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Photo Journal: CAPTIVATING CINQUE TERRE

After seeing photographs of this beautiful area of Italy for years, I finally got a chance to go and witness it myself. On the seaside, you can find five towns that are filled with beauty, food, color, history, and culture . It’s one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been, and of course I fell in love with it. I thought, I eat, prayed and loved my way in Pai. But it turns out I did the exact same thing here. Even with the odd rainy day, I wished I spent a longer time here. A special shoutout goes out to Franco my hostel host for creating an amazing experience and making everyone feel like family. Enjoy these shots of this picturesque region of Italia.

If interested in a Part 2: Comment down below, I love hearing from you wonderful people.

If any of these photos fancy you: Pin it to you Pinterest Board. I appreciate all the love.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in my next post, don’t forget to like/comment it means the world to me.

Where in the World are you right now?

Travel Tips · Uncategorized

5 Reasons Black Women NEED Solo Travel

Thailand

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 be really 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.

My sister & I on an Adventure in Ontario

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

Chiang Mai, Thailand- Surviving the Sleeper Train

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.

My Cousin Chantel, Rest in Paradise My Angel

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!

2020

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How Am I Surviving During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Thanks to COVID the travelling world has been halted/changed forever. I for one, am very nervous about the travelling industry and what this means for hostels/hotels. I know things wont go back to the way they were but, hopefully they will become better! These are some things I’ve been doing to keep myself sane during these unprecedented times.

Ways to Ease Your Wanderlust During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Plan your next adventure

While nobody knows how long this is going to last and how long there will be restrictions on travel, nothing stops you from having fun planning your next adventure. Perhaps order yourself a scrapbook and make a wanderlust book. Make lists of all the places and things that you would like to see, print off some pictures and place it in a journal! This will help you narrow down where you want to go!

Eat international food

Satisfy your appetite for wanderlust! If you can’t go to the destination of your dreams, bring the destination of your dreams to you! I would recommend searching for family owned businesses that specialize in their country cuisine this can really satisfy your ‘belly wanderlust’.

Sort out the practicalities

Why not get everything ready so that when you can travel again, after the covid-19 pandemic has passed, you are prepared to go straight away. Perhaps your passport needs renewing – why not see if you can do that now? 

And let’s say (because this is the truth) COVID doesn’t disappear research what other countries are doing to keep their residences safe and see if this aligns with your worries. This is a great time to research and see if the country you’re planning to go has proper safety protocols in place.

Watch Must See Video’s

This is a great time to research “MUST SEE VIDEO”. Where people post the top must sees in specific places. Have you seen my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE?’. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Read travel blogs

That might have brought you to me.  Well, if that’s the case WELCOME and thank you so much for reading and following my blog. By reading travel blogs, you can always find new information such as, new places to visit or new destinations you would of never have considered to visit before.

During this time I have been reading a lot of travel blogs, this is the perfect way to get a hit of travel and ease your wanderlust. Stay tuned for my new series I started with ‘Photo Journaling’ places in the World.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post! Leave a comment below what you’ve been doing!

Check out my latest posts below and take a read, xoxo

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What Solo Backpacking has Taught Me

Lost in the Rice Fields in Ubud, Indonesia

I did a lot of solo backpacking in 2019 and it was my first time ever doing it. It is crazy to think, I just jumped in head first and didn’t look back. This was by far the biggest fear I had to overcome thus far in my life and honestly, I do not regret it. I do regret not doing it sooner. It took a lot of time and patience with myself to reframe my understanding and really commit to what I wanted to do.

In today’s post, I am sharing a few things that Solo Backpacking has taught me. Please keep in mind, this is specifically for Backpacking. Backpacking is a very different style of travel that not everyone is accustomed to. However, it is something that I think you should defiantly try. It really opens the doors for you to understand yourself in a different perspective. Without the influence of family or friends.

ACCEPT EMOTIONS EVEN THE BAD ONES

Not everyday will be the greatest day as a solo backpacker. But one thing I learned was that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Prior, to solo travelling I often feared sadness and showing that vulnerability because being a Black women in today’s society. You HAVE to be strong and often times being strong 24/7 can lead to a hard downfall. I learned while travelling it is totally okay to be happy and totally okay to be sad. In life, you have to take the good with the bad and allow yourself to experience different emotions to truly feel human. And if I’m being honest, bad emotions can often project you towards the right path.

If you follow my instagram: Kyramurrel, I post my awful bus chronicles (Croatia)

TO ASK QUESTIONS

This is an ego thing. I will be honest haha, prior to travelling asking questions was very difficult for me. I’d rather struggle and go through PAIN before asking a question. After, backpacking I realized it’s okay, not to know the answer. The most important thing, is to find out how you can get the answer. And if i’m being honest, in interview’s they love this shit. Being able to ask questions when “you’re not sure and seek support”, My friends, if you say this line you’re on your way to employee of the month baby. Lol, just partially joking. But in all seriousness, asking questions and seeking help is a big thing I learned while backpacking and it’s taught me so much about using the community and people to help me get by.

VALUE MATERIAL THINGS DIFFERENTLY

This is a very interesting one because you often think you don’t value material things or showing material things. However, when you step outside of your home city you learn just how much it runs a lot of lives. While back-packing I learned to value material differently for example, buying those bottles at the club and poppin champagne likes its always my birthday. It’s just not the scene for me anymore, that $250 bottle every night I go out can go towards climbing Machu Picchu. Now, Im not saying- not have fun but think of alternative ways that fun can be had that allows you to see the world because honestly, its beautiful.

TO LIVE WITHIN A MOMENT

I loved this realization and it is still an on-going thing for me because I am young and I love instagram and I love pictures. That being said, while backpacking there were a few times when I would be quick to take a photo and not just any photo, but the perfect photo. I would also record views and look through my phones lens (i know terrible right!?).

But most of us are guilty of that because it is what we’ve become accustomed to. For example, think about the last time you were in the club and either had bottles served to you or someone else. How many camera’s were recording? and who was really in the moment?

While, it is good to take photos it is also important that you live in the moment. Take one photo, and then LIVE in the MOMENT, observe it, take it all in or just look at the scenery listen to the; air, the birds, the people, and yourself and you’ll realize that there is beauty in simplicity and despite how terrible the world is, there is also beauty in it as well.

Sunsets in Croatia

I’VE RECEIVED MORE RACISM IN THE CA THAN ABROAD

Yep. You read that correctly! More than anything, racism (at least the face-to-face kind) isn’t something that a traveler can ever really be prepared for. TBH: Racism is always on my mind when travelling. But, in my years of travel (all-inclusives/short trips/back-paCking) I have only encountered 3 situations and that was in the US and than the every-so often case in Canada(where I live).

When I talk to other travellers (specifically back-packers), especially Black women, we all mostly agree that racism is more in your face in America. In almost all cases I have met nothing but respectful people who are willing to help/sell me items/hang-out with me. I sometimes get stared at thought. In most cases, it’s because Black people are not a common occurrence in the area. And yes there has been a few cases where it was “let’s take a picture” and yaknow I kindly say NEOOOOOOOOOOPE.

TO BE CONFIDENT

I learned very quick that you had to be confident in a holistic way. Confidence for yourself as well as confidence in yourself (decisions). The moment, I landed I had to make a lot of choices in every country and often times it has been easy for me to text a friend asking ‘what do you think’ and when you’re travelling you don’t have that. So i had to quickly, get on the Somewhere in the world train and just trust myself and be confident in my choices.

2019

YOU CAN BE ALONE AND NOT LONELY

If nothing else, being by yourself is a great way to learn who you are, what you love, what you don’t love and where you want to go in life. Learning who you are is a great way to build self-confidence, resilience and courage. Building that confidence in yourself is the first step to living a life you’re proud of.

I realize that such a sentiment is quite dramatic but I have found it to be true after my travels. If nothing else, it builds confidence in the smaller things. I used to be afraid to try new things totally outside my comfort-zone (i.e., doing these crazy long hikes). I am now more confident in my abilities and more willing to put myself out in the world and push myself to the limit. Travel is a big part of this.

I have already proven to myself that I can take care of myself. Why wouldn’t book bigger and better trip? I have already shown myself that I can do what I put my mind to. Why not step up at work and take on more responsibility? Take chances? Asks questions and LEARN.

A Beach in Zadar, Croatia

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post, don’t forget to leave a comment.

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My Favourite Travel Apps

In most cases, you can use a phone app to do just about anything – from booking a flight to buying a house, finding your partner, and getting WOKE. I can’t remember the last time I actually had to sign-on to a direct website or a bank’s website to actually do something since apps have replaced opening up a web browser. I mean, unless the app is just absolutely useless. Which I’ve come across a few haha.

Travel apps are amazing – from airlines, to hostels, to transportation, to storing documents it makes travelling so much easier. Especially as a backpacker, you really have to save space when traveling as a minimalist.

This post contains a list of the BEST free travel apps out there, for an even better travel experience in 2021.

I’ve listed the apps in order starting with Hostelworld.
  1. Hostelworld

This app is great for booking hostels on the go when you’re travelling place to place. It is also a good app to use if you know you’re going to one place and just want to book through here. They also show if the hostel offers any day-trips or excursions which makes it a lot easier on you.

2. Google

Google is a good app to have when travelling or backpacking. I find the safari searches better then using the one meant for my Apple products. It can also redirect you quickly to Google Doc’s which is also very important to have on your phone.

3. Skyscanner

Is a great app for finding cheap apps, you just have to be sure that you’re also looking at the ‘layovers’ at times, you can have a long layover/short layover/ or no layover. There are benefits to all of them. But, I will save that for another post.

4. Maps.Me

Is a offline mobile site that offers Maps for virtually anywhere in the world. The only thing you have to do, is download the country/city map you will be using when you have wifi and then you can use it whenever you’re ready!

5. Airbnb

This app is great for looking up alternatives to hostels/hotels and you can read reviews and see overall ratings. ** Just be mindful, that some hosts will do ANYTHING to get a good review. Therefore, look for both the good and the bad.

You can also use this app to book excursions, which me and my friend have used and I’ve used a few times and I have run into any problems yet.

If this is your first time using Airbnb to book your vacation here is a code for $45 CAD off your first booking plus you get $17 to use towards an experience booked through Airbnb as well.

6. XE Currency

This is an awesome tool for currency exchange without being bombarded with ad’s. Add the currencies of the countries you are visiting before you leave home! or when you have wifi. You will be able to put a price in and see it in your currency almost instantly.

7. Google Translate

This is probably, my favourite app I recommend you download when visiting another country. It helps support you with language barriers and allows you to read signs when you’re trying to figure out your location and how to get to a specific location.

8. Worldpackers

Is a “collaborative network for those looking for a unique travel experience. Develop skills, learn languages and meet others through cultural immersion with local hosts”. It’s an awesome way to travel and learn new skills, or simply to volunteer within countries local communities and learn the true culture outside of touristy attractions.

9. Audible

On audible you can download audiobooks for your kids or even yourself for long flight, drives, train rides, or even when you have that morning coffee alone at a cafe.

10. Your bank institution.

Typically whatever bank you’re associated with will have an app and it is very important that you monitor your spending on your trip as you can get carried away fast with all the excitement.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I decided to give a hack which I found while travelling Europe.

11. Rick Steves Audio Europe

Okay.. Rick gives the most corny jokes on this app. But it’s TOTALLY FREE with NO AD’s and it’s honestly, the best thing I ever found. He provides FREE walking tours with maps which is great for parents as well as older kids. Included in the app is: various tours, maps, historical sites, museum you name it. Just download everything you need while you have wifi. This app got me through the Vatican City without having to pay for a tour.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post!

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How to Start a Solo Adventure?

This was my very first inquiry, when I decided I was going to travel solo. There were so many question’s and so many thoughts in mind. Here are a few things, that quick-jumped my solo planning.

I decided I would start a series through a few posts breaking down each of these things. However, for suggestion number one, see here how to ‘cheat your vacation time’.

Here is how I started my solo adventure:

  1. I had to decide how much time I had.

Now, not everyone has the same amount of time off. But, I was graduating and I wasn’t going to start working until September so I had months. I decided two months was going to be good enough for me.

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2. Research Countries

This is really important. Especially, being a black female I had to research other Black female travellers experiences in different countries. This is a sad reality for many Black people travelling as we don’t have the privilege to just go ANYWHERE! That being said, Everywhere has racism, the question is how much of it am I willing to tolerate in order to explore a country?

I joined a few travel groups and searched a few hashtags. Overall, I found it comes down to personal experience however, here are places I found where Black/Women felt uncomfortable:

Countries where BW felt uncomfortable: (just a few)

Barcelona, Spain
Morocco
South Africa
Southern, Ireland
Naples, Italy
Cambodia
Parts of Vietnam

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With that information (which there was many more places) and people are very willing to share their experience, I decided to search for the SAFEST countries to visit. Here’s what I found:

Portugal
Denmark
Thailand
Veitnam
Slovenia
Indonesia

I know you’re probably reading this list like, huuuh?! But, this is what I mean- research is the biggest part of starting your back-packing journey because honestly, you can spend hours watching Videos of peoples experiences or blog posts about it and learn a lot so while, it may take you away. In the end it’s really helpful, and I highly recommend it.

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3. Budget

This is BIG, I can’t emphasize this enough. Budgeting is what will help you make this a smooth process. I recommend if you’re from Canada. SEARCH OUR DOLLAR CONVERSION. GOLLY, this was depressing! our dollar doesn’t go far in some places. That being said, I was broke graduating from my undergrad but, I had this trip in mind for over a year so I’ve been saving. **Don’t worry I’ll post how I budgeted for a year for this trip.

Budgeting for a solo adventure, is much like doing a monthly budget if you ever done one. You input your daily costs (activities, hostels, food) and you calculate how much you’ll be spending daily and then you go from there. Keep in mind, this also takes research to see how much it costs daily as a back packer or solo traveller. There is a lot of information out there, and I’ll share how to find the best info.

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4. Growth Mindset

I learned this concept in my B.Ed and while we mainly use it for our students, I think its important to use it for other areas in our lives. It basically means, being open to learning and growing, and with that comes the possibility to reframe your previous understandings.

Going into solo travelling I had to get rid of certain thoughts and messages being sent when I shared my news:

“WHAT?!: You can’t go alone you’re a female”
“Maybe, you should just wait until your friends can go”
“I don’t think it’s safe”
“You wont like [insert country]”
“Go with a boyfriend, and enjoy life together”

The list goes on.. Don’t let it discourage you, continue your plan to travel and to make memories that can last a lifetime. I once had a cousin who told me, in life to “Make Memories to Last a lifetime” and if there’s anything I want my travel journey to do, is to inspire you to do, just that.

Source: Drew Doodles (2020)


Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post