One of the things I miss most (and will probably continue to miss for a long time) is the ease of traveling sans baby. Because it is cold and evil outside and because I probably won’t be traveling anywhere fun anytime soon and because I’m *finally* backing up the last five years of photos (all 70,000 of them, yikes), I’ll be sharing some of the trips I took prior to becoming a semi-responsible adult.

The second half of 2011 and the first few months of 2012 was a weird time for me. I had moved back to my home city after a brutal first year of teaching. (The job wasn’t all bad but the relocation had triggered a series of moderate to severe personal implosions: depression and a disastrous hit parade of antidepressants, starting and then ending an intense long-distance relationship (is that an oxymoron?), and a thoroughly uncontrolled eating disorder, not to mention the unexpected death of a colleague and my principal’s retirement at the end of the school year…all in all, I was ready to come home.) I wasn’t teaching because I wasn’t sure it’s what I wanted to do (a question still not entirely answered five years later).

I had gotten it into my head that I wanted to be a wedding planner. (Spoiler alert: being a bridesmaid four times and attending the weddings of everyone except you who is getting married oh the evangelical church girl horror *does not* actually qualify you to be a wedding planner.) So I joined the Association of Bridal Consultants as a novice member and faithfully completed their correspondence course on wedding planning. (Do those things even exist anymore?)

One big perk of ABC membership is the heavily discounted FAMinar trips to exotic locales for the purpose of scoping them out for destination wedding clients. (I have no idea what FAMinar actually stands for, so don’t ask.) I went to Puerto Rico for the first time in July 2011 and fell quite in love with the island, which is a story for another time. I initially missed signing up for the trip to Jamaica, but when a spot opened up in December I snagged it up for lack of anything better to do with my time. Most of our time was spent touring nearby resorts so I didn’t get to see much of the real island, unfortunately. Here are some highlights!

I think this was from a stop we made on the bus from the airport to the resort. I had only an inkling of understanding at the time about the systemic inequality of the world, but I was starting to feel mildly discomfited by the difference between my experience as a tourist and that of the locals. At the time I was just bothered by the ever-present solicitation to buy souvenirs, which I now recognize as a symptom of an economy largely dependent on tourism. My discomfort now comes from recognizing my own unearned privilege.

In retrospect, I definitely should have paid for a seaside massage, because when am I ever going to have that chance again, and really, WHAT WAS STOPPING ME?!

I was on a power kick with my shiny new Nikon D90 so I was kind of a creeper.

I attempted to be a photojournalist without leaving the comfort of the resort…

A guest at the resort caught a 300lb. marlin while we were there. I think it was given to the staff since the guest couldn’t very well take it home. Looking back, I’m kind of horrified…


One day was spent touring a nearby golf club, which turned out entail giving an enormous number of women (and, like, two men) free run of the place via golf carts. It was…quite an experience.

The scene of breakfast every morning. I’m only sad that I was too neurotic to fully enjoy the food at the time.

Climbing Dunn’s River on either the penultimate or last day of the trip remains one of my favorite experiences ever. It’s kind of like a natural water park with little pools and cascades everywhere. A lot of locals like to visit too which it made it seem less tourist-trappy.