Tag Archives: opinion

How blogging has motivated me to keep my young kids off of social media

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Despite the fact that I spend so much time on social media promoting my work, networking, and engaging with my friends, family, and readers, I have not allowed my younger children, now 12 and 10 to use it. I had a temporary lapse of judgment and allowed them to start a YouTube channel where they weren’t showing their faces, but sharing info on toys – because it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days – but I almost immediately regretted and deleted it.

I never allowed my boys to jump on the Pokemon Go! bandwagon, and they do not have Facebook, or Instagram, or Snap, or any of it. The most they can do is play video games and we have to approve (and personally know) anyone they connect with online with for joint gaming. They do love to watch YouTube gaming videos, which means hours of setting up filters, and guards, and passwords, and online time limiting software to keep them away from the garbage often found there.

You would think that as a blogger who has experienced success online that I would be onboard with my kids picking up the tricks of the trade as soon and as much as possible, but after almost a decade exclusively working online, I would prefer they find success in other ways. If my kids never blogged outside of an official, paying job, I wouldn’t mind it at all.

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For as far as it has come, travel media needs to do better

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Over the past few years, I have spoken out on the lack of diversity in travel media. In the process, my social media space has been further enriched with an array of travelers from all parts of the world, of various shades of brown, of all sizes, and in different stages of their lives. There are endless hashtags that showcase the work and travels of a more diverse people than what is still often displayed in media and I have found inspiration and empowerment in these communities.

I have continued to enjoy the opportunities to speak publicly on these issues, most recently with a beautiful group of travelers brought together by the On She Goes team, who see the need to give space to our community of color and a platform for the conversations that affect us so personally.

In the almost 10 years since I have been exclusively working as a travel blogger and freelance writer in the travel media space, I have seen more content creators of color find their voice, be celebrated in the space, and even gain access to opportunities that have been exclusively, for so long, white.

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Lessons learned in my first year of homeschooling

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This week marks one year since I took my kids out of school just a few days shy of their official end-of-year date. We headed off on a volunteerism trip  to the Dominican Republic, which was work for me, but also served as a kick-off to their homeschooling journey and experience in volunteering abroad.

I honestly can’t believe that a year has already gone by, or how I feel about it all now.

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Travel choices: When ethics, community solidarity, and ambition for personal growth collide

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But first, let me tell you how spreading ignorance, fear, and misinformation of a place has influenced me personally.

When my husband and I decided to get married, we decided to do so in the Dominican Republic. It is not only a beachy, sunny, beautiful destination, it is also where half my family is from. Because my father owns vacation rentals there, we were able to secure a few beach apartments free of charge for my husband’s family all of which were traveling from Wisconsin and had never been to the island. We were all going to be close to each other and they would never have to navigate the area alone as I would always be around to translate.

We gave everyone a year’s notice to plan their trip and settle their budgets. Almost all of them were excited to come.

Except for one of my husband’s closest relatives. They were unsure about the safety of traveling to a “Third World Country”, a descriptor that no longer applies to the small island, whose technology is the same as that of the U.S. and which leads in comparison to most Latin American countries.

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Making the case for the “newbie” blogger

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When I started blogging, in 2008, I inadvertently joined a world that I was completely unaware of and unprepared for. What started as a way to talk about my life in NYC with my then toddlers and tween, while also sharing what there was to do here when you visit – specifically targeting my family out-of-state – turned into a step into a digital world I never even knew existed.

I confess, I hadn’t really read a blog. I didn’t know the key players, I didn’t understand this ever-changing landscape, and I wasn’t really sure what to do. All I had in my pocket were the years of working in public relations, an industry which itself hadn’t really caught up with blogging either, and a lot of sudden noise online.

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The awakening that is Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel, Bethlehem, Palestine

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I woke up looking forward to my venture into Bethlehem. I had been in Jerusalem for 3 days now and after several walking tours and meetings with state officials, I was looking forward to experiencing something more.

Before visiting Jerusalem, I was very much like the average American traveler and their first time in Israel. I knew about its significance religiously and I knew a lot of the struggles politically. I also knew whatever was already shared online; that it was beautiful and exciting and a wonderful place to visit.

What I didn’t know much about was what laid on the other side, in the West Bank. In fact, what I did know was shaped by American discourse and that narrative told me that this was a place of danger. Terrorism stemmed heavily from these parts, as did the terrorists themselves. In talking to anyone at home about my visit to the West Bank their first question was, “Is it safe?”

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The Story of an Iranian Refugee: My Sister

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The discriminatory and un-American immigration ban set forth by the U.S. President has targeted and impacted many innocent people and has lead to the detention and deportation of families, professionals, students, and other hardworking members of our communities, legal residents and Green Card holders. The ban heavily targets immigrants of Muslim countries.

Though this feel very personal, I did not want to come on here to explain why I have joined protests and supporting groups that are fighting against this bigotry. 

Instead, I wanted to open up the platform for someone else, a former refugee herself, to share her story and the story of many others targeted by this ban.

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Letting go

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This morning I woke up at 3:30AM to drive my 19-year-old son and his girlfriend to the airport.

They were heading on their very first international trip alone, together. It’s her first time out of the country, his first time traveling abroad as an adult without us.

As I showered them with a check list of last minute items, made them confirm 4 times at least that they had their passports, gave them all the things to watch out for and be careful of, I could hear the excitement and nervousness in their voices and it made me smile.

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How to prevent your teen from driving drowsy

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‘Tis almost the season for festivities, gatherings and all that is good as we prepare for the holidays and having our college teen back home.

It’s also the time for exams, which means long nights of studying and even longer drowsy days. This is a fact. What is also a fact is that chances are your teen, like mine, will try to drive somewhere in this low-attention state.

Most parents, and certainly many teens, don’t really think much of driving a short distance while a bit exhausted. However, the number of teens who do this is rather high and quite dangerous for the rest of us. In fact, new research conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), revealed that 56% of licensed teens have admitted to driving when they felt too tired to drive their best, 32% are driving drowsy at least sometimes and nearly 1 in 10 teens have completely fallen asleep at the wheel while driving. One in every ten. Those are scary numbers.

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November was hard, but it also changed my life

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It’s the last day of November 2016 and what seemed like a hopeful time at the start of the month has become somewhat filled with uncertainty for so many. Who knew 30 days could pack such a punch?

However, this isn’t my first rodeo. There have been a lot of really tough times – which honestly have felt even tougher because they have been so much more personal in the past. I have allowed myself all the emotions that come as a result of these past few days (ahem, the election), but I also quickly was able to identify what I wanted my role to be and how I wanted to approach it all. For all its crappiness, November has brought some really positive changes too.

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