Savvy Travel Adventures from My Lens

LIFE TIPS

How can you afford to travel?

My question of the day – How Can You Afford to Travel?

For those who know me well, they know I love to travel.  For me, travel is an essential part of who I am. God has blessed me with the opportunity to travel over 680,000 miles in the last 20+ years to a lot of places. I am very thankful for every journey, every experience, and the new friends made along the way.

I recently posted pictures from Anguilla (a compilation of several trips). I have been traveling to Anguilla since 2005. It is a very special place for me, I have friends there, and it feels like home.
Someone shared a comment that Anguilla was too expensive and they could not afford to go there. The comment was made by a person who makes a lot more $$$ than I do, with the subtle implication that they cannot understand how I can afford to travel (so often) to this beautiful place.

Anguilla is not a cheap destination. It is not Mexico, DR, Jamaica, or an all-inclusive Caribbean destination, but it can be an affordable destination for anyone who chooses to spend the time, money, and effort to travel there, particularly during non-peak season (December – April).   Anguilla is paradise, without the trappings of Americanized vacations. No fast food.  No all inclusives. No duty free shopping.  No shopping malls.  No gambling.  No jet skis.  When I travel to Anguilla, I do not stay at the most expensive resorts (Viceroy, Cuisinart, or Mahaillouana) and I do not eat at the most expensive restaurants. I have found accomodations and local restaurants/eateries that are within my budget. I will even go so far to say that I can stay in Anguilla more affordably than I can in some domestic destinations like Miami, New York City, or San Francisco – where hotel rates can be very pricey.
It is a matter of priorities. I do not have children, an expensive car, expensive home, nor do I shop excessively on designer purses, shoes, clothes, etc. I choose to spend my disposable income on travel. I have traveled over 680,000 miles in the last 20+ years to a lot of places, some far more expensive than Anguilla. I took offense at the subtle implication that I cannot afford to travel to Anguilla.
I chose to post this for those who may ask the question how can you afford to travel. My question is how can you afford not to? I only have one life and I intend to live it to the fullest.


2014: Passport to Happiness

Welcome to 2014….Passport to Happiness begins here:)

“It might seem crazy what I’ve about to say.  Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.  Because I’m Happy.  Clap along if you feel happiness is the truth.    Because I’m Happy.  Clap Along if you know what Happiness is to You.    Can’t Nuttin Bring Me Down.  Because I’m Happy.”  ~ Pharrell

Happiness seems to be THE song of 2014.  It’s everywhere.  Gotta love it!  So, I have not written in a very long time.  Too long.  The topic on my brain is PASSPORT TO HAPPINESS.  So we need a passport to travel, right?  So how many of us have discovered the Passport to Happiness?  Happiness is not a destination, it’s so about the journey.

Happiness can be found in the least likely places.  For me, I’ve learned it is not about “material” things.  For me, I’ve found happiness in traveling to exotic places, seeing a child’s smile, feeling the love of my dog every time I come home, seeing my roses bloom, reaching out to help someone who may need a hug, meal, or word of encouragement, and in my prayers for friends, family, and loved ones.  You see I am not a millionaire, I have never had a mansion, never driven a Bentley, never flown on a private jet, never been CEO, supermodel, or a celebrity’s wife, not Oprah, not Beyonce….none of what we define as glamourous and beautiful. What I learned….my passport to happiness starts right within me.  It is not determined by my bank account, looks, size, wallet, address, title, or marital status.  My passport to happiness may be different from yours, because we are all uniquely made.  For me, happiness is gratitude, love (love of myself and for others), giving (giving back), peace, living in a positive state of mind and staying in tune with my Creator.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I’m HAPPY!  Happiness is not a destination, it’s about the journey.  Happiness is the truth.

I will write more in 2014!  I have more stories to tell.


It’s 2013: Are You Going to Make it Extraordinary?

It’s 2013

It’s been a long while, since I wrote a post.  2012 flew by at lightning speed, it was an amazing and eventful year in it’s own right.  London Olympics, U.S. Presidential election, Costa Condoria cruise ship runs around, Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee celebration,  Aurora massacre, protests in Egpyt, Hurricane Sandy, Newtown CT massacre, and Apple becomes the largest company in the World.  The loss of so many talented entertainers.  There are so many events that made headlines in 2012.  For me personally, 2012 was a time of lots of change.  New beginnings, new opportunities.  I clocked 22,000 miles to Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and to two of my favorite hangouts,  Las Vegas and St. Maarten.  Life lessons?   Money, jobs, and expensive clothes/jewelry/cars/homes do not guarantee happiness or success.  Material things come and go.  What is most important?  Family, friends, good health, pets, following your passions, and being happy.

I leave the lessons and events of 2012 in the past, and begin 2013 with hope, optimism, passion, positive energy, and a strong desire to give more, travel more, and achieve happiness in every area of my life.   Yes, 2013 will be extraordinary.  Why?  Because I will make it extraordinary.  I am willing to do whatever it takes to inspire and enrich my life.  I end with a quote that I read today from DebnDave (theplanetd.com), “ordinary people can live extraordinary lives.”   Everyone has the right to live the best life possible.   There is never a better time than the present.  Make 2013 extraordinary!  Would love to hear your thoughts.


What would the world be missing without you in it?

Time is flying by, it’s almost the end of summer.  Summer is my favorite time of year.  I love the sun, sandals, BBQs, flowers, outdoor bistros…Where did the time go?  I begin today with the question…..What would the world be missing without you in it?    Each of us are unique, with our own set of gifts and talents.  What would the world be missing without you in it?  This is key to understanding what makes YOU authentically YOU, and living with gratitude for who you are, not what you have.  As we all know, the material stuff comes and goes, but the authentic self is here to stay.  Its family, true friends, and pets that love us unconditionally in this journey called life.

For me personally, my gifts are abundant and still growing as I grow older.  I have left my footprints with my photography (what I am most proud of), my global travel experiences (documented here in this blog), my flowers (the love and hard work to make my roses bloom every year in my yard), the friendships I’ve cultivated over time and distance, my love for technology gadgets (everything Apple and sharing with others who want my advice), my love for cupcakes (stories documented on Twitter), my love of live jazz (attending concerts to patronize the contemporay jazz art form),  my love of champagne (mimosas keep life interesting), my love and passion for everything Caribbean (my second home and yes I’m Caribbean at heart), my generosity and giving spirit,  my thirst for reading and knowledge (articles shared daily on Twitter), and finally my love of aviation/airlines/airplanes (loving being on a plane, taking pictures of planes, watching takeoffs and landings).  I have yet to write my story, but I will write a book, one day.  So now it’s your turn, what would the world be missing without you in it?


Life Tips: Life Crisis at 40? Now What?

What happens when you turn 40, and realize you’re not living the life you expected?

You are divorced (single and dating at 40+ sucks).

You have no children (and your biological clock is ticking rapidly).

You have been laid off (or want out of your job)!

You don’t own a home.

Your bank account is not registering millions:) (you’re barely paying the bills!)

You don’t have anything tying you to a specific place.

You look in the mirror and yes, you have gray hair.

You aren’t exactly sure what you want out of life, but know what you’ve got isn’t what you want?

What do you do when you realize the life you’re living is not what you envisioned?

Did anyone say tears, burnout, meltdown, mid-life crisis?  Or all of the above.  What happened to the husband, 2.3 kids, dream job, and white picket fence?  So many others are living the American dream, what happened to me?

What do I do with my now and my future?

What I’m doing (present) and what I’ve done up to now (past) is not working….so it’s time to try something new.   I realize…if I want my life to change, then I have to…CHANGE…MY…LIFE…No one else is going to do it for me.    As Tony Robbins would say, you cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results…Where do I begin?

For me, I begin the journey to life after 40 with an open mind, focusing on life change and career change.  Life change started with breathing, having a positive mindset, new travel experiences, trying new things, and meeting new people.  Most  importantly letting go of all the baggage from the past,  along with anyone or anything that does not add value to my life .   Career change means letting go of 17 long and stressful years in Corporate America and moving on to something new, fun, and totally different, in a place where my value and ideas are respected and appreciated.

In closing, the road to ending my 40+ life crisis started with accepting it’s OK if my path is different.  My life is not any less without the husband, kids, white picket fence, and six figure bank account.  My journey is my own, unique and special.  I must live my truth and be my authentic self.     For now, I am committed to living with passion and purpose, with gratitude for what I have (not focusing on what I don’t have).     Every day, I am still learning about me, learning about others, and learning about life.   My new motto:  Live.  Travel.  Blog.    No regrets!  Crisis is over for now!

Love the life you live, live the life you love.”   ~ Bob Marley.


Life Tips: 5 Tips for Living with Self-Confidence

Today, I begin a new day writing about what is important.   Living and loving life, with a positive spirit and gratitude.    I recently wrote tips about getting your Mojo, or self confidence back….Here are a few things I’ve learned in life that made a huge difference in elevating my self-confidence.

1. Size does not matter.  As women, we spend years obsessing over our weight, body shape, and dress size.  No more.  You are beautiful, regardless of body size, cellulite, or spider veins.   The key is to love yourself and your body, and eat healthy regardless of where you are.  Weight fluctuates, your love for yourself should not fluctuate with it.

2. Start living your life for you, not for anyone else.     This milestone  is  huge.  Do not waste a minute of your precious life worrying about what others think of you.  Don’t waste time and energy living or trying to live out others dreams for your life.   Be who you really are.  Do what you love, do what makes you happy.   I wish I had understood this  years ago, but I guess with age really does come wisdom:)

3. Stop putting off your life until later – live your life for the present.     How many of us put off enjoyable things until a later, more “perfect” time.      How many times have you put off things to wait for the slimmer body, to have a boyfriend or spouse, the promotion you’ve been waiting for or more money?    Life passes way too quickly to approach each day with that attitude.   Now, I’m all about living life for now and enjoying every minute. I don’t want to put anything off.

4. Stop worrying about what you eat – start enjoying all kinds of food.  Yes, I said it, do not worry about what you eat.  That said, if you have certain medical conditions, then you should follow your doctor’s advice.   The key is to eat with balance, and enjoy good food (with some bad food).  I love french fries, brownies, and cupcakes, I can still have them in moderation.  I also eat more fresh fruits and vegetables regularly.

5. Live with a positive attitude.   Life brings hills and valleys, often when we least expect them.  The key is the attitude and energy you bring to each day.   We attract to us, what we really are.  If you’re positive, you will attract good things to you.  This is a fact.

In closing, it’s only when I started taking charge of my life – pursuing the things that made me happy and fulfilled instead of the things I thought I should be doing, that I became a whole lot happier with who I am.   I love me – extra pounds and inches and all.  Satisfaction with our lives, definitely starts within.  Life is much too short to put off enjoying a single minute.  Would love to hear your take…


Life Tips: Tips for Getting Your “Mojo” Back

It’s time for me to post again…..I begin this morning with a question….Are you loving the life that you live?  Is your Mojo up and running?  Mojo, for those who may not know, simply means “self confidence” or “self esteem.”  Having your mojo allows you to do more, to be your authentic self, and ultimately guides you to a happier life.  The past 2 years have been very difficult for many.  Our lives have been touched by a stagnant economy, high fuel prices, housing crisis, layoffs, health care uncertainties, and student loans, plus many more issues on an individual level.  I’m sure every one knows someone who has been touched by one of these issues..  So I go back to my question, are you loving the life that you have?    For me personally, I would have to say that 2011 and 2012 posed some challenges for me, but I finally feel I’m getting my Mojo back.    Here are a few tips for getting your Mojo back:

Meditate

Pray

Laugh

Have fun

Relax

Turn off the extras (TV, Cellphone, Facebook, and Internet)

Give Back (Do Something Good for Someone Else)

Spend time with Family

Travel to a new place

Adopt a pet

Never give up hope!