“A people without knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” -Marcus Garvey
July 28, 2022
I can’t remember exactly when I started hearing this, but when I was younger, I’d often hear people talk about “going home” and “visiting the Promise Land,” or I heard people talk about making a pilgrimage back to Africa. And afterward, there was always talk about feeling complete after “seeing where you come from.”
It was said that “going home changes a person.” And I never really understood how that could be until I made it home.
I have officially made it home to both of my homelands, and since making it back, I feel like a completely different person.
My recent trip to Jamaica completed me. Since my visit, I feel a new sense of wholeness and completeness that I’ve never felt before. But I have to admit, these feelings didn’t start in Jamaica. Jamaica was just the country that made it come full circle.
I didn’t notice it then, but these feelings started during my first homecoming trip to Trinidad – my Mother’s land. Where I felt emotions that I never felt anywhere else. My trip to Trinidad was absolutely magical. And it was the magic that I found in Trinidad that made me want to become a world traveler. Because I thought foolishly to myself, ‘if Trinidad feels like this, then what does the rest of the world feel like?’
And so far, on my journey around the world, I’ve come to learn that other countries and territories are also magical, but not like Trinidad.
Oh, and here’s why I said, “I foolishly thought to myself,” because little did I know, that unexplainable magical feeling that I felt in Trinidad, I only felt because I was home. But it wouldn’t be until my second homecoming, my trip to my Father’s land, that I would understand these feelings.
Welcome to Jamaica. It’s been a long time coming.
Now before I start telling you about Jamaica, I’d like to say that out of the six countries and one territory that I’ve visited, I felt like a foreigner in each one, except for Trinidad and Jamaica.
Going home and experiencing your homeland is very important. And with the help of Trinidad, I found myself in Jamaica.
For the second time in my life, I found peace. A peace that I couldn’t explain before. The peace of being home. The peace of being where your parents and their parents are from. The peace of centering yourself in the islands or places that gave birth to your parents. An unexplainable peace of feeling like you are exactly where you belong and exactly where you’re supposed to be.
A feeling that I only found once I went home.
So I have to admit, the people that I often heard talk about “going home” was absolutely correct. Going home and experiencing your origin and culture is very important because it allows you to find yourself. So I guess Marcus Garvey and the others that spoke about going home were correct, “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”
But now, I can proudly say these roots run very deep because not only do I have the knowledge of my past history, culture, and origin. But I’ve seen, felt, and experienced these things firsthand by visiting the countries that gave birth to my people.
So allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Ashley, and I am a first-generation Brooklyn Bred New Yorker, born to two immigrant parents. And I am proud to say that I have officially made it home!