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

Standard

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:

screenshot_2016-12-30-20-29-25-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-20-22-21-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-20-21-42-1.png

When @mmikaelajoy showed us how life imitates art in Aruba

screenshot_2016-12-30-20-19-46-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-15-11-41-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-15-10-18-1.png

When @juliembaby gave us squad roadtrip goals through Texas

screenshot_2016-12-30-15-09-51-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-15-09-21-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-15-01-27-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-43-19-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-42-29-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-40-27-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-38-22-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-36-41-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-33-59-1.png

When @brienneyvonne made Old Havana look beautiful and new

screenshot_2016-12-30-20-48-14-1.png

When @passportprissy repped that AKA in Dubai

screenshot_2016-12-30-21-20-44-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-35-18-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-14-35-47-1.png

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

screenshot_2016-12-30-22-50-29-1.png

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

Here comes the slay: Bridal party destination goals

Standard

Exactly this time 10 years ago, I was preparing for one the most anticipated milestones of a woman’s life: my wedding. August was a pretty big month for weddings.  My friends and I were getting married left and right.  And based on my Instagram timeline, that pattern appears to still hold true today . In fact, that observation is what inspired this blog post. Lately, I’ve seen so many dope bridal/bachelorette Instagram pics flooding my timeline, that it made me reflect on my own experience 10 years ago. In my heart of hearts, I adore weddings. And contrary to popular belief, I love “LOVE”. I love the notion of finding someone to share your life with through good times and bad and the people you love the most coming together to celebrate it with you. Back then, my friends gave me both an awesome bridal shower and bachelorette party. But unfortunately, I don’t have many photos from those two important events. You see, this was long before iPhones, androids, selfie sticks, and the social media craze that dominates our world today. And one of my biggest regrets from that experience has been not having any pictures of me a my bridal squad to reflect on from the those events. However, the moments of those near and dear to me, coming together to celebrate my new beginning will always be etched in my memory.Hindsight is 20/20. If I could do it all over again, my bridal party and I would grab our passports and do a destination bachelorette party in the Caribbean. We would get into formation and capture dope images like these listed below.  Sadly, my marriage didn’t last.  But the good news is: I may one day get a second chance to re-create those memories again, if even still exists then.  Here’s to making lemonade out of lemons…and here comes the slay!

 

screenshot_2016-07-27-00-30-20-1.png

Credit: @envisiblewoman (Dominican Republic)

screenshot_2016-07-27-00-26-02-1.png

Credit: @mckenzieinthemirror (South Beach, Miami)

screenshot_2016-07-27-00-24-55-1.png

Credit: @magfabulous (South Beach, Miami)

screenshot_2016-07-27-00-15-50-1.png

Credit: @naturally_nakia (Punta Cana)

screenshot_2016-07-27-00-14-53-1.png

Credit: @mygirlsquad

screenshot_2016-07-27-00-10-11-1.png

Credit: @dino_teme (Cancun)

fb_img_1469557271764.jpg

Credit: @enikobaby (Punta Cana)

fb_img_1469557237621.jpg

Credit: @lolizee21 (Chichen Itza in Cancun)

screenshot_2016-07-23-22-38-07-1.png

Credit: @shaq_will (Cabos San Lucas)

screenshot_2016-08-03-21-31-45-1.png

Credit: @en_es_em (Cabos San Lucas)

 

@urbantravelista

Embracing sisterhood: Travel squad inspiration

Standard

I promote solo travel often in my blog, because it’s a fairly new experience for me. But I must admit one truth: I MISS MY GIRLFRIEND GETAWAYS. I miss the late night girl locker room talks, being silly, catching up on life, seeking advice, and being surrounded by those that “get” me and still love me in spite of my shortcomings. Overall, I guess once could say that I miss my sister friend connections. Through the years, I’ve lost many of those connections. Some were by choice and others were due to life taking us in different directions. And there’s no love lost. We get married, we have children, we pursue advanced degrees, we start business ventures, we get promoted into demanding positions, we have aging parents that require our attention, and we even relocate. I get it, life happens. In the midst of balancing life’s demands, friendships sometimes fall the wayside. But, as truthful as this all sounds, it would be dishonest of me to blame all of my lost connections on life changes. The truth is, while I excel in attracting connections, I suck at maintaining them. I don’t know if I should blame it on my introverted personality or my Gemini cusp Cancer moon sign. I don’t know if I should blame it on my desire to retreat and cut myself off from the world when I’m going through life’s storms. And I don’t know if it’s my pride in being self-sufficient and feeling like I don’t need anyone. But whatever the reason, none of those should ever be an excuse. Friendship/sisterhood is a reciprocal relationship. Just like a marriage or any other relationship of significance, it requires effort by both parties. It requires communication and reaching out. It requires giving and sacrificing. It requires you calling to check in when you don’t feel like it. It requires you to show up to baby showers and children’s parties when you’d rather do a child-free event, because motherhood is a touchy subject for you. It requires you to be vulnerable and let your friends know that you’re going through something and you need help (or you’re still okay). To maintain a friendship, you have to be a friend – a very basic exchange, one that I struggle with getting right.

I hope to have those kind of connections again someday. But until then, in honor of my nostalgia, I bring you my top Instagram Travel Squad photos that will make you want to phone your sister friends, organize your travel squad (or rent one), and get into travel formation. Here’s to not taking our friendships for granted…here’s to restoring our sister friend connections…and here’s to making new connections. And remember, friendships must be nurtured or they will eventually die.

screenshot_2016-06-06-12-06-13-1.png

ATVs in Cancun (Credit: @pglammednyc)

screenshot_2016-06-06-12-18-33-1.png

Formation in Bali (Credit: @dispoetzsoul)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-04-55-1.png

Rio slayage at the Parque Lage in Brazil (Credit: @ashcaldc)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-09-51-1.png

Sisterhood in Paris (Credit: jonesin4jonesy)

screenshot_2016-06-06-12-05-50-1.png

Caping in Madrid, Spain (Credit: @theslaycation)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-17-16-1.png

An effortless slay in Salvador De Bahia, Brazil (Credit: @jnambowa)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-23-41-1.png

Formation in Castillo San Cristobal, San Juan Puerto Rico (Credit: @akafly12)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-07-58-1.png

Bridal squad goals at the Chichen Itza, Cancun Mexico (Credit: @lolizee21_)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-07-32-1.png

Bridal squad goals continued (Credit: @lolizee21)

screenshot_2016-06-05-21-06-14-1.png

That one time Cartagena, Colombia wasn’t ready (Credit: @hunnibre)

fb_img_1465237334935.jpg

One of my last sisterfriend trips with my Sorors to Curacao back in 2014 (Credit: @urbantravelista)

@urbantravelista

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#TravelFashionFriday: The Zuvaa Marketplace

Standard

In the spirit of keeping up with Urbantravelista’s #travelfashionfriday theme, it would be remiss if I didn’t share this new company (not new exactly, but new to me) that popped up on my Instagram feed yesterday. Zuvaa, is an online retailer that specializing in one of a kind African designs and prints. Founded by Kelechi Anyadiegwu (yes, woman owned and operated), “The Zuvaa Marketplace is the premier online destination to find unique African inspired pieces”.  And based on their inventory, the Zuvaa brand not only lives up to this catchphrase…it exceeds it! They carry a wide selection of apparel ranging from dresses to skirts to trousers to jumpers. But what really caught my eye was The OSE Collection, their African inspired swimwear line. The cut and design of the suits appear to have the ability to flatter any body type, including my muffin top (nope, this body still isn’t summer ready SMH). The OSE Collection swimwear line runs between $85 and $95 and the rest of their garments run between $85 and $275.

Costa Rica was on my radar for my next getaway, but after seeing the Zuvaa collection, I’m ready to jet set to Mozambique. You can check out their collection for yourself at www.zuvaa.com. And if shopping online is not your forte, no worries. Zuvaa offers pop-up shops at select major cities. Check them out and let me know what you think.

#urbantravelista