Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Traveling While Noire-Saving Your Coins

On the last post I griped about the side eyes and juju dolls being created cause you like to catch stamps and collect sky miles. This post will walk you through some steps to make your imagination become a reality. Your pockets and your wanderlust do not have to be a mutually exclusive thing. Practical things can jump start or even restart your traveling lifestyle. 

Start somewhere. I live in Florida so there is tons to do and see right here at home. So yeah I joked about Disney World on my last post. But part of my honeymoon was spent at Universal Studios. I know Irlo Bronson Highway like I know my own street. These days Orlando seems like right around the corner. I remember when it used to seem like millions of miles away. Start close to home and venture out. You will find there will be times you need a quick weekender and nearby locations serve a great purpose for that. Tampa, Naples, Port St Lucie are all great places to visit. St. Augustine is all history. Sanibel has the best beaches. Florida can be traveled in just under 12 hours. Take the time to explore your home base. You’d be surprised in what you discover. 

Create a savings plan. If you have the discipline to save on your own, create a vacation account. Look for the deals. More on that later. Look at your budget and be realistic about what you can set aside every pay week. Travel agents also accept installment payments. My annual vacations start getting paid on the Fall before. So that’s about ten months of setting aside already in play. Tithe on your traveling budget and see how much you can save. It means one less pair of shoes. It means less Christmas gifts for the entire family. It means buckling down and remembering you have a trip to save for and some things and people will just have to wait. 

Travel with like minded people. All my girls only trips and trips with couples have generally been about spending time with people I wanted to spend time with. I’m not paying gobs of my hard earned money to travel with anyone I’m going to be grinding my teeth about the entire time. Not happening. Travel with people who enhance the experience of discovering our world. Travel with people who will split the bill evenly with no questions asked. We all gonna eat good, sleep in nice hotels and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Travel with people who vibe like you do and who understand your quirks. If you’re on Oxford Street in London and you want to drop some cash on a pair of shoes, you don’t need anyone picking up their jaws from the ground and texting the world about your adventures. Your travel buddies have to know you and accept you in all of your bad and boujee self. 

Read more. So I don’t think some would expect this to be part of the plan. You want to travel but if I say Saint Petersburg, The Vatican, Christ The Redeemer, Stonehenge, Golden Gate Bridge, The Colliseum, Kimberley Diamond Mines, The Biltmore . . . and you can’t click with at least two of those locations, you really need to read up on your geography, history, and travel landmarks. Most of my knowledge initially came from reading Danielle Steele and Norah Roberts novels. Real talk. Don’t judge me. When I buried myself in my encyclopedias as a teen it was to discover a world without borders. Imagine reading about “New York, New York” all your life and finally seeing it for yourself at age 41. Times Square was once in my mind and twice in reality. Seeing Lady Liberty across the river was like . . . yeah, no words. The novels I had read about Ellis Island all flooding back. Visiting Martha’s Vineyard and seeing the Kennedy compound and learning about The Inkwell. Yeah . . .  Tighten up on your reading. 

Step out your comfort zone. Travel with friends. Travel with a mission driven group. Travel with organizations. Travel by yourself. However way you get to pack your bags and go, don’t hesitate to make it happen. On our way to Hawaii, there was a medical emergency. So I did my due diligence to get up and inform the flight attendance that a friend in my group was a medical professional.  As I proceeded to tell her where we were seated, she quickly interjected and said “Oh, I know where you’re seated.” Puzzled by her comment I returned to my seat. While I walked back, it dawned on on me, well yeah, she would know where I and my friends were seated. We were the only MELANIN POPPIN’ ON THE WHOLE PLANE!!!  A sea of white and Asian and Hispanic and everything else. And six Haitian girls from humble beginnings interrupting the status quo. That felt hella good. 

I laugh and I cry about that though. In 2017, you can count us like odd balls on the planes, the excursions and the seats. I always say my Haitian parents didn’t travel far from their home and work so damned hard all their lives only to have me sit in some self imposed prison of fear. 

Save. Plan. Travel. 

What other tips would you leave for our traveling sistahs? Leave them in the comment section. Bon Voyage! 

Random Thoughts

Vacate-Tion: Destination Glorious Living 

Not everyone has the means or methods to splurge on random trips to Europe. But everyone has the opportunity to save. It is never fun to be the one left standing at the wharf waving the kerchief as yet another friend travels to sights unseen. You’re left feeling some type of way and it is usually accompanied with a side of “feeling sorry for myself.” Well it doesn’t have to be that way. Traveling is no longer just for the haves.  Let’s look at some ways to increase your vacation mileage for years to come. 

One Penny At A Time

It’s been our second cruise in as many as four years. After I learned that I could lay-away my trip, it was nothing for me to call the travel agent and set up a weekly payment plan. As long as you can divide and subtract, you should be able to set aside funds each month, week or day towards your dream trip. What now seems as a huge price tag becomes chunk size pieces that are manageable to plan for. It will mean denying thyself that new pair of shoes (gasp!) or bringing lunch instead of eating out. When you’re standing in front of yet another gorgeous buffet, dining on an island’s waterfront or slicing your knife through a tender filet mignon, the leftovers of yesteryear will be a distant memory.  

Start off Small

Sites like Groupon and Living Social have made vacations, staycations and nights out that more doable and feasible. Suddenly an Indian restaurant in the fancy-schmancy part of town doesn’t seem like an Olympic hurdle to overcome. That two for one Groupon has made your night out something to look forward to. Zagat is a great source for all things foodie. Reading reviews on the top ten brunch spots in the country led my husband and I to a hotel I wouldn’t have otherwise ventured to. For the three hours we were there, you couldn’t tell us we weren’t your random couple just here at our Miami pieds-a-terre, searching for some good sushi and mimosas on a lovely Saturday morning. Garcon! 

Can’t Take Everybody With You

Nothing sets my teeth on edge more than hearing people limit themselves in life. Granted, we aren’t all able to pick up our Vuitton bags and jet set to Aruba, but we can grab that college-worn Jansport backpack and head for a road trip to “destination your choice.”  Most of our early years in marriage was spent road tripping up the east coast. Trips to Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, yes even Canada were made on four wheels. You can’t put on Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” without my mind’s eyes seeing the red barn as our SUV took on the mountains of Pidgeon Forge, Tennesssee. Sharing life with those who enjoy new experiences make the planning and scraping and saving that much more worth it. I have my travel buddies on speed dial. Vegas for my 40th? Done. Shopping trip in Naples, FL. Am there. Africa, Europe, the Caribbean. The atmosphere is the limit! 

Next time you see the latest trip photos on your social media feed, instead of feeling sorry for yourself–do something about it. Call your girlfriends and hatch out a master plan for making that trip to sights unseen. Commit with your spouse to set aside funds for the trip and the babysitter if need be. Want some time away alone? Make it happen Captain! Make it do what it do and pack those bags for destination Glorious Life.