When I was 22 (23?), I applied for a job as a TV host for a travel show in the Caribbean. It’s a long, crazy story that maybe I’ll tell one day, but long story short, I got the job and was told I would be flying to my first destination in just two weeks: Trinidad and Tobago.
Honest truth, I had never even heard of Trinidad and Tobago.
I was sent over flight information and a complete itinerary of where I would go and where I would be staying. But for some strange reason, (and to this day still…I have no idea why) I never googled the place.
It didn’t really occur to me that that could be a problem until I was already some thousand miles up in the air. I started wondering about Trinidad. What was the currency? How could I make a phone call if no one came to pick me up? They speak English there, right? You know, things that are sort of important.
(This is sounding terribly naïve, but in my defense, the itinerary sent to me was so organized that I didn’t feel like I had much to prepare.)
Anyway, it should be of no surprise when I say I knew absolutely nothing about what this island was supposed to look like. But part of me was excited about the prospect of being surprised.
It was already dark outside when I arrived in Trinidad, so I still didn’t have any idea of what my surroundings looked like. I saw my co-host almost immediately upon arrival and we were picked up just a few minutes later, which helped stifle any concerns that had mounted during the flight.
After a quick jaunt through ‘the vegas strip of Trini’ (a street with bars and food carts), we headed to our first hotel. We walked into a tiled, beachy hotel room—much like any other hotel room. I opened the back door to the porch but the only thing I could see was the pitch dark.
When I woke up in the morning, it took me a moment to remember that I was in Trinidad. But when I did, I grabbed by camera and tiptoed over to the back door still in my pajamas. As I pulled open the door, it was like stepping into a dream.
A little stone path led me to a swimming pool that was surrounded by lush greenery and bright flowers. As I stepped up to the pool, I realized that the hotel was situated on a cove. There were mountainous hills on the opposite bank with hundreds of yachts sitting in the water. In the early morning, the sun was illuminating and the water was sparkling as it was hit. It was the most beautiful scene I could have imagined waking up to.
I enjoyed the quiet morning exploring and photographing. When I went back to the room, my co-host and I decided to go for a swim before breakfast and had the pool to ourselves…swimming in our own secluded paradise.
Breakfast was served by the lighthouse at the end of the cove. We sat at a table by the open windows enjoying fresh fruit and a view of the marina. I was so amazed at the surrounding beauty that I don’t think my reaction would have been the same had I of known what to expect about Trinidad.
To often, we find a photo online or on social media that depicts a location as a certain way. And to often we are disappointed by what it is actually like to visit.
At that moment, I was glad that I didn’t have any preconceived notions. My opinion was my own, and it was wonderful.