It's been a little while, how've you been?
Let's catch up.
Looking back on the past month, it's safe to say that April has been a way busier month than I had anticipated. For starters, I've settled into a brand new job (thank you, Jah!), constantly working on current and exciting upcoming projects, travelling, travel planning and finally... celebrating my Twenty-Third birthday!!
Turning twenty-three felt like something this time around. It felt like someone slapped me into another year, into reality, opened my eyes and shouted 'You're getting older!!' like I actually felt like a grew an inch or something... does that even happen? There was a lot of excitement and a lot of panning but when it came down to it there was that 'oh my God, I'm twenty three...' moment of shock. I mean, it came with a bang.
This past year, I put a lot of effort into achieving my personal goals and when I actually turned twenty-three, I felt like I could check off a bunch of things on that list. With each birthday, I like to take the time to self reflect. This year I've tried new things, changed habits, gone places I never thought I'd go, cut a few loose ends and met so many incredible people along the way.
Let it be known that there have been many emotional ups and downs, moments of self doubt and a little bit of fear exposing myself to different things BUT without those and the small epiphanies that come right after, I wouldn't have been able to walk into this twenty-third year feeling great about myself and where I see myself going in the future. So, with me being me and making spontaneous decisions as I do, I decided to treat myself to a well deserved adventure! *brushes shoulders* Before I dive into my escape to the islands, let me give you a little background first...
First of all, everything happens for a reason.
I've always been very family orientated and interested in getting to know my far away family. Both my parents are children of very large families, especially my mother's side. She is the 10th out of 14 children.
Yes, yes I know. 'large family' is an understatement. And yes before you ask, same mom, same dad.
So as you can imagine, I have a lot of first and second cousins that I haven't even met yet!! Growing up, hearing about Cousin This, Cousin That, Aunty-from-Foreign, Uncle Him and so on at a family function was a regular occurrence. What wasn't so regular was being able to put faces to all those names...
Rewind to 2015.
I was fortunate enough a few years ago to finally meet one of the greatest people I've ever known, also known as my second cousin, Emma. To make a long story short, Emma's father (my mother's first cousin) reached out to me over Facebook. He mentioned that his daughter, Emma, was around my age and lived only a few hours away in the United States. He said that he thought it'd be a great idea for Emma and I to meet. She was going to be in Toronto in the coming weeks and I would plan to meet up with her in the city.
See, normally I'd think this was weird, potentially awkward with anxiety written all over it. However, something in me told me that I should take this chance, so I did.
Emma and I met up for brunch at Denny's in the city and BOOM, immediate best friends. I'm talking instant. Brunch turned into shopping and shopping turned into laughing and roaming around the city all day. It seemed like we had known each other for years and years and as if we had grown up together as I did with all my first cousins. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up.
Everything happens for a reason.
(Please, don't judge... the glow up has been real since 2015.)
Fast forward to 2018.
Emma: "Girl, I'm going back home to Barbados in April. I want you there with me. What are the chances you can make the trip happen?"
Me: "I can, I will, Let's go."
This trip was beyooond good to me.
I was in need of a refreshment. I spent time getting to know family I'd never known or met while travelling these countries. Those of you that come from a Caribbean background know how large our families can get and if you're an extrovert like me, you find the thrill in connecting the dots and venturing out to meet them all.
My family in Barbados made my trip all that it was. Travelling through both countries of Barbados and Dominica was a much needed step outside of my busy city life and an insightful reminder of who I am and where I come from.
I had the opportunity to introduce Emma to family from my childhood in Dominica. Emma brought me into her home in Barbados, finally introduced me to her father, the man that brought us together in the first place, and all of our Bajan family.
It was an emotional moment to be in a place that my mother knew as home while she was growing up in the Caribbean. A place where she went to school as a teenager and people she had been surrounded by in her youth. I finally, finally got to know this place and these people and make memories of my own.
Emma and I have led such different lives up until now, but the fact that we were able to meet in our twenties and create a strong relationship so easily is incredible to me.
All these years growing up in Canada, the side of my Caribbean family that I've known and grown up with my entire life had never really gone out of their way or taken initiative to introduce me to the people or places they'd spent so much of their youth. I felt almost disconnected from my roots on the islands until I was able to visit in 2017 and take this trip in 2018 with her. Our family in Barbados are a huge part of the Robinson family that I've never known or had the opportunity to know.
I feel like all this time, Emma was the missing piece to my understanding of this part of our family. She was my opportunity to connect to the stories of my mother's, aunty's, uncle's and grandmother's childhood. This was my opportunity and Lord knows I took it.
Everything happens for a reason.
Now that I am older and have means of getting around the world on my own dollar, Hallelujah, it makes it that much easier to take trips like this one purely for the adventure of meeting my family around the world.
Throughout the last decade, my family has been dispersed in places around the world like the North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East. I've decided that I want to take my twenty third year and however long it takes, to discover these places and meet the Robinson's (or whatever their last names may be) around the world. This is an adventure I cannot wait to take, it gives me hope that more opportunities like this will arise in the near future connecting me to more people in my family.
The journey is only beginning and who knows where I'll be called to next!
Keep Chasing your Dreams, they're worth it!
All images taken with Canon T5i 18-135mm & 50mm lens and iPhone 8.