So you think you don’t have time to live your best life Julia Roberts’ Eat Pray Love style? Well you’re wrong. Maybe Bali isn’t quite in your budget or your PTO won’t allow it. And yes, you may be busy breezing through your 2019 #Goals list like the champion that you are; but don’t forget to put yourself first on that list. Sure the career, finance, and fitness goals are important. But trust me you really can do it all. It only took me 72 hours in one of the most beautiful places on earth to realign, rejuvenate and of course do a little eating, praying and loving with some of my most amazing girlfriends.
For me travel abroad has always been the best therapy. There is something soul centering about traveling outside of your comfort zone, being immersed in another culture—in another land. Doing this with an amazing set up friends can make the experience that much better.
Perched Between the islands of Dominica and St. Lucia sits Martinique amidst the gorgeous Caribbean Sea. It’s only a four and a half hour direct flight from New York’s JFK airport to Martinique’s French Caribbean shores via Norwegian Airlines’ new seasonal route. It’s also super economical with flights around $250.00
As soon as your flight touches down you’ll be tempted to run to the beach but my suggestion is that you eat. Martinique cuisine fuses some of the most interesting traditional Caribbean cuisine and seafood that you may expect with spices and flavors that you won’t expect. The food is truly a unique experience. And there is no shortage of curated culinary events on the island. The people of Martinique certainly know how to turn food and drink into an entire experience. When we landed in Martinique that evening, I had no idea that we would be met with a four-course meal upon arrival to our luxurious Home Away Villa.
As a part of the Home Away experience you can arrange for certain amenities like in home dinning with a top chef. Sarah Heusel, owner of Sweet Caribbean Holidays organized our uber appetizing spread of Martinique cuisine. It was the perfect treat after deplaning.
Another of my favorite experiences was a rum and food pairing dinner prepared by Chef Prisca Morjon and her mother at La Mauny Distillery. Before we were even seated for the pairing dinner we had the option of both fish and veggie fritters. They were my absolute favorite thing to eat on the island. We also had some of the most delectable fruit juice made from local fresh fruits. By the time we sat down for the rum and food pairing I was already in my happy place. But the approach to experiencing each rum with each dish took the experience to the next level. Similar to our reverance for wine in the US, in Martinique you experieince rum via all your senses. Holding your glass at your heart before drinking is also another custom that deepens the experience. This food and wine pairing taught me a new appreciation for rum. It doesn’t just belong in a shot glass or a pina colada. It’s an experience all to itself.
When I travel it’s important for me to find a moment of stillness to connect with God. The culture and the history in Martinique are rich. So there are many places that feel like a perfect place for prayer– like the gorgeous church in the center of town or LA SAVANE DES ESCLAVES–a replica of a post slavery village where recently freed slaves would have lived.
I found my strongest connecting to God while standing at the Memorial de l’anse. The paradox of the carribean is that this lush beautiful land that brings joy to so many was also the genesis of pain for so many. MARTINIQUE is no different from the rest of the Carribean in this way.
High on a hill in southwest Martinique, stand 20 white stone sculptures, silently facing Diamond beach and the Caribbean sea. MEMORIAL DE L’ANSE CAFFARD was created by artist Lauren Valerie. The sculptures are a memorial to the enslaved Africans who lost their lives to this very sea.
IN 1830 a ship carrying enslaved Africans failed to properly anchor and ran aground drowning all the enslaved Africans aboard as they were chained to the cargo hold. Their screams were heard from the shore.
When you step on the soil you can feel the energy of the ancestors lost here. The energy is palpable. The experience is sobering. But still you can hear God whispering to you… because of what they endured you are unstoppable. You can do anything. As I gazed out from this point, looking out over the hill as the surf crashed over rocks, I said a prayer.
During the entirety of the trip I felt surrounded by love from the amazing women who voyaged with me and also from our amazing guide Ms. Marie, and also from the people of Martinique. The people are open and kind and fabulous. Checkout these local Martinican women headed to a wedding.
Still the most important love experienced was self-love. We spent our last day in Martinique at the Eden Paradise Spa Ecolodge sipping the most delicious green juice and eating the most delicious food. Located on a hill that provides the perfect viewpoint to watch the sunset, we all engaged in individual self-care activities. My deep tissue massage was exactly what my body needed. The fact that it happened on a hill overlooking all of Martinique was an added bonus.
A few hours later I was back on a flight and back in the concrete jungle of NYC. But a 72 hour rest and reset in Martinique gave my body a weeks worth of love and care. It was just what I needed.