in the US but BWI did not have Barbados currency, so I had to get my money in Canada which made me lose some funds due to having to go through two currency exchanges. Also always get more than expected. I cut it very close and luckily was able to use credit card, but that may not always be an option.
If you are traveling solo or carless, on any island I highly recommend staying in an all-inclusive, if that option is not available I suggest staying as close to the inner city. Even if this means having to give a little on your normal expectations of lodging. You will be able to do more and get to the beach faster. For instance the Bridegtown are of Barbados lodging is not as advanced as most places but there nature is unmatched so give a little to get more! And staying inner city Bridgetown looked as if it was your ideal spring break scene. Everything was booked sadly and I had already booked my flight… so yeah!
Be open about your trip, anywhere you go. I could have let my trip turn for the worst a few times but I didn’t. This was probably the least I’ve ever done on a trip but ironically I am so ready to go back. I feel I developed family and friends here that I will forever remember but I honestly pray I am able to visit them soon within a year.
In conclusion it is true the best moments are never captured! I enjoyed meeting so many welcoming souls here. The morning of Day 3 I met a great gentleman from Europe. He owned the top condo in my complex. He invited me up for coffee on his roof top. We talked for about two hours, he made more coffee, and we literally stared out to the views of the beautiful Island. I hate so much that I didn’t get a chance to capture this breathtaking view or record our amazing conversation but Adrian, you my friend really made my trip as well and I look forward to our range check lunch on the South side of the coast!
Barbados and Canada has some interesting history! I quickly noticed there was a very repetitive connection between Canada and Barbados from different conversations and my flight options. My sweet taxi driver Henry, explained it to me and shed light on the Farmers Labour Programme. If you’re a history or policy freak like me here are a few reads on this program and the result of why many Bajans reside in Canada or visit quite often! Through research I saw a recent program has been established with the UK. Which is cool since many of Barbados travelers are from the UK, from my observation! Our conversation was better info than any museum would had given me. If you are ever in Barbados please let me know I will provide Henry’s information, who was shared with me from my fellow Texan I met! He blessed me with an incredible deal on one of my last days and I just have to pay it forward any way possible and send you with a gift from me to him.