Life with thatgirlcarmel: Dec. 2015

Life with thatgirlcarmel: Dec. 2015

Welcome to 2016 – I hope you had an amazing holiday! Jave and I returned from Jamaica late last week where we spent a week at home in Westmoreland for Christmas before heading off for a weeklong road trip around the island. We celebrated the New Year quietly in Treasure Beach, a beautiful town in the Jamaican countryside that boasts a scenic seaside.

Our balcony overlooking Treasure Beach where we counted down to 2016
Our balcony overlooking Treasure Beach where we counted down to 2016

After spending two nights in Treasure Beach, we went on to spend two nights in Kingston, two nights in some beach cottages in Portland Parish, a night in Ocho Rios, and one last night on the beach in Negril. What an adventure! I’ll be sharing more about some of the high points and challenges we faced during our road trip in upcoming posts, but for now I’ll just say that I’m so grateful that we came full circle  without incident and that I got to see more of Jave’s stunningly beautiful island.

Ketto - Jave's countryside neighborhood just outside of Negril
Ketto – Jave’s countryside neighborhood just outside of Negril

Of course, it was also really good to spend the holidays with Jave’s family; it was Jave’s first Christmas home since he immigrated to the U.S. in 2009. It goes without saying that being married to a Jamaican gives me so much insight into local life beyond the beaches and resorts, and my first Christmas with my Jamaican family was beyond authentic, with a boiling cup of mannish water and all! Despite avoiding the bits of tongue and other goat head parts swimming in my soup, my usually resilient stomach wasn’t able to handle it, and I found myself on the verge of death late on Christmas night. Unable to ignore my groans, Jave kept peeping into the bathroom to see how I was doing. I told him to leave the door closed and let me die with dignity. Mannish water…never again.

Errol Flynn Marina - Port Antonio, Jamaica
Errol Flynn Marina – Port Antonio, Jamaica

One great thing about traveling to Jamaica is the fact that it’s probably the one destination where I truly feel like I’m on vacation whenever we visit. Before our trip, my brother, Jave and I were talking about the fact that our travels are anything but a vacation. In fact, when we return from our trips, we often feel like we need a vacation from our “vacation,” the reason being that we travel to have rich experiences beyond lying on a beach sipping piña coladas all day. We usually travel with a packed itinerary as we try to squeeze as much as possible into as little time as possible. Usually, time flies by so fast during our travels, but when we go home to Jamaica, it’s as if time stands still. I always return from Jamaica three shades darker (which I love!), well rested, and well fed. Jamaica is definitely my go to destination for a true vacation.


Our trip to Jamaica also gave Jave and I a lot of time to brainstorm the steps we need to take to accomplish certain monthly goals that we now outline on our recently purchased monthly goals board which hangs on our kitchen wall. On the left side of the board, we pin pictures of things we want to manifest (currently, the board features pictures of renovated bathrooms and our dream home), and on the right side of the board, we write down all the steps we need to take to bring our vision to life. I absolutely LOVE having this board because it helps us to keep our goals as a couple at the forefront of our minds every single day, and because we get a kick from crossing off steps as we accomplish them.

Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina

As you know, during the first week of December, we also took a quick, week long jaunt to the UAE. I’ll be sharing more about our time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in upcoming posts along with details from the rest of our 2015 travels.



Last but not least, one of my more popular posts from a few years back, “Why We Chose Nicaragua & Why You Should Too”, was featured in a Caribbean foodie roundup in Canadian Traveller magazine. Check it out here.

So, how was your December? Where did you spend the holidays?

  • Welcome back. Glad you enjoyed your trip, sorry about the Mannish water. My stomach is pretty hardy but even I would be hesitant about having some.
    I love the board with goals idea, I tend to keep mine at the back of my mind. I am sure if I had one of those I would be more focused on attaining them.

    • Hey Rachel! I’d strongly encourage you to invest in a board. It’s already made such a difference because we have to confront it every single day and remain accountable. It’s a great way to stay on track. Hope 2016 is being good to you so far!

      • I am thinking I will start small with a notebook. I am more likely to stick to my goals if I write them down.

  • Frank Thomae

    Being sick is no fun and like you if I’ve got stuff running out of both ends I prefer a little dignity.

    Glad you’re feeling better 🙂

    Frank (bbqboy)

  • Kasi Perkins

    Sounds like a great trip, and lovely pictures! Oh goodness, that’s sad you got sick while you were there though! I will avoid the mannish water if ever presented with it on a trip there!

    • Thanks, Kasi! Yes, I can’t in good conscience recommend the mannish water – lol. But you never know…you could try it, love it, and not get sick at all.

  • LaQuisha Hall

    Drinking in all of this life flavor here!
    When water is not moving anywhere, it becomes stagnant and poisonous…

    the same applies to humans.

    I love conversing with people who have cross connected with the continents and cultures.

    • Ooh..snapping my fingers in the air! I so agree with you. Thanks for reading!

  • Deidre Harris McMillan

    Your pictures are amazing and I’m glad you enjoyed your trip! I’m hoping to visit Jamaica for the first time this year!

    • Thanks, Deidre! I don’t know too many people who don’t form a soul connection with Jamaica when they visit. I hope you will too. Enjoy your trip!

  • Sounds like you had a great Vacation in Jamaica the water looks so blue your image all ways better brainstoming in the tropics. Looking forward to hear more about Dubai

    • Yes – brainstorming while you’re away is the best because all of your normal, day-to-day stresses aren’t an issue. More to come about Dubai soon.

  • Jamaica is beautiful and your photos capture just that. I love Dubai and will be looking out for posts about your experience.

    All the Best,
    Allison |

    • Thanks, Allison. I’ll be posting more about Dubai in the coming weeks.Thanks for reading!

  • Oh, how I would love to visit these places right about now. It’s 5 degrees here, and I could use a tropical vacation!

  • Kemkem

    sounds like an awesome vacation with you and Jave. I can just imagine his emotions being back home for Christmas. I still have fond memories of my first time back home for Christmas specifically after moving to the States. The balcony at the top looks awesome and a perfect place to usher in the holiday. always need a vacation after a vacation :-). I am so looking forward to more posts on Dubai as l think we will try and make it for this year :-). Our Christmas and New Year was quiet..after so much travel, we welcomed it!

    • More posts on the UAE coming up soon! Glad you had a nice, quiet holiday. Things will be quiet on the travel front for us for awhile, but you know how it goes…my feet are already itching!


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