How do you do nothing? Up until a few months ago I had no clue. Anytime I attempted to do nothing, I’d think about the next thing that needed to be done. Admittedly I’ve never been good with standing still. I figured the best way to cure this would be go to a place where I’d be forced to do nothing. In my opinion there’s no better place than a tropical paradise.
Believe it or not, I had never been on a vacation. Sure, I had visited New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; however it was only for a few days and not an all inclusive resort. For years I watched people around me escape to warmer temperatures, listened to their stories of sun, sand and waves, and wondered when it would be my turn.
Determined to not let another year without a vacation pass me by, I booked an all inclusive package. And Cuba was the destination of choice! It’s worth mentioning that Sean and I narrowly missed purchasing our tickets from Conquest Vacations, which ceased operations the day of our purchase. This proved to be a blessing in disguise because we were able to get a 4 star ocean view room in the newly constructed Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria near Santa Clara, Cuba.
The moment I stepped off the plane, I realized you don’t just visit Cuba, you feel Cuba!! From gentle breezes, soft sandy beaches & melodious ocean waves to the warmth of the people and their endless generosity, Cuba is beautiful!! Our resort was exceptional and immaculate, with attentive and accommodating staff. And the food was simply delicious! The food was so delicious that we passed on attending our 3rd a la carte and opted instead to have dinner at the buffet.
Our beach was glorious, private and secluded! It was so refreshing to take it easy. Watches were forgotten and we didn’t care. If wanted to know the time we looked up and saw where the sun was positioned in the sky. Even the way we walked was different: chill and relaxed. It was so cool I had to give it a name: the Cuban stroll.
A typical day on the resort went like this: slept in, showered, changed, ate, went to the beach, sunbathed & slept, swam in the ocean, sunbathed & slept some more, swam in the pool, got ready for dinner, went to the disco & then slept. We repeated this for 6 days, 7 nights. Lol, you get the idea!
By far, my most memorable day was our day trip to Santa Clara. Arranged by our tour operator, it was a full day of activities: we rode an old-fashioned train ride into Remedios, visited the oldest church in Cuba, toured a cigar factory, had lunch at a beautiful restaurant and explored the streets of Santa Clara. Poignant for me was our visit to the Ernesto “Che” Guevara Monument and Mausoleum, which was such an incredible experience! Ernest “Che” Guevara was an admirable man and is a hero to many people not just in Cuba but around the world! We were inspired to learn more about him and his legacy! One of the books we purchased was The CIA Against Che by Adys Cupull and Froilán González, which discusses the possible involvement of the CIA in Che’s death.
Before I knew it, my week had come to an end. Although I was sad to leave, I knew I’d be back. When I landed in Toronto I couldn’t help but notice the sharp contrast in how everyone moved through the airport. Gone were their lazy strolls and laid back demeanour. Everyone was in a rush and made a mad dash out of the airport, back to their busy lives.
These days, I’m slowing down whenever possible: if I’m not wearing a watch, it doesn’t matter; unexpected free time: I take a walk or curl up with a good book; and on those special lazy afternoons: I’m by the water reminiscing about Cuba and anticipating the next time I’ll be back in the Atlantic Ocean catching a wave. You know, that really great wave you fall into without hesitation, knowing it will carry you exactly where you need to be.
Mucho gracias Cuba!
Nadine Gooden is a writer and founder of NavyJade, a company which provides freelance writing and editing services, using concise, clear and relatable words to captivate and effectively convey your message to your target audience. For over 10 years Nadine has been applying her writing and editing skills to a variety of projects for some of Toronto’s most prominent executives. Possessing a fluid, rhythmic and vivid writing style, Nadine is dedicated and passionate about her craft and has proven experience in composing and fine-tuning words for her clients.