Passport Stamps Include: International: Ghana, Morocco, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Spain, France, England, Italy, Canary Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Chile, Canada, the Philippines, Hong Kong. Domestic: New York, Michigan, Maine, Virginia, West Virginia, Boston, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
1. My best travel memory so far is… My first solo trip in Morocco. I was there for 7 days and had a lot of anxiety about being a Black woman in a country without having Arabic or French language skills. I would be identifiably not from there and didn’t know how I should act in a culture that I perceived to be so different from my own. Turns out that people thought I was Tracy Chapman! I met a guy in a market that kept calling me Tracy, even though he knew my name. He told me about Tracy Chapman’s performance at the music festival the year before and how much he liked her music. While calling me Tracy the whole day, he took me around the shops and street food carts, introduced me to his friends and we shared stories with each other. It was a memorable experience because I surprised myself by putting down my guard and making a new friend.
2. My favorite hotel & why… The Riad Baladin in Essaouira, Morocco. It was a simple and beautiful bed and breakfast, owned by a woman who I swear within the time I checked in, spoke in 5 different languages. The moment I arrived I felt like I had to pinch myself. The hospitality, accommodation, breakfast and roof top views were so relaxing. The place was also insanely affordable.
3. My must-haves on any flight are… 1) Lotion! That altitude is not good for your skin and there’s something about that bathroom soap and water! 2) Socks and flip flops for longer flights. 3) Long big scarf—the blankets they give you are not clean unless you’re the first flight of the day. 4) Eye mask, headphones and hoodie. 5) A water bottle- stay hydrated! 6) Journal and pen. 6) Floss. 7) Solar charger for my phone– the sun’s right there!
4. When I’m on the road, I absolutely hate… Having internet access. It’s certainly convenient and necessary for keeping in touch with friends and other loved ones. But when I’m without it, it forces me to plug into my environment in a way I wouldn’t if I knew I had access. It becomes less about maintaining my routine and taking pictures and more about allowing the space that I’m in and the experience I’m having to draw something out of me that gets muted in the ebb and flow of my everyday life.
6. The three things I can’t travel without are… 1) A journal! I’m a writer and my mind is always racing with ideas about what I’m experiencing. Sometimes journaling can be a chore, but when I look back into my writing, it amazes me how much I’ve grown through all my experiences around the world. 2) Depending on the location, I always bring my camera and at least two lenses! 3) A reusable tote bag, it’s a great way to always have a shopping bag or overflow bag with me! Not only is it convenient, but environmental.
7. The top lesson I’ve learned while traveling is… That you should live your life the way you travel. Traveling teaches me to say yes, even when I don’t want to. Yes, I’ll try this thing. Yes, I’ll talk to a stranger. Yes, I’ll go try out this new place. When I stopped saying the “yeses” for vacation and lived my life each day like that… wow, what a change! Not only do more opportunities for new connections and new experiences arise, but I’m just happier.