“In the cool of the evening we rode in the country and were perfectly enraptured with the beautiful scenery which every side presented our view. The fields of cane, corn, fruit trees in a delightful green..”
No, that’s not me, that’s George Washington talking (the first President of the United States if you’re too embarrassed to ask and too idle to google. But be warned if you do, you’ll find sources that claim that some other geezer held the title first. Maybe even two or three. But I digress…)
The words are from George Washington and the place he’s talking about is the island nation of Barbados, that rum and sunshine country that swims and splashes around in the colourful Caribbean. For some reason, once Washington came here he saw no valid reason for travelling anywhere else outside America for pretty much – no – entirely the rest of his life. In fairness to him, though, he did contract smallpox when in Barbados and was subsequently kept fairly busy with things like the American War of Independence followed by a writing project now known as the United States Constitution. And, as disappointingly slow as security lines at airports can be nowadays, this all took place back in 1751 when it’s fair to say that transport links were somewhat less developed. No planes, no trains and no automobiles for example.
So why am I telling you all of this?
Well, it’s because I too am travelling to Barbados (although I’m hoping to stick to the sugar cane and fruit trees side of the equation and ditch the smallpox and revolutionary war stuff. As for the constitutional redrafting, I’m not fussed. I could take it or leave it.)
I’m heading to Barbados as part of an intriguing new concept called a blogathon. The ideas is that over the course of a month, four bloggers take a week each on the island and investigate it according to their own particular flavour. So, we have Matt and Deb from Travel With A Mate (bringing the human total to five for those who are keeping count) covering romantic travel for couples; Niamh from Eat Like A Girl delving into the food side of things and the lovely fun Jayne from 40Before30 covering affordable luxury for sassy young women who love to travel.
And then there’s me. The girl who doesn’t fit neatly into a niche.
I mean, try to define it because I know it helps the business folk go about their, well business. I cover luxury travel, I say. Culture. Adventure. Science. (It’s around about this point that the conversation falters. One bullet point – excellent. Two – OK. Three – you’re pushing it. Four – who are you? And science?! Hang on a sec – are you even really a girl?!)
I think the PR team are too nice to say it, but perhaps the word is “geek.” After all, somehow I’ve managed to end up talking about viral disease and George non-dubya Washington when a few words on rum, sand and sunshine would probably have done the trick.
So be it. After all, comrades, I know there’s more of us out there. People who love to stride through somewhere beautiful and yet also explore what goes on behind the scenes. Those who love unusual journeys, a taste of the good life and a rush of adrenaline, mixed in with taking the time to talk to the people we meet and ensuring there’s time to sit back and stare at the stars. Wondering how we all fit together. Past, present and future.
And if a man as serious as George non-Dubya managed to take a break from outlining the structure of the free world to talk about Barbados and its fruit trees, I should be able to instagram a pic or two.
What’s more, I bet George Washington never had a niche. And look what he went on to do.
Next week I’m going to Barbados. I’m packing sunscreen, beachwear, books and a camera. And who knows what the free world will look like by the time I come back.
Flying out with Virgin Atlantic thanks to Tropical Sky, experts in luxury holidays and resorts.
Staying at “The Club Barbados Resort and Spa ” on the West coast of Barbados thanks to Elite Island Resorts.
Plus some added adventure courtesy of Barbados Tourism.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com