It’s been a while (again)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post. Not because I haven’t wanted to but because I’ve been lazy.

I could make excuses but I wont.

Did life get in the way? Has work been super busy? Has Coronavirus turned the world on its head? Has the mind been boggled by current events around Black lives matter? They’ve all been a part of my life but it’s still no excuse.

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Why You Should Relocate Abroad

Recently, I wrote a guest travel post for the ever fun and fabulous Shut Up and Go travel duo of Damon and Jo. I explained why I had to leave NYC in search of culture and a feeling of newness abroad in London. It was more than I dreamed of but also, not what I dreamed at all. Things happened and things didn’t happen; as is life no matter where you travel. But I feel it’s my duty to shed some light on people who love to travel this new idea – have you ever thought about relocating abroad?

If no, ask yourself why you’d pass on relocating or refuse to consider this option. To me, being an expat, even temporarily, is one of the best things you can do. It opens so many doors for you and gives you an experience like no other. To coax a few of you on the fence when it comes to expat life, I’ve identified four reasons why you should seriously adjust your life and relocate!

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Restart Button

No one gets a truly blank slate in life (unless you have amnesia) but moving abroad to a new country can get you close enough. When you move to a new country, literally no one knows who you are or your story. To them, you’re a funky foreigner that could live up to the hype of your homeland’s stereotype or show them a brand new perspective. Also, everything is foreign to you as well. You can figure out where you want to live, what you want to do to earn money and who you want to hang out with. It can be like it’s the first time you’ve ever had to make this decision. I know new beginnings can be scary for most but I say lean in to the restart and see what cool person emerges (or how you might reaffirm who you are).

New Cultures

When you are in a new city as an expat, you’ll run into people from all over the world. But instead of hearing a foreign language on a tour or while eating dinner out at a banging restaurant, you’ll actually have time to interact with and get to know other cultures. As a girl who spent most of her life in the bubble that is NYC (it too is it’s own kind of bubble), nothing made my eyes truly open until I studied abroad in Paris for a semester. Learning a new language, figuring out how people lived day to day, trying to understand the layout of the city – these were all challenges but I can say with certainty that it changed me for the better.

More Exploration

The downside of travel in the form of vacation or holiday is that you may not have enough time to truly get to know a location. As an expat, you can take your time learning the intricacies of various neighborhoods; discovering which places are your go-to for excellent dining, what spots are great for coffee or finding a wine bar that is pocket friendly! Just imagine how many more Instagramable locations, museums you can visit and cool hangouts you can find when you don’t have to be in a rush. Slow travel can be just as exhilarating as a quick holiday.

Private Time

Being alone in a new city can be frightening but nothing allows you to know yourself better. This sense that you are own your own and you have to work to make friends, setup your place and create a life gives you a new type of power. I’m not gonna lie though, some people don’t thrive on this. Some people panic and sink or shrink into a person they don’t know but if you keep your heart positive and believe that everything will turn out for the better, the things you find about yourself are invaluable. For instance, while abroad in Paris, I learned that I enjoy walking cities by myself. At first, I was doing it because I didn’t know what else to do but then, I started to enjoy my walks around the arrondissements.  I could navigate myself anywhere I wished to go and could speak to people in decent French to get what I wanted. Who know when I would have learned I had the power to do that had I not become a temporary expat in Paris!

It’s true that solo expat life isn’t for everyone but I think it can be! And if not, bring a partner, sibling, friend with you! Doing it as a duo can be just as eye opening and life affirming. Remember, you don’t have to be an expat forever – you can always go back home. But take the chance, get out there and learn a new way to live, you’ll be better than you are right now.

Let me know if you’ve ever been an expat or have considered it. Why or why not?

5 Long Distance Relationships Tips

How many times have you heard a story about a solo female traveler who either took the leap to explore the world or went on their first vacation and fell in love? The whirlwind romantic relationship; getting swept up in the city, accents and new experiences. A year or less later, the girl is home or nowhere near the new boo and the relationship has ended with a loud thud. I feel like that’s the tale that gets pushed around. But I’m here to tell you my experiences with travel and long distance relationships. Not all are so cookie cutter.

Most people in mainstream media advise against long distance relationships. Heck, people on Youtube or just on social media typically yell a loud “NO” if any woman is thinking about entertaining the idea. For me, I didn’t really care about what other people said because at the end of the day, they are not me. It’s a real mantra that everyone should try to remember. One person’s experiences aren’t yours. You can learn from them but that doesn’t mean you will get the same outcome. Don’t be no fool but know that every path is different. So that was mindset when I fell in “like” with a guy while traveling in London.

My story: I was tired of NYC. Extremely over it! Dating scene was poop. My career was pretty good but I was feeling burnt out. Life seemed meh and I just wanted to change it up a bit. So I went on leave (luckily this was granted) and decided to do a short course in London and use it as a base to explore a few other cities in Europe. This all meant dating would be part of it but I wanted to take a risk. Doing something a bit out of the norm and live a life more fulfilled. Along the way, I went out with a few dopes in London (from varying backgrounds) before I ran into what would become my husband.

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I’m a looker, lol

When I met my husband, I thought he was a nice guy and really liked the flow of our conversation. I didn’t put too much energy toward it though because I had been “tricked” by a few guys and I was tired of getting excited. So I maintained an even flow of “excitement” and kept an openminded without being overly exposed. I would just have fun. The fun was too much end when I reached month 5 of being in the UK on a tourist visa which meant I had to go soon. We decided that we liked each other enough to do long distance and booked a trip before I left so we knew when we’d next see each other. I became that long distance girl but I wasn’t. I was my own person and here’s what I found to be the 5 keys in keeping the relationship healthy.

Define The Relationship

Before I left to NYC, we sat down and discussed what we wanted to do. We both agreed that we were in an exclusive boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. There was no talking around what we wanted or thought it might be, it was said in plain english “this is what we are.” You need to do this to make sure you start it off right.

Be Clear On Communication

We made plans to Google Hangout at least two to three times a week and messaged each other daily. We had clear intervals for when our chats would occur and made sure to keep each other up to date on our days or whatever we wanted to share. We kept our conversation going and treated it as if we lived in the same city.

Be Honest

You need to be honest while doing this long distance thang. If you were missing each other, say it. If you were feeling that the long distance was particularly tough that week, say it! It was super important to us to keep each other in the know on our feelings and to stay honest about where we felt things were going.

Make A Date

One must is to make sure you plan a date to meet up next whenever you are together. As I said, before I went to NYC, we made a plan and booked tickets to Tenerife in two months. This way, we knew when we would see each other next and have a date to look forward to. We did this every time we meet up, picking a new location and booking our flights to where we would meet IRL.

Talk About The Future

A great killer of the long distance relationship is not being on the same page about the future. If one of you is thinking I want to be married in 3 years where the other is thinking I want to be married in 10 years, maybe you should talk. Or if one wants kids but the other is fine with riding solo, these are things to be addressed. You need to be on the same page about your future if you want your relationship to work out!

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So in the end, we got married and are still temporarily long distance but it isn’t for too much longer. I know a  lot of people talk about how it ends up failing in the end but that is not the case for everyone. It just takes a bit of planning, heart, faith and communication.

Are you guys into long distance relationships? Do you have a mantra about this? Have you seen success?