What we travellers tend to forget is that we do not need to be abroad to be tourists. When we find ourselves in a foreign land, it is like we are all of a sudden ready to embrace every cultural change, try everything and be exposed to differences but sometimes, just sometimes, we go back home and realize that everything we lived seems like a dream. We get back to our little box called “Comfort zone” That weird and scary box I hate so much.It is not the same when we are at home. Trying new things might not feel as exciting to some. Eating some food in the street might not be as appealing as these octopus you tried in Thailand and taking a tuktuk doesn’t make much since anymore since you have a car… All of these different things can mix in your little head and if you allow the effect of time + laziness kick in you might find yourself thinking that you need to wait till your next trip to be an adventurous soul again when the reality is that you don’t always need to buy a plane ticket to be an adventurer. Your home country has many places you can discover, many restaurants you can try and road trips are never a bad idea.
I am lucky to live on a caribbean island. There is always a waterfall to discover, a hike to organize and driving to the beach is the easiest thing. I am grateful for that. But wherever you live, I am sure you can find things to keep it spicy in your life! At the beginning of the week we threw the idea in the air to drive to Jacmel, a city in the Sout-East of Haïti.
So Friday, after work, leaving from Petion-Ville, me, my friends and a new friend of Indian origins, from the USA who is interning at my job, switched our work clothes for some comfy shirts and shorts, put our sunglasses on and took the road to Jacmel.
Jacmel is known for its old houses, blue beaches, art, and food. The city attracts many tourists and expats and is a must visit for anybody discovering Haïti. From its gorgeous beaches where the daring waves invites to surf to the captivating pieces of art that you can admire while wandering around, Jacmel is definitely a great spot if you need to get away from the business of the capital and find some peace and quiet not too far away from Port-Au-Prince.
Note that the ocean is quite wild over there and that you should be very cautious wether you know how to swim or not.
Among all the things you can do in Jacmel, one thing you should keep at the top of your list is visiting Bassin bleu. The blue waterfalls that you see in pictures are not a product of photoshop. Bassin bleu, that I visited for the second time this week-end never fails to impress me and always gets me thinking about how grateful I am for a world where we always find something in nature that takes our breathe away. I also found myself being grateful for foreigners. While they are busy being tourists, they also remind you that you can also be a tourist in your own country. They put you out of your box and stretch you so you can learn how to rediscover your home country. I come from a pretty open and adventurous family so I always plan local trips with my parents and sister but it is always good to be reminded that there are always things to discover here in Haiti. We shouldn’t get so comfortable in what we know that we stop being ‘locals’ ourselves.
So saturday morning, after some yoga on the beach, we took the road th Bassin bleu The first thing we did was to leave the car and choose to hop on the back of a motorcycle on our way to the waterfall. Being able to breathe the fresh air and stare at the view was different from the car ride. Scarier Yes but also worth it! As you arrive at the parking, it is time to trade your flip flops for running shows or simply something a little less fragile than flip flops. And the walk begins. Walking to Bassin bleu is a good exercise. I’ve always been pro mixing vacation with some type of exercise so this was for me the perfect combination! On the way to the big ‘bassin’ you get to see smaller ones. Not as impressive as the big one but they all get you a little more excited, knowing that the biggest one is getting closer! Many people from the area will start showing you the way, offering to carry your bags and all but be really careful to pick only one guide as they will all ask you for money by the end of the trip. To avoid useless fights, be clear from the beginning that you will only need one person to help your group. After some really good exercise, you finally reach the little corner of paradise. But the big waterfall isn’t visible until you go up a few stairs and swim across a first pool of refreshing water. Them, you need to climb this big rock that separates the pool from the corner that everybody is dying to see. And trust me, it is worth the hike!…And the swim. Jumping in what seems like a big blue hole has to be pure bliss! Then you get to swim to reach the actual waterfall. And just when you think the fun reached its maximum, you realize that you can climb some rocks behind the waterfall. Climbing is a whole other journey. You get to see tiny waterfalls between the rocks and you can spot many little corners where you can just sit and hide behind the big waterfall. I know this must be a little confusing while reading. A bunch of little waterfalls behind a big waterfall…Yeah that’s pretty much it! This, is just the beginning of the journey!!! We decided to go cliff diving. HAAAA! You will see many young boys climbing in 2 minutes and jumping from a 15-20 meters cliff with no hesitation! And guess what, you will probably need 10 minutes to get mentally prepared! Took me about 20 minutes! But you know what they say…Everything you want is at the other side of fear. People were waiting on us to jump for almost 30 minutes and every time we looked down, all we could imagine is hitting these huge rocks and never get back to Port-Au-Prince! Whew! The view from the cliff was sooo scary! My boyfriend went first then I went 20 minutes after and the rest of the group followed! While jumping all you could see was this huge blue hole waiting to welcome you and my adrenaline level hit a whole other level! It’s one of these experiences when you wonder: “Why am I doing this to myself???” But hey! I got to check it off my bucket list and I got to experience the unrealistic feeling that was waiting for me at the other side of my fear. You should always seek for moments that take your breathe away. This “What am I doing…but it is so worth it” kind of fear! That leaves you smiling like this… If I could I would do it again…Maybe I’d still take 20 minutes to jump but I would still do it. Always seek new adventures in your home country. Yes I want you to save up for a ticket but I also want you to be a full-time adventurer and adrenaline rush seeker, not just a seasonal one! xoxo A travel lover