Author Archives: Lebawit Lily Girma
Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer, and guidebook author specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work has been published in major travel publications, including CNN, AFAR, Delta Sky, Lonely Planet, Shermans Travel, and BBC, among others. A self-professed "culture-holic," Lily left her native Ethiopia at age one, fast developing a passion for the expat Caribbean life. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos—a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean, through culture and nature. Lily has since partnered with Caribbean tourism boards and travel brands on major content projects. She also authors print guidebooks on three destinations, including Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Read more on her site, LebawitGirma.com
My first journey to Barbados, ten years ago, came about when my friend Chelsea rang me up one afternoon. We were each respectively stuck at our lawyers’ desks in Washington DC, and on the brink of an upcoming long, Labor Day weekend.
Let’s go to Barbados?
Like most first-time visitors, we’d ended up staying in a resort in the St. Lawrence Gap area—on the south coast of this beach-blessed island. But after just two days on Accra Beach and a single road trip, I had left Barbados frustrated. Where were those Bajan vibes everyone talked about?
Soon after, I embarked on a career as a travel photographer and journalist, and continued to explore the rest of the Caribbean. But that memory stayed with me—of the one Caribbean island that had eluded me.
So when the opportunity came this Spring to re-explore Rihanna’s home, this time as a travel writer on my own itinerary—sponsored by the tourism board for half of the trip, and with five additional days completely on my own—I knew I was up for the challenge. Surely Barbados has more to it than sunning on gorgeous beaches? I was ready to create a different, culture and adventure-packed memory of Bim.
That’s how I stumbled on Bike Caribbean, while furiously planning and researching another face of Barbados online.
A South Coast Bike Tour
Before I knew it, I’d reached out to the cycling company on Facebook, and signed up for a South Coast bike tour. Their description had lured me right in.
“Explore the hidden surf spots of the south coast and tap into Bajan island culture, stopping at some laid back local favorites.”
To boot, the biking level was marked beginner to intermediate. There were additional adrenaline-packed and advanced itineraries offered on the site, venturing to the east coast, or north of Barbados—all led by elite Bajan mountain biker, Randy Licorish, co-owner of Bike Caribbean. But you know, baby steps. I was about to explore Barbados by bicycle for the first time—what could be more different?