Solo Travel: First in Paris How to conquer the experience.
Solo Travel: First in Paris How to conquer the experience.
On Friday I’m moving to Paris, the city that changed my life and got me where I am today.
When I first visited Paris, much younger, it was the culmination of a dream come true. I’d studied French since my grade school days and all the way through college. My mother named me after a French actress and I had always dressed as if I was destined to be a Parisian and so I made it there. The experience ended up impacting my life in a way I didn’t expect. I learned how to eat. Not just for quantity but quality. My taste buds were awakened in a way I’d never felt before. You can eat real, fresh, good, rich food and be satiated off of small bites due to the exquisiteness of the experience. You can take your time to savor, love, delve into and dream about the experience of eating something. All while surrounded by the ancient, old, beautiful romantic scenery surrounded by friends at a long table that you’ve reserved for hours, the French way..The wine is flowing..the talk of life is flowing, and the experience is burned forever in my memory. And so I take it home to encapsulate that moment forever and ever again. That’s what Paris will do to you. Every corner and neighborhoods can be like this experience, every moment can lead you into more moments that mimic this savory theme. Paris, France. What a beautiful place, stories and vignettes happen on every corner and each neighborhood introduces you to a different story time and place. Paris France. Let the adventure begin…see you Friday
Solo Travel in Salvador Brazil
I kept repeating to myself throughout my time in Salvador Bahia… I don’t believe in gods and goddesses, they don’t have powers, I revoke thee voodoo. But the spirit of Candomble is strong in Bahia. In Rio de Janeiro I saw slight reminders of the strong Candomble presence in Brazil, an offering on the floor, and in a tree, and in the ocean….but in Salvador Bahia it drew me in. The seven orixás, are everywhere in Salvador, watching you. Dressed up in Catholic priest outfits to fool the white slave masters, The Seven Orixas of African Candomble fed the hungry souls of the African slaves through deceit and trickery of the European slave masters. Now Brazilians, Cubans, Yoruba’s other Africans from all over the world pray to the gods and goddesses of Candomble for safe passage through life.
I was able to witness the goddess of the ocean Iemanja, receiving her gifts on her special day. In the ceremony there was a woman being carried out, she was put in a boat and floated out to sea. She was possessed, and shaking, overtaken apparently by the spirit of Iemanja. I could feel her energy from on top of a rock that I sat on to stay safe. The power of this woman writhing under the power of the spirit was awe-inspiring. Iemanja is the Queen of the Ocean and the mother of all. She demands flowers, makeup, perfume and other items for safe passage, security, and protection of children. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemaja
By the end of my trip I left an offering to the vain goddess of the sea.
Solo travel in Salvador Bahia Brazil
AFRICAN ROOTS IN BRAZIL
I cherish private moments with my Nigerian mother and father when they pass down the oral history of our people. What excites me most is when my mother tells me stories of her mother’s people. Stories of the Efik tribes and nomadic tribes that shaped her existence. In a cold nordic suburb of Chicago, Illinois there was an awakening in me. The more I grew older I could not mistake my African heritage. Its in my walk, my talk, my drive. My people, that traveled up and down the Sahara Desert, traded palm oil, language full of Hebrew, Syro-Arabic influences, a language that was an early disseminator of education, trade and commerce for West Africa. A language that dates back to 4000 BC. What a brave people proud people I come from. You cannot deny what’s in your soul and was pre-determined centuries before you were born.
So when I had my first experience with the people of Salvador Brazil, it awoke a sense of kinship. Many of the slaves sent to Salvador Brazil, were from Nigeria. In their stride, their faces, their language, their food, their joy for life, I knew I had found my way a step towards home. Just like the spirit and essence of my ancestors is alive and well in me, it is the same in Bahia. You can not take the Africa away. Bahians were proudly African. Afros, and proclamations of a connection with Africa was on everyone’s lips. Women and men with fair white skin proudly proclaimed their African heritage and it was exhilarating to be in Bahia and see this display of love for the origin. Original Africa
SOLO TRAVEL AWAKENED BY AFRICAN ROOTS IN BRAZIL
Capoeira in Salvador Bahia Brazil
I was lucky enough to dive right into Bahian culture during my stay in Salvador. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that is part fighting and partly dance and singing. It was amazing to be in the room and watch how each opponent adjusted and synchronized their body with the movements of their opponent in order to win the match. Continue reading →
Random musings: The power of music
for most of my life a song has haunted me. Classical music maybe by Tchaikovsky…I used to play this tape over and over again as a child. I set my stories to this music and read my most prized books to this song. but I’ve never been able to find it again.
New Years in Rio de Janeiro: Tips for Reveillon
As the clock counted down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..the fireworks erupted in the sky in a way I’ve never experienced before. Millions of people around me hugged, kissed, screamed, joyously. The beginning of a New Year spent in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in Copacabana Posts 3-5 of the beautiful beach packed with people from all over Brazil and the rest of the world. For a second the sound of the people celebrating around me was drowned out into the background. All I could hear was my heart beating hard as I realized how lucky I was to bring in 2013 in a place as unique and exciting as Brazil.
New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro
Solo travel in Amsterdam!!!
I always step off of the train straight from Schiphol and know that as soon as I reach Amsterdam Centraal the memorable times will begin…
Amsterdam is just that comfortable European city. Amsterdam will embrace you with open arms. Its a city of contradictions, compromise, acceptance, extremes and moderation. It is everything and nothing more. You can find whatever you want here.
The moments in Amsterdam are some of my most special experiences in my travels. So many