Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jamaica 2013, #6: Final Thoughts

2013 02 568 I mentioned in the opening post of this series how disquieting it was to drive through the poverty in rural Jamaica just before entering our lush, opulent resort. But any guilt we may have harbored was laid to rest when the operations manager for this large resort joined us at dinner one evening. I asked him how many people Sandals employed at this location, and he surprised me with the answer – 600 workers. These plum jobs wouldn’t exist if visitors like us weren’t so willing to vacation in this manner. That put things in perspective.

We appreciate how fortunate we are that we’ve been able to go on these elaborate vacations in recent years. We’re not wealthy, but we have adjusted our spending decisions more toward living for the day than saving for a rainy day, given that I have this progressive disease. But nevertheless, we know that there are so many deserving people, healthy and disabled, who simply don’t have the vacation opportunities that we do, for any number of reasons. I hope everyone understands that these posts have not been about boasting, but about sharing – both our difficulties and our triumphs.

Bottom line – was the trip worth it? We had problems with the flights, the toilets, the showers, and some other accessibility issues. Yet, we were treated like kings and queens in paradise for the week. Here’s our take. The trip was definitely worthwhile. The positives outweighed the negatives. We are resilient people, and although I may have portrayed our difficulties rather bluntly in previous posts, we were always able to shrug things off and get on with our vacation.

However, going forward we will likely spend our big vacations in the United States, where we can have more control over accessibility issues, and where we won’t have to spend so much money. That’s okay – we’ve scratched the itch of the Caribbean all-inclusive resorts, and we will always have fond memories.

2013 02 700I hope that my honest portrayal of our experiences doesn’t discourage anyone with a disability from attempting to travel themselves. With a combination of thorough planning and a willingness by both you and your travel companion to be flexible and understanding, you may find disabled travel to be most rewarding. As always, if you have any questions for me regarding disabled travel or any other issues, feel free to email me at

An even better resource for disabled travel is Candy Harrington. She has written books and articles on the subject, and maintains a blog.

Finally, I can’t close before passing out some thank you’s. First and foremost I have to thank my lovely wife Kim. There’s so much work involved in getting me from our house to the vacation spot and back. But that’s only part of the story. Every day that we are away from our accessible home, Kim has extra responsibilities piled on her, when vacations are supposed to be about shedding responsibilities. So I am very grateful to have Kim as my enthusiastic travel companion, and as my life partner.

Second, thank you to Tom and Diane for accompanying us on this trip, and for being so helpful. When you vacation with us you know that you are giving up some flexibility. You can only go to certain destinations. You can only take certain flights. Although we didn’t spend all day, every day together at the resort, you know that if you want to hang out with us there are certain things that I simply can’t do. And of course, if you vacation with us you know that I’m going to bark out orders now and then so that you can be helpful in certain situations.
2013 02 426a Do you think that piece of luggage is going to carry itself?

Get me another margarita.

I said NO salt on the rim. Try again!

Get out of the way. You’re blocking my view of the pool.

Damn, I look good. Take a picture of me.

Don’t call it a night yet. If Kim has one more rum punch you guys are going to have to put me to bed.
Both Tom and Diane were very tolerant of my orders, if occasionally insubordinate.

And thank YOU (the people living in my computer) for reading this series of posts. I hope it was enlightening, or at least entertaining.

Other posts in this series:

Jamaica 2013, #1: Hello Paradise
Jamaica 2013, #2: The Good Stuff
Jamaica 2013, #3: Challenges
Jamaica 2013, #4: Taking the iBot to Jamaica
Jamaica 2013, #5: Flights - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Jamaica 2013, #6: Final Thoughts


  1. I enjoy your travel stories, and I think you and Kim are very brave to take on the challenges! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your vacation adventures!

  2. Mitch, you write very well and have a nice comfortable lived-in narrative voice! I don't know how I ended up on your blog, but I've enjoyed what I've read.

  3. Muffie,

    I'm glad you enjoy my travel stories. I certainly enjoy telling them.


    I'm glad you found my blog, and thank you for your kind comments!