Category Archives: Editorials

Traveling while brown through Trump’s America: Tips, advice, and words of empowerment

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At the posting of this blog, it is day two post-elections. The country is more divided than ever and emotions are raw. But I know many of my readers, as well as many of my peers, on both sides, are already tired of hearing all the chatter and want the lot of us to just move on and get over it. But before I get back to business as usual, I will share some tips on how my community and peers can start to take care of themselves, because I know there are many of us out there living scared now and I am not going to pretend you don’t matter.

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It took me a year to write this, and just as long to return to me

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It’s been a little over a year since I gave a keynote speech at TBEX Florida. As far as my speaking career goes, keynoting at TBEX was a highlight for me. The topic, where I shared with the audience a very vulnerable experience during a press trip, had more to do with confronting my own insecurities, realities of the stereotypes I face regularly as a plus-size woman, and finding the courage and strength to move on to my goals, rather than specifics about the press trip itself. It was so well received and touched so many people who felt I had spoken to their own realities that comments and feedback were coming at me for many months afterwards. Giving this speech was therapeutic and empowering because I opened up and spoke about issues that I face and struggle with as a professional travel blogger and as a member in a space that doesn’t really acknowledge people like me and instead rewards and celebrates limited beauty standards, youth, and sex appeal over quality of content, experience, and knowledge. It was incredible to come off that stage having exposed all my vulnerabilities while simultaneously sharing how I overcame them and triumphed, and then to be surrounded by men and women of all ages, shapes, and walks of life who told me their own stories and thanked me for sharing mine – it was, to say the least, an incredible high.

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Celebrating Fall with a Giveaway

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Taking a little break from travel sharing, to celebrate the best of fall. The colors, the fashion, the comfy warmth by the fire on a chilly night.

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My kid is an independent driver…now what?

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My oldest son will finish his freshman year of college this year and it already feels like he’s been at it for years. There are certain things that I have learned to not stress about as much anymore – like will he figure out how to cook himself a healthy meal, without burning down the dorm? Will he be distracted by the fun college activities too much to focus on the serious stuff? Will he shower…I mean, for the benefit of his roomies, at least?

Yup, I don’t worry about those things anymore. He’s managing it all really beautifully, enough so that sometimes I forget he is still not fully matured.

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When you are a nature-lover, and of color, in America

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Recently, I decided to take my boys out for a day of hiking. There are some short hikes around the reservation near our home here in  New Jersey, but I wanted something a bit more challenging, so we headed an hour away to Pennsylvania to explore the trails along the Delaware Water Gap.

It was a gorgeous day, a nice break from the humidity and intense heat we have felt so regularly this summer. The kids and I were in high spirits and we were excited to explore nature. The radio kept playing all our favorite songs and we cracked jokes. There was no traffic and the drive was easy.

Then I spotted it. A pick-up truck had merged in front of me and across its back cabin window was a large sticker that took up almost the entire glass. It was the confederate flag. I felt my body get tense. I honestly don’t know if we had crossed the border into PA yet, it really didn’t matter. I was heading into rural America, alone, with my kids.

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My Kids’ First Trip to the Dominican Republic: Heritage, Race, and Breaking the Cycle

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We were on a bus on our way to do some volunteer work with other travelers from the Fathom cruise. Our project leader, a local employed by the organization heading the activity, was pointing out highlights of Sosua, the beach town we were entering and where we would do our work.

“And here is one of the first synagogues established in the Dominican Republic,” she exclaimed proudly. The group immediately looked out the window, surprised to learn that there was a Jewish community on the island, let alone a historic synagogue. “I didn’t realize there was a Jewish community here. When did they arrive?” asked a group member.

“Well, in the 1930s Rafael Trujillo who was a dictator here at the time, took in the Jewish refugees looking to escape the Nazis. He did this when no one else would and they came and settled here,” she replied.

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Highlights of Dijon, France

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It was a beautiful summer day when I arrived to Dijon, France. I quickly dropped off my bags in my hotel room at the trendy, Michelin rated Le Chapeau Rouge, slipped into some comfortable walking shoes and headed out. I hadn’t been to this beautiful city in two years but I remembered how much I enjoyed walking through it. I also noticed how much it had changed during that time.

Trams were now operating across the city and more areas had been renovated and designated as pedestrian-only. It felt airy and open.

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Two beautiful days at Lake Como, Italy

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One of the highlights of our road trip through northern Italy was our stay in Lake Como. Most of our stops were in the Lombardy region, where there are lakes galore. Lake Como, the third largest lake in Italy and one of the deepest, is heavily visited by locals and tourists alike, especially during the summer months. Finding a place to stay can be difficult, and though parking is difficult, finding a home rental – our choice for this stay – was even more so.

We lucked out because we arrived just before the travel season had really kicked-off. We also arrived on a weekend, finding a parking spot just down the hill from our apartment rental that didn’t need us having to pay or move our car during our entire stay.

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The Best of Steamboat, CO Summers – A Photo Tour

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I have enjoyed visiting Colorado in the winter in the past but it is no secret that summers are my favorite and when it comes to finding fun things to do, Steamboat Springs delivers.

And the word is out.

It used to be that the energy of the town and even that of the Steamboat Resort was limited to the colder months. Though it still is, when compared to the bustle of skiers and snow lovers the visit the mountain town annually, it is by no means sleepy. Here are some of the fun things to do, in photos!

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Taking on a new adventure!

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We were in the middle of an ocean cliffs ranger-led tour in Acadia national park, when my 9-year-old chimed in to add to the discussion that baleen whales, attracted to the shores of Bar Harbor each breeding season, can’t eat more than a balloon size amount of food which is why they mostly prefer to eat small fish, plankton, and krill. The ranger replied in delight that he would not only share this correct fact, but do so confidently. I was left in awe that he even knew that.

Later on, he would go on to also share that it was the Wabanake people, not the European settlers, who were the first to settle Mount Desert Island, where the park is located. He had only learned this the day before during a museum visit.

This wouldn’t be the first time I have seen my boys enthusiastically share information with tour guides and others whom we meet in our travels. Yet it was during our time in Italy, and again during our recent trip to Acadia, that I was left convinced that we were ready for homeschooling.

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