Posts Tagged ‘barbados’

Barbados’ SeaU Guesthouse: Get Away from it All (for Real)

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Getting away—really getting away—is harder than it’s ever been. That’s why it’s so important to seek out those places that embody being a new place, that exemplify both their locale and that unique mental relaxing-letting go that makes a vacation so very special. The SeaU Guesthouse in Bathsheba, Barbados fulfills all those authentic getaway desires.

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The hammocks that overlook the ocean below at SeaU Guesthouse in the Bahamas.

Run by a former travel writer, the Guesthouse is located at the top of a giant hill overlooking the sleepy town of Bathsheba (that happens to be an international serious surfing destination; apparently Kelly Slater is a fan of the perfect waves at the Soup Bowl and filmed a piece of a surf movie for Billabong there a couple years back). In town, you can find real (delicious!) Bajan food and plenty of (naturally!) rum.

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I was in Barbados to really relax; though I travel often, it is usually not ‘time off’ but doing-seeing as much as possible so that I can write about it for magazines and websites. Not this time. At SeaU I napped, stared at the ocean, went for meandering walks, and spent bountiful amounts of time hammocking on my porch at SeaU or on the hammocks in the common areas.

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A view of the (palm-forest-covered) town of Bathsheba below the Guesthouse.

SeaU was incredibly quiet, so much so that I was surprised to see other guests (from England and Brazil) when my boyfriend and I showed up at breakfast in the mornings. And let me just gush about that (complimentary!) breakfast for a minute: Off-the-tree fruit so ripe it practically melted in my mouth, fresh local eggs cooked up by the capable cooks, homemade sweet breads (so delicious!) and of course, tea and coffee.

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I was so happy relaxing in our deck hammock!

The east coast of Barbados is tropical relaxing at its best; not overdeveloped, not touristy, and definitely off-the-beaten-path, which makes it ideal for a real getaway (more on Barbados here). While SeaU had free WiFi and I definitely checked my email when needed (and even watched a movie with my boyfriend from the Internet), I felt a zillion miles away from home. Which is exactly what I needed.
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Yellow Leaf Hammocks: Relax Naturally While Helping Those in Need

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Starre Vartan happily hammocking at SeaU Guest House in Barbados. Photo: Simon Apter

The fact that I am writing this post from an actual hammock should demonstrate to you my dedication to the art and craft of hammocking (yes, it’s a verb, at least in my world – as it should be). Growing up, I availed myself of the large hammock in my backyard on a pretty regular basis – after mowing our acre of lawn, when I needed a mid-Summer’s nap, or when I needed to get away from my grandma’s pretty demanding routine.

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Looks like a bit of bliss, no?

Yellow Leaf Hammocks make the variety of hammocks you see below, which includes a number of colors, patterns and styles (love the chair version – perfect for reading!) and they also have impressive social and sustainable cred, including economic health, environmental stewardship, social equity and cultural stewardship.

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A hammock on a boat! Genius!

The company calls themselves a ‘social enterprise, not a charity’:

In Southeast Asia, hill tribes such as the Mlabri are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of society. Hammocks have been the means to securing civil rights, combating deforestation, creating basic infrastructure and achieving financial security for hill tribe villages in this region of Northern Thailand.

As a hunter-gatherer society with no concept of land ownership or relationship with the outside world, the Mlabri way of life was devastated when the land around them was claimed and deforested. Impoverished, without citizenship, and enslaved by opportunists, their future appeared bleak.

Yellow Leaf aims to engineer a turnaround in which marginalized ethnic groups such as the Mlabri apply their artisan talents towards creating a micro-economy that will elevate them from their former state and maintain their cultural identity, with the added benefit of eradicating toxic farming methods within the communities we partner with.

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Love the ‘hammock chairs’ that are shaped to provide a bit of support.

Get your hammock on AND support people in need with honest work. How much more awesome can it get?

All photos courtesy of Yellow Leaf Hammocks except where indicated.