Write Your God ™
Where we at?
After returning from Nigeria and Ghana last year, I was asked to share travel advice for an international blog. I don’t consider myself a travel writer and usually what I share publicly comes from emails I send my friends and family when I’m in an airport or hotel, so my posts are streams of consciousness. But I am ret to go on so many levels that I figured I would share excerpts of my advice and snippets from my personal travel journal over a few installments in preparation for being out out. I want to insert some sage advice about where the mind is, the body isn't or something like that, but nah. My mind and body are both very present and uncomfortable at this moment. I am in need of new perspectives and renewed optimism because there’s a lot to be mad about. Until then...
I must travel with fresh ginger or ginger powder. It quells any digestion issue (or keeps it at bay). I also bring lavender leaves as a natural sleep aid on long flights and when I can’t fall asleep in a new place, like at a hotel or someone else’s home.
I travel with a journal, so I can be reflective while I’m on the go instead of trying to recall every detail and emotion after the fact. And pictures just don't cut it.
If you are going someplace that requires vaccinations, many travel immunization companies or medical offices will give you an industrial list of medications, sprays, inhalers, and creams, coasters and crayons to bring to protect your health. I don’t think everything that is recommended is necessary, but anti-diarrheal, pain medication, and hydrocortisone cream top my list.
Yo, I love us and how we come through continents, drip, drip, drippin’! But unless your travel has been commissioned because fashion is your raison d'être, please don’t go shopping to travel, fam! Repurpose things you already own. By a few inexpensive t-shirts (if you must), scrub the sole of some kicks you can wear with everything (who did that as a kid?), and in the spirit of mamas the world over, remember, “Ain’t nobody ever seen you over there!” Now hold on, there is a caveat to that: If you are going to an island to luxuriate, sure, buy kimonos, cut-out dresses, and swimsuits because, island. There’s never enough sheer, backless and shoulder-showing pieces when you’re up to island tings. I get it. But if you’re visiting museums, markets, parks, and plazas, take no more than a carry-on and a bookbag with you (I dare you to take just a large bookbag!). Check an empty suitcase to bring back your wares. Buy local. Use your coin for the actual trip. What’s better: “Oh, I got this shirt at regular-schmegular store at the mall,” or “I picked this handmade, one of a kind, dress up in a market in Accra.”
It is all an adventure.
The best travel advice I received was from my dad on my first trip to Europe. “Remember, no matter what happens, it is all an adventure,” said my perpetually disgruntled dad. But that was a resounding word. Plans get thwarted, travel buddies become anti-social, phones die, bags get left...you get it. Just breathe and laugh. It’s all an adventure. Bring levity with you, pep in your step, and light in your eyes, for real.
The freedom that I get from travel is essential to all that brings fullness to this human experience for me — the ability to choose, explore, socialize, think critically, problem-solve, inquire, indulge, and connect. As a writer, I notice language. I love how people communicate—the slang, the gestures, the nuances. Traveling makes me feel beautifully insignificant. I feel the vastness of being one in 7 billion. I’m not consumed by myself nor what anyone else thinks of me. It isn’t about me at all. I am just one of many and removing that solipsism from how I see myself and letting go of feeling like things are happening to me, I feel limitless and more like things are happening for me.
I hope you find a place on this planet that makes you feel safe and boundless. Send me a kite letting me know where that brilliant, fecund mind of yours takes you.