we are heading to …

JAMAICA

okay, so my hint yesterday was pretty darn revealing so i doubt anyone is surprised.  we are beyond thrilled at this opportunity and the adventure.
originally that plan for our finale trip was going to be alaska.  at the top of my bucket list is to see the aurora borealis, the northern lights.  we found a great bed and breakfast that has entire walls of glass so in the below zero degree alaska winter temperatures, you could be warm and cozy while watching the “show.”  after las vegas we called to plan the trip.  we quickly learned that this b&b is booked up not only this year, but for the next two borealis seasons as well.  so we regrouped.
the carribean has never been at the top of my “must see” list.  i don’t know why.  maybe as a fatty the thought of frolicking along the ocean all day in a bathing suit to be my worst case scenario.  but this is a finale trip.  my goal weight is a weight i haven’t been at since high school.  maybe even before.  so who cares because i will feel better about my weight than i have in such an incredibly long time.  so we started the search.  st. lucia.  st. thomas.  jamaica.  costa rica. all amazing.  how do we decide?!
our preferences:
1 – i loved the idea of all inclusive.  i didn’t have to worry about cooking meals.  finding restaurants.  traveling/driving.
2 – private pool.  hey, don’t hate.  this is our finale trip, it is suppose to be over the top right?!  
3 – an involvement with the community.  the main reason i love traveling so much is to meet new people, see different ways of life, absorb the environment and culture that is so different than mine.
4 – adventure combined with complete laziness.  we don’t do lazy well.  we have realized last year that we come back from our “vacations” more exhausted than when we left.  i am completely to blame.  i find so many amazing new things to do that i pile our itinerary with as much as possible.  i just don’t want to miss a single thing.  our goal with this trip was to be completely lazy.  spend an entire day sitting by the ocean/pool reading a book and the key, not to feel guilty about it.
there are SO MANY amazing options that we considered.  the sandals resorts looked amazing.  with all the reviews, we knew we couldn’t go wrong with any of their beautiful locations.  we found an all-inclusive resort in st. lucia with a third wall completely open overlooking the rainforest, ocean, and cliffs.  (oprah had stayed there was raved, and you all know how i love oprah!)
click for source.
we eventually found bluefields villas and knew it was the perfect blend of over the top pampering and community involvement.  we will have our own villa with a staff, seriously.  i told you over the top.  what are we going to do with a staff?!  
the villas are owned by a family that i now know on a first name basis.  one thing we didn’t think about when searching all-inclusives was my food allergy.  i mean, we are going to the carribean, don’t you just eat fish and fruit?!  after talking to a representative from sandals i started to have concerns because there were no guarantees that i would be able to eat at any of the restaurants.  the owner at bluefields gave me contacts of previous guests that have stayed with gluten allergies.  the major benefit of having our own chef is that i know what i am eating will be safe.  the chef assigned to our villa with know about my allergy and cook foods specifically for my health in mind.  that is invaluable.
click for source.
we were concerned about community involvement because many times you read about the unsafe communities on the other side of the “resort walls.”  and a lot of times this is completely the case.  after so much research we learned that this is a really small town in jamaica.  because the villas give back to the community (a percentage of the rental goes directly into the community) and treat their staff well, it is safe for guests to go.  it really is a huge family feel.  the community sees these guests as the reason a new school was built and now there is a community computer lab, for example.  the owners encourage us to volunteer and get to know the school children and local people.  
i am beyond excited.  i have a lot of work to do.  my goal is the biggest yet.  i want to lose 45 pounds (from this past monday’s weigh in) before our trip.  16 weeks.  i want to really push myself and i will have to.  there is no other option.  we are buying great travel insurance and if i don’t reach my goal, we cancel the trip.  period, no questions asked.  no excuses.  this is all numbers and i have to get there.
so there you go.  our finale trip is planned and booked.  we are thrilled.  now, i have a lot of work to do!
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