When I told an aunt I was dating a fellow Scorpio, she predicted a breakup. “Two Scorpios cannot work.” Ironically, that Scorpio is now my husband, and our marriage is a happy one despite our stars’ misalignment. My knowledge of the zodiac has always been limited to Seventeen horoscope columns and, until last month, I wasn’t even sure of my rising sign. As a person with permanent wanderlust, though, I’m drawn to content that connects the dots between astrology and travel. (New Orleans, for example, is my favorite city; an astrologer once told Bustle it’s a Scorpio’s paradise.)
I was therefore psyched about Cheap Caribbean’s new astrology initiative, where travelers can create a complimentary birth chart and use that information to guide their vacation plans. The travel agency offered me the opportunity to chat with its new chief astrologer, Valerie Mesa, who crafted a personalized itinerary based on my reading.
Valerie came prepared to our Zoom with my detailed birth chart, i.e., a screenshot of the sky the moment I was born. She told me that I am a Scorpio sun, Scorpio moon, and Pisces rising (lots of water elements); five of my 11 planets are in Scorpio, and my ruling planet is Neptune, which controls creativity and spirituality. By the end of our meeting, I considered re-subscribing to the magazines of my youth purely for their monthly horoscopes — because Valerie had nailed down my interests with perfect accuracy, particularly when it came to my travel style.
“Scorpio's a water sign, Pisces is a water sign. The element that dominates you is water. You see how there's 10 pilots in water?” Valerie says, highlighting the elements on my chart before emphasizing my single pilot in air. The lack of air in my chart, she notes, is why I feel easily trapped when I’m in one spot for too long. (I typically avoid all-inclusive resorts for exactly that reason.) But don’t be fooled: the abundance of water in my chart doesn’t indicate a love for the open seas.
“You have so much water in your chart. But as much as you are attracted to the ocean, you're also very respectful of its mystery and its depths.” I appreciate the beach… but am also very, very scared of deep water and am not a snorkeling gal, which I tell Valerie can be problematic when planning a Caribbean trip. “Don’t worry,” she says with a laugh. “We won’t have you swimming to the deep end.”
She also guessed that I’m drawn to spooky stuff. “You're passionate about cultures that have spirituality and mystery attached to it. Because Scorpios are so in tune with death and rebirth, there's a little bit of a fascination with it. You’re probably into the murder mystery documentaries, right?” Right. I’m also the annoying friend that gets mad at bar-goers for not dressing up on Halloween.
Her most important observation: I gravitate towards authentic experiences rooted in cultural immersion. “Scorpio is ruled by the root chakra, and the root chakra is very tribal. It's the rumblings of the earth. Surrounding yourself with culture and music, [those environments] are where you'll replenish,” Valerie explains. “Your Pisces rising also helps you in the sense that you are very open to possibilities, different religions, different cultures, wanting to see what's out there.”
As a result, she suggested I visit Montego Bay, Jamaica, for its serene beauty and rich local lore. To mitigate the trapped feeling I get at all-inclusives, I was booked at the Breathless Resort, a five-star property with a party vibe that errs on the smaller side. Its main draw? Spacious suites with oversized balconies and a connection to the neighboring Secrets Resort, ensuring there was enough room for me to roam so that I didn’t feel closed in.
My first activity was an hour-long bamboo raft ride across Martha Brae, a river that weaves through a lush forest canopy. We stopped for rum punch and jerk chicken along the way, listening to the sounds of lapping water and scouting for termite nests in the trees above. I was nervous the river would be crowded with tourists but was surprised to find only a handful of travelers present, with guides intentionally scattering rafts to make me feel as if I had the entire river to myself.
This activity allowed me to appreciate the water without having to actually get in it. My schedule was void of water activities otherwise: no jet skis or diving into deep water here. Thank you, Valerie.
My itinerary had a free day with a cabana reservation by the pool. The vibe was a bit rowdy (and I was nursing a killer hangover — cc: rum punch), so I migrated to a cabana by the beach instead and spent the day roasting in the Caribbean sun. I would have never done this on my own accord — my Pisces rising, Valerie notes, is why I create jam-packed Google Doc itineraries when I travel — but it turned out that giving myself time to relax felt fantastic.
My final day was the highlight of my trip. The sun was setting when I arrived at Rose Hall, a former plantation turned historic museum that checked off the “spooky” box on my birth chart. As my group walked up an ominous pathway lit up by tiki torches, a drummer beat a conga as a tour guide explained that this was once the residence of Annie Palmer, who murdered three husbands and several lovers and was dubbed “The White Witch” by Jamaicans for her cruelty. (If you’ve been to New Orleans or watched American Horror Story: Coven, the tale has similar parallels to that of Delphine LaLaurie.)
I’m afraid my lips are sealed beyond that. Our guide asked that we keep tour details a secret for future guests, but I’ll tell you this: we visited a tombstone by candlelight and not even R.L. Stine could have prepared me for that level of creepy.
My best friend, my travel companion and a staunch Gemini, had regrets over not packing holy water. “I will admit, this is perfect for you.” After 25 years of friendship, even she was blown away by the accuracy of this itinerary. And I'm inclined to agree.
I’m not sure if this itinerary’s success can be credited solely to my birth chart, but Valerie reminded me of an important lesson: always travel with intention. Thanks to my permanent wanderlust (and Pisces rising, I now know), I typically have a go-go-go attitude when it comes to travel. This custom vacation encouraged me to be more thoughtful around my schedule, and to align my travel plans with activities that actually fulfill me. I’ll no longer be crossing things off a bucket list just because Pinterest told me to.