Late last night our plane touched down at KCI and we all made it back safe and sound. When we took off from Montego Bay yesterday afternoon, it was 86 degrees. When we landed in Kansas City it was 16 degrees. It would be an understatement to say that I couldn’t wait to get home, but the 70-degree change in temperature was not exactly the welcome I was looking for. You may have noticed that I did not publish any content while I was on my trip and there is a very good reason for that which ties in to some things I learned from my trip to Jamaica.
The below is a picture I took while reclining by the pool on our first day.
If you are thinking the above is the reason for my lack of published content during the last five days, you’d be absolutely wrong, though your conclusion would be understandable. To get to the root cause of my inactivity we only need to look back at what I posted on Friday, February 19th.
I plan on continuing to post daily while I am down there provided factors such as time, energy, space and wireless internet access are working in my favor.
I had plenty of time considering I was on vacation and had lots of family around to help entertain the boys during the day. The latter being key so I could venture off to write without feeling guilty that my wife was stuck on “mom duty” while I was away immersed in my two non-family related pursuits: writing and baseball.
I’d be lying if I said I was bursting with energy and there were parts of the trip that were exhausting outside of the travel days. The entire venture was so far out of the comfort zone of my personality that it was a drain on me spiritually and emotionally and that took its toll on my motivation and level of energy. However, I was unburdened from the concerns of my “day job” and I was in paradise surrounded by people who are not only my family, but also my friends. It also didn’t hurt that I got plenty of sleep thanks to generally early bedtimes and a daily nap. In the end I had more than enough energy to stay on track with my daily writing.
Considering my wife and I were sharing a room with our kids, space was somewhat limited but there were plenty of other places in the resort that were very conducive to writing.
Wireless internet access?
My writing and work on Kings of Kauffman was ultimately laid low by a lack of internet access. At our resort, wireless access was restricted to the expansive lobby and that access was painfully slow. In essence I was off the grid and disconnected from my phone and the electronic world and I was less than pleased to learn about this lack of access. The resort that we stayed at was built within the last couple years and, for me at least, the lack of wireless access was a huge black mark and oversight on the development in general. My wife made the point that maybe it was by design in an attempt to get guests to unplug themselves from the world and just enjoy life in Jamaica. That logic held water with me until I realized that our room had a TV in it. If you intend to unplug people from the outside world, putting a TV in every room is about the worst initial step you could take.
Now based on reading the above, you might think that I didn’t enjoy myself and I’ll be the first to admit that there were times where I struggled with everything. Most people vacation to get away from things but I enjoy most of my day to day life. My life isn’t all rainbows and lollipops, but I’ll take a “normal” day in KC over a vacation day in Jamaica or anywhere else for that matter. It’s just the way I’m wired.
I’m not adverse to trying new things and seeing new places. Once we were on our way to the airport at 6 am Saturday morning, I was all in. The lack of internet access threw a huge wrench in the mix and set me back. Writing about baseball is what I love to do and I wasn’t real pleased with the factors in Jamaica that prevented my ability to do what I love. In the spirit of the island I did my best to say, “no problem” and enjoyed the beautiful weather with my wife, friends, and family. On Monday, the wedding itself was truly a stunning experience which reminded me of how amazing my wife and kids truly are. There are certain moments that burn themselves into your mind and stay with you for the duration of your life and sitting with my boys at the wedding watching my wife, who was a bridesmaid, was one of those moments for me.
From that moment on I saw Jamaica, and our trip as a whole, in a different light. With scenery like this how could you not enjoy yourself?
I wanted to relay some things I that I learned from my vacation:
- Airports are massive conglomerations of inefficiencies. The fact that they remain this way suggests to me that no one has taken the time to fix it, there is no fix, or the fix is too expensive. Regardless of which of the three it is, someone really needs to overhaul the system. I’m not saying I have any brilliant suggestions, and I get the need for security and customs, but there has to be a better way to build a mousetrap when it comes to traveling by plane.
- It is pretty much impossible to locate Mountain Dew unless you are in the airport. In the Coke vs. Pepsi challenge, Coca Cola has “won” Jamaica in a landslide.
- Staying at a resort where all meals are “buffet” style makes mealtime a rather large chore when you have a five year old and a two year old. On the flip side, the variety of options made it easy to find things for both boys to eat.
- The best thing I had while we were there was a hamburger. I don’t know what they did to prepare and cook it, but it was amazing. Honorable mention here goes to the Jerk Snapper and the other dozen or so type of fish I was able to enjoy.
- On all future trips, I will ensure that we book a room that has a “living” area in addition to a bedroom so I will have a separate place to write once the wife and kids head off to bed.
- Along those lines, on all future trips, I will ensure that wherever we stay, wireless internet access is available in all areas.
- My children don’t mind flying in the least. Justin, our five year old, even enjoyed the turbulence.
- Having to get through customs and security in Charlotte with two children and limited time to make a connecting flight to Kansas City is NOT a good time and proved that I would not be able to cut it on The Amazing Race.
- There are travel agents in the world that think it is a good idea to break up parents and children on flights. For all future vacations we will be booking our own flights and immediately verify where we are sitting with the airline.
- There are a lot of flight attendants who understand the “workings” of travel agents and go out of their way to remedy the situation.
- Airlines should stop assigning seats on flights.
- If you have over 1,000 items in Google Reader it shows 1000+ instead of the actual number.
Based on how our kids did on the various flights and in the various airports we will definitely be starting our tour of major league ballparks in the very near future. All in all I had a good time in Jamaica and I’m glad we made the trip, but I’ve never been so happy to go from 86 to 16 degrees in my life.
I’ll be back tonight with one or maybe two more posts depending on how quickly I can get caught up on my reading. I also have another post that I planned to do Friday night that was delayed indefinitely when Zachary started throwing up 8 hours before we were scheduled to head to the airport. Thankfully he was okay and the duration of the trip was spent with everyone in good health.