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The Journey to Me

When I started traveling it was because I was feeding the adventurous adrenaline junky in me, little did I know that these departures and arrivals would teach me more about myself than I ever imagined. Below are the things I learned on this unknown journey to me.

To step out of my comfort zone

Nothing good happens there, right? Isn’t that we are always taught. It’s new culture, new people, and new country… I am forced to try new cuisines, talk to strangers, struggle to speak a new language, and more importantly learn to enjoy life without my core group of friends and family.

Skydiving; Chattanooga, Tn

That I enjoy experiences over things

I am a shoe-a-holic, whew! I mean I have it bad. However, what I have realized buying shoes, clothes, bags, or any other expensive items have never gave me the LASTING joy that traveling has. I have experienced life on a level I never imagined in my wildest dreams.

Not the Cheetah @ Cheetah’s Rock; Zanzibar, Tanzania

That my purpose is to help children

Traveling helped me find my passion and purpose, to mentor young women and give them the gift of travel. Arise Travel and Mentor was birthed because I wanted to expose young underprivileged women to the world, show them things to help imprint change in hope in a world that seems hopeless.

The Arise Travel & Mentor Mentees first time EVER on the beach; Trinidad & Tobago

Life doesn’t have to progress the way everyone tells you it should

We are told you must get an education, get a job, married, have children, put God first, and die… there is so much to life and it doesn’t have to be lived in the traditional format. That concept is limiting and quit depressing honestly. I am the author of my own life! I don’t have to be ashamed that while me friends are attending their kids’ dance recitals, I am jumping out of planes, playing with tigers, or being carefree floating in the middle of the ocean.

“Enjoy the ride and stop worrying where you are; you will get to where you need to be. Every detour and shortcut is there for a reason.”

Chalk Sound in Turks & Caicos

Be more appreciative

There are so many luxuries that we have in the United States, literally everything is at our fingertips. Traveling to different countries you are forced to make do with the things around you. Often times no air, limited food choices, no transportation, and language barriers. I promise it will make you appreciate all the things you have back home. Traveling allows you to experience living conditions you never thought you would survive nor appreciate.

A home in Tanzania

Don’t sweat the small stuff

I learned to not sweat the small stuff and enjoy the beauty all around me. So what you phone stops working in the middle of you trip to Tanzania, right? Lol speaking from personal experience and allowing myself to nearly ruin my trip. So what it rains the entire trip, the locals rip you off… trust me they will, or you wait an hour in the cold and rain for the lights on the Eiffel Tower to come on and they never do! None of those things matter, I have never remembered a trip by the tragedies only the amazing experiences and people.

Eiffel Tower; Paris, France

More importantly, I learned to be me… UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME! I care not to be a people pleaser and I don’t care as much what people think about me on social media or in real life. I only desire relationships and friendships that fully feed my soul, equally supportive, and people who force me to level up. I desire to teach people and show people the world through my pictures, stories, and experiences.

The entire time I thought the journey was the plane rides, the experiences, the people… unbeknownst to me the journey was to me this entire time.

Learning to never take myself too serious! Weird is good, right?
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Let me be your guide.. Cape Town, South Africa

Planning to visit Cape, Town South Africa? Let me be your guide through this amazing place. We set on a mission to see Cape Town in all it’s glory, poorest of areas to the richest. We wanted to experience it all.

So what is it to do in Cape Town? The first piece of advise I would give you is wait to book any excursions until you arrive as you can get better deals there. We purchased the premium pass which gave us access to the CitySightSeeing Cape Town hop on and hop off buses and which included several attractions. Well worth the $250 USD. This can be purchased at the V&A Waterfront, everything happens on the Waterfront.

First stop was conquering Table Mountain. Although you can hike Table Mountain, due to the amount of time and heat we decided to take the cable car to the top.

Fun Fact: Table Mountain is one of the new 7 wonders of nature.

I mean the quickest way down is to jump off the side of the mountain, right? Right! We decided to jump off of Signal Hill, paragliding. If you are there it’s a must you experience this. Earl with Fly Cape Town jumped with me and he was amazing! The video and pictures were included in the price.

Next up, the Scratch Patch. I was really excited to visit here. It an open area full of stones. You pay by the bag and you are allowed to pick out unique stones that speak to you or your experiences.

Boulder Beach was next on the list to see the Penguins. Boulder Beach honestly for me wasn’t worth it. You can only view the penguins from a distance, you are not able to interact with them.

Sea Point is full of great spots to eat and a beautiful beach! On the beach you will find a lot of the people from the Townships using their talents to make money for their families. We spent our time here eating and relaxing.

Who knew South Africa was known for their Vineyards? Although I don’t drink, nor did I sample the wine, it was a very interesting tour and so many great things to see and learn. Groot Constantia was first, then we visited Eagle’s Nest.

Bo-Kaap was different to say the least and didn’t really live up to the pictures I saw online, lol. It was a neighborhood of colorful houses, that’s it. The museum was a local artist paintings, not much to it.

Kirstenbosch surprisingly was one of my favorite areas to visit. The views were picturesque and there was information on each of the flowers to learn about their benefits.

Haut Bay was the MOST beautiful place in Cape Town. The water, the mountains, the atmosphere. It was breathtaking and the best way to unwind after such a busy day. Best beach to visit.

Aquilla Safari was the most anticipated excursion we planned. However, I would suggest to wait to book when you get there. We booked online prior and could have saved $200. I would not recommend staying on the reserve as the Safari can be done in 1 day.

I would recommend visiting all the museums such as South African Museum and visiting Robben Island (the jail where Nelson Mandela imprisoned).

There is no possible way I could have posted all the amazing pictures and the experiences while there. It is truly a place you must visit. Take your time to explore and really dive into the culture. Check out my blog on Imizamo Yethu, it is the true identity of South Africa and why Nelson Mandela fought so hard.

Thank you for taking this journey with me! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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32 Lessons from 32 Years of Living

32 years old, wow! I am 32! I remember being a kid and my mom being this age and thinking my mom was old. The journey to 32 has been full of many ups and downs. At 32, everyone around me is either married, engaged, pregnant, or has kids. Then there is me… the aunt of 4 that finds peace in traveling the world, photography, and fitness.

31 and 32 presented some of the most uncomfortable growing pains I ever experienced. During this time I learned so much about myself and life. As this year draws to an end and 33 staring me in my face, I am focusing on loving, expanding, and sharing.

  1. Learn to love the journey
  2. Do what makes you happy
  3. Think before you speak or react
  4. Happiness is a state of mind
  5. Allow love to find you, don’t run!
  6. Be spontaneous
  7. Buy the ticket, the dress, the shoes, etc
  8. Protect your peace; at all cost
  9. Don’t compare yourself to other; especially on social media
  10. Live authentically
  11. Ask questions
  12. Eat right
  13. Stay positive
  14. Keep in touch with family and friends
  15. Find a way to stay active
  16. Express your emotions
  17. Invest in your dreams
  18. Pursue your passions
  19. Learn to listen, even when it hurts
  20. Let go of the past
  21. Live below your means
  22. Failure is good
  23. Your aren’t always right
  24. Change is scary, but good
  25. Gratitude is the key to happiness
  26. Self honesty is freedom
  27. Worry is worthless
  28. Your gut is always right
  29. Money doesn’t buy happiness
  30. Don’t take yourself too seriously
  31. Be present
  32. It is NEVER too late! Whatever you desire to do in life, do it now.