Port-Au Prince, Haiti
My first trip abroad was to Port Au Prince, Haiti. I went with a group of students from Penn State University. Haiti is where I understood the challenges of the global world that was similar and different from my experience growing up in Philadelphia. I bore witness to poverty, dilapidated schools, famine, and kids rights to education being violated.
My second trip abroad was a study abroad program to Havana, Cuba with a group of students from Penn State University. In Cuba, I took a course on Race, Gender, and Religion. Cuba was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to in my life. The people were so amazing and sparked my interests in understanding more about transnational solidarity. This trip gave me a good insight into transformative educational systems that prioritized literacy and scholarship.
My third trip abroad was a study abroad program to the Netherlands with a group of students from Penn State University. In Amsterdam, I took a course on the Dutch Criminal Justice System in comparison to the United States Criminal Justice System. This was a very eye-opening place for me. During this time in 2016, there were so many police killings of unarmed black men in the United States. I learned about many of the strategies Dutch Police Department use to prohibit the multiple forms of police brutality. This trip abroad sparked the TEDx Talk I would give a year later.
Belgium was a very cool place to visit. I never actually planned on going but that's kind of how life works. Belgium was great for museums, meeting great people around the world, and a place for self-reflection. Belgium was the place where I realized for myself that I have to continue to take advantage of experiences like this, and understand that in order to change the world I have to understand the world.
Paris is and will continue to be my favorite place to travel to. Paris brings life to my soul. I love French Culture, language, customs, and most importantly, fashion. France was a place I also wanted to travel to as a child. In Paris, I went to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower three times, the Notre Dame, and I visited several museums.
Germany was a cool place to travel to. Staying in a hostel in Berlin I was able to meet so many people from around the world. During my time in Germany, I participated in local human rights protests, museums, and historical places in Berlin.
I can't believe I made it to Australia! 22 hours on a plane was a very long time. I have a socio-emotional connection with Australia. Austalia was a study abroad program to the with a group of students from Penn State University. In Australia, I took a course on the social and cultural explorations in the Visual Arts. This was a very eye-opening place for me. During this trip, I noticed so many disparities in the Indigenous communities that I noticed back home in Philadelphia. The inner city neighborhoods in Philadelphia looked exactly like the places were people who identified as aborigine/indigenous. I had an opportunity to meet with local activist to discuss terra nullius, environmental racism, gentrification, and strategic displacement. I plan to do work with activists in Australia in the near future.
Curacao was such a beautiful place to travel to. Curacao is where I completed my 5th Study Abroad Program at Penn State University. This course was on Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System in Curacao. Curacao fascinated me with their approach to education. Students at a young age are required to learn 3 languages. I acknowledge this as a way to make the youth in Curacao global citizens. Something interesting I noticed about Curacao is that though the people there are socially identified as black/brown they have European (Dutch) citizenship because they are still under the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Kingston, Jamaica was a very beautiful island. If there is one thing to know about me is I love islands! Could you imagine having a home where you have pineapple plants, coconut trees, soursop and mango trees everywhere in your garden? Kingston showed me the type of lifestyle I want to live when I settle down. I want to own my own land, build my own house, have plentiful fruits and vegetables, and ultimately wake up to the sound of natural river flow every day. In Kingston, I had a chance to visit the Bob Marley Museum, Marcus Garvey's UNIA Headquarters, discuss global racism and human rights violations with locals, and did some great Kemetic Yoga.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
After taking a year off of traveling and focusing on my work as a 5th-grade teacher, I decided it was time to take on the world. I made a commitment to myself that in 2019 I would do another world tour.
Guatemala is one of the most beautiful places I've been to. Again, I love the islands. I love the culture and customs of Guatemala. Guatemala taught me that a simple life is okay. In the United States, there is a tendency to keep consuming so much information, so many products, and in the end people end up never truly satisfied. Guatemala is where I began to make sure I counted my blessings every day and came to the conclusion that traveling internationally was suppose to be a part of my path in life. Guatemala became the spark for me truly becoming a world citizen by continuing my fluency in French and becoming fluent in Spanish.
London was a fascinating place to be in. I visited London during the time when the Brexit protests were taking place. I had a chance to talk to people in London about systematic power, how it is to live under a royal family vs. having a president, and the challenges for people to sustain a living in London. During my time in London, I visited many of the museums, the Royal Palace, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Eye, and the Victoria Towers. London is also a great place for vegans; I was able to find food everywhere!
I've always wanted to go to Spain when I was in Europe in 2016 but I never had the chance to. I seized the moment in 2019! Spain felt like home to me. The people in Madrid treated me like I was family, the vegan options were amazing, and the energy of the people was so radiant! During my time in Madrid, I had the opportunity to do a hike, visit the Royal Palace, and visit a few museums. Spain is on my travel list for the future.
Paris, France 2019
I made it back to one of my favorite countries! Paris seems to never fail my expectations. I would say this time around I was able to use my intermediate French speaking skills to communicate with the local French people. I again, just like in 2016, visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Arc De Triomphe.
I made sure Mexico was one destination. I was able to swim in a cenote, do some yoga by the pool, go ziplining, and ATV riding. My favorite experience was going to Chichen Itzá one of the Mayan Ruins. Being on such sacred land made me feel so powerful, so spiritually lifted, and made me realize a lot of connections between the Mayan Civilization and the Ancient Egyptians.
Havana, Cuba 2019
Visiting Cuba for the second time was such a great experience. I put Cuba on my list of travels because of the spiritual enlightenment I gained a few years back in Havana. My friend planned a 3-hour bike ride over Cuba, which turned out to be such a great experience. Not having internet access at my disposal allowed room for so much self-reflection, goal setting, and allowed me to plant some foundational seeds for my future plans. Cuba will always have a place in my heart.
Every time I plan several trips I always make sure to incorporate a trip that will allow me to reflect for hours about my life. Every single morning while in Peru, I journaled for hours and went through my daily affirmations. I learned so much about myself during my time in Peru. I am excited to see what I manifest from all of the conversations I've had with my higher self and the most high.
Colombia was such a beautiful time. I learned so much about the average day living in Bogotá. Just like Perú, Colombia was a trip for deep self-reflection. I needed this space to heal from many different areas of toxicity in my life. This trip was exploratory, cleansing and euphoric. I can't wait to travel to Colombia again.