October 21 13

Just a few short weeks ago I was telling you about stepping out of my comfort zone, and how it could be something small, like the week I was going to spend tech-free at the beyond beautiful Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia.

No really. BEYOND.

The view from my bed. Yes friends, that is the absence of a fourth wall in my sanctuary and a private pool a mere 4-5 steps from where I slept.

jade-room-pool copy

The view of my beach.

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Most people warned me that the first to days of detox were going to be the hardest, that I’d be twitchy to check my email and to use Instagram. But I’m not going to lie to you guys. It took exactly, oh, 8.3 seconds for me to be blissfully without tech. To be fair, there was one wifi-ish spot on the resort, so I was able to put three photos and one mildly funny status update up on Facebook (mostly to share with my children who were anxiously waiting to see pictures of paradise). But I surrendered my screens without so much as a thought. My children were in good hands, my work was in good hands. I was able to just relax for the first time in a really long time. It was one of the most magical weeks I have ever spent in my life. I am a lucky, lucky lady.

I read 8 really great books. 8. In a week.

I did 7am yoga facing the Piton mountains, in the exact spot where Jake proposed to Vienna on The Bachelor. No really.

I visited a farm and watched cocoa plants turn into chocolate, and I even made my own truffles.

I ate amazing food.

I climbed about 11,000 steps.

I lazed by the beach. I walked through an old sugar plantation.

I worried very little—only twice, actually.

THE BIRDS AND THE BOAT.

I am terrified of birds. I may have mentioned this once or fifty three times. So, it’s funny in a completely not-at-all funny sort of way that what happens when you stay in a room that only has three walls is that you end up sharing your room with small lizards and some mosquitoes. In truth, this was entirely not a big deal—we have a lovely bed draped in pretty netting that kept any pesky bugs away. But, in addition to the tiny wildlife, there were birds everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

birdsomg

They were clearly unafraid of people and didn’t feel like they were intruding at all as they’d sweep through our room looking for snacks. Sweeping and swooping, friends. Their favorite snack, we discovered, was using their beaks to peck, peck, peck sugar packets out of the little sugar packet holder and then peck away until they’ve created a hole and then BAM! Birds high on Sugar In The Raw. They are kind of brilliant, now that I think about it. I wonder what would happen if we gave them Oreos…

That’s what I get for ordering coffee to the room.

And I don’t even put sugar in my coffee.

And yet. There they were.

And I won’t even tell you about the morning I woke up to see the tiny bird HANGING BY HIS TALONS from my beautiful white mosquito netting. On my bed.

Talking about stepping out of my comfort zone.

Then came the boat—one of only three things I fear more than birds.

Boats.

I mean, have you seen Titanic?

Actually, my boat fears are less about icebergs and sinking and more about seasicknesses and the lack of control you have when you set sail on a boat that someone else is steering and driving. I imagine I’d be just fine in my own canoe.

We were invited out onto a private boat tour by Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy, the owners of Jade Mountain. They had graciously brought us here for their amazing chocolate festival and invited us a sunset cruise with their family from Turkey and a few resort VIPs, including the GM and the chef. It was the sunset cruise of a lifetime, and a great time for my culinary journalist husband to ask some important questions about the resort and its sister resort, Anse Chastanet. What I’m saying is that you don’t say no to something like this, even if it involves a boat.

So, I grabbed my camera, popped a Gravol, and prayed that this whole DOING SOMETHING THAT SCARES ME doesn’t, in fact, kill me. There were three little ones at home hoping that I’d be back on Thursday.

The first thirty minutes were fine. Wonderful, actually. I was able to see the resort from a very different angle.

jade-from-boat copy

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And I even allowed someone to use my camera to try to get a photo of the two of us. But, sigh, as my lovely friend Kat pointed out, we were photobombed by some lovely Piton mountains.

This is why I never surrender my camera.

pitons

But then.

Oh then.

I started to feel it.

tumblr_mde8gaM4Ni1ro8qpo

THE QUEASE.

When there were still at least two hours left of our three-hour cruise.

Oh, the irony of that is not lost on me, Gilligan. Although to be honest, at that point, being shipwrecked on an island probably would have been a better choice than being queasy on the sea with passengers who obviously have a better inner ear than I, since they were laughing, eating appetizers and enjoying alcoholic beverages. Lucky.

“Well,” says the lovely Caroline, “The water has NEVER been this choppy before!!!”

“Excellent,” says the greenish Me, “I’m going to die right here on this boat. But only after I hurl my lunch back up in front of my gracious hosts. I wonder if the band will keep playing when I’m out in open water getting eaten by marine animals.

I popped another 100mg Gravol tablet and forced my brain to find the horizon. I once heard somewhere that a fixed horizon point helps with predicaments like this.

It didn’t. You know what helped?

Praying to be back in my room.

With those pesky birds.

 

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  1. I want to live in that room forever. But I’d build a wall. ;)

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Hahah. It’s totally worth not having the wall, I promise.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angella on October 21, 2013
  2. The part about being in the Jake and Vienna engagement spot had me laughing and laughing. I was OH SO JEALOUS of your lovely trip.

    THEN YOU TALKED ABOUT ACTUAL BIRDS IN YOUR BEDROOM.

    I am outie. Totally outie.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on October 21, 2013
  3. Now that you’ve made us all adequately jealous, let’s hear about those books you read. Which would you recommend?

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I tried to mix my “oh my god this is paradise” with “oh my god there’s a bird hanging from my bed” to dull the jealousy a bit. NO?

    Grins.
    Here is what I read:
    The Rosie Project
    Me Before You
    The Golem and the Jinni
    The White Queen
    The Kingmaker’s Daughter
    Killing Lincoln
    Into Thin Air
    Unorthodox

    I loved The Rosie Project and Me Before You.
    I was really fascinated by Unorthodox and Into Thin Air
    The Golem and the Jinni was so different for me, but I really liked it.
    Killing Lincoln was … okay.
    And the two Phillipa Gregory books are a serious guilty pleasure for me. I love royals.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I actually only brought five thinking that was too many…and had to make use of the library at the resort :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jamie on October 21, 2013
  4. Man, that looks amazing. Even with the birds and the boats. In fact, those two things don’t terrify me, so it kinda sounds even more amazing.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Meghan on October 21, 2013
  5. Above All Things by Tanis Rideout is also pretty fascinating—about George Mallory’s disappearance while attempting to summit Everest in 1924.

    Your vacation looks lovely. I don’t mind birds at all, but I’m with you on the boat thing. For sure.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Ohmigosh. Looking up that book right now.

    I found Into Thin Air in the resort library because I had finished the 5 books I brought with me. It was fascinating.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Alison on October 22, 2013
  6. So jealous! I’m so glad you had a great time!

    I’m with you on the birds, but it makes me so sad you don’t like boats! Booze cruises are THE BEST!

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Just hearing the words Booze and cruise in the same sentence makes me want to hurl, I’m just not made that way.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on October 22, 2013
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