It’s Thursday!

So you know what that means on the innanets?! Throwback time! So I figured we could play along here on the blog. Travel-related throwbacks are the best! Bring back so many memories. So here goes mine:

Being young, wild, and free in the Bahamas

Being young, wild, and free in the Bahamas


This was in the Bahamas 5 years ago (I can’t believe this was 5 years ago!) with some of my favorite girls from HU. Love it!

Join the Club!

What do W.E.B. DuBois, Angela Davis, Marian Wright Edelman, Toni Cade Bambara, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Charles R. Drew, Alice Walker, Tia Mowry, Holly Robinson Peete, Paul Robeson, Tracie Thoms, Aisha Tyler and Kerry Washington (among many others) all have in common?

Yep, you got it. They all studied abroad. Come on, you know you wanna join the club! And if you are past those college years, just travel anyway.

Olivia says, "So you're really going to graduate without studying abroad?"

The look Olivia gives you when you tell her you ain’t trying to study abroad.

Top 10 – Father’s Day in Cartagena

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that I’ve been in Cartagena, Colombia for the last week with my Dad. And here are my 10 favorite things about the vaca:

10. Rumba Chivas (not to be confused with the non-rumba, not-as-fun, during the day city tour chivas) – These Colombian party buses are the I understood about 5% of what was going on because it was all in Spanish. But what I did understand was live music, singing, happy people, unlimited aguardiente (like a Colombian rum, means “fiery water” if you get my drift), maracas, a nighttime tour of the city, and a tricked out chevy truck. Definitely a must do in Cartagena. *Sidenote, don’t let the unlimited aguardiente fool you – this is definitely a family activity. There were kids on our bus, singing and getting it with the best of ’em. Call to book the night you want to go- they leave around 8pm and again at midnight.chivas

9. Castillo San Felipe – This huge fort in the middle of the city. I don’t know why this was so much fun, but it was. Like having a big, historical, my-size barbie playhouse to run around and play in. Or not. That didn’t really make sense, but still…

8. Playa Blanca (and the boat ride to get there) – So this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. If you know me at all, you know I am a total beach baby so it’s easy to see why. But it wasn’t just because of the white sand and the crystal blue/green water (I promise!). The boat ride there was pretty dope. I think that was my first time on a speed boat. I’m more of a yacht girl, myself. But it turned out to be so ridiculously fun. We stopped in a couple places along the way – once to snorkel, once so these little pirate kids could paddle up to us in their handmade wooden canoes (I can’t make this up) and ask for money, and then at this other island. So. Much. Fun. Just go to the Las Murallas between 8 and 9 am and there will be tons of people lined up to get you on their boat. You shouldn’t pay more that $40.000COP.


7. Quebracho Argentine steakhouse – Yum. my. (Also Expen. Sive. But worth it.)

6. Crepes y Waffles Restaurante – [Insert previous description here.] No but really, have you ever had a curry chicken crepe? There are just so many good restaurants in Cartagena. And even eating off the street (fried plantains, grilled corn, kebabs, arepas, empanadas) never disappointed. Oh and the jugo. I can’t forget about the fresh juices. The lulo juice, maracuyo, pineapple – all of it. I never drink concentrate, er, juice, here in the US but I couldn’t get enough of it in Cartagena!

5. Les Lezards Bed & Breakfast – This place was amazeballs! The breakfast deserves its own post. The location was awesome – in the Getsemeni neighborhood (which also deserves its own post as the best, most eclectic neighborhood in Cartagena). The owner, Marcus, was super helpful and knows all the best things to do in Cartagena. I guess you could say he deserves his own post, too. He is my new BFF and I will always stay there if I go back to Cartagena (unless of course I buy an apartment or something). I found it on airbnb. Check it out.

4. Biking through Cartagena – Another one of my favorite days. We rented bikes through Roda Bici Tours (fancy name for a family who rents bikes from in front of their house). Marcus hipped us to this place two blocks from the B&B in Getsemeni. We rode all the way to and around Bocagrande, to the castle/fort, along the beach, all through the walled city. At less than $2/hour, I’d say it’s a definite win! IMG_1018

3. Plazas – I was about to say Plaza de Trinidad, which is in Getsemenai (which I now consider my neighborhood) because there’s this awesome lounge/bar with rocking chairs outside. My dad and I posted up here frequently to take in the sights/sounds/smells of the plaza. They knew our drink orders before we even walked in. But then I was gonna change to Donde Fidel because of the music. Or Santo Domingo because of the energy. But I couldn’t pick just one. The squares are an awesome place to enjoy the relaxed style of Cartagena. Awesome people watching. Good (cheap) eats. So many plazas, so little time. Just find one and enjoy it.

2. Cafe del Mar – Hands down one of my favorite places. If we’d discovered this open-air bar/restaurant before our last night in the city, please believe we would have been regulars. It sits on top of the walls of the city and is the perfect place to catch the sunset (and a drink) with views of the Caribbean Sea and the skyline of Bocagrande as the backdrop. You HAVE to go here. Doesn’t open til 5. Just in time for dusk. DSC_0766

1. The Gift of (Slow) Travel– Of course this isn’t specific to Cartagena, but this was my Dad’s first time outside of the U.S. And it was amazing being able to watch him experience the wander of travel firsthand. We were in Cartagena for 6 days, 5 nights. We didn’t feel rushed. We had time for day trips. We got to take it all in at our own pace. We really feel like we know Cartagena. Considering the fact that my dad is now looking at property in Cartagena (no lie), it’s safe to say this has been THE best Father’s Day gift ever.

(I somehow made it through this entire post and didn’t mention nightlife  – which Cartagena has plenty of. And this isn’t even including the parties in the plazas or the chivas. But check out La Habana – easily the best salsa club in South America. Yes, I said South America.)

What about you? Have you ever been to Cartagena? What would make your top 10 list?

“Why World Travelers Make the Best Workers”


Naturally, I agree with this. For many reasons. And the author makes some good points – so mosey on over to Brazen Careerist and check it out.

Then mosey on back here and let me know what you think. What are some other ways that traveling makes someone a better employee? Or what are some other ways to get these skills without actually traveling to an unfamiliar place?

(My personal add to the list would be that travelers tend to be more creative. Once you are exposed to different ways of doing things, you tend to think in terms of new possibilities. Thinking outside the box. But that could be a whole ‘nother blog post. So I’ll just keep it moving…)

Friday Photo: HU -> China

As you can see, today’s Friday photo is a slight variation of the previous images. It’s not of a landscape, or my favorite place. In fact it’s the only picture I haven’t taken myself. Instead it’s something much more important to me and it makes my heart smile in a crazy way! I actually don’t know know where this photo was taken. Probably, D.C. but, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what it represents – my alma mater’s clear and expressed committment to internationalization. I think I may frame this and put it up in the Bunche Center when I am named Director of it in 5-10 years or so my living room or home office. It may seem like a simple guesture – ok so what, a Howard hoodie and a passport. But the truth of the matter is that if you went down the street and asked 10 people to show you their passport, on average only 3 of them will even have one (here in the U.S.). So that’s why this is important. Howard is identifying itself as a institution that develops GLOBAL citizens. Yes, you can do an internship on Wall Street (and MANY HU students do), but you’re not limited to that.

photo credit:

I found this image when Howard tweeted about it’s Freshmen Leadership Academy participating in a 3 week study abroad to China. Can you imagine that? Before you even enroll in a class at HU your first experience is with other future Bison jetsetting to Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo! As sad as I am that this didn’t exist when I was a freshman, I’m just happy that someone picked up the ball and is making strides to expose HU students to a world beyond Georgia Ave. Check the full press release here: Howard Freshman Leadership Academy Promotes Global Citizenship with New Delegation to China and Japan. No, really, click that link. I’m done here. 😉

Myth Busters (or You Really CAN Afford to Travel)

So I think it’s time for me to set the record straight once and for all – traveling does not have to be expensive. Ever. I work for a public state-funded university and I am in grad school. Read: I don’t make a lot money. Prior to this I was a public school middle school teacher. Again, no money. And before that I was on the first rung of the corporate latter for a major shoe wholesaler. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the ladder I wanted to be on so I jumped off before I actually started making good money (more like gently stepped off as I hadn’t gotten very far). Anywho – my point is, you cannot look me dead in my face and say you “You must be ballin girl” or “I aint got it like that” or “I would go but that’s gonna be too expensive” because you probably make more money than I do!

I am constantly surprised at how much people “think” vacations cost. The estimates usually range between $3000-$5000 – and at that I’ll say, you need to stop watching Basketball Wives. So on this episode of Mythbusters, I’ll breakdown how inexpensive traveling can actually be! First let’s pick a destination. This is the first place to save some money. Pick a place where you know somebody – or you know someone who knows someone because that’s a free place to stay! You’ve already cut the cost of your trip in half right there. Just for sh!ts and giggles sake (and because I desperately need a beach in my life), we are going to Aruba from August 30-September 3 with 3 friends! 

Flights: So first things first we need to get there. You really have to make sure your timing is right – not just the timing of your trip but of your purchase. I just priced flights to Aruba over Labor Day weekend and it looks like Jet Blue and AirTran are competing for customers. Capitalism – 1, Staying in the US – 0. Flights to Aruba over a holiday weekend are $385 right now. Yes, you read that right. Which is crazy because I haven’t spent less than $400 on a flight to Memphis the last two times I went home. And I could’ve been in Aruba all that time! So now you’re asking – isn’t it because it’s hurricane season? Ah ha. Research a little more (or listen to the lady from Trinidad who sat next to you at church last week) and you’ll learn that Aruba is part of the hurricane-free great-weather-all-year-round “ABC” islands. So book that flight! Just a side note – I’d never book a flight that was over $1,000 unless it was in Asia or some parts of Africa. The costs will usually even out because of a favorable exchange rate or simply because the cost of living is so much cheaper in some of those places. But if you’re trying to get to Europe and the flights are close to $1,000 – you may need to rethink your dates because that’s highway (airway?) robbery. 

Lodging: So since we’re going with a few friends, it may be more fun (and economical) to rent a house. Benefits – you get a bigger space with a kitchen so you don’t have to eat out all the time. Cons – You have to make your own bed? Can’t really think of any but, yes, I am being biased. A quick search on returned a number of entire homes or 1 bedroom apartments to rent for as little as $90/night (if you only want to rent a single room it get’s even cheaper!). I spy a really nice spacious 2 bedroom 2 bathroom home for $95/night. And it’s not only cheap, but it’s really nice and has a hammock – because I know y’all are fancy.  If there are 4 of us and we’re going for 4 nights, that’s only $95 per person. So let’s add that to our total.

Food: I have no idea what the costs of meals are in Aruba. Or the exchange rate. But I can say that if you’re staying in a house you can have breakfast at home, lunch shouldn’t be more than $20 and dinner (splurging because you’re on vacation) $50. So that’s $75 bucks a day rounded way UP. Because you can also make dinner at our fancy villa and I know I don’t spend that much at every single meal. But like I said, y’all are fancy. So now let’s add another $300 for that ($75/day for 4 full days on the island – not counting the travel days since you usually end up missing a meal and/or eating at the airport).

Play money: The only thing you have left to pay for are the “extras.” Souvenirs, excursions, renting jet skis, tours, etc. This will vary from person to person but I think a safe amount of play money for a 4 day trip on an island would be about $300. Also note that when I go to an island, most of my free time is spent at the beach. Which, if you hadn’t heard, is free.

So what’s our damage? The total cost of Labor Day Weekend in Aruba is $1080! Which all at once may seem like a lot but if you look at it in terms of what you’re paying per paycheck it’s really not that much. So basically, we’re getting paid this Friday, so you shell out $385 for the flight. Easy. Next paycheck, pay your rent! But save $150 for some of your play money. The 3rd paycheck, pay  the $95 for your awesome villa and save another $150 – you’ve now paid for everything except for your food! By the time you get to Aruba (which will be the 5th paycheck from now), you’ll only need the $300 to eat with!

Now if you can’t spare $300-400 in three of your non-rent checks, we need to re-evaluate some things!

But that brings this episode of Mythbusters to a close. I do believe that I have eliminated the “I can’t afford it” argument. What else you got?