I turned 30 this year.
Yes, this fresh faced babe is in her fourth decade and decided to celebrate it in Martinique. The original plan was to head back to the muhvuhland and hit Lagos, but an unexpected life moment reshifted the course. I was out of ideas and the trip was just one month away. Needless to say I was completely freaking out.
Hi, my name is Stephanye and I’m an overplanner.
For the girl that has flights, hotels, and itineraries (with alternatives) laid out at minimum four months ahead, I was in seer-re-yuz panic mode. AirBnB spots were few and far between, thanks to everyone in Nomadness Tribe hopping on Norwegian’s insane flight deal to the French-Caribbean island. Rental cars were super expensive and stick shift. I was legit on the verge of a major meltdown, but big girls don’t cry…or something like that.
I hopped on the plane, with a loose idea of what I was interested in doing and hoped for the best. Not only did I survive, but I had the time of my liiiiiife. I enjoyed it so much. that I’m planning to head back to Martinique for NYE.
These were the three tips that kept me from OD’ing on anxiety meds.
Ride The Wave
I’m annoying when it comes to sticking to an itinerary, but GOD isn’t through with me yet. Vacation is about having fun. Ain’t nobody got time to be stressing out over not getting to this place at this certain time. Right? Right.
On this trip I learned to let the chips fall where they may. I was hell bent on getting to this one particular waterfall way north. A cab there would cost almost $100 (cabs are $$$$$$ in Martinique) to get there and they were on a self-imposed siesta. We were feeling like all hope was lost, but didn’t wanna kill the vibe just because we didn’t get to the waterfall that the travel blogs told us to see. So we found some wifi, begged up a ride from a cabbie, and let him drop us off at a rainforest he suggested just 20 minutes from where we were in the city center. It was an amazing hike, with beautiful landscape, and we found a super covert waterfall just off of the road. (wordpress is being trash with the alignment, but get into the vid anyway) Even better, we were able to take a bus straight back to downtown.
The premise of iSo14below is to help you feel like a local no matter where you are in the world, but there are limitations. For any blindspots you may find using this site as a resource for your next trip, let Couchsurfing fill in the gap. Most people know CS as a free lodging website, but it’s also great to use just for meetups. With no plan, a hotel on a remote side of the island, and no car, I hopped on CS sending emails to anyone that looked like they’d be down for some ignorance. A few people were on holiday or working, but we were able to link up with Oreily. She was super nice, helped us negotiate prices (just bc you’re black doesn’t your skinfolk are gonna give you a deal), and let me practice my French with her. Whether you’re getting up with locals, expats, or fellow travelers, CS is an easy way to make it happen. Open that account shawty!
This is the biggest tip, but it comes with an even bigger clause. Yes, whatever you do, make friends with locals. It’s the best way to enjoy the country you’re in. HOWEVER, don’t use my words as an excuse for why you got #taken. Use caution and discernment before getting in cars and going to houses, alright? Speak to the people you encounter throughout your day. Hotel staff, folks at the bar. In Istanbul, we met some girls in the bathroom and it turned our entire trip around! While in Martinique, we chatted up our waiter and wound up having the most magical final day on the island that ended with sunset and champagne on an empty beach.
Be sure to check back for my round up of things to do whilst in Martinique! You won’t want to miss it.
Want more tips about how you can live local no matter where you are in the world? Sign up for iSo14below’s weekly newletter here!