REVIEW: RIU IN OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA

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REVIEW: RIU IN OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA

While many in the Tribe are dealing with the freezing temperatures and biting winds of Winter, many take this time as the opportunity. To visit more tropical locales for sun and relaxation. Atlanta's own Alexis bka Lexi recently spent some quality time on the island of Jamaica. Here's a snippet of her time in Ocho Rios. Check it out then visit Lexi's site for the entire review. 

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I’m also not new to RIU’s. I have stayed at RIU’s in The Bahamas & Negril and had great experiences at both. I was excited to see how this resort would be in comparison.

The drive from Montego Bay’s airport was beautiful but fairly lengthy About an hour and a half later, we arrived the the beautiful RIU hotel.

I was starving and immediately went to eat. Thank God they had some oxtail. I have been wanting some authentic Jamaican food and I was happy they had some at lunch that day and it was delicious. I got my typical “Bob Marley” fruity drink with rum pretty much all day every day. The beauty of All-Inclusive is all food and drinks are included in the price.

 

Over the weekend I enjoyed the beautiful beach. There were a few slightly rocky areas ( and really  more like pebbles) but when you step a couple of feet past that then you are good to go. The water is super clear and blue and you can see schools of fish around the area. The waves weren’t crazy so you can just float on your back and be on super chill mode.

The ambiance was really nice. You had ocean views and mountain views. Everywhere you looked, you had a great view. Everything was very nice and clean. It is big though! The walks to and from the room will definitely have you losing a couple of pounds by the end of the trip lol. They have multiple restaurants, gift stores, areas for entertainment and multiple bars so plan to move around alot if you want to explore the resort. There are plenty of cute areas that you can sit around and people watch like I like to do.

We decided to book the Dunns River Falls/Catamaran excursion. It was only$60 so it was a great deal. Free alcoholic drinks, good music and good vibes. We headed out at 9am and after about 10 minutes, we stop off by a reef to go snorkeling. We saw schools of fish right in our face and cool sea urchins! 

**For the full detailed review of of Lexi's Time in Ocho Rios Click Here**

 

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Nomads Combat Poor Customer Service:

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Nomads Combat Poor Customer Service:

A friend of mine had a very bad experience with lost and then damaged luggage with an airline. Now problems with luggage making it from your departure city to your destination and then back home happen all the time. Even getting the bag back undamaged or if an item is missing is unfortunate, but not uncommon in the airline industry. But it is our right as consumers to acknowledge a company’s shortcomings,  to hold them accountable and to help them make better experiences for the future.

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Travel with The Urban Traveler: 5 days in London

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Travel with The Urban Traveler: 5 days in London

When I think of vacation destinations, London isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind.  I had already been a few years before and to be honest, tell me who goes for kicks in the middle of winter?  But the fact was, it was my birthday week and like a true travelholic, I didn’t need more than an invitation to provide a reason to go away, yet again

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REVIEW: CASA SANTO DOMINGO IN ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA

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REVIEW: CASA SANTO DOMINGO IN ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA

There was a recent #GlitchFare that our always opportunistic Tribe jumped on for travel to gorgeous Guatemala. Our own Jani Green recently spent some time in the city Antigua and shares a an amazing review for those of you putting your plans together. Check out this snippet then hop over to the full review! 

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Breathtakingly beautiful, rustic, and luxurious… Bienvenidos a Casa Santo Domingo.

Located in the old city of Antigua, Guatemala: Casa Santo Domingo is a gem of the Americas.  The outside of Casa Santo Domingo is humble with plain walls and barely any signage while every aspect of the inside is breathtaking.  And it’s reputation precedes itself as people staying all over the city venture to explore all the hotel has to offer.

See, Casa Santo Domingo used to be a covenant and sanctuary that sheltered followers of the order of Santo Domingo De Guzmán.  Today the hotel is a monument and museum of ancestral and colonial america.  While exploring the grounds you will find tombs of fallen holy men, museums, candle factories, a chocolate factory, a church, banquet halls, traditional Mayan artisans, restaurants, bars, fountains, a spa, pools all with exotic birds chirping and flying overhead.  It is a fascinating juxtaposition of the old and the new, the ancient and the modern, and of nature and man.

Service-wise, it is phenomenal.  The staff is warm and helpful.  The rooms are large and clean and there is just enough attention to detail to make it worth every quetzal but not so much that the stay feels inorganic. It’s perfect.

**Click Here For The Full Post**

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Evita's Annual Year in Review 2015

The Year of my Biggest Growing Pains. The Highest Highs and Lowest Lows.

THEME: I've noticed since 2013 that my years naturally start to take on some sort of theme. 2013 was prioritization. 2014 was self-worth. 2015 was competition. 

PEOPLE: 

1. Brittney 2. Theresa  3. Kali  4. Airis  5. Fedler  6. Danny Simmons  7. Issa Rae  8. Adrian 9. Tricia

 BOOKS:

1. Mastery of Love  2. The Big Leap  3. Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl  4. Assholes: A Theory (still reading)

MOVIES:

1. Amy   2.  Dope   3. Selma   4. Straight Outta Compton   5. He Named me Malala 

SONGS:

1. "Chandelier", Sia  2. "Gimme All Your Love ", Alabama Shakes  3. "Waste Away", Black Bear

4. "Flawless" Remix, Beyonce Feat. Nicki Minaj  5. "Stay Ready" and "W.A.Y.S." by Jhene Aiko

6. "Coffee", Miguel  7. "GOMD" and "Apparently", JCole

PLACES:

1. Caye Caulker, Belize  2. Johannesburg, South Africa  3. Augill Castle, UK  4. Chiang Mai, Thailand   5. Harlem, NY

CONVERSATIONS:

1. Jubril Agoro in the restaurant across the street from Central Park. Just....wow. It was the culmination of four years, over a meal. 

2. Tiffany Budgetnista over the phone last month. A venting session that, again, allowed me to realize that we all are going through our own rendition of the same things,, while community building and dealing with a slew of various personalities. 

3. Kali over the phone while I was in Los Angeles, talking about the self care that our fellow entrepreneurs need in our lives, and how to cultivate it. 

4. Necole Kane (formerly Necole Bitchie) via email, on where we are in life and love, and how it's time to pivot towards what we want personally. Thank you for letting me know that we ALL are going through the balance beam of career and desired family. 

 

5. Issa Rae at her apartment in California. Kicking it with a house full of dopeness, but us talking in the dining room, about vulnerability, meant a lot. Will never forget how I laughed internally at the question 'Can everyone read your posts?' Thank you for being a mental mentor, that turned into a real life partner in creative this year. Your support means a lot. 


6. Paul Carrick Brunson on the phone last month. Dude...the way he started that call, before any business was tended too, blew my mind. Thank you for noticing the work, and being a supporter of Nomadness. 

7. Theresa on the phone with me during my hour long emotional breakdown about the frustrations of not finding love, and losing hope. Thank you for being there for me on that specific day, because I had truly given up. 

8. April and Bukky in Chiang Mai, during the Nomadnessx trip. We revealed a lot in a short period of time, in that room. I appreciated the safe space for us to be ourselves, and to just be women. 

9. Marjorie in Thailand. The private conversation in the bedroom about how I take care of me amongst all the dynamics. I appreciated your inquiring. 

10. Bogdan and I in Chaing Mai, drinking our fruit smoothies in the city we used to live in, and catching up on everything! Man has a full salt& pepper beard and a wife. I loved every second of it. Talk about coming full circle. 

 

11. Meeting Jazmine at Peace Village and hearing about her son's battle with cancer, and how she stopped working to be his full-time caregiver. 

12. Random 'Stay Up' messages from Simone Williams and Amanda Por Favor on Facebook

13. Nubia and her Mom at Angel of Harlem. 

14. The Mastermind session that Glenda hosted at her Harlem apartment on the killings of our youth. Powerful minds. Powerful night. 

15. Dave and I at Art for Life. Man....this conversation will be held with me for the rest of my life. For my words to inspire this man....for him to be like 'Whoa! Wait, you come back. You can't just come up to me, say that, and walk away. Who are you?'.....and everything that came before and after that moment. Thanks Dave. Thank you for your time. Thank you for the compliment on Nomadness. I look forward to our next one-on-one.


LESSONS:

1. I never want to lose myself in what I created. 

2. I give a little bit of myself, to a lot of people and that's how I balance. 

3. There's a lot of ego involved in crisis. A lot. And I'm not here for it. 

4. Nomadness is equal parts community & business. Sometimes I have to make business decisions that piss the community off. And that is ok. The people who get it, get it. 

5. Dating is a marathon, not a sprint. 

6. I have no patience for blatant attention seekers. 

7. I felt really misconstrued this year. I felt like the person I am got lost underneath moves I had to make, to preserve what I have built. That fucked with me the better part of some days in 2015. One thing I'd like to set the record straight on is...I have no problem whatsoever with people progressing, even in the same arena. What I have have issue with is people taking from my plate in order to fill their own. By all means, do you. But if people, ideas, execution, style is taken from me...yes, both as a person and a businesswoman, I'm going to have a problem with it. Period.

True Story: If I'm on the phone with someone talking about regular life, and the conversation gets interrupted with the question on my receiver, 'Who is _____?' I inquire why. 'Because I just got a prompt saying he threw me into _______ travel group. I never asked to be put in here.' When that is a reoccurring scenario...yes, I take issue. Nomadness takes from no one. Our members are all of their own accord, as are members of other groups. We'd love the same respect in return.  Thanks in advance. 

8. This year I got over wanting to be 1st, and focused more on wanting to be #whatsnext. It's about innovation, fuck competition. 

9. Fame still scares me. 

10. My therapist is my time capsule of ups & downs. 

11. Approach men you find attractive and interesting. Men do not need to always approach. 

12. MAKE ROOM FOR WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE!! Trim fat where necessary, You cannot accumulate unendingly and think you have space to receive more. Clean that mental, physical, and spiritual house out!

13. I am not responsible for someone else's life. They must man and woman-up themselves. I can only do what I can. But my process is not their process. And if they are relying 100% on my process, they need their own new process. That is their responsibility, not mine. 

14. You have to grow. Innovate. Sitting in bed, in Belize, alone, I watched the show length version of this clip, and I believe that it prompted the change I decided to make with Nomadness to go from trips to creative pop-up international events. It was time. 

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16. Playing off #7, I had an epiphany that really put some of the less desirable aspects of Nomadness in perspective for me. We were first in this arena. Not the first to do trips, etc....but the first to zone in, laser-like on the millennial generation (and beyond because we love our Tribe wisdom as I call them) and create a group home for them to connect. We were the first to create a community within this niche. .There are nuances that come along with being the 1st in something, that literally NO ONE, can relate to or understand unless they to were a 1st in another arena. It takes hella deep breaths and ego checks to be aware of this. People will be inspired by you, and create from that. Others will be slippery as f%$k, and want to just come up off what you created. There is discernment necessary in trying to navigate the two. One comes from the heart. The other comes from ego. BOTH WILL, AND DO, HAPPEN. So for anyone chartering new path, prepare your ego and your business vision for this. Most of it won't be personal....some of it will be. Be prepared for it. Your friends list may look mighty different from the beginning to end. And it's fine. Stay true to you. Chase the dream, not the competition.

17. It may just be me, but I've had this issue with society as a whole in which I feel boys/men are taught 'Win, Win, Win' and girls/women are taught 'Share, Share, Share'. I don't like this. I also don't subscribe to it. Why do women have to share everything in order to feel like that's the way to the next level? There is NO BLUEPRINT. I also feel women share way too early in their building process before they've established themselves and their brand to it's full capacity. I didn't start really partnering with Nomadness until 2015.......and I lived by one rule...........partner UP!

18. Just get in the room.

SAYINGS:

1. I can't. (letting go of this one in 2016, even though it wasn't in the negative context. I just never like these worlds coming out of my mouth.)

2. Right. 

3. Petty. (Didn't subscribe to it in 2015 and really hope people let up in 2016. It showed me a real undesirable part of many people this year.)

4. #familybychoice - Created but theTribe after the Panama accident and became a staple through the year, and forever. 

5. Thank you! - Talk about a year full of gratitude. I said thank you more than I ever have and appreciate all the scenarios in which it was brought out of me. Thank you!

SUCCESSES:

  • Starting the year off with the Daily Beast article that Charlise Ferguson wrote...setting the stage for the rest of the year
  • A guy flying to another country to take me on a 1st date
  • Bringing Akil to Tacogate in Oxnard, CA....poor thing is probably scarred for life
  • 31st birthday in both Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg, South Africa....thank you Lynzi!
  • Beautiful artistic/erotic shoot with Genesis
  • Getting Geraldine as a new mentor....whoa this woman is gold
  • Shooting my first gun in Portland, Oregon with Chris
  • New Tattoos... 1310, and my Sank Yot Thai blessing tattoo being some of the most prominent of my life
  • Getting that manuscript to my agent!
  • Going to Peace Village for my personal time out, and the convos I had with Tonya while there
  • Going to my 1st sex club in Toronto...fun times
  • Getting the first round of our app deliverables to my cell phone....that is crazy
  • Kim having a baby!! The first one of my best friends...the babies are getting closer, pregnancy shockers in general
  • Getting my blood pressure down without pills
  • A 12-hour first date, with my now boyfriend...was so divine how that night played out. Still can't get enough of this man. 
  • Having Nomadness' 1st LGBTQ Trip to Toronto Pride....man, that meant a lot to me!
  • Staying in a CASTLE with Nomadness!! Augill was amazing
  • Saving Dee's life, with Roz, after she had an allergic reaction in London.....and finding out London's emergency room visits are FREE99
  • Going inside Google Offices for a meeting...one of the coolest places on Earth
  • Interviewing at and seeing the digs at Huff Post LIVE....dope spot!!!
  • Speaking to 100 High Schoolers in Portland about Nomadness and then resonating just the same, despite the room being 90% White
  • Angel's show at Blue Note
  • Meeting Enovia.....lawd!!
  • ART FOR LIFE, giving me all the life. Thank you, thank you, thank you Danny!!
  • Lauching our BATING SUITS with RUE107...OMG!!!
  • Launching The NOMADNESS Project, co-Executive Produced by myself and Issa Rae in May 2015!! Season 2 editing now!! So proud of this partnership!!
  • Moderating the #NMDN Keynote Panel with the homies Pharaoh Monch and Simone Amelia....adding to the awesome vibes was ridiculous French artist Leonard Combier 
  • How about simply getting through and BODYING our first #NMDN Conference, the same day as our 4 Year Anniversary Party!!! Nailed both of them, but this conference changed the game forever. The 1st travel conference in the US targeting urban millennial travelers....CHECK! (we will be opening early bird tickets for the next one before Feb 1st...be on the look out!)
  • Can we talk about press for a second though? In July 2015, I hit three press goals that I had for my life, in 1 WEEK!! Going to share them all, but a Sista has got to start with The New York Times, Melissa Harris Perry, and Mashable.com

The most flawlessly executed, personal interview with me done by XONECOLE.COM 

Haimy BODIED this CNN.COM piece on us as well!! Just stellar work from people this year! 

Thank you to all the press. XONECOLE, CNN, NY Times, Mashable, MHP, Entrepreneur, NBC4NY, PIX11, OURS, Marie Claire South Africa, Daily Beast, Madame Noire, bloggers....everyone. Just thank you, thank you, thank you!

.....and to end the year, 3 weeks before 2016 reared its head...

The OXYGEN CHANNEL SHOOT THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE THE ENTIRE GAME IN 2016!!! LET'S GO!

The OXYGEN CHANNEL SHOOT THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE THE ENTIRE GAME IN 2016!!! LET'S GO!

 

 

 

TEACHABLE MOMENTS:

  • Panama Accident- Jan. 16, 2015.... I remember so much of this in snippets. I think that's how my brain allows me to register it. Getting the first messages. Tricia being my first point of go to. Talking to the Embassy. Arriving in Panama City. The hospitals. Walking into a funeral home trying to find out where Nigel and Nneka's bodies were. Being in the hospital seeing Diana with Kali and Noonie, and literally ending up on the floor, shaking. Seeing Jasmine for the first time after her surgery, and her knowing who I was. Bringing Nneka's mom to the room and giving her Nneka's bags. Macario walking into room 1310 with Nigel's bag. Seeing Kenna for the 1st time and wanting to wail in tears...her seeing it in my face, and stopping me with two words 'Not you. I can take anyone else falling-out in here, but not you.' I found some power in my gut, and saved them until I left. Kali holding me like a baby in bed as I just cried in her arms. The self-imposed guilt I held inside that actually had me vocalize 'maybe if I never started Nomadness, these people would still be alive.' The funerals. Looking around, and being surprised (yet not) at who wasn't at the funerals, nor on the ground in Panama to help Nomadness, help OUR people. January housed a thread of some of the hardest moments of my life together. How I kept it together....I may never know. But I thanks the Tribe, High Council, my homeopath Erika Simonian, my therapist Tara Goodrich, my close friends and family who checked in to make sure I was alright. Most of all....to all the people who donated their money to help us get families into Panama, bodies out of Panama, and to immediately reimburse our members that were involved in the accident, to make sure they were cleared to fly home. You all, as a collective, were the MVPs of this entire situation. Without you, none of the work we did on the ground would have been able to have been done. None of it. Thank you! My love to the Panama 13. Forever and always our heroes and angels. I love you. 
  • Thomas' untimely death. Everytime I edit an episode of our web series, or even think of Berlin, you live again. Thank you for shaping my mine and confidence as a filmmaker at 21 years old, and thank you for the friendship you gave through this year. You are a hero of mine. I love you. 
  • Being super close to falling for a married man. Dodged karma's bullet with that one.
  • Tribe member Dana's abrupt death. You never know what people are going through. 
  • Going to the hospital in Bahrain...and seeing how it was handled. 
  • Letting my head have way too much of a playground space to second guessing and negative thoughts. Focus on the dream...not the competition.

GOALS:

  • Book published, now that it's done.
  • My TV Show green lit, signed off on, and pre-production/production phases for season 1
  • $1,000,000 year
  • Partnering UP! on lucrative projects both pitched already and still festering in the brain
  • Busting through the gate something epic with the pivot from international trips, to international events!! I can't wait!!
  • Calm in uneasy times. Know who I am and my work. 
  • To allow my new love to flourish, be the best woman I can be, for this man and our future.
  • App out by year's end (it looks so cool)
  • #NMDN 2016 getting all the sponsorship our heart desires
  • Attending Black Girls Rock, Art for Life, Root 100, and the NAACP Awards
  • New web series idea through The Source
  • Continue being #whatsnext in urban travel
  • Buzzfeed, Washington Post, Nowness, and to solidify a travel expert 'go-to' status on a nationally syndicated news channel. I'm aiming for MSNBC.
  • Having a sit down with Oprah
  • Some others I keep to myself............ have an amazing 2016 y'all!         Love, Evita

 

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Why you should travel with your new boo ASAP

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Why you should travel with your new boo ASAP

Traveling with someone forces you into another level of comfort. There really isn’t much shame to be had in a small New York City hotel room where the toilet is separate from the shower and sink. Here is what I learned and this is why we are both better for it.

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My Ghana Experience - Kumasi & Cape Coast

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My Ghana Experience - Kumasi & Cape Coast

If you follow me on social media, you will have seen that I visited Ghana over the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a great time to travel and generally less crowds (from Americans at least since they will most likely be home for the holidays)

The process of me getting to Ghana was a journey to say the least- having to get a visa & being asked by Delta to repurchase my flight when I arrived to the airport–more on that later.

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5 Things I Wish I'd Known About New York City (before moving)

Three years ago this month, I left my comfortable life in London to live out my dreams in the Big Apple. I love the new life I’ve created for myself, but there are a few things I wish I’d known about New York before moving. I’m sharing the key lessons I’ve learned, particularly for anyone thinking about relocating to New York.

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ETIHAD AIRWAYS WELCOMES NOMADNESS TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Opportunity. It can come and go before you even realize it. In a world that is now fully connected via digital networks and social media, opportunity when recognized, can be maximized to levels never before imagined. Truth be told, last Christmas morning I nearly slept through my opportunity. As night turned into day an amazing once in a lifetime deal hit the internet. What would be affectionately referred to as #GlitchGate resulted in a wave of new travelers reserving flights to the destinations in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. 

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Gunpoint on Pirate Shores [poem]

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Gunpoint on Pirate Shores [poem]

Sun squint and endless brown sand
beach, kind of velvety, soft, powdery and it
is sculpted by our foot prints. Are we anywhere?
A hotel that feels like the end of the road in El
Salvador. The sunset is indirect, the ocean is not
the Pacific, facing due west, this is Golfo de
Fonseca where Sir Francis Drake buried
treasure on deserted islands and Nicaragua and
Honduras fight for territory. El Salvador, quiet and
well-behaved, won the battle for islands as settled
by the UN. Well-behaved. This country still
so scarred from the Civil War. 

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5 Tips for Exploring the Vatican City

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5 Tips for Exploring the Vatican City

So small is the Vatican City that you can get away with not planning anything to do in particular and still be able to cover most of the independent papal state in one day.

There are plenty of little cafes, bars and restaurants to stop over and have mini-breaks from exploring the Vatican City so there is no need for me to recommend any as most of the ones we stopped at had great food and wine selections.

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Ten Trinidad Carnival Commandments

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Ten Trinidad Carnival Commandments

For two weeks straight I danced until sunset, drank until sunrise, and ate all the hours in between. This all transpired during "The Greatest Show on Earth," no not Ringling Brothers but Trinidad Carnival.  Many associate Carnival with Brasil's lively festivities but Trinidad is a different kind of beast. With parties (also known as "fetes") carrying on multiple times a day, blasting the latest Soca tunes with endless food and alcohol this can easily feel like a nation wide endurance test. For reference imagine the 90's show American Gladiators while wearing feathers, glitter and intoxicated. Although not all beasts are made to be tamed with enough preparation this one won't tear you to shreds.

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.... time to play catch up!! #THENOMADNESSPROJECT

As we prep the final episodes of the first season of 'The NOMADNESS Project', why not have a mini marathon through Samoa, South Africa, and India so far!! Join us!!

It's been an absolute pleasure working with our Executive Producer, Issa Rae on this season. Here's to many more episodes in the future!! Keep traveling...


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Nomadness Family Reunion BBQ 2015: Atlanta

2015 BBQ Attendees   Photo by: Darrick Newsome

2015 BBQ Attendees   Photo by: Darrick Newsome

When a picture says so much more than you ever could....

This shot is awe inspiring as it really is a testament to the growth of our family, that is the Tribe. Truly embodying our favorite hashtag #familybychoice . 

 It was an emotional weekend. For many of our Tribe members it was the first time seeing survivors of the #Panama13 crash, and the first time paying respects to the members we lost in the accident. There was a balloon release ceremony while survivor, Jasmine Owens, read a letter from Nomadness Founder, Evita Robinson, who had to leave Atlanta early for another urgent engagement. 

We truly appreciate everyone that came, helped, and supported in making sure that this year's BBQ was a success. Here's to many many more of our family reunions. 

 

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20th country though...

secret getaway...

secret getaway...

I've been writing this afternoon, in this exact position. The book is coming along, specifically the portion recounting Panama. 

Sitting here talking to Mike, the other Black traveler that showed up at my bed and breakfast yesterday, I realized that this is my 20th country since 2006. While this number is child's play to many people in Nomadness, this is unearthly tot eh general public. 

20 countries. And to realize it while on a trip by myself, was beautiful. Is. Beautiful. To be able to sit in a reflective space and look at how I truly spent my 20s, traveling. Traveling has been the most constant thing in my life for an entire decade. How blessed I am to love this life, this way....to experience these cultures and people all around the world.

It's been worth every plane ticket, layover, night on an airport floor, hostel bed, blog post, and photograph over the last 9 years. Thank you for following the journey. 

 

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... India (another again)

This time last year I announced to the Tribe that after 2015, we'd be taking a break from the India Nomadnessx trip. Indefinitely, yet in my mind I was thinking a year, maybe two. I can't stay away from India that long. I've personally been four out of the last five years. I said this in a very different space. 

Frankly, I was in a relationship this time last year, and the plan was to get pregnant in 2015...after this year's India trip. Well, after my doxycycline from the India trip wore off, rather. Between antibiotics and anti-malaria pills, for years the sheer logistics of the trip sent my body through a whirlwind. Year after year. There was no way I'd be able to be pregnant, nor breastfeeding, and pull off an India Nomadness trip. Not how we get down. So we'd wait. 

Fast forward even a month after our Nomadness trip in 2014, and I had to make a dramatic and swift exit from my relationship, and all plans of being a mother in 2015 were slowly slipping from my grasp. Disappointed at first, I've grown ok with the course life has taken. Growing calmer in knowing that my ideal relationship, husband, and child(ren) are manifesting steadily on their way to me. But, this is where I was in life, this time last year. 

Now... this past week. This is where I am in life, this year. 

2015 India Nomadnessx Crew in front of Taj Mahal Entrance

2015 India Nomadnessx Crew in front of Taj Mahal Entrance

Dee and I gazing into the Taj Mahal just ahead of us, in our sarees.

Dee and I gazing into the Taj Mahal just ahead of us, in our sarees.

Normally, I allow about half the number of people on this trip. Fifteen tops. This year, we glided towards thirty, and I let it happen, seeing as I knew we'd be taking a hiatus from India after this trip. I'm glad I did. Look at this photo. Internalize this photo. 

I've been to India many times, and under specific circumstances. Last year was a powerful trip, as it was all women. The bonding was immeasurable. The 2013 trip to India, was the first with the Tribe, and it will always be known as the first. I remember writing two years ago about how an India trip was a personal benchmark for me. I felt like it was the trip I was dreaming of taking Nomadness on, once I trusted the group (and myself) enough. The baby started to walk after India 2013. I can surely say without India...there would have not been the likes of Samoa Nomadnessx 2014, and other trips in the planning. India is a place of discomfort. Even the most seasoned of travelers boast not wanting to do India alone. I totally get it. It is not for the faint of heart, weak of stomachs, nor non-empathetic beings walking around. 

India guts you!

In the most beautiful and dramatic of ways....it's truly difficult to describe what happens in the streets of Jaipur, sands of Pushkar, or along the walls of Agra's Taj Mahal. All I know is it's life changing and affirming. You HAVE to experience it. 

Every year I cry.

Like clockwork. It never fails. This year, Amanda caught me. 

Amanda and I during Holi Festival of Colors 2015.

Amanda and I during Holi Festival of Colors 2015.

The way Nomadness hits the Jaipur streets for Holi is truly something out of a new age, Indian version of the movie 'Warriors'. A cross between that and an old Ruff Ryders music video, with colored paint powder instead of booty shorts, cropped tops, and biker jackets. We run Jaipur. Usually the only 'tourists' of color, we are riding on the back of motorbikes, fitting five to a tuk tuk, legs hanging out the back, six deep in jeeps, screaming 'HAPPY HOLI!' at unearthly decibels while weaving in and out of traffic. Traffic which, on a regular day has no boundaries or rules, and on Holi is a circus on wheels. There's only one rule to driving in India: SURVIVE! That's it. Feet out the back, it was watching my people...my tribe... in this element of sensory overload, radiating in magnetic colors, and smiling more in a day than they probably had all month, that I began to silently cry. Amanda saw it, and the flood gates opened for her as well. We hugged and released. 

Joy...joy to the point of tears, is a happiness I only wish is granted to every person at some point in their life. 

I can say that I know at least one day, every year, that it is granted to me...and that is Holi.

2015 India Nomadnessx Crew....on Holi! We run this. 

2015 India Nomadnessx Crew....on Holi! We run this. 

I try to stay on the humbler side of things, but fuck it! No one does Holi like Nomadness does Holi. This is fact. We get into the belly of Jaipur. This year, after running into issues with guards outside the 'tourist party' that the local government puts on, we bounced. They wouldn't let our Indian drivers/family in, even hitting one of them with a stick (which ignited a beast in me, yelling to everyone 'we out!'), and we left. No parts of that shit. First off, if we wanted to be around the tourists that just showed up for Holi, we could do that any day of the week. Secondly, fuck your party and not letting our local family in. I've been through those walls, and it's merely 'ok' where Bhati's house is always where the magic happens. Again, reestablishing the theme of family. I think one of the reasons why the India trip resonates with people so much is because it's the trip that we have that I feel mostly signifies what Nomadness' mission is......family. 

Prior to going through it, many compared it to jouvert. Then after, these same people switched it up and said 'no'....Holi is indeed different. Mainly because it is family oriented. This is us. 

Family takes on a whole other meaning for me in regards to India. These people are my extended family. I have many scattered around the world, but India has seen me more frequently than most. I've seen Bhati and his brothers grow older. I've watched the staff at Umaid Mahal grow older, hire new people, etc...

Most impactful to me are the children. I've watched these kids grow into teenagers. From sweet young boys to menacing teenagers...and if it doesn't put the life cycle in perspective for me than I don't know what else would. One of the stories I loved sharing with this year's group is in this photo and video mash up:

He was my very first camel driver in Pushkar, at the age of 10. Now, with him this week, at 15 years old. He's turning into a man. 

He was my very first camel driver in Pushkar, at the age of 10. Now, with him this week, at 15 years old. He's turning into a man. 

....OLD HUMBLE NomadnessTV beginnings...years before the Tribe was even created. Peep the video at 7:30 to see how small he was when we first met in 2010, compared to the photo above. 

This......is what travel means to me. This is who I am and why I do what I do. How lucky am I, to have created a job for myself where I can curate this gift for others?! How lucky am I to have been gifted this responsibility, in this lifetime, to create the vessel for bridging thousands of people from around the world, who never would have known one another if it wasn't for Nomadness? How lucky....I am. Thank you to every bit of energy in the Universe that came together to make this my destiny in this lifetime. I appreciate you. 

Love to India and Nomadness! Family by choice.  #nomadness #familybychoice #wheresanne #reallifeevie

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...the week that was

Many of you are aware, at this point, that Nomadness was dealt a horrific blow this past week. While vacationing, a number of Nomadness Travel Tribe members linked together in Panama City for MLK Weekend. Of about twenty people, twelve members went on a tour outside of Panama City on Friday, January 16th. On the way back from that day excursion, there was a horrible van accident in which nine of our members were injured,  one is presently in a coma, and two deceased. 

On behalf of Nomadness, I cannot being to express the gravity of the situation that has hit our community. Within 24 hours, Nomadness CEO and two other people on the High Council were in Panama helping the families, victims, and the Embassy with whatever was needed. Within 72 hours, the Nomadness community banded together and was able to raise over $60,000 in donations to go directly to the survivors, victims, and their families. Over $60,000 from our community. If ever there were a blessing at the end of tragedy, it's that 'in house' this travel group proved itself (again) to be so much more than just that.  We are family. A tribe. 

As of this past Friday, Nomadness can announce that all survivors that have been able to leave Panama, have been flown back to the States. This was a great goal to meet. Since then, Nomadness has ceased taking in donations directly, and dispersed funds to the families involved. We ask, for those looking to donate, to please use the information below to donate to the families of the deceased, and our member still in Panama City, working her way through a coma right now. 

Our condolences to the families of Nneka Fritz and Christopher Nigel Thorne. Our continued strength and support also to the family of Diana Isidore, staying with us as best she can in a hospital in Panama. 

Donations can be sent to:

Gary Fritz

397 Fenimore St. 

Brooklyn, NY 11225

 

Texia Thorne

2125 Gayley Street

Columbia, SC 29209

 

Desray Isidore

PO Box 16064

Atlanta, GA 30321

Paypal: gillianisi@yahoo.com

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Top 5's (Kinda) of 2014

Time of the year again for me to take a moment of pause, and reflect on what 2014 has been for me. Most of the categories include five answers, some more. All, an open book. Here goes something. No particular order. 

People:

1. Darrick 2. Kali 3. Dad 4. Caesar 5. Roz  6. Fedler 7. Marion

Places: 

1. Apia, Samoa 2. Johannesburg, South Africa 3. Cape Town, South Africa 4. Charlotte, NC 5. Barcelona, Spain

Books:

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad 2. The 5 Love Languages 3. Know Your Value 4. The Celestine Prophecy 5. Guide to Greatness

Films:

1. The Theory of Everything 2. Beasts of the Southern Wild 3. Inside Out- Documentary 4. Obvious Child 

Words/Catch Phrases:

1. Stay hungry. Stay Foolish. 2. Hmmm.  3. Word.  4. I can't.  5. Dope. 

Songs:

1. Beautiful - Musiq 2. Grown Woman- Beyonce 3. Drunk in Love -Beyonce 4. So Ambitious - Jay Z feat. Pharrell 5. Respect My Conglomerate - Busta Rhymes Feat. Jadakiss and Lil'Wayne 

Successes:

1. Signing distribution deal with Issa Rae Productions

2. Two features on News One w/Roland Martin with TV One

3. Being in the room at WEEN Awards...approaching Vashtie and Gary Dourdan

4. Going to Cherae's Birthday and being cool as a cucumber under highly stressful energy. Growth for real. Unbothered. 

5. Getting a matchmaker to simply give help with the love life. 

6. Standing up for myself by getting out of an emotionally destructive relationship.

7. Boxing classes. Always wanted to try this. 

8. Getting nominated for an honorary Ph.D....which I turned down.

9. Nomination to Iona College Alumni Board of Directors...which I will accept. 

10. Creating CrowfundingMastermind.com with Arielle Loren

11. That dinner the last night of South Africa Nomadnessx 2014... thank you Cape Town Board of Tourism. 

12. The financial leveling out that shows the light at the end of the entrepreneurial tunnel. Thank the Universe!

13. Facing, and getting my finances completely broken down by Tiffany 'The Budgetnista' Aliche. She is a fucking Godsend. Get with her. I cried. 

14. Clearing 100 orders from NomadnessMerch.com during the holiday season. Wow. Gratitude isn't the word. Thank you. 

15. Officially diving in headfirst to getting all my dental work done...and qualifying/obtaining health care for the first time in seven years. No more out of pocket. 

16. '30 Lessons Leading to 30' approaching my 30th birthday, and how many people I didn't realize it helped. 

17. Being put onto Abraham Hicks by Caesar. Subsequently, Reigniting my spiritual journey, even telling the Buddhist family, I need 5 feet for awhile.

18. Bomb ass new merchandise and graphic design intern. Shouts to Helena 

19. Being featured on Paul Carrick Brunson's #MENTORMONDAYS....THAT, yea....that's the closest I've ever been to Oprah. ;-) #lovePaul 

'Failures':

1. Gaining 20 pounds of a 55 pound weight loss back. Enter boxing. 

2. Not finishing my book this year, knowing the shit is totally my fault. Procrastination + ADD + packed ass schedule is not the move for this shit. Get the fucking book out, Evie.

3.  Relationship with Mom. 

4. Coming home from a trip and finding out my cat, Zorro, got into chemicals in the apartment and having to take him to the vet. Lawd, that Mom moment was crazy. 

5. Black female suicides

6. Police shootings of my people...the NON-INDICTMENTS 

7. Getting a damn Nomadness bathing suit to come to fruition. Lawd this process. 

8. Not getting the new site or app out this year. 

Lessons:

1. I am enough. 

2. I meet dope, amazing, husband worthy men all the time, given my network. But, if they aren't looking for a relationship...they AREN'T where I need them to be. Thus, it's time to move on accordingly. No matter how dope they are. 

3. Discrespect is a non-negotiable. In any type of relationship. 

4. If someone doesn't take the time to take care of themselves, I feel they will never take the time to take care of anyone else....and it's unattractive. 

5. Stay laser-like focused on the vision. That includes continuing to say 'no' way more often than I ever say yes. 

6. If I go somewhere for myself, and don't want it to turn into a meet up, I can't say/post anything.  A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G

7. The key to success, is just focusing on your own shit. Create the bubble.

8. They ALWAYS come back. 

9. I'm still attracted to women from time to time. And when it happens, it's still animalistic as hell. 

10. Be what's next! #NMDN

11. Stick to the Nomadness script. It was an AMAZING year for us. The one time we attempted a deviation of process, it didn't work. Lesson learned. 

12. People. Process. Profit. Taken from one of my new favorite shows, 'The Profit'

13. There are two keys to everything: happiness and consistency. To love, health, being an entrepreneur. You don't have to go HAM everyday, but you have to do something everyday. "You don't start out building a wall. You say I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid...and keep doing that everyday.' - Will Smith

14. Some of my ideas can get me sued. I'm sure my attorney appreciates this. 

15. I hear 'No' less and less. I can't call if it means I'm actually hearing it from outside sources less, or if I am literally becoming deaf to the word, and doing shit anyway. 

Memorable Moments:

1. Anytime Crystal Washington posted on social media reminding me that while, yes, I'm in the room with some heavy hitters this year.....they are ALSO in the room with ME. 

2. Spiritual/Energy reading with Adoma

3. Chilling at Skidmore College after my Black History Month presentation, with the students. I LOVE speaking at colleges and universities. It's my sweet spot.

4. Cab ride with Airis, Stephanie, and Sonya in Cape Town, to Table Mountain. Driver was CRUNK!

5. My breakdowns in front of the Tribe. Firstly, with the women of India Nomadnessx 2014, finally letting go of everything from 2013. Secondly, about family issues at the Tribe Thanksgiving Dinner. 

6. Cousin Danijah's engagement party. Was dope to be in the club with family, including Grandma. Excited to have Parisians in the family. 

7. Almost literally, and definitely figuratively, running into Caesar at Barnes & Noble. Then....our subsequent hours worth of conversations about all life's wonders that's happened since then.

8. Getting my taxes done. 

9. Getting new homeopathic remedy. 

10. Visiting Rudi's grave with Fedler. 

11. Ashley's Wedding. Danielle's Wedding. 

12. Nomadness 3 Year Anniversary Party...being in a position to fly the whole team into NYC for the celebration meant the world to me. 

13. Meeting Rene @ownbyfemme and vibing with her. She’s been a hair and girl crush for awhile. I stayed professional. Great spirit. 

14. William Middleton bolting like a bat out of hell into the Pamplona arena to run with the bulls on Barcelona Nomadnessx 2014 Trip. 

15. That first meal with Darrick in Barcelona…and everything subsequently. 

16. Dee pulling me to the side at the Tribe BBQ and politely digging in my ass. 

17. Getting invited into the home of Danny Simmons and seeing all the art he's collected. So dope. I adore this man (and his help). 

18. Dinner with Ashlea Pope, at Art Basel 

19. Watching Stephanie O’Conner in her element pulling off the Talib Kweli concert in Jo'Burg

20. Watching Airis teach a cooking class in Maboneng, South Africa randomly. Seeing my friends do what they love, through my forum, warms my heart in an indescribable way. 

21. Night on the phone with Darrick, in which I found my spoken word journal from college, and he had me spitting for the first time in years. 

22. Jillian pulling me to the side, and crying on a Jaipur street, thanking me for Nomadness bringing her to India for Holi.

23. Watching Michaela bungee jump from Orlando Towers in Soweto, and screaming 'NOMADNESS' on the way down. 

24. Finding out we lost our first tribe member to a battle with cancer, while still coming home from India. 

25. Going to Johannesburg's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

26. Having a Tribe member post, revealing that she was diagnosed with only a year left to live. She wanted to know where we would travel to if all our affairs were in tact and $150,000 was available for the around the world journey. THIS.....is strength, and family. 

27. Heart to heart convos with Leon Burks Jr. 

28. Gifted Dave Chappelle and Erykah Badu tickets from Jean. 10 rows back from stage. 

29. Getting a guided tour through Danny Simmon's African art collected house in Brooklyn.

30. Kevin Hart with Dad, Aunt Sharon, and Sarafina.

31. Phone call with Poogie.

Goals For 2015:

1. Get in the best shape of my life

2. Getting exactly who I want, and the sponsorship dollars needed to launch #NMDN and blowing everyone’s fucking brains open

3. Enter, and grow inside of a positive-creative-progressive-loving-respectful- fulfilling- nurturing relationship

4. Finish the book

5. Get '30 Lessons to 30' in print

6.  Not leave that office until Travel Channel has signed me onto a show contract

7. Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships

8. Get repped by a major talent agency, giving me a manager/agent to get bookings on everything from shows, to travel news segments.

9. At least 12 paid speaking engagements

10. Acquire _____ in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Thailand

11. Keep innovating Nomadness as more than a travel group. First up, New Year’s announcement video

12. App Out into the Universe, even if Beta

13. Skillshare courses up/marketed

14. SXSW

15. Apply for TED

 to be continued….. Let's go 2015! Thank you 2014 for being as dope as you were. 

 

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