TRAVEL DIARIES: Abaco

I often share that I'm going on vacation, but never really go into detail on how the journey itself goes down. Now that I'm finally settled in from my last trip, I think I'm ready to share on everything I experienced and learned. On Friday November 6, I travelled to Treasure Cay Abaco for the first time, with the expectancy to return on Monday November 9, but I actually returned on Sunday, one day earlier. It was actually my first time taking a domestic flight. I've been to other family islands before like Harbour Island and Andros, but I always took the boat to get there. I went with one of my good friends Catina, to shoot a wedding for a client. I thought it would be better to go with a friend so that I’d had support and an assistant to keep me on top of my game. To be perfectly honest, I felt absolutely no levels of excitement. I wasn't happy, I wasn't filled with joy, and I wasn't panicked. I was just going through the motions. Of course Catina found this to be strange and said she’ll have enough enthusiasm for the both of us.

I was told amazing things about Abaco; about how beautiful it is and how friendly the people are. I was also told that it is expensive so I came prepared to spend a little extra change. I checked my carry on suitcase and felt so proud of myself for being able to squeeze my life into the tiny bag; especially when I compared my 16lb bag to Catina’s 32lb whale of a suitcase. Low and behold when we touched down, I realised that I forget a number of important hygienic items, such as deodorant and a toothbrush (but that was an easy fix with a trip to the convenience store).

My first indicator that this trip was going to be difficult was being denied the ability to take a photo after clearing security. And let me remind you this was not TSA, this was local domestic security. We wanted to take a picture of the design alongside the staircase that lead to the departure lounge. It was gorgeous, but a local resident told us we couldn’t take any pictures in that area and if we did they would ask us to delete it. Even when we deplaned in Abaco, they told us we couldn’t take any pictures. Catina and I were immediately bummed out.

Our flight was on Sky Bahamas, whom I now know is always early, not on time, early! Our flight was supposed to leave at 4pm but we were already in the air for about 10 minutes by the time 4pm rolled around. I found that impressive, even though it gave us very little time to relax before the flight. The flight was a little rocky but we landed safely. I ended up being on the same flight as the mother of the bride which led to great confusion when it was time to sort out transportation. I don’t want to say anything negative about my clients but let’s just say this experience really opened my eyes to how people act (even when a contract is involved), that nothing will ever go the way I planned and there’s very little I can do about that.

We stayed in Treasure Cay Beach, Marina and Golf Resort. The hotel room looked amazing at first glance until we had to stay in it. I was impressed by the furniture selection and the wide range of channels to choose from on the TV, even though all I need is TNT or USA so that I can watch Law and Order. It wasn’t perfect though: I was supposed to have a garden view room, but I never saw a garden. The bed I slept on blocked the air conditioning so Catina never felt the AC the whole time we were there. We didn’t get wash cloths to bathe with until Saturday evening. The fridge didn’t work, the coffee expired in July of last year and the morning we were leaving the toilet decided to stop flushing properly. Even when Junkanoo Javas (an onsite restaurant) was finally open while we were there, they didn’t have all of their advertised flavours for the coffee, and there was way too much chlorine in the pool, leaving my vision impaired for about 10 minutes.

But it wasn’t all bad. I loved how quiet the area was, which was a huge change from Nassau. I could really get used to that peace and serenity. And the landscape was to die for! The marina is gorgeous and breath-taking. It’s perfect for any kind of photo shoot! I could see myself sitting on the deck drinking coffee every morning (if it weren’t for my acid reflux and the scorching heat of course). The beach truly is something worth seeing. Our beaches in Nassau cannot compete with Abaco beaches. The sand is so white, soft and unblemished it’s like looking at a magazine picture! It almost made me forget that I had to spend $12 on one breakfast burrito at Coco Beach Bar (I did make the burrito last two mornings though).

This trip taught me a lot. Treasure cay is really small, and roughly 30 minutes outside of Marsh Harbour, the main city. There’s only one food store in the entire settlement, with the nearest one being in Marsh Harbour. I didn't get to spend enough time there to really see the island or learn its history, but I know one thing: I cannot afford to live there! Peace and serenity is nice, but I’ll take $2.50 grits and tuna any day over a $7 grits and tuna!

Lastly, this trip made me question the role I was hired to fill, along with other things that just came down to respect. It made me realise that while wedding photography may be lovely to look at, there’s an even bigger story happening in every picture beyond that of the people in it. I learned that not everyone will share your vision or your tenacity, and at the end of the day you are your best supporter and organiser. I love journeys that teach me about myself and allow me to grow. I am grateful for the opportunity to capture the greatest day of two people’s lives! I know that this is just the beginning of what God is revealing to me, and I can’t wait for what’s next!

XoX,

Olivia