This year for Maracas Bay Wednesday we were ready. Our driver (affectionately known as “Cousin Lew”) picked us up early enough for us to beat traffic headed out to the popular post-carnival hangout, and we made a stop at the liquor store to make sure we didn’t have to bum drinks off of young, first-time carnival boys on the beach.
We knew to get in line at the infamous Richards Bake and Shark spot as soon as we got there to beat the crowd, and were able to set up a nice spot on the beach to relax and nurse our carnival wounds (like not even figuratively, I have war scars on my back from the road and some of my bandit friends came home in bandages! #collisionwiner) However, we were carnival vets now, and ready for the last lime of Carnival 2012.
What I was not ready for, however, was what transpired shortly after we got settled. My friend Patrice came over to me and said that his friend Janelle was a fan of my blog and wanted to meet me.
*record needle screeches to a halt and stops all audio in this fairy tale movie*
Wait, what? Stop tryna make me feel all warm and fuzzy, Patrice. We brought rum to handle all of that. But when he said “Let me go get her and bring her over,” I realized he wasn’t joking.
He comes back with this fabulously stylish girl with a beautiful smile on her face. I excitedly smiled back and shook her hand, introducing myself like “Hi, I’m Tracey!’ She looked at me like “Of course you are” (duh Tracey she knows who you are, calm down and stop being a geek) She went on to tell me about how much she enjoys my stories and to be honest I can’t recall everything she said because think I zoned out for a minute or 2 simply because I couldn’t believe my ears. Like, for real? I’m halfway across the globe on an island somewhere near Venezuela on a beach with a bunch of strangers, and there’s a girl here that reads my blog? It was a surreal moment I’ll never forget.
I tried to conceal my awe at this revelation and went on to tell her why I began writing. It originally was to record my memories. When I traveled to Ghana last year with my family, there were so many experiences that touched and I wanted to remember them, and not come back to the US with some “Africa was nice” sort of story. Even a year later with hundreds of fans, followers, and other terms to validate social media statistics, I don’t really grasp how my writing touches people until they tell me. I try to tell a good story, then put it out there for the interwebs to judge. Unless you stalk your hits, comments, and Facebook “likes” (which I don’t) you usually have no idea who is really reading your posts. Until someone like Janelle comes out of nowhere and rocks your literary world by renewing your passion for sharing life through words.
So here are my words for Janelle:
I just wanted to extend my gratitude not just for reading my stories but being humble enough to share with me how much you enjoy them. That’s huge. Esp for “us folk” (you know how we do sometimes on some “oh she ain’t all that I’m not tryna blow her up her shirt is wrinkled anyway” hateration type foolishness.) You didn’t say much, but the few words of gratitude you shared with me have inspired me to keep writing. Because quiet as it’s kept, I had considered putting my blog on hiatus or shutting it down indefinitely this year. *Gasp* I know, crazy right? But with my new job and a renewed passion to really do the damn thing in my career, I was afraid travel blogging would be a casualty of my ambition.
However, you reminded me why I write. It’s not just to remember what happens as I skip happily across this global playground called Earth. It’s to inspire others to do the same for themselves. You don’t need this advice as much cause CLEARLY you were right there with me at Trinidad Epic Best Trip To Take At Least Once in Life Carnival. However, there are a lot of people who need reminding that while you should definitely work hard and be responsible members of society (one day I’ll learn how to be one), you should never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Thanks for being my inspiration to keep sharing in 2012. It means more to me than I can put into words. So please accept these two in lieu of something more elaborate: Thank you.