Let me just say, this is the longest amount of time I have ever spent on a blog post. It is a wide open door into a hidden part of me that I never thought I would put on a public platform. But this is my blog and this blog is about my life, regardless of where I am in the world. This post is a very long one, so grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine; I hope you stay along for the ride!
I should start by saying my story is no different than any other black girl or woman’s story out there. This is simply just my story. Over the span of my life, I feel I have been exposed to an incredible amount of positive representation for black women in media and in my life. I feel so empowered to be black and every day I am reminded how amazing black people are. But I didn’t always appreciate it this way. Like many other black girls, I grew up wanting my hair to be different, to avoid getting ‘too dark’, and to be less curvy. It may seem silly to some people reading this, but it may not to others. This is the story of how my hair journey led me on an identity journey. Continue reading “A Love Letter to My Hair”
Many people that I converse with about my travels are people who do not currently have the time to travel or did not have the opportunity to in earlier years of their life. For anyone who is considering traveling more, whether that be domestically or internationally, it can be extremely overwhelming with the amount of resources that exist today.
It is no secret that advancements in technology, especially social media, completely flipped the way we communicate and share information. Similarly, this means that it is hard to decipher what to trust. There is so much out there on the web, so where does one start? Well, the beauty of planning of a trip is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to doing it. But here are a few steps I take when I am thinking of going somewhere I have never been:
This one was a no-brainer. First, I like to see what the city is about with a simple Google search; this includes major attractions, current news, and how many results for blog posts come up. I also use this time to browse on Google Maps to get an understanding of the location and what it’s close to which further helps me get an idea of how to pack.
As a fellow vlogger, I like to watch vlogs of the city I am interested in visiting. Narrowing down what to look for or to watch is completely subjective, but something I definitely like to do is put in the city and “black” in the search to see the city through a lens I can relate to (e.g. san juan vlog black). Mini vent: often times, the most popular results on any website are pretty, skinny, white women and/or white couples and, depending on the city I am visiting, I just know that my experience is not going to be like theirs. Vlogs allow me to see how accessible the city is on foot, how crowded certain areas are, and, frankly, what the city actually looks like!! For example, I am planning to visit Lisbon, Portugal later this year and had no idea it was a hilly city until I watched a couple of vlogs. It’s an added bonus that making specifications in my search allows me to find and support other black creatives. 🙂
Once I have narrowed down what I am personally interested in, I go on Instagram and search the Tags. For example, I saw there is a place in Portugal called Sintra that is an easy day trip from Lisbon, so I will search “sintra,” pick the tag with the most results, and see how many different photos come up.
If I find that a bulk of the photos are showing the same attraction/photo op, that lets me know I should research further if the day trip would be worth it. If you want to keep the search broader, you can just follow the Lisbon tag (if you have an Instagram) and get ideas that way for things to do or where to eat, especially to see where locals are tagging themselves.
Another thing I like to do is if I love how a picture looks, I will visit the Instagrammer’s page to see if they have any highlights for their visit and watch it to get ideas for restaurants and neighborhoods. For example, I had no idea that the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico had a black sand beach until I watched this woman’s Instagram highlight.
The good news about Instagram is that you do not have to create an account to browse it, but you will have to to follow tags/accounts or set notifications for when someone posts.
- Word of mouth
Of course, there’s always the good old-fashioned grassroots approach of reaching out to people or friends of friends who have visited the city you are interested in. That is yet another benefit of social media since we can see these things in real time, save/bookmark the information, and reach people directly. 🙂
Continue reading “Beginner’s Guide to Planning a Trip”
I went back to The Big Easy this week, y’all! I mean, I literally landed back in Dallas this morning. This past Thursday was my mom’s birthday and I knew I wanted to take her on a trip, so I voluntold her to join me in New Orleans which is a place she has never been to before. Wednesday also happened to be the five year anniversary of this blog, so we had two things to celebrate this week. Celebrate, we did!
This is my third time coming to New Orleans and each time has offered a different experience. If you read my Guide to Winter Travel post, you know that New Orleans was one of my suggestions because, like many southern cities, the temperatures are more manageable. After having visited this city in the dead of summer and then in fall, I can confirm the city is just as alive in the winter time, especially as they gear up for Mardi Gras. To save time on repeating essentially the same blueprint I did the first time I came here, I will share what we did differently and what I would recommend:
Continue reading “Big, Easy Celebrations”
First things first, I want to wish everyone a happy new year and reiterate how excited I am for this new year and new decade (if you haven’t read my last post)! Thank you all for keeping up with me for yet another year. If you haven’t seen my first video of the year on my YouTube channel, it is linked in the sidebar. 🙂
Since I ended 2019 with a reflective post, I wanted to start off this year with some travel-related content. This holiday season, Away luggage installed a pop-up here in Dallas as it prepares to open a flagship store. I’m sure everyone has seen those pink hard-shell suitcases in the airport or being advertised on Instagram. Away founders, Jennifer Rubio and Stephanie Korey, were inspired to launch Away in 2015 after doing some extensive travel and finding that their luggage could not stand the test of time. Now, the luxury luggage brand is opening flagships around the country.
Continue reading “Away We Go!”