Do your Own Thing in Jamaica

Citizen of the World Podcast

 Citizen of the World Jamaican Podcast series 3/3

Be sure to listen to episode 1 and 2 to experience staying with locals in Jamaica, and for tips on how you too can book your own homestay experience. In episode 3, learn how to travel Jamaica your own way. Get off all inclusive resorts to do your own thing in Jamaica. I will talk about the joys of solo travel as I share insight on what it feels like to travel alone. Secondly, I’ll give advice on how to visit Jamaica and how to do your own thing in Negril, Jamaica. Learn about non touristy things to do in Negril, while enjoying the joys of solo travel. 

Listen to the Citizen of the World Podcast Series on Apple iTunes, Google Play & Spotify.  Do your own thing in Jamaica by staying with locals, traveling alone and doing non tourist things in Negril, Jamaica.

joys of solo travel negril jamaica sunset

Citizen of the World the Podcast

Citizen of the World podcast Kathleen Parisien

Are you taking action outside your comfort zone? Are you following your dreams? Do you dream of building your own business but don’t know where to start ? Do you want to travel, but are scared of the unknown?  On Citizen of the World podcast, hosted by Kathleen Parisien I set out to help inspire action outside your comfort zone. This is a podcast for ambitious and adventurous people who want to live purposeful lives while making the world a better place. By stepping outside our comfort zones, we fulfill the light within us that is wanting to shine brighter. Make the world a better place by shining your light. Citizen of the world believes in collaboration rather than competition. We can all learn from each other as our light burns brighter in collaboration with others. Tune in weekly for podcasts and be sure to subscribe directly at www.citizenofd.world

the joys of solo travel negril jamaica

The Joys of Solo Travel

For a few days, I was alone in Negril Jamaica where I was just reminded of how good solo travel felt like. Negril is in the parish of Westmoreland, at the very west end of the Jamaican island. 

citizen of the world kathleen parisien negril jamaica podcast series

Traveling solo is liberating as you have true freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Do your own thing, and travel simply by traveling alone.

When traveling alone, you’re free to talk to whoever you want for as long as you want. No one is beside you to rush you, or slow you down. I promise you, you’re more likely to converse with strangers when you’re alone. It’s liberating as you can just do your own thing.

Citizen of the World

citizen of the world kathleen parisien travel book

Traveling alone allowed me to write a book. As I traveled alone in South America and the middle east  I had all the time in the world to meditate and write. I would even leave love interests because I wanted to be alone. I enjoyed the freedom and the opportunity to just be myself. My book, Citizen of the World really goes in depth about the joys of solo travel. It is available on amazon, worldwide. Step into the joys of solo travel with Citizen of the World.

jamaican podcast series citizen of the world

Traveling Alone in Negril

While alone in Negril Jamaica for a few days, I realized that I talk to myself when I’m traveling alone. It just happens. But am I talking to myself? I don’t feel like I am. Rather there is an energy, a life source that stays with us wherever we go. I’ve never alone when traveling solo as we are all connected. I even feel a connection to nature more so when traveling alone as you’re just that much more in touch with consciousness when traveling solo. Doing non touristy things to do in Negril was essential for me.

joys of solo travel negril jamaica

I would have breakfast by the ocean at the brand new Blue Skies restaurant as I drank fresh OJ,  and ate jerk sausage omelette. All while reading my book. Talk about relaxing. I’m a huge advocate of spending time alone to replenish your batteries!

Serendipity

The things that happen to you and the people you meet isn’t just by chance but its serendipity – you were supposed to meet them. And if your quiet enough in your own thoughts you’ll see that. You can feel a jolt of energy when you meet someone you were supposed to meet. Suddenly you’re learning from them, and they are learning from you. When you do non touristy things in Negril, serendipity flows into your life.

the joys of traveling solo jamaica negril citizen of the world

I’m very much more aware of myself and the world from traveling alone. I felt the sense of stillness within my body, and saw myself disconnecting from my thoughts. I was free from distractions, just to be myself. 

Married and Traveling Alone

Since getting married I haven’t traveled alone. My last trip alone was in Portugal in 2016. Traveling solo in Negril reminded me that we must always do things for ourselves. Being a wife is just part of my identity, one role not my entire self.  Being married is funny traveling solo because I used to travel without any jewelry on me. I didn’t want to attract attention. Now, here I was in Negril walking around with two diamond rings on my hand. I thought it could be a travel hazard but I’m safe in Jamaica. I would have taken my ring off in Brazil though. You can learn about crime in Brazil in my book, Citizen of the World. I also kept my ring on because men would then leave me alone. Jamaican men are very straightforward and I found it beneficial to have it on. Men would ask where my husband was, and it helped to say they were right around the corner. If i had said he was back in Canada, the men would have said well if he’s not here, we can still have fun… definitely not the case.

non touristy things to do in jamaica

Fresh ideas come to you when sitting alone or traveling alone. If you can’t travel alone, incorporating daily meditation, or yoga into your life. Through the stillness, you discover yourself. Just time for yourself to just be is extremely powerful yet overlooked by many. Traveling alone gives you the opportunity to just do your own thing. Avoid non touristy things in Negril to really have a good time.

Even though I am married, I will make a big effort to take at least one solo trip in 2020! Have you traveled alone? I’d love to hear the joys of solo travel from your perspective. Feel free to email me directly at [email protected]

do your own thing in negril jamaica kathleen parisien

Is Jamaica Safe?

Yes, Jamaica is safe. Everywhere is safe, as long as you are aware of your surroundings and be respectful towards locals. As a woman traveling alone in Jamaica, doing non touristy things in Negril, I had no issue. Jamaicans for the most part are very polite, and outgoing. Men would tell me I’m beautiful as I’d walk by them on the road, or simply wish me good morning or good afternoon. If someone would try to sell me something that I did not want, I’d simply say “No thank you, respect”. Jamaicans say respect a lot, with a fist pump. That’s the Jamaican handshake. Especially in Negril, it’s safe as locals depend on tourists for their livelihood.

Jamaica is Safe

green leaf cabins negril jamaica crab

I heard a story of a tourist that was traveling alone in Negril for the past 15 years. He knows everyone in the village, and makes a conscious effort to meet as people as he can. He told me, “People wont rob who they know”. He was eventually attacked by a young Jamaican, but did not get hurt and nothing was stolen. However, the locals found out who the assaulter was. The police are around, but it seems like locals take matters into their own hands. Especially when it comes to child abuse and violence against tourists. Jamaica is safe. You are safe everywhere. If you think you aren’t, then you won’t travel and wont leave your comfort zone. What is the point of that? Everyday you leave your house, something bad can happen to you, yet you still leave your house. You should still also travel and don’t let fears hold you back.

do your own thing jamaica negril

Give Back to the Locals

I spent 10 days in Negril chatting with locals and tourists alike doing my own thing. I discovered that a large amount of Canadians fly down to Jamaica for the winter. We’ll call them the Canadian Snowbirds because they stay  in Jamaica for 4-6 months, rent a place with a kitchenette and just do their own thing in Jamaica. The snowbirds really understand the joy of solo travel, because they do whatever they want, whenever they want. These Canadian snowbirds are living the life. Instead of just drinking red stripe all day, they give back to the locals. one snowbird I met has actually built a house for a Rasta man in the mountains, is a partner in a local Jamaican bar, and donates funds for Jamaican bar owners. At Sandra’s Place in the west end, Canadians gave money to build a new deck on the ocean. Every Sunday and Tuesday, visit Sandra’s place for home cooked Jamaican cuisine. The evening we went, Sandra was cooking fish, roast beef, oxtail and fried chicken. Here we are on Sandra’s new deck!

sandras place negril non touristy things to do in negril

Non touristy things to do in Negril

negril do your own thing

With 7 miles of pristine, sandy white beaches and colourful blue waters, there is plenty to do in Negril. Aside from Thailand, Negril has the longest walkable beach with affordable rooms, cabins and hotels to rent. Don’t be afraid to walk up and down the beach to talk to locals, buy souvenirs, and drink in local bars. I’ll share with you my favourite non touristy things to do in Negril. See that you too can travel to Jamaica and do your own thing.

Eat in Local Jamaican Restaurants

non touristy things to do in negril

Kamara’s Jerk Hut is the best Jamaican food right on the beach. The jerk chicken is spicy and honestly the best jerk chicken I’ve had in all of Jamaica. I’d also suggest Rasta Ade, also right on the beach. While traveling, eating healthy vegetables is crucial to having a good vacation. Try the vegan food, and live life like a Rasta. Off the beach, I would recommend Sweet Spot. Wherever you go, eat local food. Stay away from chain restaurants that you can get back home. 

Drink in local Jamaican bars

non touristy things to do in negril

Drink in local Jamaican bars to avoid tourist traps that charge ridiculous prices in US dollars. Local bars are non touristy places to connect with local people. In Negril, at the Sunny Side beach bar, one beer is only 250 Jamaican dollars for a Red Stripe. Down the beach, at the Boat House Bar I paid 400 Jamaican dollars for a Red Stripe.

Get off all inclusive resorts

Most people will stay in an all inclusive resort the first time they visit Jamaica. Instead, save yourself money and book a room at the Green leaf cabins. Across the road, but one of the cheapest prices all over Negril. For only 35$ CAD a night, you have a bed, toilet and fridge. This way you can do your own thing in Negril, exploring the local culture instead of staying in a compound 🙂

Listen to live reggae

non touristy things to do in negril

At the Roots Bamboo, Woodstock or Bourbon Beach. Negril is your roots reggae paradise. We saw Beenie man perform live. Attending a live reggae concert to really experience Jamaican culture and music. 

Walk a lot !

non touristy things to do negril

The best way to travel is on foot. Most days, my fit bit would reveal over 25,000 steps, and over 20 Km daily. If I wasn’t walking up and down the beach, I walked to the West End of Negril. If you don’t go anywhere else in Jamaica, at least take a walk or a taxi ride to the west end. Take a walk down to the West End of Negril, away from the sandy beaches into the green mountains. This is the most authentic Jamaican culture in the area as there isn’t so many tourists. Visit Xtabi to see the range of cliffs to jump off. Xtabi is way better than ricks cafe which is a tourist trap. Rick’s cafe is just a tourist place, I wouldn’t want to spend money there so I wouldn’t recommend you go either. This is a great example of a non touristy thing to do in Negril.

Make friends with a local guide

non touristy things to do in negril sunny side beach bar

Jamaicans have warm hearts and want to give tourists the best time of their lives. A lot of Jamaicans make a good living by being a local tour guide for guests, usually by providing transportation. A non touristy thing to do in Negril is to find a local that you’d want to spend time with, and explore Jamaica. Help the local economy and be a responsible traveler. 

4 Things to do in Jamaica

non touristy things to do in negril jamaica

1.Visit the Pelican Bar

Visit Jamaica’s best bar in the middle of the ocean for a relaxing and fun day trip.

2. Eat Fresh Lobster
Be sure to visit the local fish market with a local Jamaican. Or, walk there alone. Chances are your local Jamaican friend will know exactly where to buy the lobster. You can rent a boat and eat lobster on an island. All for a fraction of the cost of a large tour provider. 

cook lobster non tourist thing to do in negril

3. Visit a Waterfall 

waterfalls jamaica non touristy things to do in jamaica

Jamaican is a spiritual, healing place. As Brazilians say, waterfalls are therapy for the soul. While in Jamaica, visit a waterfall to cleanse your soul. The island is full of beautiful waterfalls.

4. Immerse yourself into the culture!

non touristy things to do in jamaica

Get your hair braided, eat in local restaurants, talk to people and learn from them. I promise a little Jamaican culture will bring joy and blessings to your life.

Overall, Jamaica is a special island with so much to offer. Just enjoy the simple island life, and don’t come with high expectations – this is a general rule for traveling and for life in general. Be open and ready to speak english with locals. Unlike Spanish speaking countries, everyone in Jamaica speaks English. This makes it easy to converse, and negotiate deals. Traveling alone is even better when the local language is your language so you can really do your own thing, and stick to non touristy things to do in Negril.

Jamaican Currency

You can take Jamaican dollars at the bank, instead of having to convert to American dollars. Save money and just pull money from ATMs in Jamaica. Just be sure to look right, left and right again when crossing the streets, as the cars are coming on the right. They also just come out of nowhere! Most local restaurants do not take credit card, so be sure to have local Jamaican currency on hand.

Smoking Marijuana in Jamaica

do your own thing in jamaica

Of course, Jamaica is the land of Rastas and marijuana. If you will partake in smoking or eating marijuana, know your limits. Also, be careful of how much people will charge you. If someone is asking too much, just keep going as everyone has something for sale. Be careful of the cookies and marijuana cakes as too much will leave you past out on the beach. If you are going to do your own thing in Jamaica, be smart.

Enjoy the Island Life

The main principle of going to Jamaica is to enjoy the island life. Remember you’re on vacation. And Jamaica is where people really chill out. Negril is a vacation hot spot for retirees, and families. Not that many young people. It’s not like going to ibiza or Varadero Cuba where there’s constant parties in the streets. Jamaica is much more laissez faire, you’ll see a lot of people sitting around doing nothing, and I hope you do too. If you want to sleep late, do it. If you want to take a tour do it, just do whatever you want in Jamaica. But slow down, and don’t have high expectations. This is a relaxing place to do your own thing, and a great place to experience the joys of solo travel in Jamaica.

Travel Jamaica Your Own Way

Contact me if you need help planning your upcoming trip to Jamaica. Looking for great food, good people and warm weather? Jamaica is your home away from home. Travel Jamaica your own way by getting off all inclusive resorts. Do your own thing in Jamaica, with the advice lined out in Citizen of the World podcast. I’d love to hear about your upcoming travel plans, and what you thought about the joys of traveling solo! Comment below 🙂

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