This trip came about as I was sitting in my car with both hands cupping the heating vents trying to regain feeling in my fingertips. I thought to myself, “How were the earliest people able to survive here in single-digit temperatures?”As I pondered these arctic thoughts, in an almost coincidental sequence of events, I got a call from my friend Kaya, asking if I would join her in a journey to explore her heritage in Barbados.
How poetic. I obliged without hesitation.
Neither of us had ever been, nor did we really know what to expect. I’ll admit that I didn’t even know where it was. For those who don’t, the tiny, colorful island of Barbados can be found at the bottom of the West Indies, just northeast of Venezuela and right at the apex of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It boasts beautiful beaches and friendly folk. In fact, the friendliest I have ever encountered. So friendly, that by the end of it, I didn’t even have qualms with hitchhiking to get around. We were always greeted with genuine kindness. Not something I experienced too often in my previous travels.
I must add, if you aren’t Tindering while you’re traveling, you’re blowing it. Instead of relying solely on the bars to meet people, we tag teamed Tinder in hopes of meeting locals to show us the real island and its hidden gems. I even set it to match both men and women in order to keep my social options open. Alas, all of my matches and planned meets turned out to be a bunch of flakes. A whole bowl of stale, frosted dandruff flakes. Thanks a lot, ladies.
Kaya, on the other hand, had absolutely no trouble matching with anyone willing to entertain us and introduce us to their parts of the island. It made for a much more diverse trip, because we wouldn’t have seen or learned as much without our new Tinder friends.
Though making friends in a new place is neat, my main goal is always to walk away with a collection of new images. Just wander and shoot. Unlike every past travel photo experience, I actually had people come up and ask me to take their photos. I’m usually greeted with both verbal and nonverbal negativity and was almost shocked that every single person was open to have their picture taken. Like I said – the Bajans are exceedingly friendly people.
It also helps if you travel with a girl that gets the double take from everyone that passes her in the street.