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Photo source: Stephanie and Instagram
We made it another week! Are ready to be inspired with a splash of wanderlust and melanin? Cause this week we've got a treat!
Our travel crush this week is Stephanie Smith. She's 31 years old police officer living in Houston, TX. This dog mom of a 5 year old Pomeranian holds nothing back about how much she loves solo travel. Ya'll... she loooooooves it.
Check out our in depth interview and some gorgeous photos from her page.
My first solo trip came by surprise. It was originally a group trip to Hawaii with family and friend joining me in receiving my Master’s Degree. Unforeseen circumstances happened but it wasn’t stopping me from walking across the stage. As planned, I was a passenger on that plane. For eight hours it was still, it was quiet, it was peaceful, and it was necessary. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the Hawaiian culture and in myself. Many people believe that not having a travel buddy means the expedition ends. I always say, don’t let one monkey stop the show! Go alone, go anyway!
By far, my solo trip to the Island of Oahu is one of my favorites and most memorable. I highly recommend the dolphin cruise. I witnessed untrained, Hawaiian spinner dolphins, perform 360 spirals from the depths of the crystal clear water to soaring heights. All for our ooooooh's and ahhhhh's. They are truly the natural entertainers of the sea.
Can you really visit Hawaii and not attend a luau? This was my first authentic Hawaiian experience. I normally don’t eat much pork but had to have a slice after I saw the unique way the islanders roasted the pig. They started by digging a pit and placing stones and wood on the bottom. I’ve seen many people barbecue, but I had never seen anything like this! I later discovered the men built an emu, an underground Hawaiian oven. I will never forget how flavorful and juicy each bite of the Kalua Pig was!
Unforgettable! Although I was solo, I wasn’t in solitude. I went to the beach, happy hour, enjoyed the best ice cream of my life, went hiking up the diamond crater, and spent hours shopping. You name it, I did it! When people ask me about solo travel, I tell them it is an experience everyone should have. DO IT! Don’t miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime because you don’t have someone to go with!
I’m a serious over-packer, if it can fit in my suitcase it’s coming with me. First aid kits, hair appliances, long John’s, bikinis EVERYTHING, I like to be prepared for any scenario that might arise. Even Though I bring everything except the kitchen sink, I have a secret packing technique.
People may know it but the ones who don’t thank me later. This one trick allows me to bring ten outfits for a weekend trip. Instead of folding your clothes into bulky squares, roll them into tight cylinders. This literally doubles the number of outfits you are able to bring, if the material is thin you can triple your packing capacity. I usually carry a double-sided suitcase so I’m able to get everything I need.
Travel cubes are also a good way to stay organized. Remember, TRAVEL SIZE IS YOUR FRIEND. I love saving money when it comes to traveling so I always check around for the best deals. Before any trip my number 1 go-to is, Groupon. I can count on them to have great excursions, activities and even nice restaurants. I’ve saved a lot of money over the years with them. Sometimes they even offer additional discount.
I have a minimal everyday makeup routine. It is simple and it takes me all of five minutes lol. I stay away from concealer and foundation that will either come off in the water or melt halfway through an excursion. Instead, I wear a nice pair of shades and apply my favorite lip-gloss or vibrant lipstick that will compliment my bathing suit.
It always surprises me how other cultures live. Their way of life, their customs, and their beliefs always seem so humble and genuine. We’re so flashy here in America. A lot of places live on a lot less than we do. Seeing an entire family of 4/5 riding on a scooter is unheard of in the states, yet a staple in other countries. It reminds me, I don’t have to purchase the ‘latest’ to be happy. It is a feeling that is birthed from appreciating what you have. It’s also surprising how much other cultures love black people. They always give sweet compliments and want to take pictures.
I don’t think I’ve been anywhere underrated. There are so many beautiful places in the world. I’m always amazed at God’s work. I hope to be blessed to see all of it. Thinking about all the places my feet touched, fills me with gratefulness. Many people aspire to travel and I’m able to actually do it. Such a dream. Traveling is one of the things that makes me smile from the inside. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Here are some more of our favorite travelers and their gorgeous shots.
Ellee is in the building - and this week she's showing us what it means to be a globe trotting Travel Crush. This native New Yorker has climbed the pyramids of Egypt, took her whole life in her hands on the swings in Bali, and she's still pumped for more challenging, new adventures. Read on for her tips on having magical experiences without breaking the bank, her favorite hack for buying cheap flights, and how she stays in villas without the hefty price tag.
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