To Dominica, with Book of Cinz



Before the pandemic hit, my last out of country trip had been a work related run to Grenada, so when the opportunity arose to travel to the nature isle with an Instagrammer whom I absolutely admire?

I jumped at the chance...and by jump, I mean I literally jumped off the bed ran into the living room to ask my husband if the thinks I should go for it. Without even thinking twice he said yes. Knowing my love for island travel, and that my mental health had gone to shit during this pandemic, he understood my need to get outta here for a few days. 

Thanks to a blesser who gifted me Caribbean Airlines miles, my over $400USD ticket only costed me $127.67USD. Thanks to Uncle Keith, I no longer needed a PCR to come back into Trinidad. A quick call was made to the La Falaise lab in Dominica to confirm the availability of Antigen testing and when that confirmed, I was good to go for my return flight. Commence countdown to trip, with some drama of souring $EC and attempting to update my international health card thrown in the mix. Everything worked out in good time thankfully.

Posing at the entrance to the road that took us down to Sea Cliff Cottages because we refuse to take a taxi from the airport that would cost us $100EC. Instead we took a bus for $6EC and walked the rest

The night before the trip was an entire fiasco in itself. My Samsonite? Packed with way too much clothing (okay, let me be honest, way too much swimwear) and way too many of my local faves (because I must have my local goodness with me at all times). My anxiety? Through the roof. Because I would not be me if my anxiety didn't come to play at some point in the lead up to this voyage.

Now about Book of Cinz. Otherwise known as Cindy, she is a Jamaican bookstagrammer currently residing in Trinidad. I followed her a few years back while broadening my search for other Caribbean content creators on Instagram and while I am not as avid of a reader as I used to be, following her has definitely rekindled my love for reading. According to her website, she "created the Book of Cinz platform to encourage people to Read, read More, read Widely, and Read Caribbean." and as I think back on our trip, she definitely practises what she preaches and then some, heavy on the then some. 

I fell in love with our studio space at Sea Cliff. No air condition needed because the breeze was real.

Meeting Cindy that morning in the airport was surreal. We'd been following each other for years and would chat off and on, but the idea of meeting her in person to travel on a trip???? Anxiety triggering. Why? Because my brain is wired weird and I can get awkward real quick when it comes to interacting with people whom I adore. 

The caveat of me travelling with her, would be to help her create content while we stayed at the beautiful Sea Cliff Cottages. You guys have no idea how ready I was to get the content creation going (read that as SpongeBob ready; if you know, you know). I already had it planned out in my brain the types of shots that we could possibly do and was ready to focus solely on making sure that she had enough content to work with in the time frame that I'd be with her. She however, had other plans for me. 

Food in Dominica is stick to your ribs kinda food. Made with love. 

Content creation was already happening from the minute she walked up to me, phone in hand ready to document this trip and reveal to her followers who would be accompanying her in the first part of her stay in Dominica. I had no idea what I was in for, but ya girl was ready (again, SpongeBob). Once we got into the departure lounge the tiktoks began, and I was legit taken aback (in awe and amazement) at how effortlessly she creates content for her platforms. 

One hour and a half flight, and a twenty minute bus ride (read bus as maxi) later, we were checked into our cottage at Sea Cliff. While this wasn't my first trip to Dominica, it was my first time not staying in or near Roseau, and honestly I think I enjoyed staying in Calibishie more than anything. Sea Cliff Cottages are these lovely, homey eco cottages located on the Point Dubique cliff. 

Sunrise view from the grounds at Sea Cliff, I could take it in every single day. 

The view? Absolutely stunning.
The cottages? Solar powered, cosy, homey, I felt so relaxed.
The water source? Nature. I'll just add that Dominican water is the best tasting water ever, and the coldest lawd have mercy.

Our first night, we had cocktails with Amber and Simon, the owners of Sea Cliff, and while I could not join in the book related conversation, I enjoyed seeing everyone so animated about their love for reading and concept of booktok and bookstagram. It was so interesting watching Cindy speak about the world of publishing, a world that is completely foreign to me, but I was captivated. I should also add that Amber's Rum Sour cocktail recipe was perfection. Amber if you ever see this, thanks for the recipe.

My favourite spot on the grounds. I may or may not have fallen asleep here a few times. 

What would happen over the course of the next two days would be:
  • Day one: Me falling down on the Calibishie main road bruising my left knee and twisting my right ankle
  • Day two: Us driving to Portsmouth (Cindy is a boss driver) to check out the Cabrits National Park, then back to Calibishie to visit a few tourist sites like Red Rock which to me is more..orange? As well as passing through the Point Baptiste Estate to get chocolate and have a swim in a private beach 
  • Day three: Us driving to Roseau the next day, and having a tour and lunch at Fort Young Hotel. I got my antigen test done 🥴 and then Cindy, with all the love in the world, threw me out at the airport to catch my flight back home.  

In the midst of out shenanigans, Cindy looked out for me on the content side of things. Remember when I said that she had other plans for me? Well, she ensured that I also had content from the trip. Truthfully I wasn't even planning to create that much content for me, but from the jump she made it clear that I was here to enjoy the trip with her just as much as helping her create content. Admittedly, I was ready for her to wuk meh like a horse, but she was really laid back about all of it (read that as, she eh give meh enough wuk).

The not so red Red rock

Despite being laid back though, when it comes to her platform's aesthetic, she knows what she wants, and it was low key riveting to see how she goes about taking her photos, deciding which ones she'll use, and seeing how she repurposes her video clips to create a plethora of content. It was also amusing to see her record her voiceovers. Her energy will pull you in and she really has the ability to make you feel like you're right next to her wherever she is. Well in this instance I was right next to her but you know what I mean. 

Fort Shirley has some amazing views, but right now, I am the view 

But she also has a very quiet side and focused side. When she was in work mode, she was hyper focused. You could immediately tell when she would transition from larger than life Book of Cinz, to Cindy working as a freelancer ensuring that she was on top of her work commitments. In those moments I'd find myself exploring the Sea Cliff Cottage compound so that I wouldn't be a distraction. 

I'm complete obsessed with this chair

Those moments on that trip gave me enough time to really think and reflect about a lot of things that had gone on in the past few months. From losing two family members, to my car getting stolen, to moving into a new space. I hadn't quite taken the time to figure out what my next steps would be, until I had time to just breathe and think about it all in those moments where I was on my own.  

By the time Cindy dropped me off at the airport to come back home, I had already made my mind up about a few things:
  • I need to come back to Dominica and stay at Sea Cliff again. When? I don't know just yet, but I fell in love with the place and with Simon's and Amber's love for eco friendly and sustainable living.
  • I want to bring my parents, more so my dad who fell in love with the view and is ready to fish and hunt. 
  • I need to get back on my travel Caribbean plan. There are so many islands to explore. We need to find a way to make regional travel cheaper.
  • If Cindy ever affords me the opportunity to be her travel sidekick again, I'll say yes in a heartbeat...finances willing and fitness willing because whew... when Cindy is on the go, she is on the go, and my not so fit self had one heck of a time trying to keep up 😅
It's been a few months since the trip and I can say with surety that my Dominica tabanca is still very much real. I keep envisioning myself setting in a chair on the veranda of the main house, with my rum sour in hand, taking in the strong Atlantic breeze. Or sitting on the chair outside of our studio watching the sunrise while listening to that day's Lectio Divina. 

Views from Fort Young hotel in Roseau

Those few days in the nature isle were literally what I needed at that time, and I came back home feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again. Okay maybe not take on the world, but I came back feeling a whole lot better mentally.


We stopped outside the National Park to get our feet wet, My wig also fell off right before we took this picture 😆

So Cindy, if you ever see this, consider this my final thank you. I know I've said thank you a million times, even though you tell me to stop. This, I promise, is the last thank you I'll say out loud. Because there are millions more in my head and heart that I keep there any time I look back on this trip that made me feel like myself again. I can only hope that I was a good enough (I'll accept passable) travel companion, bonus points hopefully because don't snore 🤣

Cindy is currently off on another travel adventure in Europe, so if you want to see what she's up to, you can follow her on Tiktok, and Instagram. I highly suggest you also check out her website too and join her mailing list if you love reading, especially since she has a reading retreat happening later this year in...you guessed it...Dominica!!! 

If the thought of Dominica tickles your fancy and you'd like to check out Sea Cliff Cottages, you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram or visit their website to make a booking.

Soooooooooo does anyone have Caribbean airlines miles that they're willing to gift? I need another island trip ASAP. 


Regards,
Tshenelle aka Nelly B. 

3 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this. You looked amazing in all your pics. Lol at your wig falling off! This post was encouraging.

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    1. Girl the wig fall left us both in stitches lol!! But more importantly, I'm happy that this encourages you

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  2. Enjoyed this content and I have to get back to Dominica. Happy July. . .

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