A personal roots revival – revisiting Jamaica (1/3)
Actually, I don’t know where to begin, how to find the right words so that you as a reader would realise what Jamaica is, and what the island is especially for me. However, my name is Lukas, I am 29 years old, a globetrotter, photographer, flight attendant and misfit (I especially stress the last one). I grew up in a small town in South Bavaria in the Allgäu region, Germany. That’s it. No wild roots.
When I was around 1 ½ years old – in 1988 – I went with my parents on their honeymoon to Jamaica. All I know about my time in the Caribbean comes from family stories rather than memories.
But it seems that I tried out a lot, which I wasn’t able to in Germany. My mum said – that once I was left alone for some seconds in a bar in Negril, unwatched, I put my fingers inside an electricity box. My mum saw me shaking on the floor and had to get me away from it. I am not sure how it affected my social behaviours of today.
Without going much into detail, another story my dad used to tell is, me, sitting on the beach of Negril, taking hermit crabs on my tongue. I then waited until they climbed out of their shell, let them tickle my tongue and finally swalloved them. I guess that needs no more commenting.
As I mentioned before, these are all things I have been told, as I can’t remember them, but there is one thing that makes me feel I know this country very well. Fried Bananas, or more specific, the smell of it. As simply as that and as basic as that. (Guessing this should be fried plantain instead?)
More than 25 years have passed since the first impression I got from the island. This year it is time to renew them. Meanwhile, I have held my connection to Jam in different ways here at home. I went to my first Summerjam (one of the biggest reggae festivals in Europe) in 1994 and until today made it five times. I saw reggae bands playing in Lorelei at the Rhine bank and was sitting near jam sessions in Mönchengladbach, and finally photographed some reggae artists in Cologne.
The first festivals, sure I had my watchdog, my father with me, but it was yet another thing I was born into. I went to my first festival in 1988 as well, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. When your parents and especially your dad, that you grew up with, themselves goes to festivals, listens to reggae, dub, and the kind of music that puts you even closer to Jamaica, or an open minded personality – it is no wonder I still have the need to go to the Caribbean.
The 20th of January this year will be the day to find out, the day I am going to travel to Montego Bay and see what precious things the island will reveal once again. Maybe it is all sunshine and rainbows what I’m emancipating and the reality is different. But even so, I have this deep, deep love for Jamaica, that can’t be taken away. If you come with love for people, culture and nature to a place, it won’t be rejected – that’s a principle I believe in.
“Out of Many, One People“ is a Jamaican philosophy which reflects my relation towards life. Connections and relationships you have make the most incredible time of your days on this planet. I am looking forward to meeting people just like you and me in Jamaica.
Let the journey begin.