Maiden Voyage to Nicaragua

In Memory of Talei Jones

Two weeks after saying goodbye to the inspirational women on our retreat, we were struck with tragedy. Talei Jones, my bunkmate and fellow adventurer, had been killed in a horrific car accident in Jamaica.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

We were all stunned by the abrupt end to her beautiful, compassionate, and young life. I think it impacted each of us deeply. When you spend that much time with such a small group of women, you can’t help but leave tightly bonded to each other. Having her taken from this world was like fraying the ends of our collective fabric. We would never be complete without her, though we would always carry her memory in our spirits. She was a part of us.

Photo by Emily Rieman

Throughout our communications and e-mails back and forth, the group shared some wonderful words about our departed friend. It was unanimous that we all felt blessed to have gotten to know such a special person. Even though our time was brief, we loved this woman. Below are some of the thoughts from her fellow travelers in her memory.

“Talei Jones was a symbol of the vivacity of life, such a colorful person, and funny as all hell. I feel fortunate and am grateful to have spent time with her at El Coco Loco this July.” -Andrea P.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

“All I can think about is how lucky I am to have met her, even for just a week. Talei was the smoothest, the coolest, the gnarliest, the sweetest, the funniest (and the most FUN) Chica…and she had such a strong POSITIVE presence and an amazing hunger for life…she will be sorely missed.” -Jennifer R.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

“Talei was such a beautiful human being and I don’t understand why she died in such an accident.  I didn’t know her well but in the time we all shared together I felt bonded to her.” -Suzanne S.

“Talei embodied ‘life’ more than most people ever would.” -Kristi S.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

“The world is truly at a loss without Talei in it.  It’s a loss to those who never even met her.” -Emily R.

“Talei really embodied that mentality (of living everyday like your last)… She embraced life and lived it with a smile and a laugh. We can all be inspired by her example.” -Holly Beck

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

“Talei was one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She was touched with a hint of uncommon maturity, interspersed with sprinkles of ageless humor, and utterly ensconced in noble grace. All of us at Suave Dulce shared a charmed bond, forged with our mutual allegiance to loving life. And now, it will remain unbroken, in perpetuum, with our collective memories of Talei (and of one another), in death and transfiguration.” -Joice C.

Talei, I wish you great happiness, peace, and an endless summer. You have bestowed upon your seven fellow travelers some of the brightest blessings one could ask for: inspiration, spirit for adventure, friendship, and love.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

We will catch waves again together someday. And until then, I will think of you every time I step into the ocean. May you rest in peace.

Photo by Andrea Preziotti

11 Comments

  • Reply

    Nicole De Leon

    October 24, 2011

    The universe brought us all a special gift which was Talei. She reminds us all to not get caught up in the ruts and schedules, but to embrace life for all it has to offer. Talei not only embodied it, but inspires us to live each day fully present and to the fullest extent of what we have to offer. A loss of a loved one makes us realize that negativity and cynicism have no place during short time here on this earth. Run barefoot, travel to your dream destinations, inhale living, love to our fullest! Talei, you will be missed, and your life always celebrated! Love always xoxo

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      January 12, 2012

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, Nicole! Your words are deeply inspiring and comforting.

  • Reply

    kristi

    October 24, 2011

    Hilary, you’ve created an incredible post commemorating Talei. The quotes and pictures serve as beautiful reminders of how Talei touched each one us. Love all of you ladies!

  • Reply

    Izzy

    November 6, 2011

    Hi Hilary, this is lovely. I’ve invited you to be an author on the memoriesoftalei.blogspot.com blog – it would be great if you could repost this on there too. Big thanks, Izzy x

  • Reply

    Lynne Knowlton

    November 22, 2011

    So sad when someone so incredible is taken from this world. So sorry for your loss of your friend. She looked like a beautiful kind soul. Loved the picture in the hammock with those toes hanging over the edge. Looked like BLISS. Lynne xx

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      November 22, 2011

      Thank you so much, Lynne. I am sorry for those who didn’t get the chance to meet her. She was one special girl. Hope you’re well and living life to the fullest!

  • Reply

    Felix

    December 5, 2011

    Thank You is the best thing I can say! To know that Talei had some really wonderful people to hang-out with, in her last few weeks and to see the photos really makes me and our family happy to know she was doing what she loved the most! Trying new things and meeting new and great people. I know that you all had an equally strong impression on her as she did on you and I send you all an open invitation to come to Fiji and allow us to show you where she is today and how beautiful her home is! Thank you again and God Bless you all!!

    • Reply

      Hilary Billings

      December 5, 2011

      Thank you, Felix! I hope you are well and I can’t wait to come down and meet you in person! I will be sure to pass along your sweet words to the other girls on the retreat. <3

  • Reply

    […] us, expressing my condolences and trying to share some stories of my time with her. I had posted a blog about it and reposted it on a memorial blog after being requested to do so by one of Talei’s flatmates […]

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Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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