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?