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! 

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Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Traveling While Noire-Unpack The Hate

The other day someone asked me if I was taking applications. Me like a dummy fell for the line of questioning only to be told that for the way I travel, they wanted to trade their job for mine. So I won’t dwell on perceptions and assumptions people have when they haven’t spent a day in your shoes (no time for the foolery on this blog) but I will gladly dig right into the myth that implies that only people of other cultures have the inalienable rights totravel without prejudice. And without side eyes. 

Last summer saw me in NC, then NYC, then PA, then HI, then NJ and then back to NYC to return then to FL. A boatload of circumstances, proper planning and plain ol’ Jehovah Jireh provided for all this galavanting across the nation. This spring saw me on a cruise, twice in GA and a fourth trip down to JA (that’s Jamaica for those who don’t know the island monikers). And I’m counting down to my trip to SC in September! Tongues can start wagging at one’s ability to pick up and go. People will volunteer to help you count your coins, just to help figure out for themselves, how in the name of ratchet and raggedy did you do all of that?!!!

What seems interesting in all of this is the acceptance that white folks can trek to Bora Bora and no one bats an eye. Someone from the Middle East can jet off on the Arab Emirates to Dubai and it’s just a regular news day. Europeans are expected to jet across the big pond and back with nary a word. But let a brotha or sistah make the same moves and folks on social media creepin’ and countin’ how many trips you have already made in less than a year! Show me this mysterious travel quota. Smh. 

Black brethrens and sistrens! We gotta do better! We simply have to do better. Anytime someone mentions “well when do you work?” or assume you don’t work, (cause remember if you’re not taking selfies at your desk on a regular, you don’t work), there is some hidden messages in those statements people. 

Where is it written that Disney World is the limit to my traveling? Where is it written that Miami Beach is the destination of the world? Side note: I’m from St. Maarten. You ain’t seen beaches until you’ve seen Simpson Bay, but I digress. Where is it written that you shouldn’t be able to endure a 12 hour flight to Hawaii. Yes your ankle will get swollen but you won’t be thinking of that while you slurping up them “scrimps” from Giovanni’s Food Truck on the side of the road. The next time you see that couple take flight to Dubai, don’t suck your teeth. Save the page and send them a text when you make your plans to take your own trip there. 
I may die tomorrow and never see the Motherland. But knowing that I know someone who did and that they shared their journey with mee will just have to do. Knowing that they can freely speak about their experience without being “travel-shamed” into submission is only fair. So instead of turning green with unreasonable envy, take notes and get your life. 
Let’s have a funeral for the hate that so controls us at the successes of others. Let’s bury the “crab in the bucket” foolery. Our experiences inform our existence and lend such a beautiful essence to ourselves. We can in turn bless others with the stories and inspire others to push their own boundaries and set aside the fears that have beset our culture for far too long. Now you won’t catch me ziplining anytime soon in the Amazon Forest but call me when you’re ready to go white water rafting (with my non-swimming self). 
Celebrate the innate wanderlust of our culture and the spirit of exploration. 
Next blog: How to save for your travel lifestyle. Cause it’s definitely not free. Unless you for a sugar daddy. And you’re selling yourself to the highest bidder. šŸ˜

Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Piece of A Man

She’s rushing to and fro. She’s searching high and low. She’s looking here and there. No, it’s not for that favorite pair of shoes. Or that purse she hardly used. Sistah girl is trying to piece together half of a man cause waiting on a whole one is like watching paint dry. On one of them tall buildings in Dubai. During humid season. 

She creeps out back windows. She pretends ignorance of his presence in public places. She scrolls through Facebooks posts. Patching up flash in the pan experiences to make something, anything of low key time spent with him. Piece of a man. 

She accepts the randomized efforts at affection. Random pecks on the cheek, even when they’re alone. He’d rather kiss the other creases on her body to even care to stare into her eyes. He’d rather pierce her body and ignore her soul. Piece of a man. 

Meals shared on a couch. Of a two star hotel. In silence. Gifts come in umarked boxes with no lyrical cards to tickle her fancy. The UPS man’s earnest smile is really the only reward that awaits at the door. As he passes along yet another gift she can’t brag on. Piece of a man. 

Her friends say “Girl, keep that man! At least you got half a man!” Yet they snicker behind  chat room texts on the foolery that had become her existence. Texting shade at her pitiful circumstances. Piece of a man. 

Her life a reality show without the check. A Shakespeare comedy without the laughter. Of one human being resigned to being resigned. Of a soul whose heart is spent piecing together a piece of a man. 

Like sitting at a table with a 5000 jig saw puzzle set. With one piece missing. Be it 500 pieces missing or just that damn-ed one. He’s still just that. A PIECE of a man.