Becreative founder Brooks Bowman recently got back from his family vacation in Trinidad. Brooks, along with his wife, Stacy, and their two daughters, spent 20 days on the island to celebrate Stacy’s grandfather’s 100th birthday. Stacy’s brother and sister also came out from Chicago to celebrate.
Let’s find out how his trip went!
Was this your first time in Trinidad?
I have been going for the last 18 years. This was maybe my 13th or so trip. The kids have each gone 3 times. Stacy’s mom lives there, so we visit every 1-2 years.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
Spending time with family, Liming (Trini talk for “hanging out”), Grandad’s 100th birthday party, Maracas Beach, and our two-day trip to Tobago.
Were you creatively inspired by anything you saw or did in Trinidad?
Trinidad allows me to decompress and think in depth about my life and my work. I was able to spend time strategizing about the business, Q3 and Q4 of this year, sales, etc. Creative thinking isn’t really what I do at Becreative. Being in nature sparks the creative fire in all of us, so I did tap into that, not so much for the business, but for my own pleasure.
What was your favorite part of Trinidadian culture or food?
Trinis have a real zest in them. They are friendly and warm and love to lime. I love the food while I am there and indulge greatly in it. Trinidad is a country that consists of mainly East Indians and people of African descent, so the food reflects those cultures. We ate Creole food, roti, curry, fried fish, etc.
What was the most unique thing you saw/ate there?
As far as culturally, not much happens that I am not used to. When I travel, I take the approach of diving in head first and living like a local. I eat, drink, dance, and drive (on the opposite side of the road) like a Trini. However, the trip before this one, we went “down the islands” to a vacation house on one of the small islands just off the coast. The groundskeeper of the house and his dog sniffed out and chased down a large iguana. They cornered her and killed her, with a machete no less. They then cooked her in curry and we ate it. To boot, she was pregnant, so they made a curry stew with her eggs. The iguana was nice, meaty. The eggs were pretty salty and gross, but I figured I would try it once.
How is the Trinidadian lifestyle different than the one you live here?
The entire population of Trinidad is 1.3 million people, so less than we have in the greater metropolis of Los Angeles. It is a 3rd world country with all the issues that accompany that: poverty, crime, lack of access to things we take as a given. 5 years ago, I could not even get online without a dedicated Ethernet cable. It is also very beautiful, lush and green. It is way slower than the pace we live here in LA. Trinidad also has a tropical climate, which includes rain, heat, humidity, etc.
Do you think traveling and experiencing different cultures helps you in running a business? If so, how?
Absolutely! Life experience teaches so much about other people, what’s important, how not to be egocentric, etc. I believe empathy is the greatest skill one can have in not only running a business, but in life in general. Knowing a little bit about other people’s experience, having compassion and understanding their roots is huge in relating to other people and fosters empathy. Traveling isn’t the only way to learn the skills in life (and business) to succeed, but I believe it is a major component to do so. To me, traveling is as important as a formal education.