Much Needed Getaway (Review)

Much Needed Getaway (Review)

At the beginning of the year, my boyfriend and I planned a two-week trip to London–a city we both have so many memories in and see as another home. This year, we both would have finally been able to attend Notting Hill Carnival and we had further plans to see other parts of Europe within the two-week timeframe. Obviously, this did not come to fruition or I would be there right now, but we still wanted to make use of this time off we had on our calendars. If you read my last post, you will know that I took some time off this past month and to close out my final week off, we headed two hours south of Dallas to LaRue, Texas to experience an overnight Getaway.

All cabins come with queen-sized beds
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Checking My Privilege

Checking My Privilege

For the last month, I have had the privilege to take time off from work. There were conditions that went along with this leave that I was always aware of before finalizing the decision, but I start this post by clearly stating this was a privilege because we are living in a time where people are being fired, laid off, and furloughed amidst a global pandemic. These occurrences are very clearly anything but voluntary by those on the receiving end, so I understood how lucky I was to have this option. I took advantage of this opportunity for a variety of reasons and one of the main reasons was the mental space and time to do some serious work internally.

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“Using Your Niche to Build an Engaged Community,” a Webinar by Black Travel Alliance (Review)

This past weekend, I attended the first webinar hosted by the Black Travel Alliance. If you’ve never heard of Black Travel Alliance, here’s a little background from their website:

Black Travel Alliance is a new group of Black Travel Content Creators from across the globe. Our three pillars of the community are alliance, amplification, and accountability. As travel authors, bloggers, broadcasters, journalists, photographers, podcasters, social media influencers, and vloggers, we unify to amplify. We also aim to provide training and business support to our members, as well as hold destinations and travel brands accountable on the issue of diversity in travel marketing and storytelling.”

Black Travel Alliance launched in early June which was, in my opinion, such perfect timing. Though travel has not been an overwhelming priority for most people, it did not diminish the call to action for travel companies, agencies, businesses in aviation, etc. to confront the lack of diversity and inclusivity of people of color, especially black people, in their demographics. Because traveling is both for leisure and business, we need that representation on the other end of the phone or that email chain, or leading our tours, or owning our hostels, Airbnbs, and other accommodations. We need people who understand what it is like to travel the world with a built-in disadvantage; not just for people of color, but for disabled people, fat people, people whose first language isn’t English, and so on. They started a hashtag, #pullupfortravel, that gave specific companies 72 hours to respond with their demographic make up within their companies. They got a lot of responses and I genuinely think it’s because their activism went beyond social media. Black Travel Alliance aims to really enact change, so it was a no-brainer for me to support this cause.
I wanted to include all of this background because it is extremely important to note not only why I follow them, but why you should be following them too. It’s one thing to create a space for black travelers, content creators, and their allies to form an alliance, but it’s another to come out of the gate with an immediate call to action and actually seek change. Yes, you did read that right–you can be an ally and still join the Black Travel Alliance. This is a mission I could get behind and one you should too. Be sure to follow their Instagram (linked at the beginning) to learn more!

Their first webinar was called “Using Your Niche to Build an Engaged Community” and the presenter was Gabby Beckford of http://www.packslight.com. Gabby is 25 and her niche is Gen Z travel. She talked about how when she first started, nobody was interested in hearing from the perspective of Gen Z because they are young, they haven’t experienced a lot, and they don’t have their own money to ultimately contribute to the industries that were initially ignoring them. However, I think we have all seen with the boom of the influencer and the rise of TikTok that the Gen Z voice is HIGH in demand. So if the interest in Gen Z is so in demand and saturated, how does Gabby effectively use this as a niche? She would tell you by being specific, consistent, and committed. When you go to her Instagram, it’s in her name and bio that she is a resource for Gen Z travel. When you go to her website, it is in her mission statement and further supported by the content on her page. If you want to know about what Gen Z is doing in the travel industry, you go to Gabby, and that’s the whole point and advantage of establishing a niche.

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Starting with the Woman in the Mirror

Starting with the Woman in the Mirror

My story is no different than any other girl or woman out there. To say, “Ever since I can remember, I have had issues with my body,” seems, unfortunately, like a rite of passage. However, it seems my relationship with my body has been confronted more intensely than ever since we have entered quarantine. I have attempted to write about this relationship in the past, but I have never really had the words. Even now, I don’t know how this will translate, but I hope to emphasize one point: This ‘relationship’ has been nothing but toxic and I’m done with it.

When I was in college, I had what I would consider ‘my best body.’ I was part of a competitive dance team, I used my fear of the Freshman 15 to establish a regular workout routine, and overall, I was just much more mobile because I was walking and biking everywhere (yes, even in L.A.). But I still felt negatively towards my body because 1. I never felt confident in my skin or body to begin with, and 2. I was surrounded by white sorority girls in one of the most superficial, Euro-centric, image-obsessed cities in the world. I would be lying if I said my desire to lose weight stemmed from seeing other thin women of color because it was really to get the desirable white, skinny body type that all the boys on campus (ESPECIALLY black, male student athletes) were fawning over. I always felt I could lose weight and when I graduated, I maintained this workout routine which was manageable since I was unemployed. Once I started my first full-time job though, this whole routine plummeted and started the most unhealthy relationship I have ever had with my body.

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