Finally Friday

Cheers to Friday folks! If I had to pick one word for my week, I’d pick adventure. I like adventures. When I tell myself it’s an adventure, I remind myself to be open and to give fear of the unknown the side eye. My week started in Philadelphia, included a wrong turn to Canada (true story),  eating for a great cause #Foodie,  and soul work that has felt like following the breadcrumbs of my life through the book Rhythms of Rest written by a friend of mine, Shelly Miller.  Through each adventure there has been whispers and shouts of joy and I’m glad to share them with you below.

 

To Infinity and Beyond

Not that I went to outer space or even watched Toy Story recently, but I made my third trip to the airport in the last 10 days this week- and I’m not even Beyonce, or Beyonce’s back up dancer. But of all the trips, this may have been the one I needed most as it was intended time to be spent only engaging in that with provides rest and renewal. My east coast nephew turned 5 last Friday and I purchased a flight over a month ago to surprise him for the long weekend. I landed Saturday afternoon and was off with my sister for last minute party errands for that evening. Sunday he and my sister slept in while I met a friend for much needed and throughly enjoyable conversation over an unsweetened  tall almond milk green tea latte at Starbucks. Afterwards my sister and nephew met us and we were movie bound to see Storks, grabbed delicious food at Red Robin, swung by Target where I started my holiday shopping, and called it a day with milkshakes (my first ever) from Sonic. Monday I was on babysitting with my nephew and Tuesday morning as he went to school and my sister went to work, I started my journey back to Buffalo.

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Photo courtesy of me. The birthday boy at Red Robin.

 

Oh Canada!

I’ve never been out of the country. Well, until Tuesday evening. I landed in Buffalo Tuesday afternoon and headed straight to work for an afternoon full of back to back meetings. As the  day came to a close my coworker sent a text about drinks before our 6:30 dinner reservation with other colleagues and a few of my friends. I was absolutely up for drinks and figured that if I just kept going I’d be in a good mood for dinner and could crash afterwards from my long day. As we were making our way to Providence Social on the west side of the city we were engrossed in really good conversation. It was so good that instead of turning left we went right…right on over to Canada with no passports y’all. We tried to turn around but the gentleman at he Duty Free store sad it was a one way and we had to just keep going. So, just before 6pm Tuesday I, passportless and all, crossed the border into Canada, sat on a bench swinging my legs as they searched my coworker’s car, immensely pleased that I’d finally made it out of the country, even if it was illegal, even if it was for not even 15 minutes in all.

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Passenger side view as we head on over to CANADA! 

 

#DiningOUtWNY

I know this post is Finally Friday. Yet as I write this I am like maybe it should have been called The Longest Tuesday.  After our brief stint in Canada we did make it to Providence Social just in time to order drinks and wait for the rest of our party. We sipped and meandered over to the little table across from the bar to learn more about Dining Out For Life Buffalo. I’d participated in the past in Philadelphia and was excited to participate here in Buffalo. Michelle gave us a run down on the history of the event in Buffalo, assured is the food we would soon consume would be amazing (And it was. OMG  blessed revamped gnocchi!) As the rest of the group came in, we made our way to our table with the perfect ice breaker story of our brief trip to Canada, and then had a blast of a night where conversation and laughter were on repeat until almost 10pm.

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Photo courtesy of Luisa Brimble 

 

Soul Work

Before heading to the SheLeads Conference in Manhattan last Wednesday morning with a group of students I zipped into the mail room one last time to see if my book, Rhythms of Rest, had arrived. It was there and I ripped open the envelope, placed the  book in my tote bag and headed to the parking lot to our shuttle to the airport. When we arrived at the airport, the students scattered to the restrooms, purchase snacks, and find good places  to take selfies. I sat with all of the carry-ons, opened the book, and began to read. Each day since the book’s arrival I’ve been reading, writing, underlining, bracketing, thinking, and praying over the pages that I have read. I have found the tides or temptation to worry, to fix, to control, slowly recede from the shores of my life, creating a rhythm in the last week and of heightened awareness  to choice.  I get to choose more often than I realize if I will trust or fret, say yes when I want or need to say no, turn off the TV and focus on a task as opposed to “multitask”, etc. I’m only on page 79, but so far, the way the book has nudged me to slow down, take deeper joy in that which I already enjoy, prioritize the necessary, and simply show up in my life and what I feel the Lord speaking to me in times of prayer has been…AWESOME!

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Photo courtesy of Black Guys Love Black Girls.Tumblr.com

 

Finally Friday

My journey to Friday this week had some unexpected detours….but like clockwork- Here we are . Fridayyyyy!  And here I am happy to share a few things that have brought me some joy this week and hoping they’ll help you dwell on some of your own joyful moments on your journey to Friday. xxoo

Pumpkin Season is Upon Us!!!

Totally sleepy and trying to fake it to make it I strolled to Starbucks on the lower concourse of New York Penn Station.  I was all about ordering my usual a a tall soy green latte. But then I looked left and saw the life size latte banner announcing that the Pumpkin Spice Latte has arrived! Furthermore, I glanced to the right and saw a “now serving almond milk,” chalk sign by the register.  The day after Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, and there I was 6:52am with my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. Joy in a cup!

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Photo courtesy of me. Pumpkin spice latte with almond milk courtesy of Starbucks.

Foodie in Philadelphia #SweetSunday

Sunday I got to spend time with a young woman I worked with back when I was a Resident Director. She was then and still is one of the most joyful optimistic vibrant people I know. From Texas, having graduated from Oberlin in Ohio, she picked Philadelphia to call home. I happened to be in my home city so we got gelato from Capogiro in Rittenhouse Square. She went all fruity with pineapple and peach sorbets. I was all about the rich gelato with a bourbon butterscotch and a Madagascar bourbon vanilla. We ate and laughed our hearts out.

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Photo courtesy of me. Gelato courtesy of Capogiro , 20th and Sansom Streets in Philadelphia.

Good People

I may or may not have been extended a pretty amazing opportunity tat sent me straight into what I now see as an absolutely unnecessary unexpected emotional whirlwind. So I sent out an SOS to a friend who knew the best she could do in lieu of driving the six hours to see me was call as soon as she got off work from her oh so ridiculous I have no idea how she does it job and talk with me for a little over an hour. By talk with me I really mean listen and remind me of what I know for sure and how I really am (although the past couple years would suggest otherwise) great at knowing what I need and figuring out how to get it. Between her, my mom, and another friend who short of an eight hour drive giving me a call it was wonderful to have people, good people, who know a thing or two about me, respond when i needed, not offer a bunch of untimely well intended advice, and remind me I will make the decision that I know is best for me.

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Soul Work 

My coworker said it best when he called my Tuesday a “comedy of errors.”  It really was a disappointing day, from my no show taxi, the woman behind me on the train who snored like she was in the Olympics going for the gold, the multiple delays that resulted in my getting home over an hour later than I’d planned, or the emails that felt hugely dismissive of what I needed to accomplish some things. Truly on the verge of tears in all my frustration I reached for my coral colored leather bound journal and pen and started to write. I started with “I’m disappointed.” As I continued to write there were my confessions for a need to be in control and how out of control I felt, the fact that despite my new community really being good for me I was missing the community of people I’d just spent the weekend with back in Philadelphia, and the emails felt dismissive because they weren’t helping me prove how I really was working although I was remote. As I finished writing I wrote a simple prayer- “Lord redeem the rest of my day.” I knew that I could either dwell on all that was (or wasn’t) or look at the time left and make the best of it…which included wine, wings, pizza, and Netflix.

writingodyssey

Photo courtesy of The Odyssey.com

Finally Friday

Photo courtesy of E Online.com

Photo courtesy of E Online.com

There’s been matcha lattes from local coffee shops, and arctic swirls with Reese peanut butter cups from local ice cream shops, a late night movie “on a school night”, great conversations about economic development and serving the whole person, hearing narratives that remind me that I’m exactly where I need to be at this time in my life, new music, an opportunity to unapologetically assert myself (it was a pretty sweet moment), and well as you can see I’ve had quite the week and below are just a few other things that have brought me joy this week in my journey to Friday and I hope you take a moment to consider the things that have brought you joy in your journey to Friday.

Sounds Good

My iTunes rotation got an upgrade this week courtesy of Andra Day’s Rise Up album. It’s been on repeat and between Rise up, Cheers to the Fall, and Rearview…I feel like I could join her on stage at her concert at Lincoln Theater in DC November 25th and not embarrass myself (or her). Granted right now I just want to join her at the concert, even if its in a seat a few rows away. Take a listen for yourself 😉

Sight Seeing and Good Food Eating

Sunday I made my way to Niagara Falls (the US side) with a few good folks and it was breathtaking. The weather was glorious with the sun in and out and only 75 degrees. My company was engaging and entertaining. The water was just powerful and reminds me of how beautiful and powerful nature is.  Wednesday I went to lunch with a new colleague to a spot called Bedrock, which was right on the shore of Lake Erie and served up some sweet honey friend chicken and golden delicious french fries.

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Photo courtesy of Me- at Niagara Falls and Perks Coffee Shop in Buffalo, NY

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Photo courtesy f Me- Honey Fried Chicken courtesy of Bedrock Restaurant in Hamburg, NY

Soul Work

Maybe the good thing about being between two books is that they help keep you on the right track, being honest and vulnerable about past experiences and really deep hopes and dreams for the future. I find that sometimes dwelling on either with ignorance to the other can be a disservice. So I got Brene Brown in Rising Strong who helps me stay present by drawing from past experiences and seeing tendencies, tendencies to change if appropriate, or celebrate if appropriate. Then I’ve got Valerie Burton in Successful Women Think Differently who has helped me think big picture, but including all the tiny details that give the big picture it’s wow factor. I got to spend time this week purposefully dreaming, with the instruction to and my own commitment to not hold back, and not only was the dream glorious, it is totally doable. Like very achievable, especially the more I take stock of what I believe and how that influences my behavior (i.e. actions taken to either advance or impede my goals). I was rather impressed with my dream and mighty grateful to confidently know everything I need to fulfill it God has provided.  My soul is feeling pretty good this week. And tired, cause I won’t lie, wrestling with our own internal stuff takes some energy and some work. However I’m worth it.

Phot coutesy of Guierllmo Alvarez Tumblr.com

Phot coutesy of Guierllmo Alvarez Tumblr.com

 

Happy Weekending! xxoo

Lessons from The List- Portland

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That’s us- Kari and I. xxoo

At the start of the year I made a list of women that I was bound on seeing this year. I was bound on doing life with them, whatever that was going to look like. Maybe it was walking with them to pick up dry cleaning. Maybe it was sitting with them as they picked out what logos they preferred for their company. Maybe it was preparing a meal together. Maybe it was people watching at their favorite place to people watch. The what I was open to, it was more of the with.

We make such a huge deal in life about what we learn, where we learn it, what we wear when learning it, how many people liked that we learned it, what filter to use to best show on Instagram what we learned,  but focus so little on who we learn in life with.  The “with” is where where the magic happens 😉

My trip to Portland recently was absolutely about seeing one of those women and spending time doing life with her. It was a short trip, just about 24 hours, if that, but we had plans- plans that included good food, good coffee (for her, chai for me), a visit to the new home she and her family ceramic showcase.  And we did all of that, amid picking up her two super cute offspring, doctors appointments, physical therapy appointments, Kumon, homework, lunch making and packing, and everybody out the door getting.

Chai latte with almond milk from Black Rock Coffee Shop. So so good!

Chai latte with almond milk from Black Rock Coffee Shop. So so good!

As we rode in her black SUV to the ceramic show, post sweet treats courtesy of Kyra’s Bake Shop (seriously so many amazingly delicious sweet treats to not eat one, one and a half, or two) she asked if I’d thought about going back to the counseling profession or if my two year to date sabbatical was really my exit from the work altogether. “I’m not sure, but right now I’m not in a place to be present or give to people the way you have to as a counselor.” She nodded and scooched the vehicle forward a little more to make it known to the other cars she was intending to make a left turn before the light changed. “And are you seeing anyone?” she asked. I laughed trying not to choke on my sweetly frosted cinnamon bun. “I’m not really in a place to teach anyone right now how to be who I need them to be in my life. If they don’t come with those qualities- like knowing how to communicate, or reciprocate, or other things I really consider basic to the type of relationship I want- then I got nothing for them. Plus, seriously, I live in Chestertown.” She laughed and then she said-

Can we talk about the deliciousness that is this bake shop- oh and soooo allergy/gluten free friendly!

Can we talk about the deliciousness that is this bake shop- oh and soooo allergy/gluten free friendly!

“I get it. You need someone who can come into your reality for what it is. It’s hard finding those people who can truly enter into your reality, and you can enter their’s and do life together in reality. Not in what it used to be, not in what we want it to be, but in the present moment with the present situation. And I find those are usually the healthy people. The ones who don’t want to make things like they were or can only talk about what they want or wish and not really take ownership of what currently is struggle because they don’t know how to take ownership of the current reality.”

I thought she got it because her husband is a child psychiatrist as are one of the couples her and her husband enjoy spending time with. I also thought she got it because she worked in higher education as a resident director for several years and you cannot do that job well (and she was a rock star) without some serious counseling strengths. But in that moment I realized she got it in an entirely different but real way. She got it because she’s made a choice to live in reality, do life with others who live in their realities, and to be courageous enough to stand with folks in their realities as they work out their past and move towards their future.

She got it in the way that I am hoping you get it and I got it as my first lesson from the list-

“A simply LIVEd life is one that is lived in reality.”

I know. It’s simple. You probably think I didn’t need to fly across the country to learn it. But it’s true. It’s so so true. I’m still not completely in love with all of my current reality, however, the more I’ve dug my heels into my reality I’ve gotten a lot better at truly appreciating and protecting the parts of it that I adore.  I’ve used those pieces that scare me, that I’m disappointed about, have been on what feels like the longest journey out of depression, and  ashamed of  to be thoughtful in the areas of my life where I need to be courageous again, hopeful again, softer again.

My little treat from the Ceramic Showcase.

My little treat from the Ceramic Showcase.

Absent of being present in our own present, real about our own reality, we really do jeopardize living. We sabotage, we setback, we steal from our future.  We lose out on good relationships, opportunities, and moments- moments that become good memories, good memories that become foundational for our reality, and realities that allow us to build purposeful futures.

Decide to Share the Love

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Photo courtesy of J Cocina.com

If you believe in magic and good food, then there is a magical good food place in DC called Creme and one of their most magical foods is a coconut cake. So after a long day of discussing power, language, the written word, and inclusion I made sure that before I called it a night I went to Creme. I ordered two slices of cake, one for me and one for the honey blonde Black woman who was my cab driver.
She’d never heard of Creme and like a true foodie, in my shock I went on and on about all of their food but especially their coconut cake. When I first had the cake I told her, the server, a male, said while his current relationship status was single and not seeing anyone…the coconut cake would be his wedding cake. I was in love with that cake.  I love supporting small businesses, and I love sharing good stuff and spreading a little $8.00 slice of happiness.

Love shares. That’s what it does, because it’s not selfish. It doesn’t fear lack so it doesn’t need to hold so tightly to things, people, or relationships. It trusts that sharing, giving, partnering out of a place of love, that all will be well and that love begets love.

There is a freedom in love that has the power to ground us in a deep knowing that should we decide to not only live from that place, but to share it, we won’t be uprooted or unraveled. We won’t be any less, but quite possibly more. More loving, more fulfilled, more gracious.

Our conversation in the cab gave way to our love for various types of food , family traditions, restaurants to visit during my next trip, gentrification in DC. It gave way to knowing and being known. Love desires to know (intimacy) and be known (vulnerability).

Photo courtesy of Who What Wear.com

Photo courtesy of Who What Wear.com

We parted ways. I made my way to my fourth floor vintage hotel room where as I started to settle in for the night received a call from someone I loved, my mother. You could hear the tiredness in her voice. We talked about her day, and that weariness led way to sadness as she shared her colleague’s son died from a blood clot. She cried she told me. She cared about her friend and could only imagine the pain the family felt. She shared in the pain as she could. Living from a place of love does that too. Oh it shares in joy but also shares in pain, in loss, in hurt, and in weariness.

My hope for you is that as you live in the love you have decided too be in, as you have defined it, and believed it, is that you share it. May the love you cultivate be one so freeing that you wholeheartedly share it whether through buying cake for a cab driver, sharing in the sorrow of a loss of a colleague, sharing hopes for a new job, fears about a relationship you really want to work, and dreams of that new business in the area of the city being revitalized (but not gentrified). xxoo

Photo courtesy of Pinerest.com

Photo courtesy of Pinerest.com

Weekend Infatuation- New York City

Welcome to the Weekend! It is Friday and you can find me in Starbucks on Fulton in Manhattan, just a few blocks from the hotel that I will be home until Sunday afternoon. Later you can find me over in Soho browsing the racks at Bloomingdale’s. At some point you will catch me in an number of thrift stores, Union Square, Macy’s on 34th street, in Koreatown, at a food truck, oh and at ABC Home and Carpet. Basically, you will find me doing the things I love in a place I love- the city. Specifically- NYC, but the reality is I just love cities.  To me, weekends were made for doing things we love that we don’t get to do during the week for any number of reasons. Weekends are made for giving our minds, bodies, and souls the nurturing necessary to be the best lovers we can to the objects of our affection. Any recommendations to places to go, things to do, places to eat or hear goo music you can let me on Twitter @ahyanajenise.  #DaretoShare Happy Weekending! Until Monday! xxoo

Photo courtesy of Estillo Tendances.com

Photo courtesy of Estillo Tendances.com

Back To DC

Last weekend I went back to DC but for the first time with a group of some of my absolute favorite gal pals. We ere celebrating my birthday. While my birthday was last month, between moving back across the country and staring a new job at a new college, I presed pause on the celebrating. It truly was a mere pause and last weekend I pressed play. We played like nobody’s business. After checking into Club Quarters Hotel, we spent the afternoon with some of us getting manis and pedis and others of us shopping. We spent Saturday night at Cuba Libre. We had dinner and after dinner cocktails and then took it to the dance floor. I forgot how liberating dancing was. We called lights out not long after 2:30 Sunday morning only to head to Starbucks a few hours later and take our coffees and lattes to the park to people watch and daydream aloud. Before heading back to Maryland and Pennsylvania we had brunch at Creme. The ambiance and food were beyond amazing and so worthy of going back for. Sharing a few pictures from the weekend that was. The weekend that whenever I think back to it, makes me immensely grateful for friends and looking forward to more memory creating with them. Until Monday! xxoo

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Silvie is great at catching candid shots.

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A rare not so camera shy moment of yours truly xxoo

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We’re cute…heading down and out to eat and DANCEEEEE!

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Headed out for the night, me, Steph, and Silvie…Serena is playing photographer

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Grilled pineapple guacamole @CubalibreDC #Foodie

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Mango Curry Glazed Salmon #foodie @CubaLibreDC

Sweatin out my press, sweatin out my blow out @CubaLibreDC

Sweatin out my press, sweatin out my blow out @CubaLibreDC

Beauties who brunch @Creme14

Beauties who brunch @Creme14 Me, Steph, Sil, and Serena #SASS

Green Eggs (Spinach and green chilies) and ham (turkey sausage for me) and hollandaise sauce and my grits are to the side. yum #foodie

Green Eggs (Spinach and green chilies) and ham (turkey sausage for me) and hollandaise sauce and my grits are to the side. yum #foodie

the BEST coconut cake everrrrrrrrr

the BEST coconut cake everrrrrrrrr

We shared it cause you know- sharing is caring!

We shared it cause you know- sharing is caring!

Serena and I xxoo

Serena and I xxoo

Silvie and Steph

Silvie and Steph

The Independent Traveler

Photo courtesy of Kelly Purkey

Photo courtesy of Kelly Purkey

I flew for the first time a little over 10 years ago. It as spring break, my senior year of undergrad, and going home wasn’t an option. I had an aunt in California that I’d never visited. When I called to ask to visit she was beyond thrilled to have me and one of my great gal pals Patty, for the week. Not only was my trip amazing, I’ve gone back every year since and some years three to four times. I’ve only gone one other time to San Francisco with someone else. I love to travel…and…I don’t mind going alone. #IndieSpirit It’s not that I don’t like going with others but more times than not others have a list of excuses as to why they can’t go. So I go solo. In my single stints in a host of places where there weren’t familiar faces I’ve learned a few things that have made for safe, life giving, memorable rips that I thought I’d share. You know, just in case you want to head to Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, New Orleans, New York, Atlanta, or Boston. Oh, or San Francisco -which is where I am sending this post from. Until Monday! xxoo

1. Research

Let’s just start with planning to go on your me myself and I adventure. I cannot stress enough the importance of researching your destination, especially if it is out of your country of residence, employment, or where you used to call home. Use reputable websites, travel agencies, and don’t be afraid to chat up colleagues, family members, and friends who have visited where you intend to go. Pay attention to world news and see what is going on where you intend to go, whether it’s fashion week, a national holiday or festival, flooding, or increasing civil unrest. Research your country’s embassy and presence within the country should something happen. Make sure you do all you need to do regarding currency exchanges and you are aware of what products (like medications or vitamins) may be restricted.

If you are staying stated side here in the US, it’s still important to do your research. If you plan on using a city’s public transit system start to familiarize yourself with the public transit website and google maps. Use the trip planner tool to estimate trips from where you will stay to points of interest.

Know before you go.

2. Pay that pretty penny 

While you don’t need to pay $545.00 a night at a hotel, I wouldn’t recommend paying $29.00 a night at one either. I’m biased towards hostels for solo travel and have no problem advising against it. If you are not staying with friends or family during your travel I’d recommend a reasonable priced hotel. Cheaptickets.com is my favorite for low price flights and hotels but they are a myriad of search engines out there with a plethora of places to stay. Pay attention to ratings and reviews. Look up the parts of town the venue is located in before booking, as well as its distance to places you hope to visit. No one wants that $134.00 a night hotel by the airport in a place where the only way to museums, shop, and eateries is a cab, or the car you didn’t rent.

3. Less is more (just not for overnight accommodations)

When traveling solo it is so to your benefit to pack less. Less, books, shoes, swimsuits, and even….panties (learn the art of hand washing and line drying, besides who wants to bring home a bunch of funky clothes). Pick a color scheme where you can use accessories to add hints of color and showcase your style. Pack things to layer. Pick a pair of flats, walking shoes, and one pair of night on the town shoes.  It’s easier to put on or take off than to have a bunch of items you just don’t need.

Photo courtesy of Flip and Style.com

Photo courtesy of Flip and Style.com

4. Play it cool

Don’t bring every gadget you’ve got. You don’t need your iphone,ipad, ipod, mac airbook, fitbit, etc.etc. One, if the trip is for vacation, learn to unplug. Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pic Stitch, and Snap Chat will be okay without you for a few days. Two, there is no need to bring all of those items to keep up with or worry about safely storing. Choose well and wisely.

Also, do your best not to stick out as someone clearly not from the place you are visiting. Granted, depending where you’re going you might not be able to control that. However, you can control no throwing on the t-shirt, lanyard, and hat that says I heart _____ in those cheesy pastel colors. And don’t feel the need to take a picture of everything or constantly ask people to snap pics of you. Nothing says tourist like snap happy camera phone people.

5. Watch out 

This is two tip is two fold. For one, wear a watch. We often use out phones to tell time yet we rarely just look at t time. We notice the notification of the text message, new blog post by our favorite writer, instagram pic, tweets, etc. and we’re lost in cyber space instead of paying attention to the space we are currently in. It’s how you miss your stop on the train nor bus, or become the target of a person intending to harm you and or steal your stuff. Also, be mindful of traveling alone at night. Unless it’s heaven (and I don’t know if there is a night time there), wherever you are be mindful of where you are when it gets dark out. Pay attention to your surroundings.

6. Leave a little something behind 

When I travel I make it a habit to share my itinerary with at least one person. Typically it’s my parents, but not always. I simply always make sure that should anything happen there is at least one person who knows what was supposed to happen, where I was supposed to be, and can contact people on my behalf should that be needed. I also print a hard copy of my itinerary should there be any technological difficulties or items that I would use to retrieve an electronic version are unavailable.

Photo courtesy of Who What Wear.com

Photo courtesy of Who What Wear.com

7. Change it up

Be sure to carry some cash with you and when you do, store it in more than one place- on your person and in your bag. If you can, bring a separate credit or debit card just for traveling. I use Capitalone360. Again, should It be lost or stolen, it was only connected to funds you used for traveling, not your checking and savings account.

8. Learn and use the language 

Whether abroad or state side put some effort in learning the language of the culture you will be a part of. And by language I don’t just mean verbal, but nonverbal as well. Be mindful of and respectful of the traditions and norms of the culture you will be a part of. Shaking hands is not the universal greeting for hello (sometimes it’s a kiss), and I’m from Philly and call it soda but in Spokane they call it pop. What you wear is also apart of learning and using the language. Just be mindful, especially if you identify as a woman, that some places are offended by seeing too much skin. Translation- leave the crop top home, one piece swimsuits are in, a beautiful maxi may be a stylish and appropriate stand in for the LBD.

9. Choose wisely

I heart adventure, but I always want to be able to tell my adventures. It’s important that as you plan and travel that you stay mindful of the areas you travel to. If you are staying in a resort area it may behoove you to stay and explore the resort before leaving the resort to explore alone. Depending on where you are visiting certain neighborhoods, eateries, museums, and markets may have optimal days and hours to visit.

10. LIVE

Be sure to LIVE while you are away. Go to as many museums as will make your heart content. Order the wine, appetizer, entrée, dessert, and go back to your hotel and get yourself a night cap. Buy the dress, scarf, or earrings from the boutique. Eat the croissant, doughnut, and tart all in the same day. Go to the mid afternoon matinee, or splurge or the Broadway play. Dance with the guy with the shy smile who took 25 minutes to meander over to you and ask you to dance. Create memories, just be mindful so you can come back and tell folks about them.

Photo courtesy of Her Campus.com

Photo courtesy of Her Campus.com