Shorts check… t-shirt check… sandals check…oh, and of course, sunscreen. You might be wondering where I’m headed, but first let me tell you that wearing these things currently at 27 degrees in Boston…yes I’m a bit cold, but its totally worth it! Destination: Barbados. Family vacation and sometimes you just need to get away and relax from every day life. My plan for this trip is just that-relax and spend some quality time with family and myself. I left my good camera gear back home because vacation means…no work, right? Naturally, that’s what most people do on their vacations. As for me-well, if you don’t know me by now, then shame on you. There’s no such thing as a proper vacation because wherever you go, there’s always going to be some sort of car show or car related thing.
Making my way to Barbados was a trip, especially with family, but I finally made it. Getting off the plane on the runway was an experience in itself. I knew that this vacation wasn’t going to be like any other. Not even one day on my vacation, I spotted these beautiful old looking Japanese cars that have never made it to the states. My heart dropped and in my head I told myself, “Josh, why didn’t you bring your great cameras…oh right I’m in vacation mode…NOT.” I smiled and knew that I could never step away from my car life because I love it so much. But being in a different place made this experience even more magical. I looked at the cars and then back at my dad who looked over and said, “Well there goes that!” I laughed at him…he knows me all to well.
I started to obsess about what else this 24 miles of island was hiding for rare gems. Many locals here have a passion for their cars. An old Toyota Cressida here will have aftermarket wheels with an interesting paint scheme or gauges added to the A-pillar. They are budget mods and rightfully allimports into the country will costs double and you’d have to pay duty tax. Stinks, I know… but that’s why sometimes cars like these are never found in the states for just that reason. But it’s a rare find when you go to another country and see something completely different and beautiful in its own way. Researching for over a half hour, I stumbled upon an article that Larry Chen from Speedhunters wrote, and was blown away by the clean JDM cars that people sought after. Some examples of these cars are the Nissan Skyline R34, Toyota Supra, Evo 7, Silvia S15 and more. I reached out to Tom and then, one of the admins to the car club called, JDM Squared, about meeting up last minute to take some photographs. This was when I really regret bringing my minimal gear with me, but of course I told myself, vacation Josh. My 70-200mm lens would have added a new dimension to some of my photographs, but I made due.
Upon arriving my father and I decided that we will play it by ear, rent a car, and then explore. We drove everywhere… as a photographer, its not just driving to your final destination. It’s about stopping and “smelling the roses” as most say. I needed to capture the essence of this island and its beauty. With more research on the places to stop on this island for car lovers, we stopped at Bill Mallalieu’s private collection where he housed some rare automobiles like an Allard, Wollesley, Ford RS300, and more. Bill is the founder of the Barbados Rally Club, which is very fascinating for someone like me. Stepping aside a bit and actually doing some none car related things, we proceeded to the Harrison’s Caves where we took a guided tram tour into the heart of the island. It was spectacular and a must do while visiting. With that being said, one must make sure to make a reservation.
As Barbados is predominately a British owned country. you drive on the opposite side of the road and drive on the right side of the car. It takes getting used to, but the culture is even more fascinating. Our rental car was a Kia Picanto, which was a tad bigger than a Smart car and a complete rattle trap, but a great little car for vacation road trips. Just a little insight about this lovely island: The north coast is made up of cliffs, and the east coast has sandy beaches lined with seashells. The south and west is where all of the tourists reside, due to the calm waves and the cruise ship port in the heart of their big city of Bridgetown.
I left the apartment where we were staying one morning around 4am to travel up the coast for the 6 o’clock sunrise. As I was walking the beach barefoot in the dark, I noticed something move quickly on the ground. Slightly freaked out, whether I want to admit that or not, I took my flashlight out and shined the light on the sand as the whole ground moved. There had to be over 50 crabs running back into their holes. It was something you would see in a Pirates movie. When I stopped moving, they would slowly come back out.
All in all, this trip was another one added to the books. I had a wonderful time with my family and-yes, I did actually relax and sit on the beach soaking in all the rays while drinking rum punch. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the blue water and closing my eyes as the breeze sweept me away for a few minutes. Even though I realized that in a couple days I’d be home to possibly a “snowy Boston,” in the moment- I was happy and glad to take an adventure for myself. So-shorts, t shirt, sandals and sunscreen was well worth it. Till next time, who knows where the next adventure will be.
Story Edited by: Sonig Varadian