Jamaica: A Love Story

Within days I understood what community tourism meant—It felt like everyone I met became my friend. My first friendship was Gaysha. She showed up to work at Jakes wearing a homecoming-queen style sash that read “It’s My Birthday” and I loved her instantly. Soon she was bringing her daughter Rohalia over for swimming dates, or dropping off fresh coco bread, just cuz. I miss them both so much. I finally understood yoga, thanks to Empress and her guru, Sasi. Empress made me vegan stews and taught me how to identify mangos—my cravings felt satisfied, her WhatsApp voice notes to this day bring me life.

A 2 week trip turned into 4 weeks which turned into 4 months. I decided to just rent a house (that came with a dog named Me Too!—the oldest soul and baddest bitch on the island) and set up a new kind of life for myself, one filled with yoga, cooking, remote work of course and becoming part of a community.

Then I discovered the beating heart of the island: Blanco’s Bar. My friend Holly lived in a house on Calabash Bay Beach, where fishermen departed early mornings and late nights. Treasure Beach is a fishing community. It had shanty vibes in the most aesthetic way possible (I work in fashion. This is my speak.). Blanco’s was a yellow-thatched octagon on the beach. The mosquitos were terrible and the men played dominos so loud! But we were curious and made our way over.

The bar was owned by Blanco, a true master chef. He had exactly two burners in the back, with a pumpkin patch and a coconut tree and the man would bring out feasts! Fish and lobster right off the boat and rice and peas made with real coconut milk. And after getting to know each other a little bit, he started to get our jokes and he even liked them!

Dave, who we all called Popper, a fellow transplant and all around trouble maker. Picola, me and Holly would hijack Dave’s phone—the only one on the island with service—to play Dancehall late into the night, even after curfew.
I met Dickeisha, who once said to me “you’re so extra” and then clarified in Jamaica that’s a good thing. I was honored.

This is a tribute to all the people I met along the way. People who never would have crossed paths with one another. Ever. Except in Treasure Beach. New friends who taught me how to live life a little differently, who allowed me to feel comfortable—more comfortable with simplicity, silence, miscommunication and myself.

Treasure Beach taught me what community really means—each and every person defines it. Integral people that aren’t even featured in this story, too many to count! I’m going to let the ones that are do the talking.

To teach all of us how to live life a little extra.

WORDS BY— Carly Aimi
ART DIRECTION — Ionut Radulescu

TALENT — Diamond aka Denver Brown · Blanco · Dickeisha Myers · Javin ‘Siey’ Myrie · Adrian Brown aka Melodean · Ras–Tovyah Sandalphon Wise · Shobi Wise · Empress Wise · Andre Buchanan · Alesha Mullings · Oshane · Roshane · Casson Buchanon · Holly Bass 

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