eastern caribbean travel, Peace Corps, peace corps response, singles travel adventure

Adventurous Badass

This year…I want to go on more adventures!  That is what I posted on Facebook on January 1, 2015.  The universe delivered in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

Go on more adventures meme jan 2015

 

In early 2015 you could find me hiking up a mammoth mountain in two feet of snow and snowmobiling in Vermont, USA with my best friend, Tina, while away at a girls weekend.  Snowmobiling is my new sport love; I felt like a badass and it was exhilarating!  Bucket list item…check.

snowmobiling pic with Tina Mar 2015 VT cabin

There’s no way I could’ve imagined that in October I’d be immersed in a radically different environment trekking through the rain forest and bathing in a waterfall in Soufriere, Saint Lucia.  Surreal.  Incredible.  I feel so fortunate to be in this space and place.  Bucket list item…check!

Enbaus Sau Rainforest saint lucia hike Oct 2015

First sighting of water while hiking the En Bas Saut Trail in the rain forest

As the year 2015 is in its final hours I reflect on what I have experienced, how the universe has delivered, how I was willing to risk everything for the unknown, what I leave behind and what I will take with me into 2016.

What I am leaving behind in 2015…

  • Lost friendships
  • Lost love
  • Lost family
  • Sadness surrounding the losses
  • Failure(s)…I’ve lost count yet shows I keep trying 🙂
  • Split ends (7+ months…yes, I need a haircut desperately!)
  • The hope of a better past

What I am leaping forward with into 2016…

  • New friendships
  • Opportunity to serve something bigger than me
  • Ambition in my work as a Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Problem solving that leads to a brighter tomorrow for me and my hospital
  • Stretching my ability to face and thrive in adversity
  • Exploring more of my home island
  • Openness to what may come
  • Finding greater peace and total acceptance of myself (the good, the bad, the ugly)
  • Remaining open to love
  • No expectations (this remains an ongoing hurdle)
  • Living in the moment
  • wonderful memories from 2015

I wish you all a Happy New Year!  I hope it is all of what you dream.  As for me, I know that I want to go on more adventures in 2016!

Stay tuned…because I’m not sitting on the sidelines of life.

Other blogs you may be interested in:

-David: http://kuribbean.blogspot.com/

-Bash: http://www.bashhalow.blogspot.com/

-Kate: https://everywhereismydestination.wordpress.com/

-Chris: https://cannitopeacecorps.wordpress.com/

-Shelby: https://shelbyec.wordpress.com/

-Anna: https://hobbsseehobbsdo.wordpress.com/

-Mary: http://www.theknockabout.org/

-Alan: http://www.pcinec.net/

~Brie Messier, MBA

 

 

 

 

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eastern caribbean travel, Peace Corps, peace corps response, singles travel adventure

Nature’s #1 Spa (= Volcano)

In the belly of a volcano, called Sulphur Springs, lays the best, natural Jacuzzi and spa that I’ve ever encountered.  Not only did I experience mother nature in a whole new way but I was able to experience the “world’s ONLY drive-in volcano!”

sulphur springs sign

Leading up to the adventure was mysterious.  I’d never been remotely close to a volcano before.  Granted, the idea of being in sulfur smelling waters, mud wasn’t overly appealing.  But what the heck…I’m on an adventure, right?!  I remember vividly visiting my sister, Holly, in Florida and her water had a sulfur, rotten egg smell  which was almost too much to bear.  I thought, “Oh, please, don’t let it be that bad!”

The volcano is located in the beautiful town of Soufriere, which is about 30 minutes from my home.  Many, if not all, St. Lucia resorts have trips to Sulphur Springs.  It’s a wonder for sure yet can be incredibly dangerous as people have died from falling in.

The volcano has a safety barrier to help prevent accidents.  Notice the smoke as it rises.

The volcano has a safety barrier to help prevent accidents.

It was incredible to see smoke rising from the depths of this volcano and I was in it!

As we drove through the volcano we could see the heat and steam rising from within.  This was taken from the car.

As we drove through the volcano we could see the heat and steam rising from within.  This was taken from the car.

The locals know the earlier you arrive the more enjoyable the springs will be.  As the day progresses, the water gets unbearably hot.  By 5:30a we were soaking in the hot, muddy volcanic waters.

relaxing in the hot sulphur springs.  It was about Jacuzzi temp, approximately 102 degrees.

Relaxing in the hot sulphur springs. It was about Jacuzzi temp, approximately 102 degrees.

soon you aren't going to be able to seeeee meeee...

soon you aren’t going to be able to seeeee meeee…

For the good mud you’ve got to scrape it up from the corners where it’s softer.  The grittiness was wonderful for exfoliating!  In the US I’d pay a few hundred dollars for this mud treatment.

It's on like donkey kong...I'm getting muddy!

It’s on like donkey kong…I’m getting muddy!

Where’s Brie?  Oh, wait…there I am!  I was on a mission to cover myself completely with Verna’s help.  Did I mention I work with Verna at St. Jude Hospital?

Verna and I after we are nearly covered by mud.  Notice the

Verna and I after we are nearly covered by mud.   Notice the “no entry” sign; the closer we got the hotter it was.  Beyond the sign it was no longer safe.

Verna taught me the mud has healing properties and for best results, leave the mud on for at least 10 minutes.  Sound familiar ladies and gents who do facials at home?  She described feeling lighter, rejuvenated whenever she departs from here.  I must agree, I felt wonderful!

People pay hundreds of dollars in the US for a mud wrap and this was free for me.  I was silky smooth afterward.  Best exfoliation!

I was silky smooth afterward.

Soon, droves of people were arriving therefore the peacefulness was cut short.  We spent a few more minutes there then I rinsed off and we made our way down, out of the volcano.

A tranquil pool

A tranquil pool

A stream meanders through the volcano!

A stream meanders through the volcano!

One of the last majestic sights was the Gros Piton so of course I had to snap some pictures.  As of now, I plan on tackling that bad boy.  It may take me five hours to climb it but who cares.  I can say I did it!  Before long I  was back at home, in bed by 7a sleeping away the rest of the morning.

as we drove down and out of the volcano we  could see the Gros Piton in the distance.  Crazier still ...people LIVED in this volcano!

as we drove down and out of the volcano we could see the Gros Piton in the distance. Crazier still …people LIVED in this volcano!

View of Gros Piton from Sulphur Springs

View of Gros Piton from Sulphur Springs

Stay tuned because….I’m not sitting on the sidelines of life.

Other blogs you may be interested in:

-David: http://kuribbean.blogspot.com/

-Bash: http://www.bashhalow.blogspot.com/

-Kate: https://everywhereismydestination.wordpress.com/

-Chris: https://cannitopeacecorps.wordpress.com/

-Shelby: https://shelbyec.wordpress.com/

-Anna: https://hobbsseehobbsdo.wordpress.com/

-Mary: http://www.theknockabout.org/

-Alan: http://www.pcinec.net/

-Erin: http://pceasterncaribbean.blogspot.com/

~Brie Messier, MBA

Note:  The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps 

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eastern caribbean travel, harassment training, Peace Corps, peace corps response, safety suggestions, safety tips, singles travel adventure

“Hey, sexy!”

“Hey Sexy” is how I was greeted by a young man at the VF bus depot.  So, I said hello.  Within 90 seconds he was asking for my cell number.  I politely declined.  This was the 2nd time I’d been asked for my number since I arrived.  I wish I could say it’s because of my wild charms but alas it’s just how it goes here.  Here’s how I think they’re looking at me…

Prior to arriving in St. Lucia I had read the Peace Corps welcome package which was fraught with caution, guidance, and safety tips on dealing with unwanted male attention.  I’m sort of a novelty, if you will, as there aren’t many Caucasian women here.  I must admit, dealing with sexual advances was probably highest on my concern list.  Would I be able to handle them?  Could I keep myself safe?  How would I know who was genuine?

Upon arriving, safety continued to be an emphasis.  A new friend, Hollianne, also gave me some tips on handling such advances.  This was a big deal.  I’ve encountered outward calls, hissing (sort of sounds like pssssst), physical contact, invitations to see them later, invitations to go out, offers to “stop by” my work, and far less intimidating, hello.  These have taken place on the road, on a bus, in the grocery store, walking through town, and in a food court.

Imagine yourself being pursued, verbally and physically, within the confines of a minibus, like the one below.  What is your recourse?  What do you do?

13 ppl packed like sardines and I'm in back

13 ppl packed like sardines and I’m in back

Can you feel your anxiety climbing?  He leaned his leg against mine; as I inched away, he followed.  I wanted him to stop. Seriously, I was worried that he would take the next bus I was on then see where I lived.  I contemplated getting off a couple houses away from mine or changing up my route in some way.  Those who know me best won’t be surprised that I ultimately asked him to move his leg to give me space.  He complied.  Such a wave of relief!  For added good measure, I told him I was married.  I suppose he felt I wasn’t playing into his hands and THANKFULLY got off one stop before me.

There are different approaches one can take: ignore, play dumb, yell, etc.  For me, acknowledging the men works well.   Better yet, I try to greet first; “Bonjou!”  I suspect by giving a friendly greeting in Patois it startles the guy(s) into not pursuing me.  In essence, I remove the target.  I’ve been told they simply want to be “seen.”  I understand so I do my best to “see” them.  Anything else…eh…they can’t touch this;)  Cue music…

Let’s hope as I gain more confidence and comfort in this foreign land that I will be able to blend in more.

Stay tuned…because I’m not sitting on the sidelines of life.

Other blogs you may be interested in:

-David: http://kuribbean.blogspot.com/

-Bash: http://www.bashhalow.blogspot.com/

-Kate: https://everywhereismydestination.wordpress.com/

-Chris: https://cannitopeacecorps.wordpress.com/

-Shelby: https://shelbyec.wordpress.com/

-Anna: https://hobbsseehobbsdo.wordpress.com/

-Mary: http://www.theknockabout.org/

-Alan: http://www.pcinec.net/

-Erin: http://pceasterncaribbean.blogspot.com/2015/07/mr-g-is-my-spirit-animal.html

~Brie Messier, MBA

Note:  The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps 

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Dennery, eastern caribbean travel, Micoud, Mondele Lookout Point, Peace Corps, peace corps response, singles travel adventure

The Ordinary Day that Wasn’t…Pt 2

By 12:30p that same Saturday, I had connected with fellow PCV, Barbara T., in VF.  Initially, we were going to run an errand to the Peace Corps office in Castries but that changed.  We walked down Clark St. a little which is where the general street market is and she pointed out a few stores, like China Town, that everyone MUST know about.  I got to see a different bus area that serviced the North of the island which is exactly where we were headed.  Dennery (pronounced Den Ree) was our destination to have lunch at this place called Mondele Point.

In Dennery there is the beautiful spot called Mondele Lookout Point.  Awe inspiring views of the water and good food.

In Dennery there is the beautiful spot called Mondele Lookout Point. Awe inspiring views of the water and good food.

I’d passed this place several times already and it was calling my name.  Thankfully, Barbara had a good outlook because she said if they didn’t serve lunch we’d simply take another bus to another destination.  I couldn’t ask for more in a travel buddy!

As we were pressed in the bus like sardines, we chatted away about our experiences thus far.  She had just finished an amazing, yet draining, week of summer camp for 50 kids of various ages at her library in Micoud.  I expressed I wanted to see her village and where she worked if we could manage it.  20 minutes later we arrived; I was thrilled with my lunch destination!  Some places are hard to tell if they are open or not therefore I simply asked if they served food.  We had a lovely, inexpensive lunch under the shade of the pavilion overlooking the absolutely stunning scenery of Dennery.

View of Dennery village from Mondele Point

View of Dennery village from Mondele Point

All during lunch we exchanged ideas, ways to partner for a secondary project – how my hospital can reach out to the community through her library initiatives, and more.  It was about this time when we strolled the grounds and a couple tour buses arrived.  I said “Man, I’m glad I’m not a tourist!”  The last thing I wanted was to be shuffled around and rushed through the experience.  I felt particularly thankful at this time because we leisurely went through our lunch on our time table.  We could leave when we wanted.  A couple buses came and went yet we hadn’t moved from our lookout point.  Amusing really.

Me at Mondele Lookout Point

Me at Mondele Lookout Point

Alas our bellies were full, even topped off with Tamarind balls and Gooseberries for dessert.  Off to Micoud we go to see Barbara’s village first hand.  Back down the mountain we went.  The coolest part of that bus ride was I received a compliment that my Patois (also spelled Patwa) was very good!  I was able to exchange a couple sentences.  Yay!  Go Me 🙂  Patois is formally known as Kweyol or better known as Creole.  I have to tell you that I fell in love with Micoud (pronounced Me Coo).  Although I have heard people pronounce the D in Micoud.  I learned it is all about the confidence in which you speak.

Fellow Peace Corps Response Volunteer, Barbara, and I at Mondele Point in Dennery.

Fellow Peace Corps Response Volunteer, Barbara, and I at Mondele Point in Dennery.

Stay tuned for part 3…because I’m not sitting on the sidelines of life.

Other blogs you may want to check out are:

David at http://kuribbean.blogspot.com/

Bash at http://www.bashhalow.blogspot.com/

Kate at https://everywhereismydestination.wordpress.com/

~Brie Messier, MBA

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