“To be at total peace with your current state of being. The way you feel when you have no worries.”
I’d like to say thats how my 10 day Jamaica trip was… there was a lot of work to be done though.
Originally I wasn’t supposed to go until the 12th, when my entire team was meeting for our Fall Regional. But alas, I am an overachiever (and really wanted to get back to Jamaica) so I volunteered for the AMEX More Knowledge FAM that was asking for extra help.
My airlift out of New Orleans means anything to the Islands leaves super duper early. 6am flights. and I’m not a morning person…. seriously, nobody wakes up gracefully by alarm at 3:30am… and the PJ’s Coffee in the airport doesn’t open till 5.
The upside to early flights? It means I get on island by mid-afternoon.
I had one quick meeting with the rest of the hosts and the resort staff before having the afternoon to myself to mentally prepare for the next few days. About 80 agents were flying in the next day for a spitfire round of resort inspecitons, workshops, and gaining More Knowledge about the resorts. A few of them were from my territory too! Wahoo!
Keeping track of 80 agents is exhausting! We started at the resort we were staying in for Site Inspections, then boarded a bus for Negril. It’s about an hour+ drive to see two resorts but we got the biggest welcome each place. They seriously rolled out the red carpet for us.
Resort Inspection day was long and hot. A fresh coconut is definitely the refreshment you need.
My favorite part of this whole trip was getting to take part in a Sandals Foundation outing. We visited a local community center that we helped build and got to hang out with the kids – they had just gotten out of school, and were just running around having a grand old time. One of the girls latched on to me pretty quickly, I learned all about her, met her “white friend Patrick” (he’s in the Peace Corps working on making the local farms more sustainable), her brother, her sister, her mom, her teacher, her uncle….. it went on and on. She seriously wouldn’t let go of my hand. My heart melted.
Each night was a different (or supposed to be, if it decides not to rain) location for hosted cocktails and then dinner. The last night was plated appreciation dinner and a musical send off by one of the local talents – Kevin Clarke.
We had a free day the following day so I made sure not to be too far from the bar.
We also had plans for lobster dinner that night. We may or may not have asked for a double serving….it was delicious.
My teammate from Tampa was helping as well, and we were due to meet the rest of our Southeast team in Montego Bay on Saturday. I’ts a longer drive, and he was planning on going golfing so our pickup was 6am from the South coast. I felt like I was 12 again – packing into the van to get to a softball tournament bright an early. Feeling my way to the back seat with eyes barely open just to lay back down.
I slept the whole trip. And good thing, I’m not sure I would have fared well had I actually been paying attention to how fast the driver was going. Mind you, these roads are windy as hell. We made it in right around an hour. Our rooms weren’t quite ready yet, they’re not used to guests arriving at the ass crack of dawn, so we had to go get breakfast. oh darn 🙂
I managed to get my scuba refresher in at the previous resort on agent departure day, so I had worked out to get on the 9am dive at Royal. I thought the dive would be at 8:30 so I was bright eyed and bushy tailed to get going but I had the times mixed up so I had to spend some time on a lounge chair till the Aqua Center opened up.
I wish my GoPro had been working the first two dives, they were a little more exciting. Regardless, It felt like home. Sometimes I think I was supposed to be born a mermaid.
My chest was feeling a little funny after the first dive so I decided it was probably a better idea to take a break from the pressure changes but I still found my way into the water.
I also finally got the nachos I’d been CRAVING since arrival 4 days before. I am a creature of habit. My boss sometimes makes fun of me for it – when she came to Birmingham I parked the car in the same (or one spot over) parking space at the hotel each day. Whenever I get on resort I HAVE to have nachos… nothing special, just chips and chemical cheese sauce. Creature of Habit…. but the first resort didn’t have them. I’m pretty sure I whined about it everyday.
When the team got in, we all met for hosted cocktails and a fabulous team dinner. We’re really lucky here in the Southeast. Our team is literally a family. We all look out for eachother and there is no shortage of support. My Miami teammate who I roomed with for Unveilings actually had the room next to mine, and Cackalacky next to her.
Luckily we were revisiting all the resorts I’d seen the previous week. I hadn’t really been able to pay attention to the tours as I was making sure nobody in our group was left behind. So I strapped on my GoPro and off we went. We even got the snazzy new busses to take us around – hooray for wifi on the move!
On our way to the Thai Restaurant on the Private Island. (Miami, Groups, Cackalacky & Me)
We spent two nights in Montego Bay and then transferred over to Negril. I hadn’t stayed there yet, and it was also my first Beaches resort, complete with Sesame Street characters.
Lots of time spent together up till the last day which was meeting day. We’d holed up in the Sushi restaurant since the conference room was booked and I had the worst presentation of my life. I seriously felt 2 feet tall, but we’ve moved on.
Our last evening together was at one of the best restaurants in the chain – Kimono’s. It’s a hibachi restaurant and the chef’s are super entertaining. Our family likes to sing…. like, all the time. On the bus, in the hallway, wherever we are, and our gal had us singing and clapping along all night.
I maybe should stop wearing white to the resorts for “two people in love” as I tend to be mistaken for a bride. We told guests the previous week that an agent and I had just gotten married (thats why I was wearing a white dress), and this ensemble speaks for itself.
Oh well, it was comfy as hell. Thanks mom (and Target) for making me buy it. My Miami roomie and I were put next to each other again at Beaches, but this time we had joining rooms. We walked in, opened the connecting doors, and that was it. They didn’t close again. Thats the difference between men & women I guess…. our teammates had joining rooms too, but we were the only ones who opened the doors.
I had a late flight out of Montego Bay on Wednesday which meant I had a rare morning to myself.
Staring out at the cool jewel toned water, walking up and down the beach by myself brings such a sense of calm and tranquility. It’s the small moments like this that I feel the blessings of life.
I get a week at home before I turn around and go right back to our beautiful island. It’s all work of course 😉