Returning to Jamaica

Something about finding the commonalities and the differences make the distance seem so minuscule.


Before I fill you in on my love for Jamaica, let me fill you in on a little about myself. My name is Toby Rose. I’m 27, and I grew up in a small country town in Maine. Everyone knew everyone, and more people had chickens, than those that didn’t. I always dreamt about traveling as a kid. In fact I remember telling myself, “When I get my license, I’m never going to be home, I’m always going to be traveling with my friends.” Little did I know how much that was true. Weather it be local travel, finding new towns in my home state, or off to see hike a mountain in another. I just love to experience new places, and see new things. I love food, and getting to know other’s ways of life. Something about finding the commonalities and the differences make the distance seem so minuscule. Forming bonds with complete strangers, opens your eyes to whole new perspectives, you never would have even considered before. I’ll fill you in on more of my philosophies later, haha. Let’s talk about Jamaica!

I hadn’t even left Jamaica, my first time, back in 2012, I told myself I would be back. It only took 5 years but I finally made it. 

There’s something infectious about Jamaica, and you catch it as soon as you touch down on that plane. Maybe it’s seeing all the rolling hills, the banana trees, or maybe it’s just the thought, that even on their coldest days, they still do not get snow! 

One of the things that stuck out most to me, was everyone was so friendly, and seemed genuinely happy. I know it’s sounds clichè. But most everyone you meet, working or not, usually has a smile on their face. We all have worries and sorrows. But I guess it’s like one of the many sayings you learn within the time your their, “No worries”. I couldn’t tell you how many times I heard this down there, and it is still incorporated into my everyday life.

Aside from the genuine happiness of the people, the vast gorgeous landscapes. From the hills, to the waterfalls or any of their 120 rivers. 

Both times I have been to Jamaica, I stayed on a resort either in Ochos rios or just before in Runaway Bay. Both requiring an almost two hour drive, let us see a lot of what Jamaicas countryside has to offer. The lush vegetation; palm trees with coconuts, banana trees, mango trees, bread fruit trees, or any of the other multiple varieties of fauna and flora. 

If the people, animals, or landscapes haven’t reaped you in, let me fill you in on the food. The thing main Jamaica food we were told we had to try was the Jerk Chicken. “You cannot go to Jamaica and not try it.”  Spicey as heck, but more flavorful than a thanksgiving turkey! Aside from the Jerk Chicken, I tried curried goat, Soursop Juice, which isn’t actually sour, it’s just the name of the fruit. I even got to try coconut juice straight from a freshly chopped coconut. The gardiner was more than happy to show us his trick. 

My first time in Jamaica was for my sister’s wedding. As beautiful as it was, I didn’t get to explore as much of the island as I would have liked. Well even going back with friends this time, and experiencing even more of what Jamaica has to offer. I still did not get in half of what I want to see on this gorgeous island, so it’s without a doubt that I say, I will be back for a third time. I feel like even with the two times I have been there I have barely even scratched the surface of the beauty, that Jamaica really is.

Wanderlusting From My Office

“A place that makes you realize how minuscule you really are on this earth, at the same time, makes you feel so infinite.”

(Bigelow Avery Peak)

As I sit here making my schedule, for my crew next week. I keep slipping away. Thinking back to about a month ago, hiking with my best friend, up one of our favorite mountain ranges. All the smells, sounds, and feelings.

 It’s bizarre to me, that a place that makes you realize how minuscule you really are on this earth, at the same time, makes you feel so infinite. It’s that feeling that brings me from peak to peak. Wanting to conquer another mountain, just to see the view from the top of the next.

Backyard Adventures 

“Not only did I find the best cold brew coffee at 44 North Coffee, but It helped to reaffirm the thought that, I really haven’t explored enough of Maine”

Growing up, your backyard seemed so big, and vast. If you were like me, exploring it everyday and always finding something new, and interesting to do. It seems as you grow older to shrink down, to a less meaningful size. As a teenager, you start to explore the surrounding towns, maybe venture into the city. Then as an adult traveling to new states, or vacationing in another country. Seeming to be getting further and further away, from where we began. We the limitless options of destinations to explore, I feel we sometimes forget there are so many places just right out our front door, that we haven’t even thought of going. 

Growing up in rural Central Maine meant camping, hunting, fishing, hiking , and anything else that was outside, inexspensive, or free, and kept you exploring, learning, and having fun. From camping up on the Canadian boarder in Jackman, to crab hunting at Lands End, in Harpswell. My family always seemed to have this sense of adventure, which my parents seemed to instill into all three of us as children. I will forever be great full for that!

(That is my mother, Margaret, doing a ropes course, giving me a run for my money)
As a child, I remember searching for snakes, frogs, salamanders, any type of critter I could get my hands on. Shimmying up trees, paddling down the Androscggin river, or getting stuck in the mud, in the creak out back. It was all just in a days adventure.

As I got older, those backyard adventures, expanded into adventures to the coast, or cliff jumping with friends, at Coos Canyon. There was always a new place just waiting to be explored. Only a car ride away.
When I first hit my twenties, it was all about getting out of the state to explore. Whether it be to go to a concert in Boston, road tripping to Myrtel Beach, up Mount Washington, or flying to Jamaica for my sister’s wedding.

As I was traveling and meeting new people from different states, and countries, I began to hear something in common; The love they all had, for where they came from. We all had stories to tell of back home. But it was seeing them light up when they got speaking about their homes. That made me realize, as much as I have explored Maine, there is still so much that I have yet to see! 

So this summer I have made it my mission, on my few days off, to explore my home state. There is so much to see and do here, and I’ve always been in a hurry to jump anywhere else, I never took the time to find out just how much beauty there was, I had never seen. 

A few back I took a trip to place I didn’t even know existed in Maine. A town called Sunshine. A little just a little Island ocean town off Deer Isle. Not a lot there and didn’t plan an actual destination. I just punched  the town into my GPS and was off on a roadtrip, just Charles and I. Charles is my pup, for those of you that don’t know. This “pup” being almost 60 lbs and a lab pit mix. 

It was nice to cruise and just enjoy the scenery, that it feels as though we never stop to enjoy most of the time. We are so used to where we live, it becomes almost mundane, and we seem to just blank it out as we drive, as if on autopilot. Driving to Sunshine took me over three hours each way. I was not upset about it, not one bit. Not only did I find the best cold brew coffee at 44 North Coffee, but It helped to reaffirm the thought that, I really haven’t explored enough of Maine, and inbetween my outward travels, I will be focusing on discovering more new places close to home.

Chasing Sunsets

“It’s hard to remember to stop and smell the roses sometimes, but a sunset never fails to stop me in my tracks.”

No matter the place you are exploring, weather it be in the city, out in country, oranywhere in  between, one of the best views will always be the sunset. 

There is something about the golden glow that seems to be so mesmerizing, as it throw shades of more and more beautiful colors, the lower it sinks beneath the horizon. As you bask in the last rays of warmth, it’s almost like a cleanse and a renewal. Knowing tomorrow is a new day for new adventures and a chance to tackle a new challenge.

I always felt lucky to grow up in the country with the mountains and hillsides to watch the sunrise on my way to work or school, and even better the sunsets later in the day over the river, or farms. But as I traveled around and moved to new places I discovered beauty in places that I would have never thought possible. Like the sunset on the smoke cloud of the Skowhegan Paper Mill.

Sunsets are just a subtle reminder to always stop and enjoy the beauty in the moment. If you’re like me, we get caught up rushing around to fit everything in, and take advantage of every second of everyday. It’s hard to remember to stop and smell the roses sometimes, but a sunset never fails to stop me in my tracks.