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What better way to usher in the last year of your 20’s than by signing a 12-month lease on a penthouse in a small Mediterranean island under Italy?
No—I’m genuinely asking. Maybe there’s time to back out? *fires smoke signals to the far west*
As I was flipping through hundreds of journal entries that filled up my “Year 28” journal, I also quickly read over last year’s birthday reflections post and the growth is so apparent. There are some parts of me I don’t even recognize, and it’s both terrifying and exciting in the same breath.If you're the same person you were 2, 5, or 10 years ago -- change your circle, move to another city, or learn a new language. Click To Tweet
There are so many ways to grow and challenge our brains these days, and there’s nothing I fear more than mediocrity and complacency.
And what a decade 2019 has been so far, lmao, because I feel like February’s surgery aged and humbled me faster than actual time could have.
But man, the power that was unleashed when I had to come face to face with my biggest weakness — CONTROL.
If you’re like me, you’re the over-thinking, over-planning, and over-achieving hot mess who still tricks herself into thinking that she has full control over her life.New age, same overly-anxious me. Click To Tweet
So when my ovarian cystectomy surgery happened and it took me eight days to have a regular bowel movement and three weeks to stop walking like I was holding in one, it made me re-think my mission and kick down my proverbial sandcastle and start over with just the sand.
We work so hard to build up these seemingly indestructible sandcastles, not realizing that life comes in the form of wind (such a hater) who can knock that sh*t right over in a heartbeat.
So maybe it’s time to move over to the bricks, and start laying the foundation for something stronger and built to outlast these external forces.
Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier for the blessings and opportunities that allow me to live a lifestyle I still regularly pinch myself for.
But here I was, building a life fully contingent upon my ability to explore other places and deliver real-time content, and I had that temporarily taken away from me.
It reminded me that my purpose and value is so much greater and deeper than what I was currently offering.What good is having a full platter when your life still feels empty? Click To Tweet
I was on this cyclical journey, and the money and gigs were coming so frequently, it didn’t feel like a challenge anymore.
And who else is oddly wired and enjoys life a little bit more when you have to work harder for the things you want? *makes eye contact with fellow immigrant kids because this is a part of our upbringing*
But the real change came when the things I wanted couldn’t be purchased.
Intrinsic joy in my purpose.
I sincerely want you to question if you’re busy being busy, or spending time on things, causes, and people that matter most.
Like clockwork, I would fly from Bali to Spain to Morocco to Argentina to New York to San Francisco to Egypt to Turkey, all within a few days with very little time to blink or think in between. And yes, that was a real itinerary over 3 weeks’ time in 2018.
Again, this full @$% platter, but how much of it am I truly able to absorb or digest?
I don’t recommend you grow a watermelon-sized ovarian cyst like me, but the lessons she taught me are priceless, and I’d 1000% go through the mental and physical trauma all over again if I knew this level of clarity was on the other side.
DID THE SURGERY TRIGGER THIS DECISION?
When the doctor suggested that the cyst had a 10% chance of coming back and that he wanted to check on the healing progress of the scar in the coming weeks and months, that’s when I first explored the idea of maybe sticking around this island for a bit.
I looked at my options and learned of the medical visa route, and it became a no-brainer. Instead of flying back to Malta every 6 weeks, why not just set up shop here for a bit, rest, recoup, relax, and enjoy this chapter?Things don't happen TO us, they happen FOR us. And I needed to truly believe that before I could move on. Click To Tweet
Given the 6-week cycle of check-ups, I still could’ve decided on a much cheaper, nearby country like Romania, Bulgaria, or Albania, but I found a sort of solace here.
So much growth and pain happened in Malta, and I think it’s important that I don’t force a single story here and have my surgery be the only lasting memory of this country.
Oftentimes we have something traumatic happen to us and we never want to do that activity, visit that country, or be around that person again.
But YOU are in control of every narrative and I wanted Malta to be a country where I experienced healing just as much as pain.
For the last 5 years, I’ve celebrated my birthday taking myself on a solo trip, usually to a brand new destination. But Malta just felt right to ring in 29.
2018 – Cappadocia, Turkey
2017 – Johannesburg, South Africa
2016 – London, England
2015 – St. Tropez, France
2014 – Santorini, Greece
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DOES THIS MEAN YOU’LL STOP TRAVELING?
I think this is the question everyone is wondering and it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, since signing the lease, I’ve been on 12 flights (granted, most were connecting due to a long-haul), but I have another flight in a couple weeks, and at least one trip or destination campaign per month until November.
But yes, things will definitely slow down, and HOLY SH*T am I excited that I won’t have to obnoxiously lug around four (YES, FOUR) suitcases on every trip now. I mean there are LEVELSSSSSSS to this vain @$% frolicking Instagram life.
And mine desperately needed to be toned down a notch, LOL.
There’s definitely a luxury to having everything you own within a suitcase’s reach, but there’s also a deep burden
and undiagnosed scoliosis from all the back and forth lugging while in transit.
This finally means that some of the bigger projects I’ve been “too busy” to work on, I can finally have the mental bandwidth to finish and crank out. And that’s the most exciting — finally announcing them to you all publicly.
I normally don’t talk about my bigger goals outside of my close friends and mastermind circle, but
THIS IS 29 BIIIIIISH, LETSSSFUGGGENGOOOOO here we are 🙂
1) COURSE LAUNCH – APRIL 28TH
Since 2017, I’ve had modules of an aspiring course drafted out, but I was averaging a flight every 10 days and who knew that sh*t would make launching this impossible? Only took two years, but yay, we’re doing this and it’s almost ready!
I can confidently say there won’t be a more comprehensive, relevant, and nugget-filled course when it comes to making it in the travel blogging space.
Being a successful blogger requires so much more than just publishing words on a domain. It’s the curation. It’s the art. It’s the storytelling. It’s the voice. It’s the marketing. It’s the negotiating. It’s the pitching. It’s the learning curve. It’s the empowerment. It’s the transparency. It’s the heartache. It’s the beautifully, chaotic and orchestrated combination of it all.
And I’m so excited to finally be putting something out into the world that will tackle it all and rear the next generation of aspiring travel bloggers or hobbyist bloggers looking to finally monetize and scale their blog to six figures.
To lock in the pre-launch price, make sure you subscribe below!
2) MY SECOND BOOK
I’ve started writing my second book! Whoop whoop! I actually started last Spring, and because it’s a culmination of half a million miles flown across 70+ countries and 6 continents, there are stories that just haven’t made the blog and social media because I wasn’t quite ready to share, so I’m excited to dig into the archives of my Black travel experiences.
The working title will be CONFESSIONS OF A BLACK TRAVELER: The Raw, The Real, and the Ratchet.
This is a huge passion project and something I’ve wanted to write for so long. So much of the travel stories that get published aren’t really relevant to the Black community, so I would love to pay homage to our experiences by putting this coffee table book of some of our craziest stories, adventures, hiccups, and lessons we’ve learned while traveling.
I want it to become this sort of Black Travel Bible that our community can reference both as a resource or just comic relief.
3) THE SISTERHOOD CIRCLE & THE SISTERHOOD SUMMIT
In the meantime, I quietly launched luxury mentorship retreats with Mexico being the inaugural event, Tanzania coming up in May, Turkey in June, Belize in September and Croatia in October.
What is the Sisterhood Circle? It’s a 4-day event with 4 female entrepreneurs (max per retreat) who I do intimate coaching with including workshops on creating multiple streams of income, pitching for sponsorships, valuing your services, social media growth, content creation, storytelling, 1-on-1 business strategizing, storytelling, and developing habits for success.
There’s really no blueprint out there when it comes to navigating this entrepreneurial space online, so it became the very thing I wish existed when I was figuring my way up on my own journey.
Zanzibar has 1 spot that just opened up, Turkey and Belize are sold out, and Croatia will be launching in the next few days!
The Sisterhood Summit will take place in December in a TBD location in the states which will be open to the public, where I give out scholarships and prizes to the women who show the most growth in their business.
Having this environment and network where women across different industries can hold each other accountable and use each other as a resource is just invaluable.
You can add your info below if you’d like to grab one of the last spots or get the first info about the Sisterhood Summit.
And as life continues to remind me that I can only control so much of it, I’m excited to see where the wind will blow me [that’s definitely what she said] when
I get kicked out my lease is up.
To sign off in sap, I feel so intoxicated with love and purpose right now, working on projects that truly challenge and inspire me. Creativity is what you call it when your brain is just having fun, and lately mine has been a theme park.
So thank you for joining the ride. And meeting height requirements. And not puking on your neighbor. It means a lot. Thank you.