Mon | Apr 19, 2021

Gone trekking

Published:Wednesday | November 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Tourists walk along an eroding beach in Negril.

The Bible says a prophet is not without honour except in his own country.

There are artistes, whether reggae, dancehall or other genres, who have massive hits and record sales overseas. If they walk the streets of some of the most obscure locales on the planet that we can't find on a map, people will know them. Want all autograph! And no, it's not just because they're Jamaican (or of Jamaican heritage) so they think they know Bob Marley's family or Usain Bolt. The people actually know and love their music.

But those same artistes can't sell squat here in Jamaica. In fact, sometimes many Jamaicans have never even heard of these artistes, much less able to tell you the name of their songs. That's just how it works out sometimes, local preferences don't match that of the rest of the world. The local guys shouldn't feel too bad though because there are some foreign acts who star shows overseas but out here get a lukewarm response.

And we do it in various spheres. I was speaking with a wilderness tourism operator (you know, people who offer backpacking/hiking packages) and he noted that while Jamaicans were the first target, they weren't necessarily the first takers. He said you were more likely to find Europeans who were not just interested, but drooling at the possibility of climbing our hills and mountains, traversing our rivers and trekking through our national parks. For them, that's how you spend a weekend. The average Jamaican? Gone a party.

Now, I understand the physical considerations. I did a couple of hikes a few years ago and they were murder. Not only that, I was actually fitter then. So the 'average' Jamaican aka the reluctant trekker might say they aren't fit enough to undertake dem mountain business deh. And it's not only that. Even if you're a gym fanatic, it doesn't necessarily mean you can handle it. But I think there's a whole other mindset to take into consideration.

The truth is some of these tours and hikes take you into the Jamaican heartland, where like the Maroons once trekked. Plus they go through Jamaica's national parks and other natural havens. That's a better (and more interesting) history lecture and botany lesson than you could ever get in a classroom. But does the average Jamaican give a hoot? Maybe not. They've got other things to worry about for sure. But others just don't want to know. So why is it important to people who have only read about Jamaica online and in books?

I'm telling you we don't appreciate the gem of an island this is. Yes the beach is cool, rivers and falls are nice. But there's more to explore. There always is. Guess it's just a matter of what floats your figurative boat. As for me, as soon as I get back in shape, I'm going trekking. If you don't hear from me again, it means I got lost, or I decided I liked it there and decided to stay. Later

Tell me where to go hiking at