Kick back. Soak it all in. Everything gonna be irie.” as our friends say at our favorite all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. By embracing this magnificent way to unwind, rejuvenate, and live in the moment, our creed can be summed up as “eat well, love well, savor life” while enjoying a gloriously stress-free vacation.
At Couples Swept Away, turquoise waters curl up to seven miles of sugary sands, cooled by palm shadows in Jamaica. We fell in love with this island set in stunning tropical splendor. Then amid this paradise, the people we encountered begin taking center stage as an integral part of our vacation.
Move those dancing feet.
It happened, one balmy 75-degree evening when we discovered wood piled high in the sand between the sea and palm trees. Among the burning boughs, flames danced, as sparks flew toward the star-studded night sky. “Pretty lady, don’t you worry. I give you a beat. Just go ahead and dance. Move those dancing feet.” A solitary voice, we could listen to forever, rang out melodiously accompanied by nimble fingers on a guitar. His dance music pulled us to our sandy feet. Our swaying bodies flowed into synchronized moves of Salsa, West Coast Swing, and Night Club 2-Step around the bonfire. Nearby, ocean waves crashed and ebbed as water stretched out to reach us.
“A smile. A kind word. A friendly face. Every new friendship is a treasure.” As nighttime gave way to daylight, we learned how quickly bonds can form. Christina, a fun-loving extrovert mingled with resort guests and lived in her own world. She drew us in with a beaming grin, enthusiasm, and kindness. In addition, she wore the most gorgeous, luxurious braids flowing down to her waist. Until the next day. Gazing at her tresses, which took many years to grow and 8 hours to weave, she thought, “why not?” Cut, snip, clip, went her scissors as the dazzling braids fell away one by one down to her sandals. When her work break ended, she bounced around with her new shoulder-length hairstyle. Christina, currently saving money, anticipates visiting her mother who recently moved to Seattle. When she arrives, she’ll be sporting her new hairdo as she celebrates her first time in the United States.
“We met a kind man who” like Christina, he has a story. Colorful, engaging vendors with hats, jewelry, and painted rocks, all called out to us hawking their wares. We smiled but shook our heads until we saw the one-legged man plod by, carrying a guitar in one arm and a crutch under the other. Each step along the pale sandy beach was an effort. He began at our resort and wandered north, trudging beneath the blazing sun. A few hours later, he returned along the public access section of our shoreline. Typically, we do not carry cash at all-inclusive resorts. Nevertheless, that night we tucked some money into our beach bag. Two days went by, and we missed seeing him. Instead, we paddle boarded, peddled water bikes, kayaked, swam, toured in a glass-bottom boat, and explored on a catamaran. We couldn’t help spending time on or in the ocean daily. On our last beach day, I was alone for a short time and noticed he emerged along our seashore at the end of his walk. Same ragged clothes, dirty dreadlocks, shoulders sagging, he barely glanced up and wearily asked, “song”? Smiling, I simply said, “please”. He awkwardly sank to the sand with an audible sigh, grateful to rest while he played. Nothing special about his talent or the song, yet time had stopped. He gave from the little he had and I from my abundance. He outgave me.
Whatever this is…it’s perfect.
“You plan to do it all, to see it all, but then you get here and take your shoes off and the plan becomes a little more like, let’s do this instead.” The options seemed endless in this tropical island oasis where luxurious and authentic mix into one-of-a-kind experiences. Sometimes we snorkeled in crystal-clear water, regularly sampled farm-to-table cuisine, a few times we indulged at the spa, and often we reclined on the beach with an icy drink, yet all these barely scratched the surface. Most notably, the people we chanced to encounter, and their stories that captivated our hearts continued to resonate beyond the trip. Returning to rediscover this family-owned resort is already on our list again for the future.
One heart. One love. “The rain that nourishes the green hills. The trees shelter fragile life. The sun that nurtures growing. The wind that tangles my hair. A stranger’s warm eyes. All that is loved gives love.” – Couples Resorts
Pamela Lovegren’s expertise flows from building her own successful business to guiding small and mid-size companies. She analyzes the business structure, is a diplomatic negotiator, identifies operational issues, and implements effective resolutions to lead a firm on a path to excellence. Her experience ranges from resort management, leadership conferences, property management, and business consulting to extensive traveling and travel editor of this online publication. Pamela shares the vision of LivingBetter50 to celebrate and encourage women of 50+ who desire to live life with spirit and passion each and every day.
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