Kids Eye View of Los Angeles


Only those of us who were born and raised in Los Angeles have a right to criticize Los Angeles. There are millions of people in LA but I would venture to say most of them aren’t from LA. People who are actually from LA are a bizarre mixture of pretentious and laid back to the point of being comatose. A person who is from LA will wear a pair of Chuck Taylors with Dussault Apparel jeans and a Gap T-Shirt – all name brand by the way but not to the point of being ridiculous. We wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Gucci from head to toe like people from Atlanta – yes Lenox mall  shoppers I’m talking to you. That is just embarrassing. People from South LA go to the Lobster in Santa Monica or the Ivy in Beverly Hills just like people from Brentwood go to Roscoe’s on Pico not Gower (because that’s where the tourists go). We are all very civilized and cordial. When you grow up here you know how things work. When you move here it takes a little longer to figure it out and yeah yall transports are the ones that mess up the status quo.


Last month my BFF, who for some reason I still don’t understand moved from LA and now lives in KCMO, came to LA with her pre-teen daughter Veronica. Veronica was born and raised in Missouri and hasn’t been to LA since she was a baby. Deenie wanted her to see all the LA “spots” so we played tourists for a few days. I was really curious to see what a kid from KCMO would think was “cool” in LA so I gave Veronica my camera and an empty SD card and let her hit the town. The pictures that she took were a mixture of all that is quintessential Los Angeles.

The funniest part was she was obsessed with the people. We had to keep reminding her that she couldn’t just walk up to perfect strangers and stick a camera in their faces. So then she would walk up to them and ask to take their pictures. So then we said “you can’t just walk up and talk to strangers!” I was so excited by her excitement that I gave her an old digital camera I had in the closet. I know how important it is to foster creativity in children. You just never know when that spark will ignite the flame.

After she left I sat and went through the pictures. They were enlightening and refreshing. Seeing LA through the eyes of  kid – the wonder, the excitement, the beauty of people. It made me fall in love with the city all over again. The only time we Angelinos get to be “tourists” is when we have visitors from out of town. The rest of the time we complain about them and bark about how much they are adding to our already insane traffic. Yes, tourism is a large part of our city’s economy blah blah blah. Go home. We aren’t as blatantly rude as people from New York but people from LA aren’t exactly friendly. Well at least I didn’t used to think so. But there were plenty of people who happily posed for pictures when asked by a kid from KCMO and who let her come into their store and take as many pictures as she wanted. Maybe my little tourist experiment proves that we can actually be nice to each other when we want to.

Things Traveling Teaches You

20160704_173607I read an article the other day called 10 Things Traveling Teaches You That School Doesn’t and it made me think about my first trip to Europe in 2000. It was for a fine art class through Mount St. Mary’s College. I went “by myself” or rather with a group of perfect strangers. We went to Prague, Salzberg, Vienna and Munich for 12 days. We had the option of having a roommate (that I didn’t know) or paying an extra $400 for a single room. Needless to say I paid the extra money. I think it was a 1 or 2 unit class and our only homework assignment was to put together a scrapbook and share it in class when we returned from the trip. That was back when we took pictures with film and actually printed them out and glued them into photo albums.

One of my favorite memories from the trip happened in Prague. The city is divided up into these districts. 4 of us were on the street car going back to our hotel from being out and about. Which I think was in like district 2 or 3. Somehow we ended up in district 8. Waaaay outside of the tourist area. We got off the train near this stadium at a McDonald’s. I mean. It’s McDonald’s someone should be able to help. We walked in and I swear they had never seen real live Black people before. It was like the whole restaurant came to a complete and screeching halt. No one in the place spoke a bit of English or had any idea what we were trying to say. So we went back outside and looked at the map and just tried to figure it out for ourselves. People on the street walked by and stared at us. Awed by the sight. Black people in Prague! The funniest part of the whole ordeal was there was a huge Michael Jordan Nike billboard above the stadium. Those same people probably passed that billboard every day and never gave it a second thought but 2 Black people standing under it, now that was a sight to see!

I don’t even remember the names of all of the women in this picture. They may not even remember me. But they are tied to one my most memorable life lessons. One that I only had because I was in a foreign country interacting with people a little over 10 years after the end of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall had fallen. The borders had opened up and my Black ass was walking the streets of Prague. Maybe a little kid went home that day and said “hey dad, I saw a Black lady today!” And that Black lady was me! When you travel you open yourself up to other cultures and in turn you open them up to you. You take a little piece of them home with you. You leave a little piece of you where ever you go.

As I was preparing to write this post I looked back through my scrapbook. I wanted to include some of the pictures. But ummm. They are in a SCRAPBOOK! So I did what we modern people do and I took pictures of the pages with my phone.

And that made me realize how much the digital age sucks! I never keep things like this any more – room keys and receipts and ticket stubs. How do you keep those things in your Google Photos? And even though I printed up a photo book when I got back from Cape Town it still isn’t the same. It is just so… perfect and digital.


PowerNetworking Conference

20160528_202051Last week my cousin/business partner Melina and I went to the PowerNetworking Conference in Prince George’s County, Maryland. For those of you who don’t know, Prince George’s County is one of the wealthiest Black communities in the country. The location of the conference was important because one of the major objectives of the conference was “To help Black people build wealth that can be transferred intergenerationally.” This wasn’t some get rich quick scheme. There was no Pre-Paid Legal booth. These were real business owners committed to the empowerment and economic development of the African American community.

Now I’m a skeptic by nature. When Melina and I first heard about this conference last year from a friend we both looked at each other and said, “what got into Rainy?” She was so excited and energized and ready to start a business and get to work. She couldn’t stop talking about the conference and the people she met. Her eyes sparkled as we listened. So this year when the opportunity came up Melina and I decided we needed to be there.  Still not fully convinced we would drink the Kool-Aid, but we were willing to attend with an open mind.

Let me start by saying I’m easily overwhelmed. I can be a bit of a drama queen. So I tend to stay away from crowds of say 1,500 people for that very reason. Also, the amount of information you are given and the number of speakers, presentations, workshops and exhibits was A LOT. Again, being easily annoyed, I was uncomfortable with the daily schedule and the way the sessions were set up. I like things nice and neat and I like my schedules to have lots of white space on the page. Let me tell you, there was no white space. This conference is jam packed with information. JAM PACKED. So as we were looking over the material the night before day 1 and I was complaining, Melina told me I was thinking way too hard. So I decided to wake up in the morning and go with the flow. Where ever that may lead.

20160526_094354The days are structured like this. The morning sessions start with PowerTalks. These are 17 minute “mini” presentations from various speakers.  Those last for about 2 hours. In the afternoon they have what are called Workshop Intensives”. These are 1.5 hours sessions, some of which were longer versions of the 17 minute presentation. These talks go until 10pm on the first 2 days. There are approximately 7 of these workshops going on at the same time. So as Dr. George Fraser said “you have to make a choice”.  It is impossible to go to all of them. Some of them were held again over the 3 days. But some were a 1 shot deal. So Dr. Fraser suggested that we decide the first morning what our goal was. Why are you here? What do you want to get out of this? Once that was determined you chose the workshops that were in line with that goal. I had 2 goals. The first was branding and marketing, how to a position SJC and myself as a brand to set both businesses a part from the competition. The second was to find additional streams of income, what other business ventures could I get into. So we looked through the program with those goals in mind and chose the PowerTalks and Workshops that suited our needs. We had a plan!

Here’s the thing about a plan….. Sometimes jet lag sets in. Sometimes you can be a little overwhelmed by 3 hours of PowerTalks. So when we decided to take an afternoon break for an hour or so before the Intensive Workshops we really didn’t know it would turn into a 2 hour nap – causing us to sleep through the afternoon workshops. Oops! So we decided to make the best of our time in DC and we wanted to see the Dr. King Memorial so we took an Uber over to the Nation’s Capital, met my friend Jeunesse for dinner and did some sightseeing.

20160527_085856We were much more focused on Day 2. Still not quite ready to drink the Kool-Aid but again, starting the day with an open mind. The PowerTalks were informative. Trevor Otts‘ presentation “The Solopreneur vs the Entrpreneur” was the standout for me. After lunch we split up and I went to a workshop called “Make Them Buy: Build a Multi-Million Dollar Business, Brand and Attitude.” This was the moment where I started looking around for that glass and wondering what flavor Kool-Aid they were offering. The workshop was led by Sherrod Shackelford and LaVon Lewis of PDG Branding & Marketing. Let me just say that 1.5 hours was not enough. There was not an empty seat in the room and there were people standing up along the back and side walls. Sherrod and LaVon are two young, energetic, handsome (and yes, articulate) young men who have found their place and built a business based on experience and hard work. I was willing to buy whatever they were selling! The skeptic in me was starting to fade away. They never stopped talking! After the workshop they had a table set up where there was a constant revolving door or activity, accolades and admirers (yes ladies I saw you).  Melina went to a workshop led by Simon T. Bailey called “Shift Your Brillance – 5 Steps to Thrive in Business and Life.” She came out of this standing room only workshop with a homework assignment, a list of books to read and what is that? A glass of Kool-Aid??

Day 3 we attended a workshop “Learn How to Generate One Million Dollars Cash Investing in Real Estate” given by Dr. David Anderson. This is where shit got deep. I don’t even know how to properly summarize this talk. But let me just say that by the end you would have thought we were at a midnight church revival. There was lots of head nodding, and hand waving and “Mmm Hmmm” going on in the room. And the phrase “they don’t want you to know” was said more than once. Deep Y’all.

In the end it was a very positive experience. I love being Black. I love being around positive people. I love being around people who want to do something. Anything! But don’t come at me with some bullshit. I don’t want to hear it from you unless you’ve done it, lived it, traveled to it, read it. Something! I have a Master’s Degree in Religion so I know a cult when I see one. Don’t try to convince me of something that doesn’t pass the sniff test. Don’t tell me that you make $100k/week when I’m not really convinced you even have $100. I know an Instagram millionaire when I see one. Anyone can call themselves and expert, an author, a world-renowned speaker. But what do you really do?

There is often talk in the community that we don’t support each other. That we tear each other down. This conference was proof to the contrary. You had over 1,000 business-minded and entrepreneurial African Americans who came together with a singular purpose – to build wealth. Notice I said build wealth, not get rich. Getting rich is easy. But who benefits from you being rich? You, your spouse and kids? But true wealth, that lasts for generations after you’ve passed. True wealth ensures that not only is your family taken care of but the fruits your business ventures take care of families you don’t even know exist. We have to stop thinking so small. Stop being so self-absorbed. And realize that none of us can do this alone. We need each other. That is what networking is all about. You support my business I support your business. If I don’t need your service I will recommend you to those that do. Is it that difficult?

So did I drink the Kool-Aid? Maybe a shot glass full. We’ll see how it goes next year.


Oh How I Love Cape Town!

20151223_155803Cape Town? What’s so great about South Africa? For several years I’d heard stories about people picking up and moving to South Africa and I just didn’t understand. In fact, my neighbor across the street went on a trip to Africa, came home and promptly starting making plans to move back. In less than a years time she’d rented out her house, there was a HUGE container parked in our neighborhood in which she loaded her belongings to be shipped and she was on her way. Leaving her boyfriend of several years behind.  I didn’t get it. What’s so special about Africa? Isn’t hot? Aren’t people poor and suffering? Don’t you have to get shots? Well let me just tell you. Now I get it!

It really isn’t something that you can even put into words. I know that because I keep trying to explain it to people and they keep looking at me like I’m crazy. But I’ve told you before that people look at me like that all the time any way so I’m used to it. But I digress. Cape Town isn’t something you can explain. It is something you have to feel.

Let’s address the elephant in the room, the plane ride. Yes people, Africa is FAR. I left Los Angeles at 7pm on Sunday, December 20th and arrived in Cape Town at 3:15pm on Tuesday, December 22. I had a 9-hour flight (thanks to gusty winds) to London, an 8-hour layover at Heathrow, a 10-hour flight to Johannesburg, and a 2-hour flight to Cape Town. And then I got to do it all over again on the way back. And yes, I flew economy the whole way. But I was on Virgin Atlantic all the way to Joberg which was really pretty comfortable. Not as comfortable as first class but better than Southwest. If you are afraid to fly or just one of those people who are really annoying on a flight, this probably isn’t the trip for you. By the way, movies and liquor are free on international flights so that helps a lot. So do sleeping pills.

Let’s start with the basics. The weather. We were there during the summer so the weather was beautiful. For the most part it was 80 degrees during the day and cooler at night. Some nights it was down right cold. It is very windy most of the time. It did rain one or 2 days while we were there but nothing major. Toward the end of the trip the temperature got up to 104. We were not prepared. I returned home with quite the tan. Cape Town is a beach city but they say the water is freezing, I wouldn’t know. But there were plenty of people surfing or boogie boarding or parasailing or doing whatever active, water-loving people do in the Atlantic Ocean. We stayed in Bloubergstrand which was about 20 minutes outside of the city. Our townhouse was a block from the beach. It had that Santa Monica/Malibu feel. I live in California so I pretty much felt like I never left home.

The food. This is probably the question I get asked most often “how was the food?” I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

I would however like to highlight one restaurant that you NEED to visit if you are ever in Cape Town and that is Gold African Restaurant. I happened to mention in passing to our tour guide that we wanted to try an authentic African restaurant that we’d heard about. I was actually talking about another restaurant but she mentioned this one. She called and was able to get us reservations for that very night.  Gold offers a 14-course set menu that gives you the opportunity to sample African cuisine from across the continent. The food and the show were amazing. What an unforgettable experience.

The sights. I can’t even keep up with all the activities we did. All I can tell you is I lost 3lbs on this trip. That’s how busy we were! There are certain “must see” tourist activities in and around Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Boulder Beach. We did all that plus more. If you plan to go during the height of tourist season which is December – February I HIGHLY recommend you contact a tour company well in advance. We started working on our tours at least 12 months in advance and put down our deposits about 8 months before we arrived. Most of the attractions and tours were sold out when we arrived or the lines were just unbearable. We used PG Tops and everyone that we worked with were more than accommodating and professional. I left my tablet and camera in the car on the way from the airport and they went out of their way to make sure that it was returned to me. We also had an amazing day tour to Cape Point with Day Trippers. It was a last-minute tour that was arranged when the shark diving trip was canceled due to bad weather. Bennett and his brother Ricky were amazing guides. It actually turned out to be a 15k bike tour down to the southern most point of the African continent. Needless to say I stayed in the van!

Visiting Cape Town, South Africa was the trip of a life time and I’m so thankful to have shared this experience with my cousins Tammy, Melina, James (Photographer Extraordinaire -thanks for getting all the shots that I missed), Melesa, Bryce, Stacey and Robert. We met incredible people who have touched our lives in ways they cannot imagine. I hope they are able to say the same about us.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

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So You Want To Be A Travel Writer

When I originally conceived the idea of TheTripFile I had that romantic notion of getting paid to travel the world and write about it. I’d fly first class, stay in 5-star hotels and write about my explorations from luxurious balconies overlooking crystal blue waters while making my readers green with envy. I’d buy a one way ticket to Europe, kiss my daddy goodbye, spend a year travelling, writing, living and being free and happy and getting all of you wonderful people to foot the bill. Yes, I really did believe I could do it. For about 5 minutes. But then I quickly realized that I’d also have to spend a lot of time planning trips, making reservations, going places I probably didn’t want to go and writing about things I probably didn’t want to write about just to earn a paycheck. The reality of travel writing isn’t really all that glamorous.  I thought I’d take trips that I wanted to take, write about them and figure out a way to make money doing that. Simple enough. In reality, travel blog posts (that make money) are usually sponsored. Companies – hotels, restaurants, tourism boards – pay bloggers to come visit their places of business and write about them. The only other way to make money off of blogs are from the ads. And no one ever clicks the ads. So writers work for the sponsors. In these instances you travel on their terms, not yours. You go where they want you to go. Now if you have a luxury blog like World of Wanderlust, then you get to paid to go to some pretty fabulous places. But again, you’re being paid to be there and for the post. So if you have a bad day or get sick or don’t feel like writing that day, um, yeah that’s not gonna work.  Brooke Saward started her blog in 2012 and has pretty much turned into an empire with contributing bloggers worldwide. But again, she’s an exception to the norm. 

You are more likely to find stories like Jo Fraser I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Writer, And Now I’m Broke And Unemployed. Jo, like me, romanticized the notion of being a travel writer and in 2014 she quit her job and went for it.  Good for her. Travel writers, like David Duran, who write and travel full time don’t really live a plush life. In his article, The Struggle Is Real — The Reality of Travel Writing, he details the reality of what it’s like to travel 90% of the month. He gave up his apartment so when he comes “home” from a trip he sleeps on someone’s couch. David is a freelance writer, not a blogger. He acknowledges that while the travel part of his job is great, it is still a job.

But the part people always forget about, or just don’t know about, is the actual work. Travel writing comes in mostly two parts, traveling and writing. Now I know everyone gets the traveling part but I constantly have to remind friends that I’m also held accountable for the second part of my job title. As easy as you may believe writing may be, it’s actually quite the contrary…and I know this from simply scrolling my Facebook feed and gasping at the ridiculousness of word vomit I see on a daily basis. As a freelancer, I write for many different audiences, and editors. I have to constantly change my style, my voice and write in a manner that won’t have my editors hating me.

I think like anything else it all boils down to passion. For me, the passion is in the travel not in the writing. I enjoy writing and telling my stories but I don’t want it to be my full-time job. And I wasn’t really willing to put in the effort that it would take to get there. What I need is a travel benefactor! But I am thankful for travel writers because I do a ton of research before I head off on a trip and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have the information available to me. But the idea that this life is some how glamorous at all times is not necessarily true. So if you have a passion for travel and you have a passion for writing then maybe this is the job for you. And I’m available if you need a travel companion!

Countdown to Cape Town

I am so excited about my trip to Cape Town, South Africa this Christmas. I’m not excited about the 48 hours that it is going to take to get there. But I’m very excited about the adventure. It feels weird because I’ve never really wanted to go to Africa, primarily because of the arduous travel. But when my cousin Tammy, who we lovingly refer to as Oprah, suggested spending Christmas with the family in South Africa who could say no! The best thing, aside from the fact that she and her husband James are paying for the lodging, was that I knew that I really wouldn’t have to think too hard about to do when we got there because she would take care of all of that. We don’t call her Oprah for nothing. So of course, in early 2014 the emails started. Emails from the tour company about wine tours, and spas, and safaris and horseback riding and city tours and any and everything Cape Town. Oprah is on it. Let’s do this!

We started the planning so long and I was so far removed from the process that I hadn’t really invested much energy in doing any research to see where we were really go or to see what Cape Town really had to offer. But now that the trip is growing nearer – just a mere 40 days away – I’ve started to look into what the hype is all about. And now I’m excited!

Here are links to some really great sites/blogs that I’ve discovered about Capetown.

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Love of Travel

When you discover your love of travel you soon realize that you don’t much care where you go. But when you have an opportunity to go, you go! People who don’t have the same love of travel don’t understand that. They often hit you with the questions like, “Where are you going now?” “When do you stay home?” I don’t want to stay home. I want to go, go and go some more. Even when that somewhere is Enid, Oklahoma… by way of Newkirk. 

My cousin Melina has a slight obsession with the singer Babyface. To say that she is a fan would be an understatement. She travels20151016_220224 to see him as often as she can. She has already been to several concerts this  year. I’m convinced he has her on some kind of watch list with his security staff. So when she told me that she had tickets to see him at the Seven Clans Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma – which is a short 3 hour drive from her home in KCMO – I knew I was down for the road trip. Then we figured out that Newkirk was only 80 miles from Enid, our mothers’ hometown, we were really excited about the adventure.  

Again people kept asking us why we wanted to go to Enid. Why not? I’d being doing family history research for years but hadn’t found out too much about this side of my family. Our family moved from Enid when her mother was 11 and my mother was 9 months old and as far as we know had never really been back. Neither one of us had ever been. So why not go? Why not take this opportunity not only to learn a little bit about our family but also to see Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma while we’re at it.

This is exactly why we left our traditional jobs and started SJC Financial Solutions. We LOVE being entrepreneurs. We love having the opportunity to take off on a random 36 hour road trip through 3 states to spend 2 hours in a cemetery looking for our great-grandmother’s grave just because we wanted to. And why shouldn’t we? We drove through Bois d’ Arc and Rock and Arkansas City (Ar-Kansas) and Ponca City and Blackwell, just to name a few cities. I bought a Powerball ticket at a gas station and the attendant told me I’d be entered into a drawing to win a free tornado shelter. Sure! Why not! Life is about having experiences, meeting people and doing things you’ve never done before. However random they may be.

“How can you afford all this travel?” That’s another question friends like to ask. My mother always told me that people find the money to do what they want to do. And I want to travel. As long as I have a passport, a credit card and income to pay the bill I will travel. One misconception that people have about entrepreneurs is that we are broke or always struggling for money. I can’t speak for everyone, but for most of us, we work! And we thought long hard and planned extensively before quitting our jobs and starting our businesses. And for some, the road to start-up was rocky. But for people who had a proper plan in place – meaning they cut back on expenses, had enough in savings to live on, had a good business plan, etc. – we actually saved some money by quitting our jobs and things worked out well enough.  And when you know that you have a love of travel, a desire to travel, a need to travel, you work that into your budget just like you do a car note or healthcare payment. That wanderlust is a part of who you are. It is unfortunate that people in your life can’t always understand that.

I read this great article this morning How Traveling Made Me Unpopular by Alyssa Ramos. She talks about how since she’s started travelling she’s noticed a steep decline in her social circle.  People stopped inviting her to parties because they just assumed she wouldn’t be in town. She realized that friends were jealous of her travels by the passively negative comments they would make to her. But it also made her appreciate the friends that she does have and cherish those true friendships.

Once you’ve been bitten by  the travel bug it’s hard not to give into that desire. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thinking about my next trip. I have trips planned through 2017. This is what want I do. Some people shop, play bridge, golf.  I travel… and I shop on my trips. I love and appreciate my friends and family that I can travel with (because you can’t travel with everyone).  See you in Cape Town!


How Can You NOT Afford To Travel?

DSCN0679I still get bent out of shape when someone acts all surprised when I go on a trip. They act like I must have some secret stash of cash or it’s a really big deal if I go to Vegas. No, I have credit cards and I use them and I pay them. I’ve been having discussions with my friends and family about this lifestyle change for almost 9 months now and they still don’t get it. I was talking to my brother about my upcoming trip to Puerto Rico for my birthday in October and he said “dude! How are you doing all of this traveling?” And I said, “don’t you read my blog?!?” Clearly he doesn’t. My mother told me a long time ago that people spend their money they way they want to. I want to spend my money on travel and not a mortgage. That is my prerogative. “I can do what I want to do.”  Now that being said there are different levels of travel. I’d love to fly first class on Virgin to London and stay at the Dorchester. But right now that’s not going to happen. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t find a really good fare off season and stay at a great hotel near Euston Station. Travel is not expensive if plan, research and just go!


How can you NOT afford to travel? by Alyssa Ramos

Everyone is always trying to find the cheapest ways to travel, or complaining that they can’t travel because they can’t afford it OR my personal favorite, questioning me about how I afford it. Well, it might be your own fault that you can’t afford it, especially if you have expensive taste for handbags or fancy dinners.

Even if you aren’t spending obscene lump sums on single purchases, all those little stops at Starbucks, weekend shopping trips and Ubers really start to add up. Most people are so focused on the “saving money by gaining money method” that they don’t realize how much unnecessary spending they are doing that could be going towards their empty travel savings piggy bank.

Want to know how I can afford to travel so much? I don’t spend my money on anything besides rent, food, wine, car and health insurance (that’s right, I’m responsible as well!). The rest of it all goes towards traveling. I also work a lot, just like you, and put time into finding the cheapest ways to travel.

I’ve got the whole “how to afford to travel” thing down, so now let’s figure out what’s keeping you from being able to afford to travel.

You Suck at SavingDon’t feel bad, I’m pretty sure no one is actually good at saving money. BUT, if you actually put effort into it… or lock yourself out of your savings account… you can probably save up enough to travel for a week in about six months. I take a certain amount out of every pay check I get and put it immediately into my savings (a.k.a. travel) account. I also suck at saving money, so I went ahead and locked my account and made it so the funds can only be touched after a certain date.

You Buy Expensive ThingsWhat would you rather have, a purse or a plane ticket? If the answer is purse, you’re going to have a really tough time ever being able to afford to travel. All I see when I look at a $2,000 price tag on a designer purse is a $2,000 plane ticket that could probably get me around the world. If you really want to be able to afford to travel, put anything that’s over $100 back on the shelf, and put that money in your travel piggy bank instead.

You Buy Unnecessary ThingsNobody actually needs an iWatch, a 3-D pen or half the shit you order on Amazon or Groupon that end up being crappy or never used. But if you keep buying unnecessary items that slowly subtract from your bank account, you’re not going to be able to afford to travel. Stop buying random crap. Start traveling.

You Don’t Consider Other Ways to Make Money9-5’ers loovveeee to question me about how I afford to travel, since apparently being freelance “isn’t a real job.” Well, not only is it a real job, but it’s an extremely flexible job that allows me to work for multiple people or companies whenever I want. If I want to make a little extra travel money, I’ll pick up another job. Just because your work hours are enforced, doesn’t mean you can’t do other things outside of them. I’d say on average I work 10 hours or more per day, and work for three other clients not including my own stuff. It IS possible to make extra money online; you just need to make the time to do it. Check out sites like, or even Craigslist jobs for a ton of online work opportunities.

You’re Terrified of DebtI didn’t get a credit card until literally a few months ago. I was so proud of the fact that I don’t owe anyone any money that I just kept buying things with money I already had, not realizing the benefits of using credit, and the idea that I was sometimes turning down travel opportunities because I couldn’t afford them with cash. Using a credit card has not only allowed me to gain credit and a ton of travel reward points, but also to take the trips I want to take now and worry about paying them off when I’m older and not as adventurous later. Oh, and yes, I understand you have student loan debts, almost everyone in America does, but hopefully that great job you got with your degree will allow you to easily pay your student loans and travels off when you’re older.

You’re Terrified of “Losing” MoneyIf you’ve ever found yourself thinking, What if I spend all this money on this trip and then it sucks, then that’s a big reason why you probably think you can’t afford to travel. In case you haven’t seen this little quote all over social media, “You can always make more money,” but you can’t always make more experiences.

You Don’t Research Affordable Travel OptionsTraveling is not cheap. But it also doesn’t have to be insanely expensive. Everyone wants affordable travel options, but they usually want it to just magically appear for them on a silver platter. Well get in line, sweetie. And be prepared to wait a while. In case you haven’t heard about this useful little thing called the Internet, it works wonders for just about anything, including researching cheap travel websites, flights, hotels, etc.

You’re Not Willing to DowngradeOh you don’t want to travel in coach, or stay at anything less than a four star hotel? Well have fun not going anywhere, and while you’re at it, stop complaining about not being able to afford to travel. Getting somewhere and where you sleep shouldn’t be your main concern when it comes to spending money on a trip. The important thing is actually being there and seeing the sites and culture, which will only happen if you actually get there first.

You’re “Saving for the Future” I hear this one a lot as well. You can’t afford to travel right now, because you’re saving money for a house, and kids, and a sailboat, and a golf membership, and retirement, and a funeral. I’m sorry, but did you consider that you’re never going to be young and able to travel without worrying about other people soon? I really don’t get why late 20s/early 30s people are trying to save for the future instead of living in the present. Plus, do you have any idea how much valuable knowledge, skills, and character traits you gain when you travel? It adds an entirely new perspective to life, which will only help you more in the future!

You Really Don’t Have Any MoneyIf after considering all of the above, you still don’t have enough money to travel, it might be time to find a better job. A lot of people are underpaid, and know they’re underpaid, but are too scared to ask for a raise, or try looking for a better paying job. If that’s the case, than I suggest quitting your job, maybe getting TEFL certified and moving to Thailand to teach English.


7 Reasons People Who Travel Are More Likely To Be Successful

DSCN1056 Every day I read something that gives me a little more insight into how my mind operates.  Before I quit my job I would have conversations with one of my co-workers about my plans for my future business.  She used to say to me, “You have a good job. You make a good salary. Why can’t you just be happy?” And my response was always the same, “because I’m not.”  Then I would tell her about a trip I was planning and she would say, “You are always going somewhere. Why can’t you just sit still?” And my response was always the same, “because I can’t.” It never really occurred to me until recently that these two parts of me, my independent business nature and my insatiable wanderlust, are two halves of the same coin – both driven by that part of me that ignores the fear, steps off the cliff and then checks to see if my bungee cord is attached. Maybe it isn’t prudent or exactly smart. But I choose not to live my life ruled by fear. Of course I get scared. And I may proceed cautiously and hesitantly but I proceed!

 I love to travel. I love to go places and explore. When I was little and we were driving around I would ask my mother if we could get lost. I know she often wondered if they switched babies on her at the hospital. I am saddened by people who are afraid to fly or who claim to have no desire to see new things. Or when I hear of people who are adults and have never left their city or state. But even if you are afraid to fly (which is a valid fear today) there are so many things to see right here in the US. Or take an international cruise or train trip. You can drive to Alaska dontcha know?  In 2007 my brother and I did a road trip from Atlanta to LA. Talk about family bonding! We got in the car and just followed the I-10 til we got home. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 I believe I bring that same sense of adventure to my business ventures. It is hard to make taxes seem fun and sexy. But I approach each case with the same sense of wonder and excitement and take on the challenges without fear of failure. Some cases are more complex than others. But so it getting lost in Prague without a map and finding yourself outside of the tourist area where no one speaks a word of English. Bring it on IRS!


7 Reasons People Who Travel Are More Likely To Be Successful by Aly Walansky

 We all want to be successful, and some of us will be, while others won’t. There’s a lot of debate about what creates the road to success.

It’s perseverance, working hard, and being focused and motivated, no doubt. But can success come from knowing when to walk away and take a vacation? There’s a lot of evidence that people who travel frequently tend to be rather successful. Here’s how:

 1. Fear of the unknown drives your ambition. Traveling helps you acquire skills naturally while building your character. “Frequent traveling gets you outside of your comfort zone, opening up new worlds and experiences. Faced with new scenarios and encounters, you learn effective coping strategies that help you survive and manage your fear of the unknown,” says Dr. Ben Michaelis, a clinical psychologist and mental health expert.

When you travel, you learn to take action and accept challenges. You also learn creative ways to adapt to change and use your resources wisely. All of these behaviors lie at very core of achieving success in business, and inspire innovation and creativity.

 2. Trying something new can expand your horizons. So many of us go to the same desk in the same office and work at the same computer each day. It’s comfortable. But sometimes we can learn a lot and think more when we leave the familiar and see new things.

We may leave with some new ideas. Embracing change can help us in all areas of our lives.

 3. You’ll always see the big picture. When we don’t take time away from work, it’s easy to get caught up in the immediate pressures of the day to day. A little time away, even if it’s just a long weekend, can create the psychological distance to make it easy to see what really matters.

“When we get some distance, it’s easier to see the big picture, to focus on what we want versus just what’s right in front of us, and to be more open to taking risks to get to what we want. While it’s nice to turn off fully on a vacation, I suggest setting aside just 15 minutes at some point to think about what really matters in your work, because you’re much better equipped to see it with psychological distance,” says neurocoach Josh Davis, Ph.D.

Reconnecting with what really matters in your work will make you better at prioritizing.

 4. Vacations improve your overall health. “Stress accumulation increases our risk for almost every disease. Disease and poor health affect the ability to consistently maintain personal and professional goals.Vacations can decrease anxiety levels and boost metabolism. Not only do vacations impact our health, but they also promote creativity, allow time to recharge, and boost positivity, increasing productivity in the long run,” says Jessie Gill, a holistic nurse. There’s a beautiful world out there waiting to be explored.

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