Tag Archives: Brown Girl Bloggers

The Voice Behind the Mask

       

She speaks, but no one listens

She acts, but no one feels

She lives, because death isn’t an option

When the voices in her head repeat themselves over and over, she panics, then retreats 

She tries to speak but, no one listens

She’s living behind this mask because, unmasking herself would also unmask others but…

She has to speak

The silence is deafening. It’s painful. It’s heavy.

She wants to speak but, no one will listen………….

Peace!

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* This isn’t just my story. It’s yours, and yours and yours. Allow me to tell it for all of us.

Please comment and share at your desire, so that my words can reflect on others and we can all find our voices.

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Tips to Travel on a Budget

People often reach out to me for travel ideas or questions about how I find the deals I do when I travel. Though I’ve written numerous times about travel deals, I can’t help to wonder if it’s catching on. I wanted to share once again some creative ways I manage to travel and also introduce ideas I haven’t mentioned previously. Besides using your credit card points, hopefully you can use some of these ideas to plan or finalize your dream trip.

So, you want to travel overseas. What you need before planning a trip outside of the United States: 

  1. Your passport. You should always have a passport. If you’re always ready to go somewhere, you don’t have to get ready. Ya heard me?!                                                     You can apply for a new passport or renew your current passport by visiting https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport.html and beginning the process. If you are planning a trip at least two months away, you can receive your passport for $115 (adult). If you need your passport expedited, follow the simple instructions and get started applying immediately.

How to Save Money When Planning a Vacation: 

  1. Go during the Off-season. Most Americans travel during Summer months, as if that’s the only time islands are open. Imagine going to a warm place in the dead of Winter in America. THAT is when it’s off-season in other places. THAT is when it’s cheaper because the only other people traveling during our Winter months are Europeans on holiday. Since the US is peak vacation for them, while they are here, we should be able to experience places like Mexico and the Caribbean at rates much cheaper than US Summer months.
  2. Have flexible dates. Sites like Kayak.com allow you to search with no date in mind. Many times I use this tool to search, find the cheapest fares, then say “yep, that’s where I’m going.”
  3. Ditch the travel agent. You read that correctly. Why pay a middle man to plan a trip they’ve never been on? Technology makes it real easy to search online for travel destinations and deals. Consider using Pinterest for ideas and travel sites like kayak, GoogleFlights, and travelPirates for flight deals to multiple destinations.
  4. Consider staying in an Airbnb with daily housekeeping and chef services vs an All-Inclusive. Use my code and create your Airbnb account (we’ll both get a discount). Then, start saving potential homes and plan your vacations around those.                    Code: https://www.airbnb.com/c/cherronl?currency=USD
  5. Go somewhere others aren’t going. If everyone on your timeline is going to the same place, chances are, far more people are going to those same places, including Myrtle Beach. Pick less traveled beaches, less traveled countries, and less visited resorts. It’s a huge world out there. Go discover it for yourself.

How to Save Money While On Vacation: 

  1. Stay away from places that are too “touristy”. Eat and shop Locally! When traveling outside the United States, you’ll have a greater experience when you engage with the locals and immerse yourself with them. Venture outside of your resort, hotel area, or places that cater to tourists. Trusted locals can show you where they eat and shop so you can usually pay what they pay vs what tourists are normally charged.
  2. If staying at an Airbnb, save on grocery shopping by packing non-perishable items, including bacon! Whaaaatttt?! Yes, if you have a chef or access to a kitchen, you can check a suitcase of snacks, certain meats, pancake mix/syrup, and other items you may want while there. If you are going with a group, consider organizing for certain people to bring certain things in their checked luggage.
  3. If traveling out of the country, purchase liquor in Duty Free before you exit the airport into the county. You can drink as much as you purchase without spending so much while out partying. (You’ll also be able to control the safety of your drink). You can also use the alcohol you purchase for your in house bartender (if staying at an Airbnb).
  4.  If taking a road trip, pack your snacks and fill your cooler with things you’ll need while away, including your liquor and a flask for carrying your drinks and sneaking a pour. (what, you’ve never done that?)
  5. Visit Airbnb for excursions offered in their “experiences” section. You’d be surprised finding things to do with locals for half the cost of paying larger companies. As with anything, do your research and read reviews before committing.

Have questions or need some help planning your own trip? Leave me a message and I’ll try to help you the best way I can. Happy travels!

Peace!

Community Property: HBCU Homecoming Edition

First of all, there is nothing in the world like the HBCU experience. If you haven’t experienced it first-hand, do you really exist?

The HBCU experience consists of long lines in financial aid, trying to make it to the cafe before it closes, counting down the minutes before you bounce when your Instructor is late, waiting for checks to clear on days of away games so you and your teammates will have meal money. It includes lifelong friendships, deep understanding of black pride, black beauty, black excellence, empowerment and Homecomings that are made for Beyoncé documentaries.

Speaking of Beyoncé, her Netflix documentary “Homecoming”, an ode to HBCUs, that debuted this week was absolutely mind-blowing.

The elephant in the room, that was overlooked in all the hype about HBCUs is the possibility that hookups occur at homecoming with people you otherwise had long forgotten about. Homecoming is a chance to flirt a little with an old crush, reignite flames with college beaus, and shoot your shot with others you had absolutely zero chance with 20 years ago.

Homecomings have destroyed some marriages, made some babies, created amazing love stories, and yes, they have caused some fights of grown ass men and women, fighting over some box shaped classmate who thought they were just having fun during Homecoming weekend.

Then, there’s always that one guy on campus that comes back every Homecoming to see how many women he can score and manipulate along the way. The one that has already noticed your weaknesses on social media, has cyber flirted leading up to Homecoming and waits for the right opportunity to make his move. He makes sure his social media image is one that shows him as an amazing catch. He shows you what he wants you to see and doesn’t want you asking too many questions.

You find out that this weak man has plotted on countless classmates over the years while sharing the same sad story over and over about how he’s raising his kids or how he left his wife or, how he makes a lot of money and just wants to be happy. He tells you (and everyone else) the stories of how his service after college led him to the life he has now and he paints himself as the ideal man, worthy of representing at the University’s Male Summit. By now, you realize that you aren’t the only one he’s been exploiting.

But wait, this isn’t exclusive to the trifling men who take advantage of women during Homecoming. Women, we need to have more self respect and understanding of our own worth to not allow ourselves to be played. We have the power to control the situation and decide if we want to toy with his head during Homecoming, have our own fun, or find ourselves being fooled as if we were 18year old freshmen all over again.

Homecoming has changed many lives, for good and bad. When it comes to relationships and hookups, adults have to make adult decisions and decide what toxicity you want to let into your life. Homecoming should be celebrated for the beautiful blackness that it is.  There’s nothing beautiful about drama, mental stress, or headaches that come from a broken man/woman preying on other broken beings.

We may never outgrow HBCU Homecoming shenanigans but we can control our peace once Homecoming is over. Leave the Community Property at graduation. It was never intended to show up post college life.

Peace!

FYI, This isn’t my experience (😉), as I’ve never hooked up with anyone at Homecoming (I don’t usually attend) but the realities exist. Somewhere, there’s a predator, preying on multiple 40 year old women, who has zero intention of ever being serious or respectful. Leave them where they are. You deserve better.

However, knowing me, if anything (or anyone) in this piece sounds familiar, send me a message and perhaps I can help you connect the dots. ✌🏽

 

 

Choosing To Be Saved vs Being a Savior

In many of my travels, I’m sure you have seen me (or my travel friends) taking school supplies, books, or toys.

Well, if you’ve been following my journey to Africa (Nairobi and Tanzania), you may notice that I haven’t done any of that.

You see, this journey was more for me than for anyone else. This journey wasn’t about showing poverty and America’s idea of uncivilized people. America shows us enough of that.

My journey was about healing and educating myself and also showing you that there’s more to Africa than what we have seen on tv.

What I have seen are children running to buses, many carrying heavy books with no backpacks. I’ve seen mothers waiting outside of mansions, hoping to have work for the day. I’ve seen men carrying flashlights, walking to their jobs at 5am.

I’ve seen children playing while sharing bananas, families praying, entrepreneurs hustling, and work ethic that is unmatched back home.

On my visit, I’ve seen pride. Pride of a people that have had so much taken from them. Whether due to colonization or corruption, there’s a certain amount of resiliency that has empowered me to be better and work harder. I owe it to the ancestors to do so.

On my visit to Africa (Nairobi and Tanzania for all those “AFRikA is A CoNTINent” people), I see people that may  be struggling but, I know back home, we are as well. Therefore, we have no right to look down on a place we have taken so much from and still have our own issues of poverty, corruption, disease and violence.

So, while I didn’t travel to Africa to be any kind of savior, I guarantee, she saved me. Nairobi and Tanzania are only a portion of Africa. But, they are Africa… and she is beautiful! She is peaceful. She is genuine. She is love….

Hakuna Matata! Peace!

 

 

Racking Up Mileage for the Low Low

I told y’all earlier how I was able to make this trip happen. What I didn’t tell you was exactly what I paid for my flight in order to get the ball rolling with planning.

I literally booked my flight in December, less than three months ago when sometimes it could take over a year to plan a big trip. Me, nah, I usually find the flight deal, then plan the trip according to my budget at the time. Travel agent? What’s that? A year? Chile, the way my moods are set up, I’m lucky to have six months of consistency in my life.

So, for years I have been searching flight prices to the “Motherland.” I had finally settled on three places I would target as my starting countries to visit: Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. I crossed out South Africa when I decided I wanted to be surrounded by more melanin.

One day in December, I searched googleflights.com and low and behold, the deal of a lifetime came through for Kenya so that became my choice. Y’all, I purchased my flight for $521 on United Airlines. Not only did I get such an amazing deal but, I have another little secret that I used to make this trip happen.

While I do work my butt off, I have become a much more financially aware person. That being said, I could not just give up $500 on the drop of a dime like that. I still had a budget to stick to and I have learned that a vacation should never compromise responsibility. (damn, that hurt to say that)

So, what did I do? I took a screenshot of the deal, created an account with Airfordable.com and had them purchase my ticket on layaway. Layaway? Yep, layaway.

Airfordable.com is a black owned company that I have watched online for a while. Black owned? Yaaassssss!

I had no problem “laying away” this ticket, even though there was a fee to do so. The fee was extremely minimal (around $30) in comparison to how much I would have paid for the ticket in a normal situation.

From there, I made three bi-weekly payments until my payment was complete. At that point, the owners of Airfordable sent me my ticket and I was booked, ready to finalize the rest of the trip.

Along with how I previously told you I saved for this trip, I also secured my Airbnb accommodations immediately after doing my research and keeping my budget in tact. Easy peasy!

Also, we were fed so well on the flight, I think I made up at least $100 in food and unlimited alcohol alone.

And yes, whatever you’ve dreamed of doing, seeing or discovering, you, too, can and should make it happen, without compromising your responsibilities.

As I always say, life is short. I be damned if I’m gonna be on my death bed regretting something I’ve always wanted to do. If you need help with ideas, planning, or even inspiration, let me know.

If you ever decide to use Airfordable, feel free to use my code: https://www.airfordable.com/referred?referrer=5c11d7209ad740002a63cb28

Wanna try Airbnb for your next getaway, yep, there’s a code for that. Mine: https://www.airbnb.com/c/cherronl?currency=USD

Peace!

Nairobi National Park- In Photos

After getting only about 3 hours of sleep last night, I was picked up by Leonard to take me to a Game Drive in Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National Park is unique by it being the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds close to a capital city. It is known for it’s rhino sanctuary, as the park is the best place to see these endangered animals in their native environment. Four of the “big five” can be seen in Nairobi National Park (lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos) as well as many other wild animals.

I hope you will enjoy my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them and experiencing this wonderful park.

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The Accountability Conference That Perhaps Should Have Been Called Something Else

My Facebook page and inbox has a life of it’s own. I’m constantly bombarded with stories of everyone’s children, people seeking advice, others who just need to vent. I’m always a listening ear.

I usually take Facebook praises with a grain of salt because half the people who praise me for the transparency of my life are people I either don’t know and don’t half know their intentions. However, there have been many who have reached out to me through the years who I felt were genuinely moved by everything my life has turned out to be, knowing where I started.

A few months back, after taking an inspirational trip home, I was asked about putting together an event in Martinsville, as I had posted of events I was hosting in my current community. I was told “If you ever do anything in Martinsville, be sure to let me know.” So that got my juices flowing and I came up with an amazing concept for a Conference that would be inclusive to all and bring some of the most passionate and inspiring voices back home to a city that deserves so much.

The “It Starts Now! Accountability Conference” was birthed and I worked hard to secure a location, speakers, food, door prizes and a platform that would resonate with everyone in attendance.

It wasn’t long before I realized that not very many people were interested in “Accountability.”

Maybe that particular word was a turn off. Maybe I should have called it a “Jubilee” and marketed it to churches for another event to lift hands in praise but ignore the action it would take afterwards. Or maybe I should have called it an “Empowerment Conference” and created another event where women left with lipstick, posters and excitement but no actual plan that it would take to carry out their visions.

Maybe Martinsville just wasn’t ready for an event with this concept.

Or, maybe I had burned so many bridges through my social media “realness” that so many people just didn’t want to support an event put on by me, regardless of the fact that it had nothing to do with me but everything to do with everyone else living their best lives and reaching all of their potential.

The Accountability Conference would have done just that. Instead, weekly I received messages from people asking me questions like: How many people are registered? Who is coming so far? Can you lower the price more? Can I just come Friday? Do I have to participate in everything?

Accountability for oneself starts with not worrying about what others are doing. It doesn’t put off opportunities because of doubt or uncertainty of others. Accountability has been the most important thing I have learned over the years in order to overcome my failures and be as successful as I have. The friends I wanted to bring were some of the most amazing people who have all been a part of my own personal accountability. I wanted to share this with you. But, you weren’t ready.

Thank you to those of you who showed your interest by registering, entering contests and shared any of the posts. I appreciate you and I promise, you’ll be the first to receive a ticket if I ever choose to do this again.

Peace!