Mann Travels’ Director of Leisure Sales Jeff Nickerson had the opportunity to sail on the Windstar Pride and see first hand the beauty of the Caribbean is alive and well.
Our view from Windstar’s Star Pride of Old San Juan was both beautiful and meaningful. It was like seeing an old friend, who has faced a major difficulty, approaching with their head held high, shoulders back with a smile so broad it makes anyone who sees them smile. Old San Juan was full of lights, activities and a warmth from a community that belies their recent struggles.
A conversation with our driver who brought us to the ship from the airport illustrates the strength, resolve and hopefulness of this community. Jose and his family have been without electricity for months now. He told of how they have had to adjust in their daily life. His wife now goes grocery shopping every day, unsure of what that day’s meals will be until seeing what items are on the grocery store shelves. There wasn’t a hint of complaint in his voice; only the perspective of the differences and their ability to not only adapt but to embrace the change; finding their new normal and the hope that their life will be better for it. He wouldn’t have wanted what happened to happen, a hurricane like he’s never experienced in his life, but it’s reality will make them better; stronger.
Which now brings us back to the beaming smile of our old friend. As he took us around Old San Juan en route to our destination, Jose couldn’t contain his pride at how great the city looks, pointing out hotels that are open, how clean everything is and how beautiful the landscaping looks. It reminded me of my dad after he had successful back surgery so proud of how well he was walking and pointing out that he can now stand for long periods of time. It’s the pride of the overcomer. When walking is easy you may take it for granted. When you live on a gorgeous island where the comforts of modern life are routine, you may not think about them much. But when it is taken away, and you persevere, you’re filled with a pride only known to those who have overcome.
Puerto Rico’s return to paradise is well under way. And the messages that Jose conveyed? “Look how beautiful everything is!” And, “tell everyone you know to come back. We miss them!”
~Jeff Nickerson – Director of Leisure Sales