I just came home from NYC a few weeks ago and I’m already planning on going back later this month. Most of my friends are world travelers but for me, it’s all brand new. My career as a speaker broke into the US market last year and has opened up so many opportunities. Whenever I sneak away from Toronto I come alive. A new environment always inspires brilliant ideas and also teaches me a thing or two about myself.
Allow me to share a few with you.
1. I’VE LEARNED THAT INTIMACY WITH ME IS NECESSARY
When you become your own best friend life gets easier. You are able to quiet out the noise and focus on building you. As much as I love my friends and family, Lord knows that I like being alone. I’ve actually grown to love it. When I’m home my head is noisy and I admit I always feel the need to check social media, reply to emails and stay in the know with current news. But something happens when I travel. I simply don’t care. Like, at all. It’s a much needed break and I find so much peace in the quiet moments with myself. This is a skill you need to master. You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I can’t even tell you how empowering it is to walk the streets of NYC alone or to try a new restaurant in Washington DC alone or to lay out on a sandy beach of the Bahamas alone. In this space is where creativity flourishes, you can re-evaluate your life with no interruptions and refresh yourself so you can tackle the world.
2. I’VE LEARNED THAT MONEY DOESN’T BUY HAPPINESS
Dr. Lois P Frankel, talks about 75 avoidable mistakes women makes with money in her book Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich – one of my fave books btw. Some of the common mistakes that stood out to me while reading include: Giving into social pressure, impulse buying and not budgeting. I don’t leave the country if I cannot afford it and even when I leave Canada, I make sure to stick to a tight budget. There’s nothing cute about going into deep debt. Instead, I opt for free adventures as much as I can. I rather invest my time into super cool experiences that money can’t buy. When I went to DC I had the opportunity to visit the memorials and monuments with my kid sister. I got to experience the beautiful weather, meet people with similar interests and get a history lesson too!
3. I’VE LEARNED TO EMBRACE DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS
I’m a simple gal. I’m a stickler for routine. I hate bugs and other crawly things. I’m a girl who loves pink and I can’t stand odors of any kind, small spaces or disrespectful people. I like certain things a certain way. I’ve been quite particular since I was a kid, but traveling has opened me up and taught me about uniqueness and how to be more observant of my surroundings. The biggest adjustment is always when I go to NYC. Girl, if you think I work hard, try keeping up with a New Yorker and good luck. The lifestyle is different. The people are interesting. The living quarters are as big as my closet but the best part is the amount of things to do. My goodness, it is endless. Change is good and it’s even better when you just roll with it and let it happen. People (my people anyway) live simple and live happily.
4. I’VE LEARNED THAT IT’S ACTUALLY A GOOD THING TO TALK TO STRANGERS
My fave hobby is people watching (Yeah, I’m a creeper so what) and talking to strangers so I can learn about their story. No word of a lie, I have met the most incredible individuals inside Starbucks. I don’t know what it is about that place but it attracts the best storytellers. But anyway, let me get back on track. I’ll never forget the day I flew to New York for no other reason than to visit Charreah Jackson, Lifestyle & Relationships Editor at ESSENCE Magazine. She featured me in the January 2015 issue. I was so happy and thankful that I personally hopped on a plane to tell her in person.
3 things I learned about Ms. Jackson:
- She’s a cancer survivor
- She respects hard-working people
- One of her dreams is to write a book
Within moments we could relate to one another and the three of us started talking about our humble beginnings, biggest challenges and our dreams for the future. It all started with a simple hello.
5.Â I’VE LEARNEDÂ IT’S IMPORTANT TO NETWORK WITHÂ WORLDWIDE FRIENDS
It’s nice to know people in many places. Just like people watching, networking is also one of my favorite things to do and my best strategy is social media. That’s how I met my friend Courtney (@thinkngrowchick) from Texas, LC Johnson (@no1doesitlikelc) from Ohio, Stephany Skrba who plays Professional Basketball in France, Tamara Tatham in Austria, Natasha Weston from South Carolina, Lenny Williams from New Jersey and more. Building key relationships across the globe gives me another reason to travel even more! It’s also one of my secrets to building a strong personal brand because I’m able to collaborate with like-minded individuals and speak to a bigger audience. But beyond business, I just love establishing friendships with cool, smart interesting people. Period.
6.Â I’VE LEARNED TO DREAM BIG
It was T.D. Jakes who once said, “You will not go further than you think.” And what really sucks is that some people don’t imagine life outside of their block. The world is so big. Instead of collecting stilettos, collect more stamps on your passport. Traveling has empowered me to become fiercely confident and learn new life skills. Oh! The goal is to build a global brand too. Right now my quest is to conquer North America but there’s no reason why some day I cannot speak across the globe (like my man Eric Thomas). The first time I realized my potentialÂ was when I went to Los Angeles on a business trip a few years ago. I stayed in Hollywood and had the opportunity to work very closely with a celebrity in the music industry (this is during the 8 years I worked as a fashion stylist/personal shopper). Experiencing the lifestyle people only dream of really opened my eyes. Ain’t no way I was born to just pay bills and die. There I was at 25 years old surrounded by money, power and influence. Girl, I was just breathingÂ it allÂ in because I hoped it was contagious.
I may not have traveled to many places but I’m working on this goal in baby steps. I’m learning to try new things, be adventurous and relax a little. This year’s theme (and it seems like it’s been a constant one for a few years) is balance. I’m on a quest to find it.
Peace & Love,