We just got back from a five day trip to Sandals South Coast in Jamaica. A few things first, this trip has been booked for a year and Jamaica is taking even greater precautions than the United States to keep their citizens safe from Covid. All travelers from the US are required to show a negative PCR test within ten days of entering the country (1/10 do not recommend a PCR test - no fun). Additionally, you must apply for entry into the country within five days of traveling and must list all places visited within the past few weeks. Before going through customs, travelers sit down with a medical professional for a health screening. It was much more thorough than our entry back into the US. The Caribbean relies heavily on tourism for their economies and the islands are eager for tourists to return. There is hand sanitizer everywhere and we felt incredibly clean and safe the entire time. I know that not everyone feels safe or comfortable to travel internationally right now - and that's ok! We felt that the benefits were worth the current risks and I'm so glad we went. I feel very grateful to be able financially and logistically to travel at this time.
Sandals has been our happy place for almost four years now. We honeymooned at Sandals Grenada and have since stayed at Sandals resorts in the Bahamas, Barbados, and now Jamaica. My husband loves an all-inclusive and I love the the Caribbean. My ideal vacation is just me and Pat on a beach or by a pool. For years I internally chastised myself for not having a drive to go camping, stay in hostels, or do loads of internet research to plan a unique and off-the-beaten-path adventure. I've finally stopped comparing my level of wanderlust to that of others. I love the sun. I love tropical drinks. Live your truth.
Sandals is for adults over 21 and it's specifically for couples. Everything is love themed and couples oriented. We meet tons of interesting people every single time we visit and without a doubt, the staff at Sandals is made up of the kindest, warmest people in the world. I have never had a bad time at a Sandals and highly recommend it as long as you enjoy all-inclusive vacations - they are not for everyone. That being said, visiting my beloved Sandals three months after the death of my relationship presented some challenges. [My marriage is not over but the idea of our previous relationship is dead. We are currently building a new one.]
Within the first two days, I heard people say, "What's your secret?!", "You two are just the cutest", and "wow. Couple goals!". While I'm leaning into accepting compliments, can we all agree to stop saying things like "couple goals" and "body goals"? It's all about perception, there is no reality underlying that vision. I've been told that I'm "body goals" while spending all of my free time at home standing in front of my mirror fretting about definition and how bony I can possibly look. And I've now been called "couple goals" about 90 days after the worst day of my life, because of the breakdown of what it means to be a couple. I don't think having a minor panic attack on a dance floor because you're flooded by images of your husband dancing with some nobody falls under the category of "couple goals".
I enjoyed our time away in the tropical paradise, despite the thoughts in my emotional brain that never seem to turn off. It turns out that negative thought patterns can easily cross international borders and waters. I had some low moments but we got through them and overall I'm really happy that we decided to go and enjoy our time. Maybe I'll turn the idea of "couple goals" on its head and think about the decision to stay and work through our shit as the goal. No matter who you are or what you look like in the filtered Instagram post from a gorgeous location, there are going to be struggles. The goal is not to avoid or ignore them but rather to confront them head on, learn and grow in any way you can, and take the knowledge and experience into the next stage. There is no goal; there is no destination. Only the process of learning to love and accept both ourselves and our partners as we are in that moment in time.
"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea"