Celebrating mothers and travel…Happy Mother’s Day

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I’m not a mom and at this stage in my life, I doubt I will ever wear the title.  As an outsider, motherhood seems like one of the most challenging yet rewarding roles that a woman could ever take on in their lifetime.  It’s a gift and a blessing to ever be entrusted with such a role.  I admire mothers.  I admire their strength, courage, resilience, selflessness, and unconditional love.  I was lucky enough to have a mother that exemplified those qualities and more.  She loved her family without limits and no sacrifice was ever too great.  Growing up, she was always the first to wake up and the last to go bed making sure every need was met.  I miss her dearly.  If this blog seems like I’m rambling, it’s because I am.  My words aren’t very fluid today, as this is my first Mother’s Day without her in the “physical” sense.  I miss her presence.  I miss her making me laugh.  But, instead of being sad today, I wanted to immerse myself in things and memories that bring me joy.  And one of the things that brings me joy and seeing photographs of moms introducing their children to travel. Leading by example, mothers show their children that all goals are attainable and nothing is impossible. This blog entry is a dedication to mothers around the world, including my very own watching over me.  Here’s to mothers giving the world and showing their children world all at the same time.  N’joy!

 

Urbantravelista | Cuba: Everything I expected and more

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So my first adventure of 2017 kicked off in Cuba.  Over the summer, a good friend of mine propositioned me to join her group trip she was organizing.  Cuba had definitely on my bucket list, especially with the travel restrictions being lifted for US tourists.  If you follow my blog or know me in “real” life, then you know I had to derail my travel and adventure when my mom passed away back in November.  Needless to say, this trip was well deserved and long overdue.  Initially, I started to cancel my travel plans. My heart just wasn’t in it. But I’m glad I went against myself.  Cuba did not disappoint.  It was everything I hoped for and more. As you scroll and read further, you’ll understand why.

Preparation

Even with travel restrictions being lifted for US travel, there are still a few thing you need to be aware before booking your trip to Cuba. First and foremost, travel strictly for tourist activities is prohibited.  When you book your flight, you will need to certify the reason for your visit and meet the regulations and conditions of a general license.  The most common condition used is “educational activities or people-to-people exchanges”.  To apply for a license or for an extensive list license conditions, you can visit  the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) License Application  Page.

  • Visa Requirements: Visas are not a requirement for regular tourists who plan to spend up to two months in Cuba.  Instead, you get a (tourist card) valid for 30 days, which can be extended once you’re in Cuba.  Tourist cards can be purchased for around $25, at the gate from your carrier prior to boarding.
  • Travel Insurance: As of 2010, health insurance that is accepted by Cuba is mandatory for travelers visiting abroad.  Proof must be presented at the time of flight check in.  Policies range from $25 to $50 per person and can be purchased through an agency that specializes in travel insurance.  It can also be included in the cost of your flight through carriers such as Delta, United, and Jet Blue.  Check with your carrier at the time of booking.
  • Currency: The standard currency in Cuban is the Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). The exchange rate is 1.00 CUC = $1.00 USD.  US currency and debit/ATM cards are NOT accepted in Cuba at this time. When you arrive, you will need to convert your money into Cuban currency before leaving the airport. The Cuban government levies a 10% penalty followed by a 3% financial transaction charge when converting from USD to CUC. So, for every $100 you exchange, you will only receive $87 CUCS. To avoid this penalty, some travelers will convert from USD to Euros (or Canadian currency), then convert to CUCs upon arrival.
  • Internet Access: Internet access and cellular access is VERY LIMITED in Cuban. For internet access, wifi cards can be purchased at local hotels for about 4 CUCs per hour. Cellular service is very random. Some people are able to get access and others are not, depending on the type of phone or carrier. Check with your cellular provider beforehand.  But don’t be surprised if your phone still doesn’t work, even if they promise service.

Accommodations

In Cuba, accommodations fall into two options: Hotels and Casas Particulares (private houses).  Hotels are usually state owned and can cost almost four times what you would pay in a private casa. In my group, we took advantage of what Cuba had to offer and stayed in a private casa.  Choosing a casa and living with the locals gave us the opportunity to experience Cuba’s beautiful culture. By the end of the week, I felt like a resident. Private casa range any anywhere from 15 to 50 CUCs per night. Some offer single, double, and triple rooms.  So the cost can decrease drastically if you have a roommate. Many of the hosts offer breakfast (home cooked) for 5 CUCs. The hosts are very responsive and helpful.  They also enjoy sharing their culture with you and making you feel at home. This satisfies to license requirement for Cuban travel for “educational activities or people-to-people exchanges.  Hotels are state owned and can cost almost four times what you would spend for a private casa.

Transportation

Taxis, bus, and walking are the most common modes of transportation. Most people navigate Havana by foot and use a taxi to travel outside Central Havana.

 

Things to Do

Before the trip, I wondered if I would have enough to do being in Cuba for 7 full days. But there is so much to do that I’m planning a return visit before the end of the year. Cuba has plenty to offer inside of Havana, as well as outside.

Havana

  • Almacenes San José Artisans’ Market: This is considered to be Havana´s largest flea market. Hundreds of booths are housed here and offer clothing, paintings, tourist souvenirs, ceramics, and other creative wares. It is open daily 9am-5pm.
  • Floridita: This spot is a historic fish restaurant and cocktail bar in the older part of Havana (La Habana Vieja).  It’s known for its daiquiris and for being frequent hangout of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Plaza Vieja: This area makes up one of the seven wards of Old Havana.  The plaza was the site of executions, processions, and bullfights.  Today, it is adorned with shops, restaurant, and  nightlife with live music and salsa dancing. Think of the Vegas strip, Cuban style.
  • Museo del Ron Havana Club: The Havana Club Museum offers daily tours tracing the origins of rum in Cuba’s history. You can learn about it’s history, production, and exportation. They also have rum available for purchase under their trade name, as well as cigars and other souvenirs.
  • Callejon de Hamel: This area is considered to be the artistic headquarters of artist and muralist, Salvador Gonzáles Escalona. Callejon de Hamel offers beautiful displays of Afro-Cuban art and cultural education on Afro-Cuban religion, traditions, and spirituality (Santeria).

Excursions/Day Trips

  • Valle de Vinales: We explored the countryside and tobacco farms of Cuba with a day trip to Vinales. We had the opportunity to visit one of the tobacco plantations where many of the cigars are harvested.  The photos don’t do the lush greens and mountains justice.  You will take a lot of pictures!
  • Santa Maria Del Mar Beach: This beach is one of Havana’s most popular beaches, probably because it’s the closest. It’s located at 25 km from Central Havana (about a 20 minute ride by taxi). Santa Maria offers full beach activities (jet skiing, diving, and sailing), massage, Cabana service, souvenirs, and a restaurant. The taxi ride from Havana was about 30 CUCs.
  • Las Terrazas: This is an eco-village community located about 2 hours outside of Havana.  It’s a very rural town, similar to Vinales. We had the opportunity to go zip lining and  to visit the home of the late Cuban singer Polo Montañez.

 

Other Tips

  • Go with an open mind. Don’t expect the same modern accommodations that you normally find in the states or all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Traveling to Cuba is like traveling back in time. And what it lacks in convenience, it more than makes up for in culture and aesthetics.
  • Remember, internet access is VERY limited. You will need to purchase a wifi card to access the internet. Cards can be purchased at hotels for around 4 CUCs per hour.
  • Pack toilet paper/disposable wipes. Many of the public bathrooms (even the more swanky establishments) do not have toilet paper in the bathroom stalls.  Some even “charge” for toilet paper. Make sure you have some with you when you’re out and about. Also, although your casa or hotel will most likely provide toilet paper during your stay, it is often rationed out.
  • Pack antibacterial sanitizer or hand soap. Again, some restrooms do not have it available or charge for it.
  • If you decide to stay in a casa, pack as if your going to stay in a dorm for a few days. Bring your own towels, hand soap, etc.
  • Some restrooms don’t have toilet seats, even in the casas. Don’t be alarmed, this is normal. Remember what I said about keeping an open mind?  Don’t worry, you’ll live.
  • Budget your money accordingly. After converting your currency at the airport, you won’t have much opportunity to convert again. US issued ATM and debit cards do not work in Cuba.  Converting your money multiple times causes you to lose money when you add in the transaction fee.
  • Meals:  Average meals dining out ranges from 10 to 20 CUCs. Most of my meals were under 20 CUCs which often included an alcoholic drink and dessert.
  • Safety: I never had a safety issue in Cuba.  In fact, I felt safer there than I do at home in Chicago. I walked through dark alley at night, with other females in my group and a couple of times alone.
  • Cuban people are very friendly and take pride in their culture. They love Americans and enjoy sharing and talking about their culture and history. They also have interest in our way of life and enjoy hearing about our customs, too.
  • Tipping is customary. Make sure you factor this into your spending budget.
  • Cuban men are very flirty. Keep this in mind if you’re easily offended by cat calling, blowing kisses, and other unwarranted advances. Whether you smile and say thank you or ignore it, they’re still gentlemen about it and will leave you alone.
  • Visit the Almacenes San José Artisans’ Market for your souvenirs first. They prices are a little cheaper and they have a wider selection of wares.
  • Bring an EU power adapter. Some outlets accommodate the North American standard and others do not. It’s pretty mixed.
  • Bring a copy of your travel/health insurance. You will need to present it when you check in for your flight.
  • If you’re a cigar aficionado, check out Partagás. Thank me later!
  • Make sure you experience the Classic City Car Tour.

My group spend 7 days and 6 nights in Cuba and this barely touched the surface.  Hopefully, you will find these tips useful and be motivated to visit before the year is over. Travel to Cuba is not as complicated as it seems.  It’s very affordable and you will get more than your money’s worth.

 

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In Memory of Mom

A dedication to my Sorors and Sistergreeks…yes, We TRAVEL!

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Last week, my intention was to post this blog as a dedication to my beloved sorority’s Founders’ Day.  But this adulting thing just won’t let me be great.  With most black Greek sorority’s celebrating Founders’ Day last week (the founding anniversary date of our respective sororities), I wanted to recognize my beautiful sorors and fellow sistergreeks making strides and globetrotting all over the world. We’ve come a long way in opportunities since our founders set the path for us over a century ago. I’m sure they never fathomed that sisterhood, service, and excellence would be reflected all over the world today. Actually, I take that back.  Of course they knew.  Our founders were pioneers and visionaries. They dreamed big without limits.  They saw beyond the mental walls and ceilings of defeat and “it can’t be done”.  And not only am I happy to be part of such a glorious legacy, but I’m happy their legacy can be seen around the world today. So, without further ado, I bring you the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho. Young, black, educated, and TRAVELED.  Note: If one sorority seems more represented than others, it wasn’t intentional.  I “pinky” swear LOL.

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@passportprissy at Big Red Sand Dunes, Dubai (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@tanzamerican1920 at the Colosseum in Rome (Zeta Phi Beta)

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@starrdevereaux at the Chichen Itza in Mexico (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@esha_diva10 at the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Delta Sigma Theta)

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@ms_nicky at Los Cabo Mountain Top (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@raegaddy in Pont de l’Alma (Sigma Gamma Rho)

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@sassybebe30 at The Hamptons, New York (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@alexisaifa13 at Koh Phi Phi Beach, Thailand (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@jasheceo in Costa Rica (Delta Sigma Theta)

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@viva.la.vina at Christ de Redeemer in Rio, Brazil (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@blktraveladdict at the Taj Mahal (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@chakalate_mamihlapinatapai at Copocabana Beach in Rio during the 2016 Summer Olympics (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@curlsandcouture in Indonesia (Delta Sigma Theta)

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@poshandpumps, Chacchoben Mayan Ruins (Delta Sigma Theta)

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@jorilacour at the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Rome, Italy

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@queennadiaa in Capetown, South Africa (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@pearlsofarabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@tydomo_45 at the Royal Palace in Seoul, Korea (Alpha Kappa Alpha)

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@i_carlii at Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland (Sigma Gamma Rho)

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@encassilating at the Cathedral-Basilica de Nuestra in Spain (Zeta Phi Beta)

@urbantravelista 

So long 2016: 20 moments in travel that inspired us all

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While 2016 may have not been the greatest year for many of us, it certainly was another great year for travel.  It’s no secret that Instagram has been my “go to” for travel inspiration. From celebrities to regular people like you and me, your travel experience is incomplete if it wasn’t captured and re-posted on Instagram.  From the sandy beaches of the Caribbean to the sandy desert of the United Arab Emirates, Instagram has graced us with some of the most spectacular travel images from women all over the globe.  These women represent freedom, empowerment, and embracing the unknown. These women are fearless and live by the creed of “creating the life you deserve.”  It was hard to narrow down, but here are 20 travel moments that inspired me the most in 2016:

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That time @stripesofjoy sat on that camel fearless and unafraid in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

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When @gabunion scaled the Great Wall of China and did it so effortlessly

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When @mmikaelajoy showed us how life imitates art in Aruba

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When @crissyluv to fine dining to a whole new level in the Maldives

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When @_bawsey and the squad held each other down in front of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Chichen Itza in Cancun

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When @juliembaby gave us squad roadtrip goals through Texas

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When @virginalovers gave us squad goals in the sandy desert of Dubai

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When @latoyaluckett showed us how to play your hand and how to play it well

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When @ellegee08 showed how to embrace the beauty of the Musee du Love in Paris, solo style 

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That time @itsrhee60 made us jump for joy at the Taj Mahal

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When @ashcaldc served us pretty girl squad goals in Rio De Janerio

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That time @oneika showed us how the beauty of living in the now in Monument Valley, Arizona

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That one time @beyonce gave us motherhood goals with Blue Ivy in Paris

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When @enikobaby gave us bridal squad goals when she became Mrs. Kevin Hart in Punta Cana

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When @brienneyvonne made Old Havana look beautiful and new

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When @passportprissy repped that AKA in Dubai

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When @livinglifetravel inspired us to relax and let go at Volcan del Totumo in Cartagena, Colombia

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When @solarkimmy showed is how to take the perfect selfie while swimming in the waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

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When @naturally_nakyia broke the internet and gave us natural hair squad goals in Punta Cana

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When @janique_jaja let us know the we will never forget losing Prince (Liverpool)

Urbantravelista | Experiences over things: Changing Christmas tradition

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My Christmas morning looks vastly different than it did years ago. From childhood through my young adult years,  I’d wake up at my parents’ house anticipating this day. After exchanging gifts, we would put on our best and head over to my grandmother’s house. When it came to cooking, she hosted most of the big holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  My family and I would arrive greeted by a host of other family elders and close family friends. There would be so many people that you couldn’t find a place to sit. But fast forward to today, that picture is only memory. It doesn’t exist anymore.

Over the years, my family has gotten smaller. Those family elders that would reach into their pocket to give me a dollar or a peppermint complete with the tightest embrace have passed on. And, unfortunately, I never had a family of my own to extend those traditions. Each year, the gathering is smaller. And this year, we lost a significant part of our tradition, my mother. On a brighter note, my nephew joined our family in 2009 and we’ve been able to keep the childhood aspect Christmas alive through him. But I know he won’t experience that same traditions my brother and I experienced growing up. My grandmother was significant part of Christmas. But, his grandmother is no longer here. This led me to ponder if we should continue it at all. Maybe it’s time to let go of what was and try something new. Maybe we should consider traveling during the holidays?

It seems like more of my friends are choosing to travel with their children and loved ones instead of celebrating Christmas the usual way. One friend of mine opted not to buy presents at all. Instead, she packed up her kids to spend the holidays at Disney. Another friend of mine opted to surprise her middle age son with a trip to an unknown destination out of the country. Growing up, I would never fathom spending Christmas this way. Run me my Guess jeans and Sony CD walkman LOL. But with our family becoming significantly smaller, I think about providing these alternatives for my nephew. Would he value spending Christmas on foreign land learning about other cultures over a new pair of Jordan’s and set of Pokeman cards? Probably not LOL. But who knows, he might surprise us. I guess we’ll find out once we try.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday season. Regardless of how to choose to honor your traditions, cherish them and your time with your loved ones. Traditions may change or fade away, but your memories will never die.

@urbantravelista

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Urbantravelista: 2016 Year in Review

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Twenty years from now, if someone ask me about the year 2016 , I won’t know where to begin. This has certainly been a tumultuous year for many.  There’s been birth, growth, and a lot of loss. No one was exempt.  I mean, we lost Prince. That alone was enough to send many of us over the cliff.  But for me, the first half of the year actually started off on a good note. Exactly this time last year, I was scouting my favorite shopping malls and boutiques in search of THE perfect dress to celebrate NYE in Dallas with one of my besties. I brought in the new year surrounded by good friends, good people, and positive energy. We spent the first day of 2016 enjoying a fabulous champagne brunch at a friend’s home. We fellowshipped, prayed, and spoke our goals for 2016. The following day, I boarded my flight back to Chicago feeling inspired, empowered, and ready to smash every goal and intention I set for myself. And things went well in the beginning. They really did. But by July, 2016 turned on me like a rabid pit bull. But such is life, right? Sometimes, a year will give you everything you hope for and more. And other times, it will leave you wondering how you survived it at all. In spite of 2016’s tragedies and having to put some of my adventuring on pause, I did have a few great moments in travel and adventure.

The birth of my brand

In April, I gave birth to my lifestyle/travel blog, Urbantravelista™. I created it as an outlet to share my personal life and travel experiences. I debuted my blog recounting my first international solo vacation experience. BTW, if you missed it, no worries. You can read it here: Solo Travel: Tips for a first time “Urbantravelista” . This is my second run at blogging and it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck with a writing project. Truthfully, running this project and growing Urbantravelista has kept me sane and grounded in the midst of 2016’s insanity.  I guess I finally found my niche.  I look forward to seeing it’s growth and evolution in the forthcoming year.  My goal is to encourage others to create their own fulfilling experiences by embracing the unknown and stepping outside of their comfort zone. I want to inspire others to live their truth (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and to make lemonade in the midst of life challenges…and be fabulous while doing it.  Life is imperfect.  Therefore, we don’t have to be perfect.  But we do have to LIVE.

 The Iceland Blackout

Also in April, I had the opportunity to join a meet-up experience in Reykjavik. We dubbed this event “The Iceland Blackout” as we collectively represented a group of over 70 black likeminded travelers from all over the world.  You can read about it here: Don’t sleep on Iceland . This adventure was special to me, because I had NEVER travelled this far away from home alone. Iceland was a destination that I never fathomed I’d ever visit or even have the desire to visit. Well, I completely underestimated it’s DOPENESS. I basked in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, rode the Reykjavik bus system by myself, danced with Icelanders in a Reykjavik hip hop club, toured the Golden Circle, felt the chilling magnificence of Gullfoss Waterfall, learned about Icelandic culture, walked the path between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates, and danced in the middle of nowhere under the Reykjavik stars while chasing the Northern Lights. I’m looking so forward to my return in March of 2017.  Stay tuned!

 

Golfing

When spring opened up, one of my best friends introduced me to the game of golf. It started with drink and appetizer outings at Top Golf. To my surprise, the more I practiced, the more I wanted to experience going out on a real course. So we did just that and after a few outings, I got to be pretty good at it. I do have a long way to go before I become proficient at it, but my performance and interest motivated me enough to invest in a set of clubs of my own.

 

Being Bobby Brown

He may not be significant to you, but he’s very much important to those of us that grew up during the New Edition era. My mom found out he was in town for a book signing in my neighborhood. Because she was a bigger fan than I was, I braved to two hour wait in line and got an autographed copy of his new book for the both of us. It was a couple of days for before my birthday and he was the first person to give me a hug and wish me Happy Birthday. How cool is that? Thanks Bobby!

 

TouristInMyTown Summer Challenge

 Over the summer, I launched a “TouristInMyTown Summer Challenge” campaign to encourage people to take advantage of the culture and tourism in their own backyard. I promoted this campaign by patronizing the various festivals, events, and tourist attractions in my city and challenging others to do the same in their respective cities. I kicked off the challenge at the Wells Street Art Festival held in historic Old Town. This festival featured over 225 artists from across the continent. Next, I attended the Taste of Randolph, a food and music festival similar to the Taste of Chicago, but on a much smaller scale. As summer progressed, I took the challenge to the south side where I attended house music’s signature summer event, The Chosen Few Old School Picnic.  This event is held in Hayes Park and takes place during the Fourth of July holiday. This was my third time in attendance and it gets bigger and better every year. Next, I headed back to the western suburbs and attended Naperville’s Rib Fest. This event is also held during the Fourth of July holiday and expands over four days. My final festival of the summer took place at Lincoln Park’s Hot Dog Fest. I stepped far outside of my comfort zone by trying a hot dog for the first time in 30 years. Yeah I know, pretty groundbreaking.  And in between my summer “festivaling”, I reacquainted myself with Oak Street beach, a Chicago attraction I haven’t enjoyed since my childhood. Sunbathing on the beach with my city’s beautiful skyline as the back drop was everything.

Saying Goodbye

After experiencing one of the best summers I’ve had in years, travel and adventure came to a screeching halt when I experienced my biggest heartbreak ever, saying goodbye to my beautiful mother. Death is an event that you never see coming. It doesn’t send an invitation for you to prepare or RSVP. It just shows up on your doorstep completely uninvited and gives zero f*cks. My fall and winter itinerary suddenly became replaced by profound grief and sadness. Discovering my “new” normal and picking up the broken pieces of my heart has become my newest adventure. It’s all a very unwelcomed adventure, but still an adventure that most of us will face some day nonetheless. Looking back, I came into 2016 feeling empowered and inspired. Although my year took a tragic turn, I still find joy in the goals I was able to accomplish. I find solace in the positive experiences I was able to create and the possibility of inspiring at least one person to create some positive experiences of their own. I’m not sure what’s in store for 2017, but the only thing that keeps me optimistic is my desire to continue living the way my mother wanted. She lived vicariously through my adventures and I look forward to honoring her memory by creating more awesome experiences in 2017.  Sure, it’s dark now, but joy comes in the morning. Let’s hope the sun shines brightly in 2017 with more travel and adventure.

 

 

 

@urbantravelista

 

Urbantravelista | Do you value experiences or things?

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When I was in high school, I had two opportunities to travel abroad. The first opportunity was a trip to Paris with my French class during my freshman year. And, the other opportunity was a bus trip to Canada with my band during my junior year. Both trips would’ve been great opportunities for a black teen whose family didn’t even own a passport. During that time, my travels never extended anywhere beyond visiting relatives in Michigan or my birthplace in Arkansas. My parents supported my decision to go. So why didn’t I go? Well, both trips took place around Christmas break. And like most teenagers, I looked forward to getting Christmas gifts. But my family was far from the Huxtables.  I mean, my parents were (and still are) very awesome and loving.  But like most parents, they couldn’t accommodate both my desire to travel AND provide me with the gifts I wanted for Christmas. So they gave me a choice: I could take the trip in lieu of Christmas gifts or have a decked out Christmas and skip the trip. Being the teenager that I was, I took the latter. I have my whole life to go to Paris, right? I have my eternity to go to Canada, it’s not the far away?

Well, that was almost 30 years ago. And guess what? I still haven’t been to Paris or Canada.  I mean, I’ve been to some pretty dope places, but this reflection reminds me of how even as adults, we often value “things” over experiences.  I don’t even remember what I received for Christmas those years I declined the trips. I can’t tell you what clothes I received or how long I had them. Those material things are all gone. They didn’t last.

I did start to travel about 5 years ago. And I’ve come to learn that my travels and experiences hold so much more value. I can’t tell you what I got for Christmas in 2012. But I can tell you about the adrenaline rush I got when I went zip lining in the jungles of the Dominican. I can’t recall my summer wardrobe from 2013, but I can recall the magnificence of stepping in the Caribbean sea for the first time in Aruba, as if it happened 5 minutes ago. I don’t even know if I still have the pair of gloves I purchased last fall or what they even look like. But I do remember the freedom and liberation of taking my first solo trip to Cancun and trekking the Mayan ruins last October.

Looking back, I regret not choosing the travel opportunities extended to me when I was in high school. Those experiences would’ve lasted a lifetime. I have finally reached a place in my life where experience trumps everything.  I would gladly take an opportunity to visit Spain over a designer handbag or uncomfortable pair of Louboutin heels any day. And I think it all started with that first passport stamp back in 2012. Since that time, I’ve lost a lot. I’ve had to downsize and even rebuild. But through it all, I’ve come to know that the world can strip you everything. But your experiences…your experiences will last a lifetime. They will be with you when you’re old and gray on your death bed.

So the take away it this: Possessions aren’t loyal. They eventually break, tear, or leave. Most of the overpriced junk we buy doesn’t retain value. But experiences…they will ride with you until the very end.  Experience over things…always!

@urbantravelista