I mean, where do I begin?
I guess, first off, hello! It's been quite some time, yes? So, while I was gone, I spent my 50th birthday with my family on a quiet beach holiday in Saint-Martin, West Indies. A few months ago, when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do for my birthday, I'd honestly had plans to do something more adventurous -- I was googling places like Machu Picchu and Easter Island -- when I came across a photograph from the balcony of this tiny little hotel in St Martin that looked a lot like this ...
... and I realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do to celebrate: spend lazy days by the beach reading funny and inspirational books, and eating great seafood at night. And, my friends, that is exactly what I did. The hotel had a mere 9 rooms, so by the time we left, we'd made friends with a couple of other families (one of whom was also celebrating a 50th birthday!), and all of the staff knew us by name. We reserved lounge chairs every day on the beach, and I ended up reading 5 books (after I was done with the four I'd taken with me, I started in on Alex's stack). It was bliss.
But there were a few day excursions away from our hotel as well: one day, we spent several hours at Loterie Farm, which really isn't much of a farm at all, but almost an outdoor club, with multi-level pools nestled in the rainforest, and a DJ span and waitstaff brought delicious food and beverages to our lounge chairs (or for some, their more expensive cabanas). We visited a really charming butterfly farm (that actually was a farm), and learned more about butterflies and moths from an amiable tour guide named Tito than you ever would've thought possible. And we even took a day trip to the neighbouring island of Anguilla, driving through its lone city before arriving at one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever visited in my life.
In short, it was one of the most restful, educational, bonding and inspirational family vacations we've ever had, and I emerged on the other side more determined to create more meaningful work, relationships and experiences than ever before. And Lordy-me, it was all just so beautiful. Saint-Martin is incredibly charming, and I love that it seems to have maintained its culture more than any other Caribbean island that depends on tourism I've ever visited, save maybe for Tobago (and I'm not sure that Tobago counts, since Tobago is part of Trinidad & Tobago, whose main source of income is petroleum). So that was heartening to see.
All in all, I'd call our week in the Caribbean an unmitigated success.
So here are some of my favourite photographs, shot entirely with my little Sony point-and-shoot.
One other thing: I've been toying with dipping my toe into video for several years now, and I decided that for a milestone birthday, it would do me well to push myself, dive in, and give it a whirl. I recorded a bunch of footage while we were there, and you can see the result below. Go easy on me -- it's my first attempt at video, and I've made a long list of things I'll do differently next time (like use my big Nikon dSLR instead of the Sony), but it'll definitely give you an idea of what our holiday felt like.
Click here or the image below to watch.
With that, I hope you guys had a wonderful July. It's great to be back. Tell me something good!