Christmas is expensive, and many of us are depleting our travel funds to put presents under the tree. But the memories of a holiday season spent in style on a not-so-faraway island can be much more fulfilling than another holiday-themed sweater or the five-pack of underwear in your stocking. It's not too late to forego your old holiday traditions and opt for your first annual trip to the islands instead.
I don't know about you, but if I just created history for my country on a world stage and my fellow citizens reacted by calling me derogatory names that could potentially put my life in danger, I would seriously think about moving to another country. Sadly, Jamaican athlete Omar McLeod was not so lucky.
When one thinks of Jamaica, two things immediately come to mind and it's not Bob Marley and Usain Bolt this time around. Rather, it's dancehall music and homophobia -- two things which are one and the same. So it was quite shocking when Jamaicans and residents from other Caribbean islands learned that the son of Mr. Ninja Man, a popular dancehall artist, was gay.
After being chastised by my own country of birth for coming out as a lesbian in April of this year and speaking out against the discrimination and harassment I had endured, I began to think that our Caribbean LGBTQ community would simply have to crawl back into our holes of pain and isolation and with muzzles over our mouths. That was until Marlon James!
So it's getting cold and the air conditioners are off as you settle in for a cold winter, but it doesn't have to be the end of sunny adventures. There are tons of amazing destinations that you will fall in love with this October. With beautiful weather and for even better prices than you may have realized, here's to planning your next vacation!
I stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, New York and all over the world who are experiencing police violence. I encourage those of us who are committed to dismantling structural violence against black people that as we chant the slogan "Black Lives Matter", we must also remember "Black Lives Matter Everywhere". Let us not limit our desire for structural changes to only the United States.
Whether you're a billionaire, a small business owner, a student, or a retiree, I hope that you will make it a New Year's resolution to volunteer in your community. I can promise you that the personal benefits will be at least as great, and probably more long-lasting, than giving up chocolate or joining a gym!
The relationship between art and community can be naturally synergistic: the community nurtures the artist, who then reflects a vision of the community, helping to define its essence. That's what's going on in Jamaica right now -- the country is literally overflowing with fresh talent -- it's not just about music; it's about a mission.