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Aired: June 8th, 2022
Audio and Photo Source: Crystal Jackson and Instagram
As we grow and change so does the world around us and with it our travel experiences. This is true for advanced traveler, Crystal Jackson, who's been to 116 countries and counting. On this Wine Down Wednesday, she took us through all her transitions, from domestic traveler to international traveler, from solo traveler to baecation guru, from deal chaser to luxury explorer and so much more. Tune in to see where she is today and how she got there.
Wine Down Wednesday: Crystal Jackson
Orion Brown (00:04):
Hello? Hey folks. It's that time again? It is Wednesday. <laugh>. Hey Franny. Hey folks. Come on in. Grab your glass. Do what it do. I've got my emana cuz you know the rock he counts. <laugh> Hey, let's get you in here.
Orion Brown (00:32):
Um, Hey, so y'all know what time it is is it's Wednesday. It's Wine Down Wednesday. I am so excited to be back. I just returned from Morocco and uh, looks like we're having some technical difficulties, but all good. I just returned from Morocco and I got stuff to tell. Yeah. <laugh> um, if nothing else, like I've got some amazing Hannah and hi dear, are you there? I am here. Can you hear me? Yes, we can hear and we can see your TV. Oh, let me switch my camera. Hold on. Sorry about that. I, I thought about, there we go. There you go. We see. Oh, you looking fabulous too. <laugh> come through. Thank you. Yes guys. You love it. I love it. Thanks so much for joining for those of y'all who don't know me? My name's Orion Brown. I am the founder and CEO of BlackTravelBox.
Orion Brown (01:31):
We're up at the top of the screen there. Make sure y'all click and follow us. We're a personal care products company for travelers of color. And this is wine down Wednesday. I didn't bring wine though. Oh girl. With the glass, with the whole bottle glass. Okay. See that's what's up? <laugh> that is what's up. We're about to get into that. I've got my tequila just to sip. I'm so excited to see everyone. Like I was saying, I just got back from Morocco. It was uh, awesome and challenging and all the things that travel can be and sometimes should be and all of those things. Uh, and I'm so excited to be back. I will tell y'all a little secret though. Y'all I'm over here rocking a hot oil treatment. <laugh> wait. Ah, so you, so this is the play right here for those of you who are working during the day and trying to get your life right with your hair, uh, you just put the hot oil treatment under the shower cap.
Orion Brown (02:25):
Throw that headband on. Let a little baby hair show. Boom. You're done. Yeah. Um, but I'm working on a formulation because I just got back from the middle of the desert and my hair was dry and fried. My scalp was like, what just happened? So baby, we get some S up in here. So we'll see how it goes. And we'll share with you guys soon. Um, if this ends up being a BlackTravelBox product, but that being said, I wanna jump right into Wine Down and my beautiful guest who's come red D red, she red read with a T eight. She read to go. Um, my dear, thank you so much for joining us. Of course. Tell everybody we, we like to do a little intro. So tell everybody your name, where you're from and where you live. If those are two different places. Yes. And how many stamps are on your passport? And then we gotta get into this whole wine thing that's happening over here. Cause okay. <laugh> I'm I'm loving it.
Crystal Jackson (03:22):
<laugh> absolutely. Um, first of all, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. And I am crystal Kama and I say that because some people call me Kama. Some people call me crystal, whichever you prefer. I'm okay with. And I am from New Jersey, born and raised. I currently live in Austin, Texas with my husband passport stamps. I'll put it like this. I've been to 116 countries am on my almost fourth passport passport.
Orion Brown (03:50):
Whoa. Did you, do you have the new, the new cool one with the plastic? Like the card, the hard card.
Crystal Jackson (03:55):
I don't have that one yet, but once this one is done, I'll be onto that one.
Orion Brown (04:00):
That was legit, but that 116.
Crystal Jackson (04:04):
Yeah. I've been busy over the past 10 years.
Orion Brown (04:06):
Wait, 10 years. Hold up, hold up, hold up. Let's roll this back. How long have you had your passports?
Crystal Jackson (04:13):
I got my first passport in 2004. Um, when I decided that I wanted to explore my family growing up, we did more domestic travel. My parents would do all the international traveling, but when it came to taking us on trips, it was more local. I mean domestic. And when I became an adult and I was going through life challenges at the time, my way of handling things was to run away and I decided let's run to a country I've never been to. And that is what gave me the travel bug. And it's, it's never gone away. So <laugh>,
Orion Brown (04:46):
You know what, but I feel like that's a lot of pressure for a country for somebody like to come in and be like, it was life changing for you, right? Yes. Like and trajectory changing. So what country did you pick and why did you pick it?
Crystal Jackson (05:00):
I picked Mexico because it was still close to the us. And I had heard a lot of, a lot about Mexico and that was actually a trip I did with the best friend of mine. So her and I did spring break in Mexico. However, hold on, gimme one second. I'm sorry. My dog is, let me grab him real quick. Give
Orion Brown (05:18):
One second. <laugh> these dogs don't play y'all they're just like I was on a call earlier and this lady was speaking very eloquently about being black in the marketing and advertising space. And then all you hear in the background is a cat,
Crystal Jackson (05:33):
Orion Brown (05:33):
<laugh> and she's like, and
Crystal Jackson (05:34):
He was starting. I was like, Nope, let me go get him.
Orion Brown (05:37):
Crystal Jackson (05:38):
Sorry about that, but that's okay. Yeah, so it was very eye opening for me, but I chose Mexico because it was still close to the us. So if anything crazy happened, you know, I wasn't too far. And we actually, and it was crazy cuz that was born when the swine flew was out and my mom was like, you're not going, cuz everybody was freaking out about that flu. And a lot of people were getting it when they were traveling at the time. And I said, listen, I paid for this trip. I'm going. And she was upset because at the time two people were found, um, dead on the beach in Mexico. And so she was freaking out that I would be, you know, added to that list. So tensions were high there. Yeah. And she really was telling me you're not going anywhere. And I said, I paid for this. I'm going see you when I get back. And I do. And I have
Orion Brown (06:24):
That is, there are so many layers to that story. Um, and I think for those of us who did not grow up traveling internationally, um, there's probably some things that we, we recognize, right? Yes. The fear of others. Yes. Like the other fears and like, you know, placing that upon us. And that's not, it's not just with travel, but I find like, especially if you're going to really far flung places, folks that are like, uh, it's not, it's not safe, aren't they at war what's happening. And I'm like, you can literally slip and fall in your bathtub and be gone. That's
Crystal Jackson (07:01):
Exactly what I say.
Orion Brown (07:02):
Um, you can,
Crystal Jackson (07:03):
And your boys and stuff think can happen.
Orion Brown (07:04):
Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, and so absolutely while I think I always encourage people to be safe and like do your homework and know what's going on. It's funny to me though. It's like you where you said, like they found two people dead on the beach in Mexico and I'm like, Mexico is a whole country <laugh> but like the way in which we like right. The way in which people associate, well, I heard this happen. I heard that happen is like, is that the city I'm gonna be it? Is that a part of my itinerary? Did you ask exactly, you know, had I considered it? And so it's, it's really an interesting challenge when you have that need to pull away, but there's also something really liberating when you do. That's awesome. And so
Crystal Jackson (07:47):
Orion Brown (07:47):
With you. What was, what was the turning point for you in that trip? What was the element of the trip or the moment that you were like, oh, I need to be doing this all the time.
Crystal Jackson (07:59):
It was the freedom I felt, I, I don't. And I, everybody always asked me, especially when they find out like how many places I've gone, what what's that? What is that thing that makes me wanna continue to go? Cause, you know, as you four mentioned travel has its struggles too. It's not always butterflies and roses. For me, it was the freedom. I felt so free and I'm, and I found out about myself on that trip that I'm an adventure junkie. So I wanted to do all the adventures and I got to do all the ones that I wanted to do. And, and that for me was what clicked. It was like, I can go and be free. I can hop on a plane and explore any part of the world I want to, I can do all the adventures I want to. And if I have someone that if I don't have anybody to go with me, I was not shy about going by myself. A lot of those countries I went to, I went to by myself.
Orion Brown (08:48):
Crystal Jackson (08:49):
Orion Brown (08:50):
And so, so that's an interesting, so that's an interesting thought there as well. Cuz I know fairly adventurous travelers who are still like so right. How do you think about it in terms of your planning and then what are some tips and things that you do while you're there? And my third question, cuz you know, I got all the questions is do you feel totally comfortable when you do it or is, is it a little bit more, is it easier to go with other people?
Crystal Jackson (09:23):
I feel totally comfortable. I and I, it was funny cuz I have a friend out here who's an avid traveler and she, her and her fiance were asking me the other day. Um, has anything bad ever happened to you as far as? Did you ever feel unsafe? Like your life was in danger? The worst thing that's ever happened to me was I got pick pocketed my first night in Spain, in Madrid and all my things were taken, but my family swooped into the rescue and you know, got that handled for me. But so I've never felt like my life was ever in danger, but I do a lot of research. So I used to own a travel agency, pre COVID I don't anymore. Um, and so I got really good at doing research because I had to for my clients at the time. So that is one of the big things.
Crystal Jackson (10:03):
I, as far as your question about advice, I would give people, do your research, make sure you understand where you're going, especially rules and regulations, because a lot of people have that mindset that they're, they're going somewhere else, but it's gonna be like America. And that is not the case. Especially when you start getting into, you know, middle east and certain countries, you have to be, you have to behave differently if that makes sense. So definitely do your research and know what you're up against and make sure you, as far as like Fring around, I learned from my Spain incident, don't carry anything valuable on you. If you're gonna be doing a lot of exploring and walking around women, we can put things in our bra, you know, our money and stuff like that.
Orion Brown (10:43):
That's the play right there
Crystal Jackson (10:45):
Because yes, I actually have an idea of like inventing a abroad, had a little pocket in it for us to slide some money in after that experience happened to me, cuz my PA my passport wasn't stolen, but my silly self had my birth certificate, my social security card money. Like I just was very green on that trip. Yes. Wait. And that was my,
Orion Brown (11:05):
See here's the funny part. I wouldn't do that in the states. Like I can't <laugh> I am I'm so I don't say paranoid, but like I'm also the person that loses stuff and forgets where I put things. So like, yeah.
Crystal Jackson (11:19):
And I don't do that here either, but for some reason I didn't think, okay. I just put all of my things in my camera bag. Like I know where they're at and I didn't think, Hey, these need to be left in the, in the safe don't bring them out in the public with you. It didn't click at the time. And I learned a hard lesson, but
Orion Brown (11:35):
We all have those moments too. I, I had a friend that, that set a laptop down. We were at a business lunch and she set her laptop down at her chair and somebody just walked past and grabbed it and kept going,
Crystal Jackson (11:47):
Orion Brown (11:48):
Gosh. Yeah. I mean it's but it was a crowded restaurant. She turns, she looks back, it's gone. It's like, yeah. There's just things that you don't, you don't even, sometimes you just don't even think people will, will think that way. So yeah.
Crystal Jackson (12:03):
Yes. And you're trusting of people and that's the other thing like you wanna be trusting cuz everybody out there's not bad, but you also wanna make sure you're being observant and vigilant. You don't wanna give people too much information. I never tell people when I'm traveling by myself, that I'm traveling by myself. I'll just say like, if I'm in a bar or at a restaurant and someone, you know, I meet a friend or somebody to talk to in that moment, I'll let them know, oh, I'm with a group of friends, but right now I'm just taking them a step away to have this lunch. Like you're not gonna think that I'm a target that I'm not with anybody because when people know you're by yourself, that opens up, you know, you to potentially be a target for something mm-hmm <affirmative> so don't tell people you're by yourself. Um, it's another piece of advice I would give people as well.
Orion Brown (12:45):
Yeah. And that's, you know, that's a really interesting point. I was actually talking to, uh, what I would consider an overzealous cab driver while I was in Mar cash. And he kept asking me questions and the entire time I was doing a debate of how much draw the line at friendly and too much business. Right. And like, you know, where are you staying? Where are you guys going next? And all of that. And I'm like, mm, I don't think you need to know my entire itinerary. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but even with those moments, sometimes I just go, you know what? People tell me things. I don't know. I know where to show up. I know where they're meeting me exactly at what time. And then after that, like the, it is, it's all a part of the group agenda. Um, you know, just to even now mind you, sometimes that's the truth.
Orion Brown (13:33):
Cause I I'll be tired. Y'all be tired. Um <laugh> but you know, it's, it's an interest. It's a hard thing because also, you know, oftentimes people speak more than they do in some places in the states. And like they just interact with you and wanna like know more about you and be helpful. And I mean, folks will get all in your business to share things with you and to be like, oh, so if you're going there, here's where you need to go. And actually, if you knock three times at this door, my cousin we'll hook you up. So you don't wanna miss out on those either. It's a really delicate balance.
Crystal Jackson (14:06):
It is. And the funny thing, it's funny that you mentioned that because in America we're always told, be careful, it's dangerous here. It's dangerous. There don't go. There don't go to that country. But when you actually go to these different countries, you find out that people are actually really friendly and they'll have your back and they don't even. And so there is a fine line with balancing, like, can I trust this person or not? You know, because they are very friendly. They will look out for you. I have a family in Mexico. I used to go every new year's. I don't do it anymore. Um, pre COVID to the wine region in Mexico, by a de Guadalupe. And there's a family out there that I always say at their cottage and they became family to me. And I would go by myself with no problems. They always look out for me one time. Um, the tire on my rental car went flat and they let me borrow their car. They didn't know me that well, you know, so yeah. There are people that are really good people out there in other countries.
Orion Brown (15:03):
Yeah. Yeah. And I, I, I have, I have stories as well where I, I I've, I probably, I don't know if it's famously said it at this point, but I've said it numerous times on, on Wine Downs, Ireland has been one of the, the friendliest places I've ever been to. And I recall going me and a girlfriend went and she meets a guy at a bar and I'm like, he's like all muscles and tattoos and like shaved head. And I'm like, girl, he's trying to kill all of us. What is wrong with you? And this dude turned out to be like, because the thing is, is I, I, I think there's a, there's certain things that you can clock in the states or you can clock in your own city and you kind of know it, but when you see it out in other places, it doesn't necessarily represent the same thing.
Orion Brown (15:53):
Um, and in that case, he was very much looking out for us. He was like, where's your car? I'm like none of your business. And he is like, no, no, no, no, no, no. We have a zero tolerance policy on drinking out here. Like you do not need to go get, you need to get your car to go get it out of the, out of the, um, parking garage, cuz it it's gonna shut down in like an hour. You won't be able to get it again until like noon tomorrow. But once you move it, you need to not be in a vehicle. You need to make sure that you get like a cab or an Uber. I'm happy to drive you if you, and then it went to, if you know, gonna party all night here is it?
Crystal Jackson (16:36):
Oh, wow. Wow.
Orion Brown (16:40):
It was like, come in, there's a guest room immediately to this, this way. You don't even have to be. Cause I was in the back, you know, my girlfriend's like girl, I say I was impressed that this person met us and gave us a key and was like, I just want you to be safe. I don't even have to see you. I promise. Like you can slip right back out, take a nap, slip right back out, whatever you need to do, but just be safe tonight. So, um, yeah, it does exist out there.
Crystal Jackson (17:41):
I've found a lot of, I know <laugh> there are, but I've found a lot of kindness with, um, you know, just meeting people in other countries, like very like just how you just shared your story, very shocking, you know, generosity that you don't really get here all the time. Especially being a person
Orion Brown (18:01):
Of color. Yes, totally, totally. So 116 countries, like how does one even like, was that by design? Like did you map out these are the places I wanna go and would like create goals around it? Or was it just another one? Like was DJ Calvin in the background? Just like another one, another one.
Crystal Jackson (18:27):
Yes. It started with that feeling that you get when you like, when you know you're going somewhere like that, excitement, that freedom that, um, this is what I really want to do that feeling of that. So that's what, like how I started with my travels as far as just picking places. I just would pick places that sounded interesting to me. Or if there was something I wanted to see there that I had learned about or heard about, I would pick places based off of that. But then at a certain point I realized like, Hey, there's, you know, a hundred ninety five, ninety six countries that are deemed actual countries in the world. There's more places than that. And I wanna get to all of them, let's do this thing. And then eventually it became a goal to get to all of them. And so now I'm at the point where I just wanna go places. I haven't been art though, because, um, I'm newly married. I'm approaching two years in, in September. And my husband he's a travel bug too, but he just started on his travel. So there's a lot of places that I've gone to already that he hasn't been to. So lately we've been doubling back for him. Yeah. So it's a, I'm like who you pick somewhere. We both haven't gone to, but <laugh>, it's more of like, but I wanna go here and I wanna go here. I'm like, I've already been there. Wanna go back to the
Orion Brown (19:42):
Starter countries, tend to be a thing, right? Like the countries that you go to first and it's yes. Either if the, I wanna try something that feels really exotic, but I know it's safe or like I wanna go, you know, someplace that they don't speak the language, but it's not too far from home or whatever it might be. And so I feel like there are like those popular locations that yeah, you end up doubling back for, for your friends, family and significant others. But it's also fun to show. It's fun to see it through someone else's eyes.
Crystal Jackson (20:13):
Yeah. And it's fun to see it like last year for, so our anniversaries the day before, um, a day after, excuse me, his birthday. And last year we picked Greece. Well he picked cuz it was his birthday too in anniversary. So I let him pick where we're gonna go. And we picked Greece and that was my third time going to Greece. And I was like, I was hoping you picked somewhere. At least I'd only been to once or had it gone to, but that was my third time. So that's just part of the game. I have to double back to some of these places and he's like begging me to go to Cambodia and I can't stand Cambodia. I did not enjoy my skincare at all. And I'm like, I, I put my foot down. I'm not going back there. Okay.
Orion Brown (20:55):
An interesting thought, like, are you going to the exact same cities or are you trying to switch it up and see other places?
Crystal Jackson (21:05):
So excuse me for him, it's ends up being in the same cities that I had already gone to. Like we went to Mico Santorini and I'd gone there multiple times already. I did a girl trip there, which was, we had a great time. And then the first time I went, went by myself. Um, so we're doubling back to the exact same places, end cities that I've been to, unfortunately
Orion Brown (21:25):
<laugh> she said, y'all he ain't, we ain't done nothing new. He ain't
Crystal Jackson (21:30):
Did nothing right this year. Like for his birthday this year, he wants to do Dubai and I've done Dubai. So I was like, the only way I'll go back is if we put Q guitar, I haven't been to guitar and Dan Debar. Yeah. I haven't been to his hands, the bar, if we attach those to the trip and that way I can get in some places that haven't been, that have been on my list and you can get your cuz he like, that's like his top place right now. You can get your Dubai in. And there we go. So he did a Dubai
Orion Brown (21:53):
Though. Dubai is, Dubai's kind of an easy, I think of as an easy crowd pleaser, if you're trying to like take somebody on a trip because to me it's like Vegas, you kind of get tired of it after a couple days, maybe three, if you've never been. Yeah. So if you're looking at like a longer trip, then it totally makes sense to hop to other places while you're in the middle east. Yes. And Dubai can be fun because there is one thing I will say is now mind you it's like a very modern city. Um, and for those folks who haven't been there, it's like, oh Dubai, either. They think it's either they think bright lights, BI city like Vegas or they think Muslim mm-hmm <affirmative>. And it's like the most interesting mashup of the two. Um, but they always have something to do there.
Crystal Jackson (22:41):
Always something to do. Yes. Yes. There's a lot to do there. Right. <laugh>
Orion Brown (22:53):
And it's definitely not on my return list.
Crystal Jackson (22:57):
Orion Brown (23:02):
Crystal Jackson (23:07):
I agree. I don't think you need to be there super long either. Um, and I told him that, so, but he'll see cuz he hasn't done it so he will see after like three or four days. You're good. You've you've seen, you know, you've seen it all. Yeah.
Orion Brown (23:25):
I think we have a little bit of a delay. I apologize. Um
Crystal Jackson (23:29):
Oh no worries.
Orion Brown (23:30):
But yeah, I mean, so, so one of the things that I'm curious about, um, cuz people say, oh, you going on the trips, you must have this, you must have that. Now you could say I'm balling like that and it's none of your business and I'm not mad at that at all. God bless you. Keep doing it, get get it. But how do you navigate the, I mean the investment of that much travel,
Crystal Jackson (23:57):
Um, yes we are doing well financially. Um, so for us it's not both. That makes sense. And, and like we can get into that when you're ready to talk about that. So, and it, it changed like when I first started traveling, I didn't have that much money, but I got a lot of my travels, um, free or discounted because I had the agency. So that helped out a lot with the very beginning of my travel journey. And I was working at the same time too. So I was, I had my agency, I would, I was working as well. And so that helped out there financially. And then as I got older and started my businesses and they, you know, started taking off and doing their thing that now, I mean, we went from now, our trips are pricier, but for me it is the comfort that I feel like I'm paying for.
Crystal Jackson (24:46):
So before I would be comfortable in this tiny little seat, letting it on this plane and go all the way across the world. Right. And not spend a whole lot of money doing it. But the whole entire plane runs uncomfortable. You know, mm-hmm <affirmative> to now we're gonna sit in first class, we're gonna be comfortable. We're gonna have leg room, bed stretched out. We're not about to be in here at like a sardine can. And you know, if we need Butler service, cause we don't feel like doing anything ourselves. We're gonna do that too. So it's changed as we, as I got more financially stable and able. And so our trips look different now than, and I'm saying ours because it's usually now I'm going with my husband. I'm not traveling by myself anymore. Yeah. But she used to scare my mom. I gotta tell you what she did the first time I took two months out of the country by myself. She didn't leave a house the entire time. But um, yes. So it's, she was
Orion Brown (25:36):
Not good call
Crystal Jackson (25:37):
Financial <laugh> yeah. She, she was like, I'm not leaving this house and she, and mind you, there's six of us, five of us that are still alive. So she's other children and she would not leave the house the entire two months. She was terrified. Cause I was going through Europe by myself. So yeah. But I'm fine. Obviously I made it back. Okay. Um, but yeah, financially things, aren't a struggle for us, so yeah. Yeah.
Orion Brown (26:01):
And that's honestly, that's a refreshing thing to hear cuz I feel like oftentimes the, now mind you, you can be on a budget and have, have the meet, like this difference between like being on a budget cuz you ain't got it and being on a budget because you wanna keep it. Ah, but I think oftentimes the, the conversation sort of, I don't wanna say devolve, but they come to this like how do I do it cheaply? Like I can't afford to do that. And while there are really great life hacks that you can do in terms of finding, um, you know, mistake fairs and things like that. And you know, and I use different platforms and stuff too, cuz I wanna shop while I'm there. <laugh>
Crystal Jackson (26:42):
Orion Brown (26:43):
Crystal Jackson (26:44):
You know, um, I do all the hacks in the beginning of my travels. Like what can I do to have a nice place to stay where I'm not scared for my life and you know, still have a good trip, but have money to do what I want to do. So all the hacks come in handy and even now I still, you know, I, I still look at different platforms for flights or you know, hotels or if we wanna Airbnb, because at the end of the day you have particulars, you want what you want and you want to make sure you're not spending all your money traveling. You can have it to spend, but you don't wanna spend it all. So there's also that piece as well.
Orion Brown (27:19):
I mean, look y'all I still go to home goods, so yeah. I'm gonna be looking at oh goods. So good. It's so yes, when Lauren came down and said, thou shout have too many house, whole things and it was good <laugh> um, so speaking of home goods, um, home goods as two separate words, uh, lowercase dictionary terms, um, what types of things like going on these trips I could imagine is very easy to collect trinkets and stuff. What types of things do you collect and have you moderated that for no other reason than just there's only so much room for all the stuff from all of these different countries.
Crystal Jackson (28:02):
I have a box. Do you want me to pull out my box? <laugh> I have a travel box.
Orion Brown (28:08):
Crystal Jackson (28:08):
That I collected over the years. I'm gonna get it real quick. I I'll be right back.
Orion Brown (28:15):
Yeah. Look, meanwhile. I'm like, I don't think I can fit my stuff in a box. I can't y'all in the comments. How do you guys navigate travel? Like buying stuff while you're traveling? Like are you art efficient autos are y'all buying little gifts for people. Are you the snack people? I, I tell y'all I'm a snack person. I will grab like little snacks just to try them and see what they're like in different countries. Um, so those things,
Crystal Jackson (28:44):
Can you see this
Orion Brown (28:49):
Crystal Jackson (28:50):
This is my box. Oh, trust me. I'm holding it clothes right now. It's not fitting anymore. <laugh> and I have, it says travel journey and something else that I can't read cuz it's kind of coming off. But this is from when I went with Franny to, to see um, no, actually I want my husband to see fan of the opera. I actually went with Franny in New York to see Luan Rouge. So I do collect domestic travel stuff too. Oh, okay. This is from Texas. I have, I started by collecting key chains when I started my travels and then this got too big. So I stopped. Yeah. So I stopped collecting some chains and I started collecting magnets. I have money. I have
Orion Brown (29:39):
Crystal Jackson (29:41):
All types of stuff in here. Oh. And I always collect a postcard everywhere I go. So there's like hundreds cuz I collect multiple postcards. I don't just collect one from each place. So I have a whole bunch of postcards. This is actually my favorite postcard. Even though it's only from Vegas. It's really shiny and pretty. So I like it. So yeah, I collect all the things when I'm traveling. I have a, a whole bunch of different
Orion Brown (30:07):
Crystal Jackson (30:10):
Yes. So, and I, oh and I have plane tickets. I don't have all of my plane tickets, but I have some of them in this Box's box is not holding everything anymore. I need a bigger one, but I still just jammed in there. But this is, is how I started starting with <inaudible> mm-hmm <affirmative> I wanna put it in a book. I wanna put the postcards in a book, the money in the book. I wanna create something that I can pass down to my kids one day. I just haven't figured out how to do that. So eventually it will go from a box to something. Yeah. That's what I wanna do. I just, I don't have the time right now, but that's the thing. It's your question. That is what I correct.
Orion Brown (30:52):
That's amazing. That's absolutely amazing. And I hear you on wanting to like sort of ideal an ideal world, like be able to put everything together and display it. I do have a trinkets box. That's like a small things box. Um, and I have things like shells that I collected at different places that pick them up. But yeah, I did contemplate like, Ooh, I should do a shadow box and Ooh, I, I ain't got time for that. I'm just like, maybe I will have a child one day that likes crafts and <laugh> while I'm out in the world doing stuff maybe at home to make crafts out of the stuff. And I feel like that will work out really. Right. <laugh>
Crystal Jackson (31:37):
That's a good idea. Cuz this has been sitting here free and it still a crazy mess. So <laugh>, that's a good idea. Let the kids do it.
Orion Brown (31:47):
Yeah. Somebody this, they free labor free labor till they like 16. Um, you'll have to pay 'em it's a family business. Um, <laugh> one of my addictions is bowls and I wanna show y'all I just wanted off my bowl y'all so I kept it next to me. Um, I, I pretty much get bowls in every country that has like nice ceramics where I can. And so I got this beautiful one. Oh, I like that in Meke there's more, it's got like little brothers and sisters in a platter, but like y'all won't understand. And I don't do that whole like put it up in a China cabinet and don't use it thing. I'm like this sucker's about to get some captain crunch in it. I'm about to watch stranger. Great. Like I I'm just, so these are, this is one of my guilty pleasures. Um, my other is well was art. I, I didn't buy any art this trip. Um, but previous trips, I have quite a bit of both framed and unframed art kind of floating around my house that needs to find a wall home. But um, I would turn the screen, but my house is messed. Like I'll show y'all <laugh> another time people another time, but
Crystal Jackson (33:22):
Speaker 4 (33:25):
Crystal Jackson (33:26):
Yeah. I know it looks crazy. I got it. Or it looks crazy, but <laugh>
Orion Brown (33:35):
I think I have not seen that many key chains in a very long time. So I'm I'm impressed. I, somebody said in the comments, I think her name is Kim that she collects shot glasses. Um y'all somebody broke my heart and broke all my heart glasses. I had 'em in a box and I had professional movers and they did not wrap it properly and dropped it and like 50, some odd of 'em broke. And I was like, you know what? It's time to let it go. Just let it go. But yeah, but I got my bowls though.
Crystal Jackson (34:04):
I used to do that too. Yeah. I love shot glasses. I actually used to, I, I have a few of them. I don't collect them everywhere I go. But, um, Kim, I love that you collect shot glasses. I used to, every time I would go, I don't do it anymore. My best friend, I would collect a shot glass, one of my best friends and give it to him. So he's got all these shot glasses of places he hasn't been to, but they came from me and he kind of uses that as his travel vicariously thing. But yeah, I like the shot glass idea too. And I like the bowl idea. That's different.
Orion Brown (34:37):
That's so funny that you would say that because that's really, I didn't get my passport until I was 25 in college. My friends would travel and they had been doing that for years and I would just be like, bring me back a shot glass. So that's actually where the collection started was living vicariously through other people and having them bring and girl, let me domestic places it'd be stuff like Vegas in Orlando and stuff that I had never been to. So yeah. Um, it was, I think that's, for me it was a great gateway to, uh, really just getting my heart excited about this idea of traveling. Even though I didn't really have that type of travel exposure. So I love that. I love that you let's shout out to all the friends that think of their, their friends at home, something that special. I love it. I love that. <laugh>
Crystal Jackson (35:32):
Yes. And one of my things as like mentioning friends, if you're my friend, you're gonna get a passport. I have so many friends that did not have passports when we became friends and then they ended up getting passports and I'm like, we're going on a trip? Like we are gonna, we're gonna travel. We're gonna see this world. You're gonna see
Orion Brown (35:49):
Something you're not about to beat around.
Crystal Jackson (35:50):
And I sent them like I did myself with Mexico, like one friend, her first trip out of the country with Russia, with me, Germany and Switzerland, we gonna do this thing. Okay. So <laugh> yes. Another one was Panama. So it's like, we're gonna be friends and we're gonna travel the world together. That's how this friendship's gonna work. Okay.
Orion Brown (36:10):
I love that. Now are you interviewing people to make sure that they're gonna be travel? Like good travel friends? Like how are you another thing that comes up.
Crystal Jackson (36:20):
Yeah. And I'm glad you say that because, um, my interviewing technique is more so like paying attention to them as my friend, like to see how, you know, how do they live, cuz you're, you're kind of, even if you're not sharing the, a hotel room necessarily, you're still spending a lot of time with this person on one trip. Right? Yep. So I pay attention to them. How do they move? How do they operate? I've only had two times, two times. Yes. Two times where I was like, no, I will never go with you again. And that was the first time was 2009. And the second time was 2000 and like 14 ish after that, like outside of those two people, I never had any issues with people.
Orion Brown (36:58):
Crystal Jackson (36:59):
Impressive you one time and that's the truth and that's it <laugh>
Orion Brown (37:03):
But that's pretty impressive. That's pretty impressive. One of the things we talk about a lot here is like how to kind of navigate travel. What I've heard the most is is that people like doing things like group travel, which can be a real headache. Cause everybody wants to do different things, tends to work best when it's like family travel and the group travel has been traveling with each other for years and it's like cousins going on like annual trips and things like that because they've just kind of created an E and a flow that works. Um, and then, but yeah, that it like travel to me with a friend is like taking a, a new, significant other to Ikea. Like you might not come out a couple,
Crystal Jackson (37:42):
Right. <laugh> right. That could make or break your friendship. So it's important that you're like you said, you're with the right person or people, because one, you don't wanna lose a friendship if it's a solid friendship or you think it's a solid friendship and two, you don't want your trip interrupted. Like travel is high on the list of important things in my life. Anybody that knows me knows that I don't fight when it comes to travel. So you gotta come. Correct. And I'm gonna come. Correct. And we gonna have a good time.
Orion Brown (38:09):
I love that. And I think the thing to keep in mind is this is just like, you know, friends that you have at home. Well, one it's always good when you get to a certain age to know who's a friend and who's an acquaintance. Yes. Which there's perfectly fine for people to be in different categories. Perfectly fine. Yes. Um, cuz sometimes you have those acquaintances that it's like, I wanna go out and have a fancy cocktail, but none of my close friends really like cocktails. So I know who to call to go kick it and we'll have a great conversation and have some C acts and feel real fancy mm-hmm <affirmative> and that's wonderful. And I think it's the same thing with travel. It's like I wanna go turn up in Cancun. I know who's not ready to turn up in Cancun. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and actually it, it, it that's actually me.
Orion Brown (38:51):
Let me be honest. Let me take that back. <laugh> I wanna go and relax in Cancun or Rivier. Yes. Maya or someplace chill. That's tropical and fun. And I want my fruity drink, but I also wanna kind of fall asleep on the chair. I'm not trying to do the most. And so knowing who the right people are, the people who are, you don't wanna take the person, that's gonna be disappointed cuz they wanna be out in the streets. Exactly. Like, and I'm. And when I say the streets, I mean it could be the historical streets wanting to climb something. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you know, but if you are in that mood, you gotta know who to bring with and like how to make, how to, how to manage your energy and make sure that you guys kind of work symbiotically.
Crystal Jackson (39:27):
I agree. And, and now like again now most outside of, so I have certain friend groups that we do annual trips together. Several of them have had babies. So we had to put it on pauses and COVID, but we're gonna start ramping that up again. And then outside of that, it's my husband and I, I don't travel by myself anymore unless I have to go visit a client in another city or, or state, but with my husband and I, even when we're traveling together, I'm I ask him, what kind of vacation do we want? Because I am always down for, I will do an adventure every day, two a day. If I can, like, I'm always down to do an adventure, but sometimes he's like, babe, I'm tired. I don't want everything planned. I just wanna kind of lay on the beach and be lazy and get drinks and food I'm down for. I did not think I could be that person, but I'm now that person that can just have the relaxing lay on the beach trip and
Orion Brown (40:13):
Love will get you all up in here. <laugh> yes. <laugh> but also we, we evolved too, right? Yes. So, um, you know, on, on this Morocco trip I was talking to, it was two sisters that were on, like we, we did a group thing and there's two sisters within the group and they were talking about like, okay, so last morning we're gonna like get up early. We're gonna go out. We're gonna go like hit the, hit the shops, do our last minute things. Next morning, we are in the cab together. And I'm like, so did y'all go out. Mm my back set up. You like, we tried it and then was like, awesome. We don't need those problems. And so no, even just monitoring and knowing your own energy and not forcing yourself. Cause I've honestly, there was a point that I had to learn the blessing of just being out of my own space. Cuz I would tell myself, well, why did you pay so much to do this? Or go all fly all these hours just to go to sleep. And it's like, that's what my body needs right now. And baby is the best sleep that I've had about two months. So let me go do that serious. If I have to go across the world and
Crystal Jackson (41:16):
There's nothing wrong with that, then go, yeah. There's something about being in a different country, right? And then as you get, as you, like you said, we involve, right. We're getting older. Things are different. We probably have more on our plate than we did when we were younger. We could take on, you know, two adventures a day. And now like I remember we did St. Lucia in November for Thanksgiving and I slept that whole trip. And I told my husband, I said, babe, don't let me hold you back. I'm gonna give you one adventure. And I'm gonna, I was exhausted. I had taken on like three new clients and I was just tired on top of the other clients I already had. I was exhausted. And it was the end of the year. The end of the year is always difficult for me cuz there's 5,000 things happening.
Crystal Jackson (41:57):
And I told him, I said, I am going to be sleeping 95% of this trip. Please go and do all the adventures you wanna do. I'll do one with you. Actually we did two. I do two with you and the rest is for you to do. And we did. And we had a great time and I slept. And when he didn't wanna sleep, he went sailing by himself and he went to the beach and you know, did his thing. And I got my sleep and I came back refreshed and I was ready. So it's necessary sometimes.
Orion Brown (42:22):
And, and I love that. Whether you're traveling with a significant love, significant other or a friend, even just being able to be okay with, I just wanna travel with you. I don't need to be up under you. And I don't need you to be up under me cuz sometimes you have that thought that like, oh well we travel together. So we have to do everything together. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then you have that mutual pressure and it's like, once you can get to that place of communication of, oh, you don't need me to go to lunch with you. I'm cool. Right.
Crystal Jackson (42:51):
And also having people in your life that understand that, like I have other friends that I travel with and they're just like me, like, like one of my girlfriends who went to Singapore for her birthday one year and I was tired when we got to Singapore. Cause I had bounced to a few different countries in Southeast Asia before that. And when we got to Singapore, I was like, girl, I'm tired, but do your thing. I know, you know how we operate, do your thing. She did her thing. We did our thing together when I wasn't tired and she was cool with it. I have other friends that are okay going off on their own and not yeah. Freaking out about it. So you have to also like make sure you have those people that are okay with you guys. Not doing everything together on a trip. Cause some people are okay with that.
Orion Brown (43:29):
And, and I think that's something that you should talk about like before you book, like I might be down to do 50 11 things, but also it might be by the time we actually go on this trip, I've got a lot of stuff going on. Like I don't have expectations for you to be with me all the time. So certainly don't feel like, you know, there's that pressure there. I wanna do stuff with you and let's make sure that we have things that we, we definitely plan together. But you know, let's have some flex time too.
Crystal Jackson (43:58):
Orion Brown (43:59):
Crystal Jackson (43:59):
Love that necessary. It's necessary.
Orion Brown (44:02):
Yes. Yes. So you mentioned a few times that you have clients and stuff. Are you still within the travel space or like ordering
Crystal Jackson (44:09):
To, I'm not in the travel space at all. Um, long story short, it got to be not fun anymore. Planning, travel for people because I was planning, travel for people. It was cool for people that are experienced travelers, but the ones that weren't, they were just, okay, I want this and I would book it. Okay, wait, I want that. And then I would, you know, changing things. Isn't always so easy, especially if somebody's trying to go the budget route, you have more restrictions that route. So it just became not fun. Me. I told myself when I started the agency, the moment this becomes, feels like a job. I don't wanna do it anymore. And it got to that point. So, and I, and I don't wanna get back in. If I do get back in the travel world, I would probably try to figure out like somewhere in the retail travel space, but not planning, travel for people. Um, but one of my businesses is I do HR consulting. So when I was working, I was working in the HR space. And so I just kind of took that and turned it into consulting. If that makes sense.
Orion Brown (45:04):
I love that. I love that. And I think one thing that you hit on that I don't feel like we often give ourselves grace for is when this is no longer fun for me and mind you, you still being responsible with all your responsibilities and other things that you have. But when this is no longer fun for you, when it's no longer fulfilling for me deuces, and to hear somebody say, and then I just wrapped it up, like I'm not mad at that at all. I really, I, that is a lesson. I think that we can all take. Um, for years I, I love cooking. I haven't been cooking much lately cause I don't have time to, I miss it. But um, you know, people would say like when I started my company BlackTravelBox, oh you started a BlackTravelBox. I thought you were gonna start a cooking company. And the reason why I didn't, I didn't because I was like, this is a relaxation thing for me. I love to cook. It's an art thing. The second I have pressure on it is not fun. I'm not gonna like it and is not enjoyable. And I'm like, I might as well do something that pays really well. That's not enjoyable rather than to prove the thing that I really love
Crystal Jackson (46:11):
<laugh> right, right. Cause people I did, I walked away and just started other businesses that I was also hit about. So
Orion Brown (46:25):
I love that. I love that. So, so what's on the horizon for you. You, you closed up shop and travel in, in having a travel business. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but you've continued to travel. You've got 116 countries under your belt. Obviously travel is gone like full blown is back. I mean it's, it's, it's crazy. Yeah. And the rates are crazy right now and the flights are limited and all that stuff, cuz we're still yeah. Figuring out supply and demand, but like what's on the horizon for you. Like what I know you were looking at like all of these countries, what are your, what are your short term? Like what are you gonna be doing the next 6, 8, 10 months.
Crystal Jackson (47:02):
Yeah. So next month I'm going to, um, we're going away for my birthday actually. I'll be gone the entire month of July. So I have a lot of travel coming up, but um, at internationally we're going to ESAL for my birthday and then we're gonna do our anniversary slash my husband's birthday trip, which will be Dubai, Qatar, and Zabar. And then in, um, just Nove, we take a Thanksgiving trip every year, cuz that's something I started doing. Um, after our family tradition stopped, I started traveling on Thanksgiving instead. So we're going, we're thinking Europe. We're not sure where we're still working on that. And then I have some girlfriends that I'm planning some trips with that I'm um, I don't know where in the year they'll fall, but we're still working out the details. So I not done as much traveling last year and this year as I've done in the past, I mean one year I think I do like 40 trips, something crazy like that.
Crystal Jackson (47:55):
It's obviously scaled back a lot, but I'm trying to ramp it back up, but I also have to be mindful and cognizant of the fact that I got businesses to run, my husband has business to run businesses, to run. So I have to keep that in mind too, which obviously makes me dial back on the traveling as well. Yeah. But my goal is to scale these, all these businesses where I want so I can sell 'em and just travel full time. Like I would love to just be on the go whenever I want to. That is the ultimate goal.
Orion Brown (48:21):
I, I love that and, and it wasn't so I could sell them and then like necessarily like become a travel influence. It's like, no, no, no. I want them to fully just cover this as a lifestyle. Cause it's a lifestyle I really love mm-hmm <affirmative>
Crystal Jackson (48:35):
I, and I don't have to worry about like clients or customers or whatever. I can just be on the go and do you know, we can just enjoy traveling from that perspective.
Orion Brown (48:44):
Crystal Jackson (48:44):
Orion Brown (48:46):
Yeah. Yes. That makes so much sense. Oh my gosh. I love that for you though. I just, I I'm like excited for you. You mentioned at the beginning, that feeling you get when you book, that was actually one of the reasons why I created Wine Down when we were in the middle of C in 2020, I started doing Wine Down because I was like, I missed that feeling cuz I normally would have a, I wasn't at like the 40 trips a year, but I was like, I had a couple big trips every year, um, that were just like solidly like clockwork and not having that six month mark of being like, all right. So what's the next one was like, and I miss that. And so being able to have these conversations and I hope that's, that's the feeling for the folks that's like been watching and, and kicking it in the comments is that you get that little spark. You're like, oops, Z ABAR, let me go see what Z ABAR has going on. Right? Yeah. You know, like
Crystal Jackson (49:35):
It's so exciting,
Orion Brown (49:35):
You know, all of those things can be, um, just, just so exciting and that feeling is so wonderful. And it's actually really cool to know that you still feel that after going on so many trips, um,
Crystal Jackson (49:49):
Yes. Oh, that's not going away. I don't anticipate that going away anytime soon. In fact, I get upset like one year I decided to take four, six months to not go anywhere and like focus on something I was working on at the time and month three, I was like, oh, I can't do this. We gotta go somewhere. This is not this ain't it. So like I, you
Orion Brown (50:07):
Said I could only go to target so many times. Like I,
Crystal Jackson (50:09):
Yes, I get sad when I don't go anywhere for extended period of time. And when colder broke out, I was in Europe when we all had to, you know, get back to America, we're not gonna be able to get back in. Right. All that stuff that happened. And during that time I was, that was my year. One of my goals was to take a year off and just straight travel. That was when I was starting to do that. And then I had to come back cuz of COVID. So now I'm just trying to make that like my retirement and my husband's retirement is we'll just be on the go whenever we want.
Orion Brown (50:40):
I love that cool auntie in the house, she said, I will be constantly stamping this passport, me and the boo. And I'm not mad at it. Girl, thank you so much for like kicking it with me and sharing everything, bringing out your travel box, being like you, she said, I'm ready. I have memories to share. I love it. <laugh> so let everybody know where can we find you? I heard business says, so this give yourself some big ups and then also, where can we just kind of stalk you and see all of your amazing journeys?
Crystal Jackson (51:22):
Oh no. Did I
Orion Brown (51:22):
Lose you? Did I lose you? Oh,
Crystal Jackson (51:24):
There you go. I think there was a glitch or a
Orion Brown (51:27):
Oh, can you hear me? Okay. So just tell everybody where we can find you online in these streets with these businesses and where we can see all of the amazing photos and stuff from your journeys.
Crystal Jackson (51:38):
Absolutely. So my main page is travel. Um, wait, travel, love, heal. And there's two underscores in between each of those. And then, um, my, one of my businesses is crystal crystal clear consulting, excuse me. I'm trying to think of everything at one time. Then we have a LL healing co which is our, um, health and wellness business. Then we have which Ella hilling code that's the handle. You can find it on there. And then I also have self-care initiative, which is called the self-care shop under two underscores in between all of those words. Um, and that's where you can find me online on Instagram.
Orion Brown (52:16):
That's so awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate you sharing all of your stories. I know I'm inspired. I'm like it's been a while since I've had like a heavy hitter traveler on and we've had, and all are welcome. I don't care if you've got two stamps or 200, but, uh, it's so cool to, to hear from somebody who's got, uh, travel goals. Who's not necessarily doing it professionally and is just like really excited about travel. Thank you for sharing. Uh, I think we got some really great gems on how to travel solo. Y'all don't wait for these people to go on trips with you. Don't wait for
Crystal Jackson (52:55):
Room, please. Don't cuz they'll disappoint you every time it happened to me and that's why I started traveling by myself. <laugh> if you have somewhere, you wanna go, go do all the research. If you wanna ask me questions, you can always DM me. I'll answer whatever questions I can. I have random people that DM me all the time asking me questions and I will answer. And people that know that I used to have a travel agency. They'll reach out to me and ask me questions when they're planning their trip. So if you guys want anything answered or direction or help, you can always message me and I'll respond.
Orion Brown (53:24):
I love that. Y'all it here. And um, I get random. I, I offer up and you know, as much as I know that I share mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and it's funny because we, you know, we have our email campaigns, y'all go to our website, blacktravelbox.com, sign up for our emails. Um, but you know, in our introductory emails, when I introduce myself to it, I'm like, go ahead, reply back and ask me if you got a place that you wanna ask about, or you going to, if I don't know, I'll tell you somebody who does and you know, I can't tell you how many people have been surprised that I respond back and I'm like, yep. Oh, I love that. You know what? I got a great list for Croatia here. Let me, I got you. I got you. Right. Um, you know, that's, that's the, that's the, that's a fun thing to do. It's it's so much fun to share it. Um, so thank you for offering that up to everybody here. Oh, sure. And for all of y'all kicking it into comments. Thank you. You were awesome too. Thank you
Crystal Jackson (54:13):
Guys for joining
Orion Brown (54:14):
Us. Thank you for joining. I appreciate you guys. We'll be back again next Wednesday with another down. Um, until then it is hump day. We have made it to the tippy top of hump day. It's all down here from here. People. Yeah. Skate on into the weekend. Get excited. Go, go look up some locations to go travel to. If you don't have something booked and uh, we'll see you next week. Thank you so much. Bye everyone. Thank you. Thanks for joining.
Crystal Jackson (54:42):
Bye <laugh>. Thank you.
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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