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It seems I don’t need to travel anymore. I just go to events around Toronto. The Jamaica event down at St Lawrence Market was special, not just because 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, (hurrah, for Jamaica!) but because it’s the 10th anniversary of my very first press trip to, you guessed it, Jamaica.
I was very scared to go on my first press trip. I don’t think I slept for a week beforehand. It was the largest press trip I’ve ever been on. There were about 6 or 7 Canadian journalists and something like 35 Americans. That’s insane. Luckily, we Canadians had our own minder, Lindsay, and she was amazing. In fact, she spoiled me for life because I thought all press trips were going to be like that, with options and choices and fun outdoor activities and someone who would make it all happen as soon and never get mad at you. Oh, well.
What I remember about Jamaica is a lot of water. Quelle surprise, it’s an island. But I mean inland water. We climbed Dunn’s Falls holding hands all linked together, and half of us were slipping and falling and I remember going down to my knees and stubbing my toe on a rock and someone shrieking, “Is this safe?” That was super fun.
I also went tubing down a river and rafting down another river. And I met Charlene Rooke, who would later commission me to do a couple of spa articles for enRoute Magazine, and I met Amy Rosen, who is now the acting food editor of Chatelaine Magazine, but she was a freelancer then, and she still says she had the best spa experience ever in Jamaica. Oh, why why why didn’t I go to the spa there? I blame Amy. If she had told me that it was going to the best spa visit of her life before she went, I could have asked Lindsay to arrange for me to go, too.
I haven’t been back to Jamaica since, but with all the events coming up for the golden anniversary now is probably the time to go. There’s a week-long Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay July 15-21, the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival on August 1, a Marlin Tournament (okay, this wouldn’t be a big draw for me because I’d probably get seasick and I don’t want to get pulled into the water by a big fish) and something that sounds very intriguing called Annie’s Revenge, in November, which is really a golf tournament. You can find out all the other events at VisitJamaica.com