|The infamous (and unfiltered) Anguilla Blues :)|
Since 2016 is the year of my 40th birthday - and traveling has been on my bucket list since I created my bucket list - I decided that this is the year I'd FINALLY start adding stamps to my passport.
I firmly believe that fun travel adventures and the ocean air is medicine for the soul. I live a few blocks from the ocean, so I'm good there; but I never thought I could afford to travel like I wanted to. However, the past few years have made me realize that life is really short.. why wait?
|Geraud's Bakery in Anguilla clearly understands the 'life is short' concept... #bacongoodness|
Traveling to fabulous places doesn't have to cater to the rich and famous... I quickly learned that if you do a little research and figure out some things ahead of time, you can have amazing adventures anywhere.
So, with my new outlook on living life and incorporating travel, this year I decided to line up a few trips for myself...
The first was a solo trip to Anguilla, an under-the-radar island in the Caribbean that's now my new home away from home because it is simply amazing.
|Pretty Crocus Bay, Anguilla|
My objectives as a solo traveler were:
- to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life
- attempt to remain budget-conscious on an island where budget can easily get out of hand
- quench my thirst for adventure
|Off-tune singing at Mango's back in June 2005|
This time though, since I was traveling solo, I could do WHATEVER I wanted. I didn't have the big honeymoon budget this time (quite literally had a fraction of it) but I was able to do so much exploring and have an amazing experience.
So here's a recap of my time in paradise... I stayed 5 days, 4 nights which, of course, was not long enough. All the more reason to get back sooner than later ;)
|About as crowded as it got on Rendezvous Bay... this is my kinda crowd right here :)|
(Dune Preserve in background)
|omg.... first time driving on the left side of the road!|
|First rum punch courtesy of Elvis' Beach Bar|
I heard that Elvis made a great rum punch so of course I had to sample it for myself straight away! After that, I walked to Barrel Stay and had an amazing sea scallop dinner... and my very first jonnycake :) They were playing the best 90s love songs... like random-old school-amazingness. Truly the icing on the (jonny)cake for my first night in Anguilla.
|My apartment view by day...|
|...My apartment view by dusk|
|Anguilla's Jammin' jams... made in an aquaponic garden!|
For some reason, I had a heck of a time trying to find it but so glad I did! Best French bread ever. Hugest egg sandwich ever. Ate half of it on their palm-covered patio and decided to continue on to Shoal Bay East (after buying some cute Anguilla's Jammin' jams for souvenir gifts!).
|One of about 45 pictures I took of the crystal clear water at Shoal Bay East. Doesn't even do it justice. I could do an entire blog post on how awesome this beach is.|
I parked at Elodia's on Shoal Bay East, grabbed a chair, and proceeded to drain my phone battery while taking a million pictures because the beach really is that beautiful. Oh, and sampled a rum punch of course! After spending a good portion of the day there, I decided to take a drive to Zemi Beach House and check it out. Amazing property.
|Self-guided tour of Zemi Beach House... the gorgeous pool area|
I had dinner reservations at Veya for 8pm so I decided to chill on my deck for a bit and watch the sun set. Ronnie Bryan, who I rented my car from, happened to be in the area so he stopped by to take care of my paperwork. I asked him, "How did you know I would be here?" He said, "Well, if you weren't here, I'd just check back another time!" You gotta love the laidback, relaxed pace at which everything gets done in Anguilla! Not a nicer guy on the planet, by the way.
I don't have pictures from Veya because, to be honest, it was the one place in which I felt slightly self-conscious being alone. Veya was so busy and I was the only person dining solo. I'm sure no one noticed or cared but I did feel self-conscious. If I go back by myself, I will likely belly up to the bar instead of sitting at a table. However, dinner was nothing short of spectacular. .. from the cauliflower soup amuse bouche to Bon Iver playing on the speakers when I came in (which changed to a live performance by Omari Banks), to the spicy jerk shrimp cigars... all fantastic.
|Shoal Bay West; Covecastles Resort Villas in the background|
|You had me at "road close".... The sign that kick-started my impromptu West End hike|
|View from the end of my West End hike|
|West End stairway to heaven|
|Little pink houses, for you and me... And goats on goats on goats. Because... Anguilla.|
|Self-guided tour of Viceroy|
Since I was itching to do something active (hiking in flip flops didn't exactly qualify haha), I decided to drive to Da'Vida, rent a kayak, and paddle over to Little Bay.
|Kayaking to Little Bay|
|Some people prefer to let the kayaks rest and have Calvin take them to Little Bay in his boat|
|Post-kayak fluid replenishment... frozen mojito at Da'Vida (Crocus Bay)|
|I know it's SO tough to tell but I'm really enjoying this|
|Tigger the cat just chillin' at Roy's :)|
|Frangipani Beach Resort pool (Meads Bay)|
|Frangipani has the cutest thatched umbrella and chairs (Meads Bay)|
|CuisinArt Resort - I found out after I took this pic, oddly enough, that this is the building I stayed in 11 years ago!|
Sunshine Shack was the perfect antidote to feeling letdown from Cuisinart... Garvey makes a mean frozen margarita, the beach is perfect (I think Rendezvous Bay rounds out my top 3!), and I saw Susan and Jay that I met at Little Bay!
|MA license plate, front and center, at Sunshine Shack!|
|Me and Sunshine Shack's friendly owner, Garvey|
After a relaxing afternoon at Rendezvous Bay, I went back to Sandy Ground to chill for a bit then went to Zemi Beach House to see Mystic Vibes perform. Can't think of a better way to spend my last night on the island :)
|My adorable little studio apartment in Sandy Ground...|
|...which is also the perfect spot for sunset viewing...|
|...And is managed by the best people ever who actually BAKED me a delicious carrot cake treat for my flight home!!|
Where I stayed... if you are familiar with Anguilla and Sandy Ground, you can probably guess where I stayed from my pics... right above Roy's Bayside Grill! I found out about this place from BeachBarBums and I couldn't be more grateful. As a solo traveler, this is exactly what I wanted... somewhere safe, that my wallet could handle, and located directly on the beach. This is a self-service apartment, so not in the same echelon as the luxury, high-end places that Anguilla has come to be known for, but I wasn't looking for anything fancy. This place was perfect for me and I absolutely loved it.
Planning the itinerary now for my May 2017 Anguilla trip... stay tuned for the recap!
Have you ever traveled solo? If not, would you??