Let me start off by saying, I am teaching grade 1 virtually this year and gosh, am I ever busy. This has been the first time i can sit back and write something other than lesson plans. Im happy that this comes easy to me. Hopefully all of my posts have been helpful thus far, i have so much more coming for you! Anyways, here we go:
I never thought i was ever going to go Julia Roberts and eat/pray/ love my way through a place. However, the moment I got to Pai, Thailand i just KNEW this is what was going to happen. Pai is a town in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand. It sits in a valley on the banks of the Pai River. It’s known for its nearby gorges, hot springs like the Tha Pai Hot Spring and waterfalls like Mo Paeng Waterfall.
Here it Is… How I Eat, Prayed, Loved.
I never thought it would of come to a Julia Roberts vibe however, one thing is clear I had everything I needed at the time and I relatively still do. I wasn’t leaving a toxic relationship or having a career change. Nothing like that, it’s just the moment I got to Pai, something happened. I had a realization… that I was so focused on ‘Whats Next’ in life I never appreciated how I got the moment of my life I was in. Anyways, it started like..
I ate so many different foods, i explored the culture and I even explore American cuisine with a twist. But, I also took a cooking class (I wasn’t trying to loose the skill haha). I also ate foods that made me happy. While at home, i tend to eat on the 80/20 rule and that has worked tremendously. however, on this trip I wasn’t being so health conscious, i wanted to let myself be free and learn to love food whole- heartedly.
I prayed.. I prayed a whole lot. Not for specific answers- more so for direction or a little sign about myself. I wanted to know if i was heading in the right direction and if I wasn’t i was heading at least somewhere that would bring me comfort. Every so often, i received these signs of hope and they were little things such as, a dove, or a colour that reminded me about a time in my life. Praying on my trip opened the doors for #mindfulness and #gratitude and really finding solace in my own company. Being alone for me was never lonely because I was always with my thoughts and I often caught myself putting to rest some demons that were constantly in my mind.
THIS right here, is where it was at. I LOVED.. I learned to love myself for who I am and my independent thoughts. I even learned to love the parts of me that require deep growth. Backpacking for my is like therapy, it’s an experience that typically involves a lot of self-reflection and consciousness because you’re alone with none but yourself. But, the greatest thing of all of it, is that you learn how amazing you can be without the materialism items or the partner or the career.
I learned to love my friends a little deeper, life a little stronger, and learn to love moments for what they are. See below some of the moments where I Loved..
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post! Leave a comment below what you’ve been doing!
Let’s talk about solo travelling for Black women. The fear of sticking out, facing racism or fetishization makes solo travel especially daunting. Today, I want to encourage you to travel alone as a black woman by sharing 5 reasons why you should. To be honest, travel is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it can bereally empowering.
As a matter of fact, solo travel has the power to transform your life. Case in point: traveling solo in Thailand opened my eyes to travel and inspired me to take chances and blog my entire experience. Head over to my instagram to see my Bus Chronicles which often shows the reality of backpacking and dealing with buses haha.
1. There’s Not Many of Us
Our voices, our stories, and our experiences deserve to be heard. I challenge you to take a scroll through instagram and search hashtags such as, #backpackers, #femalebackpackers #femaletraveller #girlstraveltoo and what do you think? Hear me out though, I LOVE that women are doing the damn thing. That being said, it is important that Black women and Women of Colour are exposed to these spaces too.
2. You Deserve to be a Trailblazer
Imagine, what the first female backpacker felt? Imagine what the first black female backpacker felt? Probably nerves, shoot! Everyday as a women we have to become trailblazers in our communities. I encourage women to be Trailblazers in their own communities/ families.
When, I first decided to solo travel and told my family- the reaction was not what I expected. There was a lot of questions and my mom was NOT on board. But eventually, everyone was amazed at my journeys and were inspired by the courage I had to change the path in my life. You can travel as a Black women and you can inspire other young Black/women to follow in your foot steps. Encourage young girls to DREAM BIG and to TRAVEL and see what this beautiful world has to offer outside traditional norms.
3. Despite Racism, YOU CAN
I talked about racism in a previous post but, I wanted to emphasize this again. Racism will always be around. We cannot control how people treat others unfortunately but we can control, our responses. Some people will always be ignorant and that’s a fact.
However, with all the ugliness in the world there is beauty and often times on my journeys, I wasn’t faced with racism. Questions at time yes, but not that much racism. I learned to love the world again by back-packing because there are still good people out there waiting for you.
To sum this up- WE CAN TRAVEL LADIES
4. To Find Your Purpose
Everyone deserves to find their purpose, including you sister. Now, I am not saying, that I ‘found’ my purpose travelling, i simply found the answers to key questions in my life. Such as, what I wanted to do career wise, what my goals were, why I tried to please everyone around me. Often times, Black women are warriors in our communities taking care of everyone and forgetting to give the same amount of energy to themselves. I encourage you, Black women and all women to also give yourself that 110% energy you give everyone around you. I promise, it will do you wonder’s.
5. To Make Make Memories That will Last a Lifetime
Wether it is solo travelling within your own country or deciding to travel abroad, it is important that you make memories, that will last you a life-time. I unfortunately lost my cousin Chantel in February of 2020 and if there was one thing that she taught me it was to make memories that will last a lifetime. We as Black women have so many barriers in our lives and anxieties to worry about. But, the one thing that brings calm is making those memories to bring us back to a place of comfort. It is so important that we travel the globe and share our stories and then create memories that remind us that we are Superhuman’s in our own way. That we too are trailblazers and most important Human.
If you have anything to share to fellow Black Women thinking about travelling please comment below!
Thank you so much for reading, don’t forget to like/ leave a comment. I will see you in my next post!
I want to express that my experiences shouldn’t be symbolic of the entire demographic of black women, but that as a black woman, these are various things I’ve experienced, noticed, and would like to bring attention to by sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned. Please note: I am not an expert, but I learned the ways by self- teaching.
I WANT TO BE VERY FRANK: I’M DISAPPOINTED THAT IN 2020, THIS TOPIC IS STILL RELEVANT. It’s a shame to see that women of color like myself aren’t traveling more often, so much so that when looking at the landscape of travel bloggers and bloggers, I’m one of a handful. That being said: traveling is a privilege, one that women of colour often do not always have.
1. We Barley Exist
I am not kidding, going through my travels there was always excitement when I saw another female black traveller. Especially, one that is back-packing. Of course, there are black women traveling the world every single day, but the ratio to everyone else traveling is minuscule.
2. We Experience More than Cat-Calling.
Of course, all women have to deal with the annoying and entitled action of rude men catcalling as we casually walk around, even in our own cities. There is so many videos of men harassing women as women are simply walking or minding their own business.
Often times, on trips fellow Black travellers had told me experiences of being cat-called and men blowing loud kisses or getting extremely touchy. However, this kind of treatment isn’t only limited to foreign travel but also extends to our Home countries.
I once read “There’s a sense of respect that white women receive without knowing it” which is very much true for travelling women of colour. That being said: Black female travels have far more anxieties than the average cat-calling.
3. We surprise people.
Because of all of these preconceived notions about black women/people around the world, when we travel, we’re helping soothe the worlds’ ignorance about us. The more we become present in the travel space, the more we’ll change “ugly black women” stereotypes. I’ve had several conversations with men and women who are genuinely surprised at my ability to not only travel but to step into countries where Black people are not often seen. Now, this is not easy but I truly believe inserting ourselves in places where we have not been seen before can allow for exposure and representation.
4. We carry more weight than the average traveler.
This is just a fact, because there are so few of us out there traveling, when we come back from a life-changing trip, we swallow the moral duty to share our experience with the world, and more importantly, to other black women. Whether I’ve come back with stories of racism, praise, ignorance, or friendships in uncommon places, I always want to share my journey. As it’s in most women’s nature to help causes, and people, I feel personally responsible to bring up our kind.
I started this blog with the hopes of encouraging others to travel and learn what this beautiful world has to offer.
As a travel blogger, I feel this burden more with each new subscriber or reader. We carry the weight and responsibility of speaking on behalf of our entire kind. But let me correct myself, this is defiantly not a burden because I love writing about my experiences with you all.
5. We are seen as ugly in most countries.
Despite the high level of harassment we receive, we’re not seen as beautiful by most of the world, mostly because societies simply aren’t used to our thick hair, brown skin, and curvy bodies. The stereotypes that societies hold on to about black women never have the words: beautiful, graceful, or intelligent, attached; something that I’ve learned through microagressions.
Now: among my travels I have only received one comment which made me feel uncomfortable however, I’ve heard this statement a lot in my home country of Canada. I was traveling between countries one time and at the border the Agent advised “Wow you’re gorgeous for a Black women”. Now… I did not like that, but this statement wasn’t surprising to me because of the normative storylines society has created about Black women/People. That being said: I smiled and proceeded to walk away, I think if I wasn’t in a foreign country I would of directed that. But these are comments that Black women are often faced with. Indicating that Black women are commonly ‘ugly’ which also aligns with comments “You cant be full Black”. These microagressions Black women carry through travels and their daily lives.
6. We’re Scared
To up and travel is just not a luxury: We have so many things to think about. Such as: Are they praised in Cuba? Are they honoured in Portugal? Are they shunned in Denmark? Can we go to Germany? We have questions on what being a black woman means globally and we empathize with our sisters.
7. We’re Role Models
Breaking stereotypes and stepping outside our comfort zone. We ultimately become role models and story-tellers for fellow black female travellers. We inspire others to step outside their comfort zone and experience this beautiful world. It’s about changing the reputation of black women everywhere
8. We Can Do it
Despite, the barriers we CAN DO IT. We can travel, we can backpack, we can create communities, we can build friendships and most importantly we can be unapologetically beautiful and free.
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post. Please leave me a like/comment xoxo
OK, I CAN’T TRAVEL I WORK FULL-TIME OK? Think Again.
I travelled as a full-time student to: Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia.
I also travelled as a full-time Masters student and full-time worker to Europe. It is, possible if you just try.
I try to make travelling a priority in my life because it makes me happy. I also know a lot of people who wish to travel however, they’re just not sure how to integrate it with their full-time job. In today’s post, I’m giving you 10 Simple ways to travel with your full-time job or as a student. Here we go:
1. CREATE A MONTHLY BUDGET
If you’ve never created a monthly budget, I highly recommend you start one now. This can help with overall better financial literacy skills as well as preparing you to save for a future trip. By creating a monthly budget you can see exactly where your money is going and how fast. This can help with looking at vacations and costs to save.
2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Studies show that employees are typically happier when they take vacations (CLEARLY!!) and mental breaks. Employee’s are more likely to have a positive work-life balance when they take time off. When they return to work, after the first day back (we all know this feeling) have increased productivity and lessens early work burn-out.
If travel is something that you really want to do. You’ve got to start prioritizing it and become strategic about your time-off. Establish a plan and follow through with it, bank your vacation days and start saving NOW. I recommend creating a Savings account that charges you every time you withdraw money. This will help keep you on track.
Also, trips do not have to be 10 days in order to have the ‘back-packing experience’. They also do not have to be in another continent to enjoy as well.
3. USE THE WEEKENDS !!
Honestly, this is the !!golden rule!! and never forget it. I learned through experience it is best to use the weekends to extend your vacation and SAVE on your vacation time. Leave on a Thursday or a Friday and Save yourself the extra days.
Here’s an example: traveling Monday through Friday = 5 vacations days. VERSE Thursday through Tuesday = 3 vacation days.
Similarly, try traveling Friday through the next Sunday – this would give you 10 vacation days opposed to 5 using the same time off as traveling Monday through Friday, because you included the weekend before and after.
4. USE THE HOLIDAYS
I know, it can be hard to leave family behind for the holidays. That being said, for the past few years, I’ve missed a few however, I always made sure to face-time/call and be involved in the festivities. I’ve also celebrated before I left with people such as my grandma.
Using Holidays can also help you save on time off. I recommend looking at your work calendar and seeing which holidays you can piggy-back on. It’s basically a FREE- DAY.
5. FLY CLOSER TO HOME
You do not have to take 13 hour flights until you’ve banked enough days or gathered enough seniority to get whatever days off. And that’s totally okay! There are numerous closer destinations for you to visit and you can knock them off your bucket list first. Air-time can take away at least 2 days for a trip and jet-leg can honestly be a PAIN.
Here are a few places you can pick over a 22 hour flight to Taiwan: (Assuming you are in Canada/USA)
i.e: Costa Rica, Hondura’s, and Curacaco.
6. WORK FROM HOME
COVID-19 YA’LL. Has defiantly changed the work game moving forward. With many jobs moving to online work. I suggest you take this opportunity when borders open up to work in a new city. It’s 2020, you should also have no problem finding wifi. I remember having to look for wifi all over Croatia, because I had big deadlines to finish my assignments. (or just use data is all else truly fails).
If working in a new city isn’t possible, you can always search hidden gems around your city. The KEY to finding these is searching for ‘Backpackers Edition’. But, I’ll come out with a post soon for that.
7. TRAVEL DURING LONG WEEKENDS
Travel during long weekends, and see attractions close to home (See #4 again). I’ve been to such beautiful countries and seen some amazing things. However, there is so much of Canada I’ve yet to see and even hidden gems within the GTA.
I also recommend banking not only on holidays, but also cashing in on those random long weekends we have. I know it can seem like “UGHHH i just want to relax”. But I am all bout maximizing your ability to travel while working a full-time job or as a student.
8. REMEMBER THAT BENEFITS PACKAGE?
Remember the company welcome package you first received when you were hired at your job? Most people don’t. The pages are overwhelming with information, most of which you think ‘mehh I’ll never use’ and often times the amount of jargon inside are hardly memorable and you’re just happy you have a job and one that can pay your bills/debt/netflix account/ You name it.
That’s how I felt, at least.
It may take a while to realize this job you need a vacation from may actually be able to help you take one… and it is all mentioned in your welcome package or benefits package that they provided during your orientation.
Many jobs offer a health and wellness program that encourages you to take ‘mental health leave’ or ‘health days’ or ‘compressed work days’ just to rejuvenate which is separate from your vacation days. So take a look through your package to see if this applies to you. Also, check to see if your employer offers you the opportunity to do a volunteering trip as professional development. This can also help you travel without worrying that you have a full-time job.
9. START EARLY
An early morning start will help you beat large crowds, and it literally doubles the time off that you do have in a given place. In some countries waking up earlier will also enable you to beat the HOT HEAT. I had to do this a LOT in Thailand because by 10am, the sun was unbearable. I am pretty sure i lost 15lbs just by standing in the sun for 5 minutes haha. If you are on vacation and you wake up at 7 or 8 am instead of 11 am or 12 pm, you’ve added 4-5 hours of daylight back into to your day (YIPPIE!)
10. TRAVEL SOLO!!
If you wait for friends to finally hop on board. You’ll never get to go or it will end up taking forever.
To be honest, we always think we have time and the saddest truth of life, is that we don’t. I’m not saying dash away your friends, but don’t wait for them to decide. JUST DO IT! You’ll end up loving yourself for it afterwards. It’s also difficult to align budgets and time off, so when you plan for just yourself it relieves a lot of stress.
YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO TRAVEL SOLO!
I’ve met people across all age groups and I promise you, You’re never to old to Solo Travel or go Backpacking !
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post.