One year ago today, I went to St Lucia for four days on a romantic vacation with a lover. This technically counted as our third “in person” date as we were a long distance couple. We regularly had Skype dates, phone dates, and we remained in communication daily via emails, texts, video messages and more. However, this would be our third date and the fourth time I would see him in person. We had been friends for over a year having met online through a social group and had met once earlier that year at a social event.
Fast forward to the summer and we had had two dates in two different states and he suggested our next date should be out of the country. I was all for it! In my Griot’s Republic magazine article, titled “Jet Lag Sex: The Anatomy of a Baecation” I mentioned how my dating life was adventurous and unconventional.
“What you should know is that this is how I live my life. My dating adventures are unconventional. I don’t have set rules. Instead, I make my own experiences by remaining open, flexible, curious, adventurous and at times, spontaneous as I meet amazing men and go with the flow of us.”
~ Sheena LaShay, “JetLag Sex: Anatomy of a Baecation” for Griot’s Republic
Through my corporate travel day job, I was gifted with a three-night stay at the Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina and with two economy flights on American Airlines. The timing couldn’t have been better. We decided to use this trip as our first luxury vacation together. We only had to budget for our activities and some of our meals, as part of our Capella St Lucia package included staying in a gorgeous suite, savory and sweet amenities and daily full breakfast.
Once we decided to use this complimentary trip for us, the planning started. We coordinated dates and flights. I made a trip spreadsheet in google drive, as I make spreadsheets for everything. We determined the tone of our trip.
- We wanted our own getaway away from everyone else
- We wanted romance and intimacy
- We wanted to get to know each other more
- We wanted adventure
- We wanted to discuss a few business ideas
A sample of our travel trip spreadsheet is below. My workbook includes separate tabs for key categories during the trip and the home page auto fills the data into a one page overview. Key category tabs included but weren’t limited to Lodging, Flight, Packing List, On-Site Transporation, Schedule, Research, Contacts and Budget.
While a lot of planning and organization went into the structure of the trip, our actual itinerary once there wasn’t loaded with tons of activities with every day planned out. We both wanted to stay in our suite and love on each other as much as possible, but he did ask if he could take one day and plan the entire adventure of that day as a gift to me. As I’m a planner, project manager and have slight control issues, he also asked if it was possible for me to completely surrender to him and let him take the lead. I agreed on letting him surprise me.
Being long distance, we had two options. He could have flown to St Lucia and met me there or he could fly to my hometown and fly the whole trip with me. We liked the latter option as it gave us even more time together. (I think we were that annoying yet cute couple on the plane. Cuddling. Kissing. Giggling. Staring deeply into each other’s eyes. We were truly in our own world and happy.)
The Hotel - Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina
Capella Resort Marigot Bay in Saint Lucia is an ultra-luxurious resort with exceptional service. The resort along with the Bay is a perfect destination for those looking for serenity and adventure, or romance and play.
We stayed in one of their one-bedroom suites which included a full kitchen, living & dining area. If you want a bathtub, even in your suite, you have to remember to request that before your stay. We didn’t know that and only had a shower when we would have rather had a bathtub to soak together. Be that as it may, our suite was spacious, beautiful and even though we spent most of our time in the suite, we barely used the living room, dining room or kitchen.
The hotel itself has many restaurants, facilities, an exceptional spa and even a treehouse. I conducted a site visit while there and was surprised. There were two pools, event spaces, a gym that included yoga and even a rum cave. The best thing to do to prepare for your visit there is to coordinate with their personal assistants and concierge to ensure you get the most out of your stay.
It’s important to note that the hotel isn’t located right on the beach. That did not deter us from staying there. I like to go back “home” to my hotel while traveling. Going back to a more quieter place of serenity is my preference, while using some travel time on buses, trains, bikes, taxes and more make for a more adventurous day of activities. Basically put, I don’t want to stay at the party hotel. I want to meet my friends there or go on a date night there, and then when done, go back to my luxurious place to sleep well. Therefore if you had activities closer to town, you go hire a driver for the day. Or if you want to go to the beach, Capella has complimentary boats that could get you there in about 15 minutes.
Its also important to note that Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina has Capella Marina and Marina Village. The Marina Village has an assortment of onsite services, high-end shopping, restaurants, a farmer’s market and even a grocery story. We didn’t realize this until it was too late. Had we decided to cook for one another, we could have gone grocery shopping nearby. It would have been a five-minute walk from our suite to the grocery story in Marina Village. Take advantage of Capella Marina and Marina Village when visiting!
The Day He Planned
I mentioned earlier he took our “epic date night” to the next level. Prior to the trip, he had asked my permission for surrendering control so that he could plan an entire day. I like this. Sometimes surprising one another within a relationship doesn’t go over well. Especially if you’re trying to surprise someone while traveling with them…especially if its your first time traveling together. Asking the person permission to surrender, is key. You don’t have to give away details of the surprise but you can let them know something is coming.
After agreeing to let him plan, what worked best in the weeks that followed was that he didn’t hint at what we would do. I don’t like being teased. I don’t like guessing games. That would annoy me. If you have my permission to surprise me, plan it and then surprise me. Don’t leave clues unless its a scavenger hunt.
Since he had an entire 24 hours worth of time to plan for, he included many factors. Our date was physical, adventurous, ritualistic and romantic while incorporating nature. I was challenged mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and personally. He incorporated all of the natural elements at some point: Water, Air, Earth, Fire. The date also incorporated things we both loved and new things neither of us had ever experienced before.
The first part of our date included breakfast. Our suite package included full buffet breakfast which was delicious! And one of our relationship rituals and travel rituals is to eat breakfast together. So he started the date off with a ritual. We definitely needed our fuel considering what he had planned for the day. Breakfast at Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina is full of many options. We tended to go with omelettes and lots of juice. Orange for him. Cranberry for me. Oh and coffee too!
Next, we had an hour long drive to get to our first official activity. (At this point I had no idea what the activity was.) While in the car, in addition to engaging the drive in conversations of local politics, culture, religion, real estate, music, tourism and more, we would often stop at any picturesque place to capture candids of each other or of the land.!
If you’re an impatient person, this doesn’t work for you. But for us we loved to have long conversations, day dream about things we say, “Can’t you imagine our home right here,” and talk to locals. Therefore the car ride didn’t even feel like an hour. Plus whenever I didn’t want to engage or take photos, I’d just curl up beside him, practically sitting in his lap, as I’m one for extreme PDA. If I want to touch you, I want to touch you. Luckily he didn’t mind and the driver would leave us be.
Then we arrived. Our first activity for the day was to hike Piton Peak via Gros Piton. There was only one problem. In telling me what to pack for our trip, well he didn’t tell me. He told me I was only allowed to bring a backpack and asked if I had shoes besides sandals. I said yes, but didn’t realize I would have needed to bring hiking shoes. I did not bring the right shoes and therefore because of the rain, mud and well its a fucking mountain, we were only able to hike up half way. I would like to go all the way up top one day, but I physically could not. He even offered to give me his shoes half way through but that wasn’t going to work. (He has big feet!)
Going on the hike was a great activity. One, we were sweaty as fuck and got a great workout. While we weren’t too keen on our guide evangelizing to us for most of us, we were able to talk amongst ourselves about different things. He would often stop and ask questions about the wild life and trees and bugs. He said he liked watching how I processed my body in relation to the hike. Its not an easy hike. And I always knew my shoes would only carry me so far. So I took very calculated risk on which roots to grab or which rock to stand on or how to descend a certain point. When I knew I needed help, I asked for his hand or guidance. And when I figured I could manage, I loved problem-solving how to get my body to work with the damn mountain. Apparently, seeing that entire process was something he enjoyed. I personally enjoyed watching him engage our guide and watching his curious nature as he asked 50 million questions.
Once we got to a point of no return, after taking cliche yet cute couple pictures, we headed back down for the next part of our dating adventure.
The second part of our date began with a visit to the St Lucia Soufriere Volcano which includes a crater and sulphur springs. We had a therapeutic mud bath including painting one another with the clay. This was so ritualistic and romantic….if no one had been around, I would have devoured him. I loved the care with which he painted every part of my body and then all the extra designs he used with the black clay. According to him, I was taking forever to cover him with the mud. I was taking my sweet time. I wanted to savor and take full pleasure in every moment. When else would I have a chance to paint every part of him with some magical, healing clay shit in St Lucia? I tried various techniques of touch. I wondered if he could feel when I was touching him with a sense of discovery versus joy versus desire.
Next, we had lunch at a locally recommended spot by our driver. By now, he had become our best friend. He stopped every time my love, asked him too which was a billion times. He patiently answered every question he had, which were thousands and then based on our moods and conversations, he began playing a custom play list of music to go along with our date. So, we had lunch at a Caribbean spot where we were the only guest in the restaurant and our driver ate outside on the porch. We would have welcomed him in but it was nice to have a moment alone. We used this time to discuss a lot of personal topics regarding our past and it was good to learn some new stuff, clear the air and get answers to lingering questions.
Now once lunch was done, he told me we needed to hurry to get back to our hotel before it got too dark. It appeared that the sun would be setting in about 45 minutes and we had a one hour driver. I nodded. My day was already full and complete. I felt ten years younger from the clay and thermal bath. I felt 100 years lighter from all the love. I felt ten times stronger from the hike….
….but as it turns out, we weren’t going home just yet.
Our driver pulled the car over and made a face at my Wolf. I looked around and begin to worry wondering if maybe something was wrong. He turned to me, said some sappy stuff about his intentions and how he loved me and then asked me to join him on a semi-private beach to watch the sun go down.
Jesus Christ. Swoon worthy. Panty dropper. Who does that and says it like that? Plus, I didn’t even see a beach. Once I agreed, he lead me down a small path, to get to the beach. We walked the beach, we sat on a dock, some fisherman came and asked his help to get their boat back in the water. It started to downpour, so we found an empty little hut and sat in it…while it rained, on a semi-private beach, in St Lucia, one of the most romantic places in the world… and during this moment he asked me to tell him about the first time I had ever fallen in love with someone. I shit you not.
What’s more interesting is that in asking that question, he knew it wasn’t him. Thus began this twenty-minute story of the one man I’d say I had “fallen in love with” that was just…eh, its romantic and heart breaking. I think he asked this because he knew I no longer believed in the traditional sappy understanding of “falling in love” and he wanted to know what changed me. I still believe in that love…but I don’t “fall.”
After the rain stopped and he heard how my heart had been won, shattered, broken and then repaired, all leading me to him and that very moment, we headed back on the beach. It turned out nature gave no fuck and swept away one of each of our shoes.
We were hungry again and therefore our driver took us to another local spot near the beach. I vaguely remember it being an Italian spot. Actually, we went to another local spot first for dinner but the entire waitstaff was rude from the moment we walked in, they acted like we were disturbing them and was impatient when we even said “hello.” So we left that place and went to an Italian place. Dinner itself was good but uneventful. The main takeaway from that was we discussed our collective travel budgets going forward. What were we both comfortable spending? What would be split and a shared cost versus what we each were responsible for on our own? How could we blend his backpacker profile with my luxury profile? How awesome was it that my job gave me so many FREE luxurious perks like hotels or flights and did that add or take away from our budgets. It was a great conversation!
The next part of our date wasn’t necessarily planned but it needs to be included. We arrived back at the hotel and I recall we stopped at the reception desk because it was raining. They offered to drive us to our room with one of their special buggies but we ended up waiting about twenty minutes. The hotel staff apologized but he asked if they could send us complimentary dessert for the delay. They agreed.
We did another one of our rituals once back in our suite, we showered together. Dessert arrived, so he fed it to me bite by bite. And then we settled in for an evening of #NetflixAndChill. I love Netflix and Chill date nights as entertainment and certain types of shows are fun to watch with like minds. Especially if you’re watching in bed in your suite while at St Lucia while a Wolf is feeding you a hot chocolate dessert. So we watched Orphan Black and well the rest of the evening is simply between us.
I told him…while we were hiking, while in the car, while at the beach, while in the volcano crater, while he fed me dessert, that he created the perfect day. I had an entirely perfect day. Even when things didn’t go according to plan, even when it rained, even when we lost our shoe…still, he curated an absolutely perfect date and I will always cherish every moment of it. When I asked where he got his various ideas, as this is only one of numerous types of date nights and adventures he curates, he said sometimes he just gets the ideas from romantic movies. Go figure.
This concludes part one of “The Heart of the Matter – Our Perfect Romantic Trip in St. Lucia.” In part two, I will share a conversation that entirely changed the trajectory of our relationship, I’ll share what happened when we had to skip one of our daily rituals, some travel tips for couple’s trips, what I learned about myself, what I loved about the trip and what I would change if time travel were possible. Stay tuned.