A Life Long love - Travel Influencer "lexi with the curls" shares her travel story
I got the travel bug early. Every year growing up, I would take a week out of school to go skiing with my family for the National Brotherhood of Skiiers trips all around the US. In the summertime, my family would take short vacations to the Caribbean. I was so excited in the 4th grade to be able to go to Mexico and I knew all about the Aztecs and Mayans that I learned about earlier in the school year. To be able to learn about different civilizations in school and then to be able to explore was an amazing feeling to me at 8 years old. This was where I started getting curious about traveling.
While my parents were more of a Carribean vacation type of crew, I wanted to go further and explore new places. Sophomore year of college, I begged my mom to let me go to London with my older cousin over the holidays. After she said yes, I was excited to journey to Europe for the first time. This was my first taste of exploring a place outside of the Caribbean and Central America. It was here that I realized standards are different. We got to the hotel and the room was so small that we couldn’t even put our suitcases in the room or walk around the bedslol. Everything was super expensive, the food tasted different, and I wasn’t fully prepared on how to explore.
Since my first European trip at 19, I knew to not have expectations of a country and to not compare to the United States. I do my thorough research and I prepare for the known and the unknown. I read 10’s of reviews before selecting housing, tours, and more. For food, I pretty much go with the flow. I’m usually just so excited to be in a new place that I probably over-research. I want to ensure that I have an epic trip—but sometimes it gives me anxiety. So much to do in so little time.
When I travel now, I want to stay, party, eat and shop where the locals are. I want an authentic experience. Not to mention, this saves money. I don’t have to stay near the main museums. I can stay further out, take Uber or the train to get into the touristy areas, and still save money. This is why I tend to stay away from large group trips (except my epic trip with Caravan Tours to Costa Rica that I won on Wheel Of Fortune). I am a frugalista so I am going to save money with I can.
Due to me not wanting to spend a ton of money, I tend to go to places I never really wanted to go. A glitch fare to Abu Dhabi? I’ll take it. $200 to Guatemala?Under $300 to Nairobi? Let’s go! One thing I learned is it’s okay to have a list of places you want to go, but be okay with hitting up a place you never thought of. Guatemala wasn’t on my list—but I had a great time when I went. I am very open when it comes to traveling. I may get the eyebrow raise from people when I tell them where my next trip is “Why would you want to go there?”, Me,: “Because it was inexpensive”
While most of my trips are price based, in the past 4 years I tended to travel to places that have connections with Africa - Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala. I love asking around about the African Diaspora—do they still have their culture? Do they live in certain parts of the country? Do they still speak their native language? I love asking a ton of questions and I love to learn about our people.
My best trip by far has been to Ghana. I traveled all over the country trying amazing food, exploring cool places, meeting great people, and learning about my history. This wasn’t a turn-up trip at all. It was an emotional trip- I visited the slave castles in Cape Coast and walked in rooms that thousands of our ancestors were forced in. The journey of learning more about the culture was an unforgettable experience that I will never forget. I can’t wait to go back.
While my money is tighter than usual, I haven’t been able to go many places this year but I will be making a comeback soon. Experiencing a new place really gives me a feeling that I can’t even explain. I am in the moment completely. I disconnect from my phone (until the evening when I post pics on social medialol). I would love to travel with groups of friends, but we all know how the memes go- you start off with 10 and end up with two people. I am okay with that. I have my core group of travel buddies that I love and have a great time with. That’s all I can ask for. Experiencing new things with people I love. Until the next glitch…