Daring to Celebrate ME!

Today is the first day of my birthday month! Yes, month! I know, I know it’s silly. However, yesterday I was looking for something to help me keep a positive attitude. Too often I let the little frustrations in life get to me. So instead, I’m taking all 31 days of my birthday month to do something for myself and celebrate ME!

Even the thought of doing this has plastered a smile on my face. I feel childish and giddy and I like it. It’s the perfect way to continue my journey of daring myself to take adventures leaps. My birthday month is my own dare.

I will celebrate all the different ways that make me me while daring myself to do crazy things just because. Yes, I can do this any old day, but a birthday month makes it extra special and fun. So I say why not?!

My friends on Facebook have given me a few ideas, but you are more than welcome to comment with your own ideas. And if you share August as your birthday month too, I won’t be upset at all if you steal this idea. Let’s all do it!

Day 1: I think I’m going to enjoy a nice face mask and hair wrap when I get home.

Motivation Monday

Please watch this video. It’s an important message about how we connect to each other.

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“we’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but we struggle to start a conversation across the road or across the train”

Reflections of a Blogger

Storytelling is my art. I started this blog as a forum to release my creativity and share my stories of traveling and inspiration -something to re-spark my imagination and regain my voice as a writer.  As I began to post more often about my most recent trip I came across a couple personal puzzles.

What to write and how to write? 

As a Marketing professional, I can easily analyze my blog and decipher which days, times or types of posts will gain more likes and views. I could post about things that I know will gain attention. I can add photos and tag other sites, or even write with SEO in mind. It’s an easy instinct. But that’s not the purpose of my blog. While the likes and comments will always feel good – others appreciating my work -this blog is for me. It’s my story. If I don’t share it with true integrity then what’s the point? While it is my story, my hope in creating this blog was that in re-inspiring myself I may be able to inspire others as well.

How much to share?

Again, this is my story. None of these blog posts are made up. They are all true perspectives on personal experiences. With that said, this is always the online world where anyone and everyone can read the posts. How much about my personal life or whereabouts should I share? This one I’m still wrestling with. I can’t achieve the full purpose of this blog without writing with integrity and vulnerability. How do I balance this with ideals of security? If any fellow bloggers have ideas or other opinions on this my ears are open.

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day

Today was International Women’s Day. I had never heard of it before, until about 6am this morning. A beautiful young woman and dear friend of mine (who will remain anonymous) tagged me in a Facebook post celebrating strong woman.

I met this courageous, vibrant, lady during my stay in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa. She was among many who welcomed my study abroad group into her home. And welcomed we were – with open arms. We joined the mamas to help make steam bread. We played soccer with the nearby school kids. And we danced.

About a week and a half later my group joined seven young Khayelitsha women on a venture to a cabin in the mountains. Here we dove into intense discussions of race and religion, Christianity versus Xhosa, and stereotypes. We discussed ideas of identity, what makes us who we are and who says so.  We played. We argued. We built a puzzle, solving a problem together. We danced. And we sang – a little “Lean on Me,” “Take a Bow” by Rihanna. We even created  our own Ubuntu remix of “Bringing Sexy Back” – “Bringing Ubuntu Back.”

We built lasting friendships with a deep appreciation and respect for each other.

Now March 8th, 2016 and a simple tag on a Facebook post continues to make me smile.

Here’s to strong, courageous, beautiful women created out of compassion, empathy and love. To all the amazing women in my life. And most importantly, to the incredible lady who wrote a Facebook post.

Ayoba!

Trust the Journey

We were without a road map, and in a foreign country with barely $20 in our pockets. Yet we continued on our tasks to find, feel, taste, smell, see – to experience.

Six years ago, I started a journey that – without sounding incredibly cliche – changed my life. I signed up for a study abroad experience to Cape Town, South Africa.

In preparation for the trip, those of us participating joined our study abroad director to prepare and learn more about the South Africa culture. We came to appreciate the idea of Ubuntu – a belief that we are all ourselves because of each other. I am because we are. We were ready to speak the lingo, or so we thought.

Before our last meeting stateside our director asked us to trust the journey, to understand that every step of our trip – packing, airport security, the flight, arrival, everything – was part of the journey.

I thought I understood. Ubuntu and trust the journey. Simple ideas that made sense. But it wasn’t until I was on a scavenger hunt in the middle of Cape Town did it truly sink in.

Our first full day in Cape Town, my first day in a foreign country period, my friends and I were split into groups of three. We were given a list of things to find around the city. The goal: to taste, touch, see, smell and experience things we never have before.

Remember, no map, and barely much money. Oh yeah and no phones. Without these tools we were forced to really take everything in. Look around. Really see it. See where Table Mountain was in relation to the our bed and breakfast, in relation to the mall, the statues and the ocean.

We were to rely solely on the people. To trust the stranger that heads of site to return with your appropriate change (he did). To trust the other bystander to point you in the direction of the appropriate taxi to take you to the next location on your scavenger list. And to trust the assurance of your friends when you become confused and wary.

During our trip across Cape Town we saw a historical statue, tasted a fruit we had never heard of before, dipped our toes in the ocean. We learned how to ask for the bathroom (not bathroom, or restroom, but toilet).

We opened our eyes and observed the world around us. We became one with the community with a simple goal of just relishing in the journey.

On our way back to our bed and breakfast we had crossed off everything on our list except one: hug a stranger. I don’t remember if this was explicitly on the list or whether the list said “do something we’ve never done before,” and that’s what we decided. Either way we stopped a passerby to ask for directions. When asked the simple question “Can we have a hug too” this man from Zimbabwe looked at us with surprise, wonder and awe. He thanked us being caring enough to give him a hug, a bright spot in his difficult day.

Ubuntu. I am because we are. That’s what it’s all about – connecting as one with the people around you.

By the end of the scavenger hunt every one of us reached our destination right on time. Trust the journey. More than just believing that the journey will play out as it should, but truly trusting in the journey and fully experiencing it as it plays out.

I learned these lessons while traveling through Cape Town. But sometimes, too often, I forget. This new blog will focus on remembering these lessons highlighting moments of inspiration and creativity to motivate myself and hopefully my readers.