Our Personal Journeys
Jamrock Journeys is a collaboration of ideas from three different people with a common goal: to provide visitors with an unfiltered and authentic experience of Jamaica wherein they’re engaging not just in the geography of Jamaica but with its culture and its people. You may ask, “Where does that common goal stem from”? While we are family (Oniffe and Teresa are married and Marc is Oniffe’s brother), the three of us have different backgrounds, personalities and interests. We’re sure you can relate! Here is a little from each of us that explains why we have a mutual objective.
Marc-OPERATIONS MANAGER and cultural Liaison/co-owner
I will be your trusted guide and driver during your travels with Jamrock Journeys. Who better to show you an authentic experience than a man who was born, raised, and currently lives in Jamaica yet also understands the nuances of living in developed and developing countries? I have been exposed to countless cultures having lived in the United States of America for over a decade and spending four of those years acquiring my degree at McKendree University in Illinois. My college years exposed me to people from around the globe. I possess a wealth of knowledge about the local culture, history, and geography of this paradise. As a Communications major I am also able to relay that information to visitors clearly and in culturally relevant ways. I am able to bridge possible communication gaps that may present themselves between the Jamaicans and visitors alike, creating a genuine experience that immediately allows you to understand the environment around you. My fellow Jamaicans refer to me as “Ras”. I welcome your questions about the Rastafari way of life. Ask me any question, that's what I am here for, to encourage great dialogue and better understanding of my culture!
I am also an active member with The Jamaica Union of Travelers Association (JUTA), one of the most reputable and recognized organization of its kind in the region. JUTA is proudly endorsed by both the Jamaica Tourist Board and the American Society of Travel Agents. The services of Jamrock Journeys have been vetted and deemed consistent with the quality that the Jamaican Government wishes to present to visitors to our lovely island.
Oniffe- Financial Analyst/co-owner
I came to the Midwest in the United States to further my studies in 2004 and have lived here since. I have been asked two questions more often than any other, “I hear an accent, where are you from?” and “Why did you choose the Midwest?” After repeatedly answering those two questions and based on the conversations that followed, two things became evident, the shared knowledge of Jamaica by non-Jamaicans is a partial reality of what life is really like there. Secondly, the things that fascinated me about the Midwest were often seen as ordinary or mundane by Mid-Westerners. It seems that while the visitor is enjoying a vacation, the locals are in the act of going about their daily lives, putting less significance on the things that the tourist marvels over. Similarly, there is so much about the Jamaican culture that I took for granted prior to living in the U.S. that I'm now passionate to share with individuals from all over the world. There are things about the Midwest that I could never begin to understand as a visitor. The time I have spent engaging the culture of the Mid-West, has opened my mind and heart to new ways of knowing. When you live in a bi-cultural household as Teresa and I do, the simplest things such as how much rice to put on a dinner plate or how to pronounce “geography”, can result in an interesting debate. Over the years we have learned to see things not as right and wrong, but as alternative viewpoints. We truly appreciate our differences; with the frequency with which we travel between the U.S and Jamaica, the cultural lines have now become interwoven. In creating Jamrock Journeys, we hope that you’ll benefit from a true cultural exchange whereby you leave behind a piece of yourself on "The Rock" while returning home with a piece of Jamaica. By the way, be sure to try a nasberry, and don't forget the Ackee. They are my absolute favorites. I hope you'll find something in Jamaica that tops your favorites list!
I will likely be assisting you to make reservations and individualizing your true Jamaican experience. Born and raised in West Virginia, USA, I've always had a love for the outdoors. It revives my spirit and clears my mind. I also have a passion for helping those less fortunate at home and abroad. After graduating from West Virginia University, I went on to become a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2005-2007. Honestly if bills paid themselves, I would do volunteer work every day. I served almost two years in Ecuador in a very small town named Lucero, four hours away from the closest volunteer and from a medium sized city. While there, I learned that although I had some amazing experiences visiting beaches, swimming in rivers, and hiking up to waterfalls in the jungle, my most memorable and impactful moments were spent in my small town conversing with my neighbors, answering questions from teenage girls, going to town “dances” and making friends. Since returning from my service, I have visited Jamaica several times. The exposure to a different way of life that I experienced in Ecuador has given me a new lens; a new respect and appreciation of Jamaica’s rich culture. I will never forget my very first visit to Jamaica; it was prior to my Peace Corps days. I was enjoying the view of the sea and the mountains when a Jamaican man asked me what I knew about Jamaica before visiting. Embarrassed, I admitted that I hadn’t thought about it. I had only seen Jamaica for what it had to offer me, which was a vacation spot with lavish beaches, cool breezes and bright sunny days. I had never given a second thought to what a typical day is like for a Jamaican or how people made a living.
When I mention that I am going to Jamaica to my coworkers and friends, I usually get a resounding number of oooh’s and aaah’s, but I have to remind them that I am not going to stay on a resort, I’m going to stay with my husband’s family, in their modest home in the countryside where there is no hot water or A/C. The envious oooh’s quickly turn into apologizing oh’s. Possibly because during my visits, I have noticed that the tourists often stay within the confines of their resort property, travel together in large groups to popular attractions and are rarely seen intermingling with the local residents. Of course most people do not have two years to immerse themselves in a new culture, they have a week or two if they’re lucky. For this reason, I feel that Jamrock Journeys is just what the human soul desires. I want others to have similar opportunities that will allow them to safely step out of their comfort zones and begin to explore and understand how things really are.