So, before we left on our vacation, I had a post all typed up and ready to look over and submit once we returned. After reading through my now very boring post, vacation still on my mind, I thought to myself........ I think I'd much rather write about something else.
This past week, my husband and I had the opportunity to take a cruise on the Carnival cruise line to the Western Caribbean with my lovely sister in law and her husband. We departed from Tampa, Florida on our 5 night over-sea adventure. This trip was an extremely different and new experience for us Hoosiers and Kansasnites as most of us had never even been to a tropical beach nor have traveled on a boat in the ocean, let alone left the country.
Needless to say, we enjoyed the magazine-cover quality scenery and the warm tropical air. There really is nothing more beautiful than that crystal clear blueish green water we had all experienced for the first time last week. (Think, Pirates of the Caribbean) However, as with visiting most new places, one always thinks for a second, I could live here. I've had that thought while visiting hilly Southern Indiana, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Napa Valley in California and the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.
During our stop at the Cayman Islands, the four of us took a land and sea tour. We were taken underwater in a submarine to visit the coral reefs and aftwards, we were given a bus tour of the island. One of the first things mentioned by our tour quide from Jamaica (YAH MON!) was that there was no agriculture on the island. No agriculture.90 percent of their food, energy and textiles are imported. Could you imagine your life (assuming you follow our Rural Housewives forum because you are involved in the rural or ag lifestyle) without agriculture?
It's so easy to fall in love with a new place and instantly wish it were your forever home. Vacation destinations are designed to be appealing and give you that sense of never wanting to leave. Some people never do leave. I think it's a lot different when you are a farmer or a farm wife, though. At least for my husband and I, anyways. As farmers, we have fallen so in love with agriculture that even when visiting a new place, like a gorgeous tropical island, it's hard not to miss home. It's crazy to think, but agriculture trumps a beautiful tropical island in our world. Agriculture, is what we know. It is our life and our home.
Our trip was definitely amazing and it was great to relax and live care free for a week in "paradise", but I think the most important thing I brought back from our trip was a new appreciation for what we do and where we are from. We may not live in the most beautiful place in the world with clear blue waters, but we are so lucky to live in an area of sustainability full of opportunity. We have the opportunity to live how we want, where we want, grow what we want and visit where we want. To me, that is "paradise." One thing the cruise line does not advertise and tell you is how much poverty you will find on some of these islands. The cost of living on some these islands is astronomical. Gasoline was around $6 a gallon and to buy an "average" house (not shack) was near $400 grand. When you actually take your eyes off the crystal clear blue water and sober up from your Margarita, you notice, behind all the tourist attractions, the one room shacks and shanties where people actually live. Children walking to school barefoot. Desperate men selling coconuts out of a wheelbarrow, trying to make a few bucks to put food on the table for their families.
Earlier on our trip, as we were pulling away from the port in Tampa, Florida, I noticed the various bins and silos along the shore lines used in exporting grain onto barges. Also, on our way to our hotel, we noticed the many, many, many semi trucks with hopper bottom trailers hauling through downtown Tampa. Once we were at the islands, I noticed several barges hauling grain pulling up to shore. It made me realize how agriculture connects our world and makes it go round. It all makes sense to me now. We never would have been able to take this trip and visit those beautiful tropical islands if it weren't for our freedom and agriculture.