2018 Travel Recap


This year, I traveled to 30 cities and 3 countries. Some of my travel was for work and some of it was personal. All of it was an adventure and worth every moment of my time. I also moved from Houston, TX to Greenville, SC in May. This was a year of change and discovery.  Since I began traveling more in 2014, I realized that experiences are more memorable than any gift I’ve received. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to travel more and have unforgettable experiences. In this blog, I’m sharing my 2018 favorites: favorite experience, favorite city, favorite country, and favorite hotel!

This year I traveled to:

Greenville, SC (Before I moved to here!)

San Francisco, CA

Nashville, TN

Austin (3x’s)

Edmond, OK

Bentonville, AR (2x’s)

Houston, TX (2x’s since moving away)

Dallas, TX

Fort Worth, TX

New York, NY

Chicago, IL

Omaha, NE

Ellisville, MO

Knoxville, TN

Woodbridge, VA

Columbia, SC

Las Vegas, NV

Temecula, CA

Mesa, AZ

Mid City, OK

Birmingham, AL

Atlanta, GA (7xs)

Columbia, SC

Charolette, NC

Asheville, NC

San Antonio, TX

Montgomery, AL

New Orleans, LA

Columbus, MS

Panama City, FL

Countries: 

Havana, Cuba

Progreso, Mexico

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Favorite Experience: Legacy Museum  and National Memorial for Peace and Justice

I went to the opening weekend for EJI‘s Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.  This was my first time to Alabama. Montgomery is a small town but we all know about Montgomery, AL because it’s known to be the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. I learned a lot of new things and mainly I was moved to tears. We as black people have overcome and endured a lot. Grateful for the ancestors who have gone before me, I won’t let their fight for equality be in vain.

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Favorite City: New York

I booked this trip on a whim with my friend Sharon and her cousin Catherine. We decided to hang out in NYC for her birthday and we loved it. This was my second time to NYC and I got to visit a few places I hadn’t been to before. We went to the top of the One World Trade Center. Ate Pizza at Roberta’s (TWICE!). The second time we went to Roberta’s we ubered and walked two blocks in the snow– just so we could eat this pizza again. It was that good. We Brunched at Le Barricou which is this delightful French Bistro with an amazing Brunch Menu. We ordered way too much food but enjoyed every bite! We got our nails done at Local Honey, this was a cute chic place and all of the employees were super kind. We visited the Museum of Modern Art’s Charles White Exhibit, drank Coffee at Manhattanville Coffee, got some healthy drinks at Grass Roots Juicery, and ate Lunch at KAFFE 1668 with an old friend!  We also went to a host of thrift stores around the city. It was truly a memorable trip.


Favorite Country: Ethiopia

I went to Ethiopia for work. I had REAL macchiato’s NOT the Starbucks version and my life was changed. The coffee was delicious- I had more macchiato’s a day than I’d like to admit. I shopped in Addis and purchased genuine leather purses for cheap. The people are so kind, welcoming, and friendly. I had a life changing conversation with one of our partners there and our talk has stayed with me all year. This is a beautiful country. I hope more people visit Ethiopia!

 


Favorite Hotel: Springhill Suites By Marriott 

I am in love with the remodeled Marriott Suite hotels. Y’all I remember when suite rooms were boring, lacking functionality, and a “last” option hotel. Now, I will book a Springhill/Courtyard Marriott Suite hotel in a heartbeat! I stayed in about 7 of their locations around the country and I have no complaints. The staff was friendly.  The accommodations were incredible, beds comfortable, and they all had complimentary breakfast and a social hour. If you are looking for a place to stay, check them out!

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Happy Traveling and Cheers to the New Year!

Mom, thanks for seeing me.

As many of you all know, I moved! I now reside in Greenville, SC and with all moves there are adjustments. I know this well, as I’ve moved a good bit. I got my own loft apartment and it’s lovely in every way. My mom is living with me and getting a feel for the city. She has been really supportive of me as I make this space home.

One of the hardest parts about moving, which I knew would come, is leaving my friends behind. My best friend, my sisters, my “mom” friends, my married friends, all the people. And it was especially hard to leave my single friends behind, I worked hard to cultivate friendships with my single friends. Oftentimes, these were friends from different “groups” or even phases of life. But individually I’d kept up with them and we would meet up to hang out and talk life and dreams and everything else in between. I knew I would be giving that up. And I know “you’ll make new friends” is true but that takes time and intentionality to cultivate.

My mom and I have been exploring the city and learning more about Greenville. Today, I was tired and in a “food coma” from the locally made pasta I ate, it was delicious.

She walks in and told me she has a surprise for me.

She hands me a flower and says “I know people will be focused on all the mothers tomorrow, I wanted to say happy Mother’s Day to you as you’ve been motherly to your nephew and other children. You’ll be a mom one day too”. Cue the water works and the tears from a deep place, often left untouched. She gave me my favorite snack and a plant for my new hanging pot, all in effort to say, I know you’re hearts desires and I see you. You can never underestimate the power of kindness.

So to all the aunties, god-mommy’s, sisters, friends, etc. I see you. You’re valued and loved. May you know just how important you are on a day where some celebrate and many mourn. There’s a place for you too.

Mom, on a weekend that’s supposed to be all about you, thank you for seeing me. Happy (early) mother’s day to the realest mom a girl could ask for.

Saturday, we wait. Sunday, we rise.

I am moving.

Before I share all the details of when, where, who, and how; let me start from the beginning of this journey for me personally.

A few years ago, my friend Patty and I were reflecting on Saturday, the day after Jesus died, and how in life we have Saturdays; days of grief and pain. The beauty is Saturday does not last forever. Our hearts anticipate Sunday, the rising, the resurrection. In order to get to Sunday, we must endure Saturday. During this time, I’ve been in a liminal space between where I am and where I am headed. The wait has felt like, anticipating a package in the mail but it hasn’t arrived yet. You know its enroute, you just don’t have it in your possession.

The past 7 months have been heartbreaking and healing for me personally.  It’s been my Saturday and I have cried more times than I can count. It hasn’t been easy but saying yes to Jesus will and plan for my life has and will always be the best yes, I’ve ever given.

While traveling on tour for work a few years ago I got this deep sense that I would move and I wouldn’t stay in Texas. The main thing keeping me in Texas was my family. I decided on the tour the two cities I could afford to live in (I love you Cali but I am not ready for you to have all my money!) were Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC. Both cities caught my attention but I came home tried to re-settle into Houston beginning of 2017. I tried to truly settle in but I just didn’t feel deeply connected. I LOVE Houston so this was really weird for me. I’ve also stayed to myself quite a bit in this season so I really wasn’t sure what God was up to.

One day I pondered moving, once again, but now I lived in a townhouse with my brother, his wife, and my nephew. It didn’t seem feasible and I really wanted to be a part of my nephew’s life. My parents moved us to Texas away from family so I know how it is to grow up away from your aunties, uncles, and cousins. My brother and I always talked about staying close to one another if we could so moving was off the table for the moment.

A few weeks later, my brother tells me that he is praying about moving to Greenville, South Carolina (located right in between Atlanta and Charlotte, NC) to serve under Pastor John Gray who is taking over Redemption Church, soon to be named Relentless Church. I was shocked because we just signed an 18-month lease for a townhouse in Rice Military, I was just feeling like I had some sense of “permanency”.

No one in our family had ever been to Greenville, SC so I decided I wanted to go check it out in January. My friend Stephanie told me to fly into Atlanta and she would drive me to Greenville and we would look around. Stephanie has been a pillar for me during this season of singleness. She is one of the first people I talked to after my break-up last year and has prayed me through some of the toughest times in my life. At the end of the trip, we sat in a little coffee shop, wrote out our life roadmap using the passion planner layout and then talked about our dreams and goals. I shared with her that I felt like I needed to move to Greenville but I wasn’t sure why and I knew everyone would think it was all for my brother but I felt deep inside there was a purpose for me too, I just don’t know what it is yet. While tears poured down my face, Stephanie spoke life over me and I felt hope begin to arise in my heart.

I went home with a full heart and LOTS of questions but I began planning a cross-country move while beginning the semester for graduate school as an intern and taking one online course. Full-time work and full-time school. If you haven’t seen or heard from me much, now you know why.

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Here are some FAQ, I’ll answer below:

Where are you working?

I’ve worked for Legacy Collective for about two years, as the Communications and Programming Director. I work remotely but fly/drive to any work meetings or events I need to attend.

What is Legacy Collective?

Legacy Collective is a donor-advised fund, where people give anywhere from $10-$250+ per month and we give quarterly grants to organizations providing sustainable solutions to systemic issues. Basically, young people like me can give $20 a month a be a huge part of the $60,000+ grants we give away. We ONLY give to organizations nominated by our community members. Together we help further the work of existing organizations doing great work.  Members donate ($10-$99); partners donate + nominate organizations for funding ($100-$249), investors donate+ Nominate+ Vote on who receives funding ($250+).

If you want to learn more about the organization I work for visit our Website.

And if you want to join our community by donating monthly, join online.

(Shameless plug for my job)

When are you finished with Grad School?

I have 5 weeks left of my internship, I finish May 4th! I then have a Maymester course and one Summer Course that finishes in August. After this semester, I have two classes standing between me and a graduate degree!

What do you plan to do with your Social Work Degree?

Study and take the licensing exam, then continue working for Legacy Collective. I absolutely LOVE my job.

Are you still going to be roommates with your brother and his family?

No, I am not. I will be living in a loft right outside of downtown! I haven’t been there physically but I know I am going to love it. I selected my apartment end of February and ironically enough a week and a half ago, my brother found a place 5 minutes from me, so we will still be close by!

What will you do in Greenville?

I will work for Legacy Collective, study for my LMSW exam, and most likely start a Be The Bridge group there! You all know I am passionate about racial reconciliation and I completely adore our BTB ambassador team, that works tirelessly to make our BTB so great!

I will make new friends, get involved at Relentless Chruch, continue being an Auntie, and join local advocacy groups. And I will write to my heart’s content.

What about your mom?

She is going, too! She will live with me to start off as she learns the city and gets her bearings. She has never been to Greenville so the day she arrives will be her first time in the city! I am excited for her to come because she will be my trainer and get my butt back in shape, ha.

Will you and your brother keep your YOUTUBE show?

YES! We plan to continue. Moving has taken over our lives the past few months but we will re-group once I get settled.

Are you excited?

I am thrilled. I have been longing for adventure and a change of pace. This move places me closer to my Atlanta sisters and I am so grateful for that. I am also really ready for something different and I am excited to explore the states around me! I am gearing up for some summer travel and after being on a bit of a travel hiatus due to interning, I am itching to get on a plane, ASAP.

When do you move?

In 5 weeks. I won’t be able to see everyone before I go but if you are in Houston, I’d love to hug your neck!

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I am coming into my Sunday and I have long awaited this day. The clouds that seemed to hang over my head are dissipating. Worry is only but a whisper and fear is not gripping my heart. I am walking forward with open hands and a heart that is an open space. I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer about this upcoming season and I feel deeply grateful for what is to come.

I believe Barbra Brown Taylor’s article eloquently describes Holy Saturday. I will leave a quote below.

That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting — with nothing to do and no church service to help — a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get — there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.

May Grace and Peace be with you all.

xoxo

FaitthB

Faitth, where are you going to next?

So this year is coming to a close. I planned to document this epic year of travel in real time and discuss my travels and the places I went but that did not happen. So I plan to blog about it in past tense but hey, better late (like a year late) than never, right? I went places I only dreamed of going and I even went to Paris without a boo! Y’all I really wanted to go to Paris and I waited a few years because *maybe* I could save my first trip to Paris for me and someone special. But I decided to go for my 27th birthday because it was time for me to go on my dream trip and I don’t have time to wait for a man to experience life and travel. I will gladly return to any country I’ve already visited 😉

Okay, I digress.

So lately, most people ask me the following questions: Where do you live? Where do you work? Are you still in school? etc. Because I travel so much I understand why people are asking me all of these questions, you never know what part of the world you’ll find me in. So I am going to answer a few questions I get asked frequently.

Where do I live? Houston, TX. I moved back to Houston from Austin in June of 2016 but I traveled so much the last 6 months of the year that I didn’t feel like I “lived” in Houston until the beginning of 2017.

Where do I work? I am the Communication and Programming Director for Legacy Collective. Best job ever. If you want to give monthly and help us impact local and global communities, join us! *Shameless plug but you won’t regret joining us*

Am I still in school? YES, I am two semesters away from finishing my Master’s degree in Social Work.

Hows Auntie Life? It’s the best. I am so glad my brother and sister-in-law had a child. All my baby fever is gone. I will love, spoil, and kiss his little cheeks and give him back to his parents. Glory, Hallelujah.

Do I plan to travel in 2018? YES. I do plan to travel in 2018. In fact, I am already planning my trips! I do not plan to travel nearly as much as I did in 2017 but I do hope I get to travel out of the country at least 3 times. The rest will be domestic travel!

How do I find travel deals? I follow travel pages like secret flying, escape Houston, and Houston flight deals. I try to outline the places I want to go before the year begins and then look for those flight deals throughout the year. Also, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. The more I travel, the more disciplined I’m learning to become with saving and planning for the unexpected. Traveling is wonderful and can be expensive so you really want to make sure you have a financial plan when you choose to travel. Here’s the thing. Don’t let finances hinder you from traveling. There are some really good deals out there. If you can afford to buy several pairs of $200 shoes you can afford to travel. Like I said before, SAVE. Start exploring the US, go on a cruise, and work your way out of the country. I’ll be posting deals as I find them on my travel FB page, FaitthB: Travel, Write, Repeat.

Say yes to adventure this year, its worth the investment.

 

 

 

The lonely days…

I’ve never felt more lonely than my first night in Portland, December 1, 2016.

A year ago, I went to Portland for vacation. My friend was supposed to join me but due to a family emergency, she could no longer come on the trip. I was not mentally prepared to be in Portland alone. After exploring the city for a few hours, I sat in my hotel room, crying, determined to find a flight home, ASAP. I was so lonely, I hated it. I had a rental car and my hotel was about 20 minutes outside of the city with not much to do nearby. I sent an SOS to my people…”I gotta come home ASAP” but they convinced me to stay. Why did I feel so alone in this city?

img_2359Those emotions stuck with me, in fact, sometimes, I’m reminded of the chill winds and overcast skies of Portland in the moments I feel lonely. I feel every ounce of uncertainty and unfamiliarity that I felt in that hotel room.

Here’s the thing…

I’ve learned to enjoy being alone but its outside of my personality type. As I’ve gotten older I’ve acquired some introverted tendencies but I’ve always been an extrovert.

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I was lonely in Portland but I pushed past the fear and anxiety that wanted to cripple my soul, got on the meetup app, and found out a small group was gathering for a bible study at Starbucks. I figured this could go well or really bad but I wanted to meet new people so I went anyways. I was greeted by a joyful woman named Kiesha. She introduced me to everyone and they were all so welcoming.

Later that night, I went to a restaurant that a few friends recommended. I needed one seat and the bar seemed like the only place I would snag a seat…I watched as couple after couple overlooked me waiting and took a seat before me. Over time, I locked eyes with a gentleman waiting for a seat as well, we both saw a couple getting up and knew it was our chance to sit down. We began chatting and he told me he immigrated to the States from the middle east and loved Portland because people were so kind and welcoming to him. He asked if I was traveling alone, I told him yes. He proceeded to encourage me to travel more and seek out new adventures.

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It’s in the moments of loneliness that I feel the ache of singleness the most. I ended a relationship earlier this year and it was the right thing to do but very difficult. I knew the end of that relationship meant the feelings of loneliness would come sweeping back in. Growing up in church, they told us to kiss dating goodbye and “wait” because your husband will appear just when you “least expect it”.  A perspective I kissed dating goodbye author Joshua Harris is re-evaluating. The reality is, there is no formula for meeting the person you decide to spend forever with. Every story is unique. While marriage isn’t the ultimate goal of fulfillment for my life, I am keenly aware of my desire to love and be loved by a significant other. We are all wired for connection (thanks, Brene Brown for studying this). I know I am not the only one who feels this way, I’ve talked to girlfriends who are now dreaming about the future for themselves with no one else in mind. This isn’t what most of us had planned but its where we’re at. Welcoming peace and stillness to our hearts is where we learn to walk in the “dark” without fear. Its where we bow out of the rat race and learn to fly.

It’s been a whole year since Portland and I am well-acquainted with the feelings of loneliness;  familiar with the change in seasons with friendships; and well aware of my own sadness when I wish I had a boo. BUT this year, I deepened my friendship with adventure, 7 countries, and 10 US cities later I am more confident, empowered, and determined.

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I’m no longer anxious on lonely days.

I am aware.

From that awareness, I choose to wake up and ignore the self-imposed deadlines I’m “behind” on. Because who’s keeping track of the time anyway?

 

 

Mom, your heart beats in mine.

Dear Mom-

As I get older I realize how much I’ve taken your love for granted.

Late nights.

Endless phone calls.

Heartache.

Heartbreak.

Joy.

Sadness.

Depression.

Shame.

You’ve seen every beautiful part of my soul. And you’ve walked with me through every valley.

The good book says, where can I go and you’re not there.  I know this scripture was referring to God but somehow it feels as if it was referencing you. I carry your heart. I am the living representation of you. I am your legacy. Fully Faitth with two t’s but full of characteristics, genetic similarities, and boldness like you. I am your daughter.

I’ve spent years being embarrassed of your loud laugh and quirky personality.

Little did I know that in the years to come,  I would desire to be like you.

You are uniquely, you. Unbothered and Unmoved by the opinions of others. A force to be recorded with. A beautiful and courageous black woman. The essence of class and grace. The wind beneath my wings and the one who brings my soul joy. You are air and life itself. Without your breath to fill my lungs, I struggle to speak.

You see me.

Unfortunately, I haven’t always seen you. Your sacrifice. Your love. The tears shed privately when I hurt your feelings. The pain you too feel, when I am heartbroken because now your heart is broken too.

Your heart is in mine and mine in yours.

You are a treasure to behold and a woman I hope to be like one day.

You invested your life into mine and the fruit from my life is a fulfillment the tapestry you knit on my heart.

I’ve been convincing you to take spontaneous adventures with me since I was 11. As we go on yet another adventure to celebrate 27 years of my feet touching this earth, I am humbled you let me bring you to Paris with me. The city of love with my mother, the one who taught me all about sacrificial and generous love.

xoxo

FaitthB

All this Weight.

I wasn’t always thick or chubby (as I usually say…when referring to my weight). In fact, I remember thinking I would never be thick, my metabolism wouldn’t betray me. And I could continue my life during college eating what I wanted when I wanted it. I mean, I tried to work out on and off during college but I wasn’t fostering a healthy lifestyle but it didn’t matter much since I wasn’t gaining weight. 

Then junior year, everything changed.

I was leading a trip for some students to Thailand and I was so stressed. It was then that I discovered I was leaning on food to cope with the stress. I ate when I was happy or when I was sad. I began the longstanding pattern of rewarding myself with food. “Faitth you killed that test, eat!” “Faitth you made it through that stressful week of work, EAT!” “Faitth life has sucked and things are stressful, EAT! “Faitth have some wine tonight…wind down”.

Every day was a cause for celebration. Food was no longer eaten for my health it was my pleasure. All the food, all the things, all the time.

When I moved to Austin for almost 2 years, I was constantly stressed. Food was my go-to cure for all the drama I was facing at work, the stress of being a case manager, and every little moment of happiness I felt. I consoled myself with food and by the time I moved home I re-gained the weight I had worked hard to lose after college, plus some more.

40+ lbs gained post-college and I am stumbling my way back to health. The key word is stumbling.

This is a journey I struggle with. I am not a super athlete anymore. My metabolism has slowed way down. Losing weight is not nearly as easy at is once was for me at 21-23 years old.

I find myself trying to “balance” loving myself and my body- in its current state and chastising myself for not trying harder to lose weight. The balance between health and not moving into an obsession with my weight. I’m also learning to truly love my body. This is an ongoing process.

One thing’s for sure, I am moving away from rewarding myself with food and instead, I am working out more, making healthier food choices, and reminding myself of my value and worth no matter what the scale says. But let’s be real, that’s hard. So while I’m seeing all of these weight loss posts and get “your summer body” products, I’m reminded that I’m not alone in this journey. Most people have “all this weight” and are trying their best to accept, love, and workout their bodies. 

There’s a story behind all this weight and I plan to keep overcoming every obstacle because when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t want to think about the season of depression that I “medicated” with food. Instead, I want to see a fighter, willing to get back up and keep trying ❤️