My first trip to South America!

Back in late November I woke up to messages about a flight deal from DC to Santiago, Chile for $170. I speak very little Spanish and I had no idea what I’d do there but for that price I decided it was more than worth exploring. I reached out to some friends to join me and thankfully two of them were willing to take a leap of faith with me.

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I researched and planned an itinerary for 4 full days in a foreign country with my fingers crossed that everything would go as planned. On our first day in the city we decided to take in the sights and sounds of the city by metro and by foot. Our first impression of the metro train system was that it was large but very efficient. We took the train from Universidad Catolica to Salvador and made our way to La Chascona Musuem House, one of the homes of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in Providencia. Afterward we took the Santiago Funicular up Cerro San Cristóbal and spent time admiring the Blessed Virgin Mary and enjoying the quiet 300 meters above the rest of Santiago. After taking the funicular down we spent more time walking the neighborhood then took an Uber back to our apartment. The next day we took a free walking tour with Free Walking Tour of Santiago and our tour guide Valentina was amazing. She was knowledgeable as well as flexible. While the tour is 4 hours and full of information, Valentina was very good at keeping the crowd engaged. It is suggested that we tip $10 or the equivalent in Chilean pesos and it was well worth it. The following day we took a cooking class offered by Uncorked Cooking Workshop. The class was $95 and included a tour of the different fresh food markets in Santiago, hands on prep of a delicious lunch and great wine. The workshop was very hands-on and overall was worth the money. Our chef, Felipe, was able to accommodate my diet, I’m a pescetarian, with no issue. On our last full day we took a day trip with Stamps Tours and were able to visit Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and Viña Indómita, Casablanca & Maipo Vineyards. Our guide Frank was great and I would recommend spending the day with this tour group.

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Walking tour of Valparaiso

In addition to enjoying different meals and miles of walking we were also able to just relax and enjoy the great vibes in one of our favorite neighborhoods, Lastarria. We were lucky to find an apartment to rent in Lastarria and the neighborhood was both lively and safe. Lastarria is full of trendy restaurants, places to sit and relax and places to people watch.

As a Haitian American living in the United States I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t briefly talk about how it felt to be a minority while in Chile. On our first day in Chile we saw no other people of color and while we didn’t feel any negative energy from the Chileans we interacted with or passed while traveling we did have people staring at us in what appeared to be in curiosity. On our second day while on our walking tour we did encounter more men and women of color and learned that there is a large population of Haitians living in Chile. This news was both unique and comforting. After the realization that we weren’t the only people of color in the city the entire experience became richer as we learned more about the Haitian migration to Chile. I look forward to visiting again and learning more first hand about the Haitian Chilean experience.

This is by far one of my favorite trips and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone to learn and embrace a new culture. This vacation ended leaving me wanting to return and explore Chile further and also excited about what’s next on the adventure called my life.

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Blessed Virgin Mary located on Cerro San Cristóbal

Cheers to epic vacations with awesome company!

Free to wander…

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind. 

-Anthony Bourdain

 

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Il Sentiero degli Dei – The Amalfi Coast – Positano

2016 was my year for traveling. I went away as often as my job would allow and as far as my money would stretch. Along the way I learned that traveling is not as expensive or as scary as people think. I travel because my heart yearns to see the beauty that is scattered all over the world. I travel because society says black women don’t travel.

By December 31, 2016 I had traveled to 10 different destinations, 5 international and 5 domestic. Every other month was a weekend trip out of state or a week-long trip abroad. Each and every trip was part of my desire to see the world with my own eyes and I learned so much about myself, the world and others along the way. 

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Amalfi Coast – Italy

Getting out of my comfort zone is my lifelong goal and each trip has helped me to see the world with a clearer perspective. The world is far too big to only know my neighborhood, my city, my state and these trips have increased my desire to see more of the world. It has been a privilege to be a part of these life changing experiences and I look forward to the adventures that will come with 2017.

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The magic is in learning to enjoy the ride through this journey called life…

Year 30

“Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”

-Asha Tyson

A few of my favorite photographs from my 30th birthday trip Panama this past December. I stayed in Panama City and then flew to Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Panama welcomed me with open arms, fed me like a Queen and reminded me of how much there is to learn about myself, others and this world.

My desire for year 30 is to be open to the endless possibilities in every area of my life. As a defense mechanism I’ve found it way too easy to hide behind the fear of the unknown but life has taught me that there is magic in facing fears and stepping out in faith. I don’t know what this year will bring but I’m ready for the adventure…