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Aired: November 17th, 2021
Audio and Photo Source: Delia Gillis and Instagram
Welcome to another Wine Down Wednesday! This week’s segment was a full one, but time flies when you’re having fun. On this WDW we had historian, professor, Tulsa Remote member and entrepreneur, Delia Gillis on. Having been to 18 countries as a transatlantic professor and now TR Member turned entrepreneur, let’s just say we had a lot to talk about with Delia. We touched on everything from the growth and healing Tulsa is under going to the 2019, Year of Return to Ghana. We can say honestly, that’s not even the half of it. Tune in for some Black history, pride and inspiration.
Wine Down Wednesday: Delia Gillis
Orion Brown (00:00:00):
Mm. Wine Down Wednesday. I got a stuffy nose Wine Down Wednesday, still stunting on these hoes. Hey you guys. I went full. I went full, full filter today because I have a cold right in the middle of the COVIDs in the middle of the pandemonium. I got a regular cold and I sounded like a, got one. And under all of this technological magic. Ooh, I looked like I got one, two. Hey, Hey folks, for those of you who don't know me, my name's Orion brown. I am the founder of the BlackTravelBox for personal care products company for travelers of color. And this is Wine Down Wednesday where we have a little wine and I feel like the grapes, you know, vitamin C or vitamin something, be good for the stuffiness. Um, but we have a little wine. We talk about travel. We just, we get it in y'all we get it in and I'm just inviting our guests. Delia oops. Then I hit the wrong one. Nope. So thank you guys so much for joining.
Orion Brown (00:01:15):
I did. I'm excited to see you. Hey, Hey. Y'all I am so excited to see you so, so excited to see everyone. Hello!
Delia Gillis (00:01:26):
Hello! Good Evening!
Orion Brown (00:01:26):
We made it!
Delia Gillis (00:01:26):
Yes, you did it. We did it.
Orion Brown (00:01:31):
Y'all it's so funny. So, so Delia and I were in like the practice mode. I don't know if y'all have seen this, but it's like, now you can like schedule stuff ahead and you can practice and make sure your lighting's right. All your, your setup is right. And I was like, I don't know how this works. I'm gonna go out and come back in. It's okay though. We're going to figure it out together together. So I'm so excited. Everybody has joined at, like I said, I have my Rosé, I have a stuffy nose, but I got my Roseé. Cause you know, I feel like the effervescence. Ooh, pinkies up! What you got?
Delia Gillis (00:02:06):
I have some hard cider.
Orion Brown (00:02:11):
Oh see It's about the fruit. It's the fruit. We're just trying to balance out our diets. That's all. This is y'all. So hopefully they'll yell at or join in. If you have your glass, pop your glass and the comments. I don't care if it's Kool-Aid I don't care if its juice. I don't care if it's malt, liquor, whatever you got, bring it, bring it. You could be coffee. I don't know. Just bring it, bring it because we are about to Kiki about all things travel and that life. And so I'm so excited, um, to have Delia. Am I saying your name right? It's Delia.
Delia Gillis (00:02:45):
Yeah, you're saying it correctly.
Orion Brown (00:02:48):
It reminds me I'm old. I'm a little bit of a old head already. Delia's back in the nineties. I used to always shop. I used to window shop at the mall at Delia's I never actually bought very expensive.
Delia Gillis (00:03:01):
Yeah. But I think I picked up a bag once just to have it with my name and say, that's my shop.
Orion Brown (00:03:08):
I used to get the catalog. I used to get the catalog and keep the catalogs. Like I was going to do something with them. I ain't never buy nothing. No poor Delia's. They never got anything from me, but we have a tradition first time on Wine Down, we want to get your stats. So tell us your name, where you're from, where you live. Those are two different places. And how many stamps do you have on your passport? If you know?
Delia Gillis (00:03:33):
Okay. Okay. Well, my name is Delia Gillis. I'm originally from Virginia and I divide my time between my University of Missouri and my base in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and also across Ghana. So I'm really very busy right now. And I've got 18 stamps, 18 countries.
Orion Brown (00:03:52):
Ooh. Now what's keeping you busy that you're like between states. Like what's what, what are you doing these days? Tell us about this. That's traveling in it of itself.
Delia Gillis (00:04:03):
Well, part of that has to do with, um, COVID. Um, two years ago, I was at the University of Ghana during the year return. I was a faculty director for a program and keep teaching a doctoral seminar. It was absolutely mind blowing. I wanted to continue to travel and bring my students. I take my students on a lot of study tours, but COVID happened. And in the meantime, I had an opportunity to relocate to Tulsa under their remote program. They pay you to move to Tulsa for a year, and that too has been mind blowing. So to be a history professor to be in Africa in 2019 with a 16, 19, a 2019, that was amazing. And then to spend the year and continued to spend time in Tulsa, uh, for the Centennial to be there for the hundredth anniversary, the commemoration to actually meet the oldest living survivor. A beautiful picture with mother Fletcher from earlier in the summer is really been a scholar's dream. But at the same time, COVID has made me move in some different directions in a good way, launching, uh, a travel group with my partner. And also if you don't shop, Delia's, then you can shop. She Shops Global. For people that are still afraid to shop, I love to shop and gift. And so when I travel, I shop and bring back those finds to people who don't travel.
Orion Brown (00:05:31):
I loved, I love so many things about this. I'm so excited. Okay, wait, hold up, let me, let me take my geek level down just a tad but I love this. So you are a professor. You're not even like bi-coastal you're by continental and
Delia Gillis (00:05:46):
Yes, trans-atlantic. I felt like if they did the transatlantic trade that way I can do it the other.
Orion Brown (00:05:53):
Ooh, I liked that. I liked the symmetry and the balance to that. And you're in Tulsa and Tulsa is such like, I think Tulsa is such a sleeper city in the sense that like, people don't know what's going on in Tulsa. And Tulsa is like silently moving Tulsa. Is that entrepreneur that you'll never hear nothing for them. The next thing you know, they're going to be on the cover of Forbes. That's Tulsa.
Delia Gillis (00:06:19):
Well, they are one of the guys that I know that gives tours that owns a coffee shop. You just got nominated for a Grammy code, uh, Cody Ranson. And you have my best friend is spades partner. Alison Irby view just a couple of weeks ago. So Tulsa is a vibe right now. It's a moment. Um, we're building in Tulsa and when you're in a place where investment is being made, um, you feel it, you know, when all what rising tides lift all boats and that's what's going on. And um, you know, I've been an educator all my life. All my friends have been educators, but at Tulsa, my girl group, my village are Black Women Business owners. And so it's just the ecosystem is the system that you're in. You know, I can get, be getting my hair done at one of their shops, you know, whatever and just picking up. And then the fact is, see all of these women thriving and they thrive through COVID, um, want to shout out to good friend Shyvana Codwell on, having a boutique, she celebrated her fifth anniversary and in business, staying in business for five years as a Black woman business owner that's major. So that's, what's going on.
Orion Brown (00:07:32):
That's major for the whole pandemic being almost half of that, like that is that's nuts. And that's like, that's so for those of yall who are like hmmm Tulsa, I felt the same way. I, at first I get the same way, but if you got your ear to the ground, especially if you're talking to texting entrepreneurship scene, like, you know, the program that you're in, like there is a lot moving towards Tulsa. And you know, we, we got to see a little bit, you know, in major entertainment productions talking about Tulsa's history, but there's a movement happening now in Tulsa really seems to be a heartbeat of what is happening in the Midwest in terms of like entrepreneurship, which is like nuts. I was down in Tulsa a few weeks back and I was like one, I forgot how country it was. I didn't realize how low-
Delia Gillis (00:08:26):
It's country. It's country.
New Speaker (00:08:26):
It's so country .
Delia Gillis (00:08:27):
It's country, it's true, but it's also very pretty,
Orion Brown (00:08:32):
It's beautiful and it's quiet. Like I was downtown and I was like, it's Saturday where's everybody. It was just, it was like real chill and quiet. And one of the best things that I got to do was spend time as a tourist in Tulsa in the sense that like I walked down to Black Wall Street, um, and walked around the park areas they have there. And they have like some really interesting memorials, but I think the installations that they have, the rotating art installations, there's, there's a spot on the corner. I actually bought a piece right off the bat. I went in and this beautiful Black female artists with locks holding it up for the people. And she was like, the vibe that I got. And I think this is almost leaning into what you were talking about, like where you have like tour guides and stuff. People are very adept at telling the story
Delia Gillis (00:09:29):
Mhmm it's their story, their life.
Orion Brown (00:09:31):
But it's, you know, but it's polished and it's so like, well, and you know, I saw her, I saw some people trying, I saw some people coming in and being like, oh, I don't. And she just, she brought a warmth to it. And a lot of the art she had done herself and then she had, um, other artists and I was just like, yo, I need to drop some coins here. I got, I got a few to rub together. Let me drop some coins. And I got a really beautiful piece that I'm going to put up and I'll share with y'all when I put it up it's of the dreamland after it was rebuilt. Um, because for yall that don't know, Black wall street was basically taken down what twice? Three times. I mean, it depends on how you look at it and the resilience is insane. And the culture just in this small strip, which is only, I would say a third of the original Black wall street area is not even, yeah. They, at one point they had 600 businesses. I had no idea had no idea. Um, but yeah, you're, you're in the spot. You're in the spot. I love it.
Delia Gillis (00:10:40):
So totally inspired. I cannot help, but be inspired. Like I said, as a historian, being able to teach that to my students, I was actually teaching the class last year when they took away the Black, The Black Lives Matter mural from the street, which a lot of us disagreed with. Yeah. And, but shortly thereafter they found the mass graves and that was something I put to my students. I mean, in real time, because it's always been difficult as a history teacher to, you know, for me it works, but for students, they never get that connection between something that happened 20 years ago, a hundred years ago, how it really impacts us today. Yes. So I could not have planned the course better. My students could not come down because of COVID restrictions. But the fact that they were able to view the public hearings, that they were able to bear witness to that mural being, um, taken up and then finding the bodies that, you know, local residents have talked about for years, that oral history was always there. When you seen the archeological and anthropological and forensics teams to actually locate the bodies was an amazing experience for my students to have. And I teach a lot of teachers, my university is known for teaching a teacher. So either I have teachers pursuing graduate degrees or students, um, working on their social studies education.
Orion Brown (00:12:04):
Right. And that's, that is so important that the evidence is evident, right? Yes,
Delia Gillis (00:12:13):
Yes. Yeah. There's no, the dots are connected. There is no gap. There's no,
Orion Brown (00:12:20):
Ther's no mistake in what's going on there, there's just none or what went on.
Delia Gillis (00:12:25):
No mistake. Yeah. And that's why it's also so important to anything that takes place because we have the evidence and Tulsa in ways that we may not have in other localities. And so Tulsa is really important. Yeah. This small country, quiet place is really significant.
Orion Brown (00:12:46):
That's the thing, like all the places that we live in, the places that we kind of put our feet upon in the United States, true abroad as well. But like in the United States, it's like we have a very short memory. And a lot of that is because we don't have history teachers to teach us what is truly historical. Right? Like we had a book structured version, we have a book structure version of everything I won't get on my whole soapbox. But if you guys look at what the point of public school was when it was created, it was created to give you a baseline so that you go work in a factory basically, which is what we needed at the time as a country. But then that never evolved. And, and you know, a lot of things like we were having discussions around critical race theory right now. And people were like, we shouldn't be talking about that. And it's like, but it's history.
Delia Gillis (00:13:37):
Yeah we should and, some of us have been doing that a long, long time and critical race theory has been around a long time. Kimberle Crenshaw has been doing that work for a long time. Um, the late Derek Harver. So this kind of a catch phrase, that's in the media, you know, being used as a boogeyman racialized language. Um, but that's what I teach every day because I'm teaching my students to be critical and learning the whole story, not just part of the whole,
Orion Brown (00:14:05):
I mean, it's like critical race theory is almost just sort of a nonsense term in the sense that it's just being critical of history, right? Like it's just really looking at history with a fine tooth comb, as opposed to that, why to, we use to get the tangles out. Right. We know.
Delia Gillis (00:14:28):
Yeah. It's just one lens. It's just one lens. We look at history in a variety of ways. It's just one lens, but it's just a little uncomfortable for some.
Orion Brown (00:14:40):
And it's interesting though, because one of the, and you see this with Tulsa, when you go through, they have that, for those of you who haven't been there, they have, like, I think it was just opening up when I went, but like this big, beautiful installation that takes you through sort of the history of Tulsa and an interactive sort of like museum type way. And just even reading the amount of lost dollars to the state of Oklahoma and to Tulsa as a city, because those businesses were destroyed. It's like, there's an economic cost to racism that is not just affecting the community. That's being marginalized. There's an economic cost. And we can probably very well could apply this to native nations and territories. There is an economic cost that we've lost by removing the diversity and the perspective and the talent, um, of marginalized people. Um, it's like an economics class right there. That's that's econ.
Delia Gillis (00:15:55):
Well, Tulsa is now a case study for the Harvard business school had an opportunity to meet with the professor and some of the people, people involved as well as George Kaiser, who's a noted Philanthropist. And one who has sponsored the program that I was a part of, um, that, you know, so we are a case study. Tulsa is a case study, uh, in MBA program. And you're quite right that we can trace the economic dollars. That's one of the neat things of looking at the historical evidence that even though the insurance claims were not paid by the businesses that did the claims exist. So we have at least the records of what was filed and do the math. And we were able to see
Orion Brown (00:16:36):
Legally, legally, not just, I think they should be reparations because so-and-so said, but they grandmama was there, which sometimes we can sound like, because we just have this kind of vague thing, but there's documentation,
Delia Gillis (00:16:51):
Orion Brown (00:16:52):
Find heir, do the math, give it to them.
Delia Gillis (00:16:56):
Well, and the other thing is a lot of the descendants are really phenomenal people. I don't think they really kind of know who they messing with, if you will, there is a really high powered, um, people who are descendants, who, you know, have a voice in our society that will be heard. They work for different businesses and corporations. Um, one that really stood out to me was a young lady. She works for a, like a media company and she's gotten her media company to buy into, you know, what's going on. And basically she said, we can make you buy anything, you know, from sneakers to, you know, purses or whatever. We want to work on the message to help people, you know, get to this point where we can understand, like you said that the reparations are due and you can legitimately prove that.
Orion Brown (00:17:48):
Yeah. And it's, and it's not reparations in sort of the mass media social sense of, you know, we, we know that this is Owed and we have to, we have to have a committee figure out. It's like, no, you literally could just have an regular accountant and just give them documents.
New Speaker (00:18:05):
Regular accountant. But I was really impressed with a young lady who is a descendant who is with human rights watch. And her presentation was so powerful. It was on a Sheila Jackson Lee and, um, um, oh gosh, it's not Angela rye. Why were her name? Um, Tiffany Grosse, Tiffany Grosse. Um, she is also a descendant and the way that she explained it in terms of understanding globally from a human rights perspective of reparations, meaning being made whole, it's just like it's apologizing, but also repenting and, you know, making ammends. That's what I always do when I was raising them. It's just not good enough to say, you're sorry, have you made ammends. And that's, that's where we are with Tulsa and a lot of issues in our country right now. Have we made ammends?
Orion Brown (00:18:55):
And I love that Tulsa is not only like going through the process of getting to that reparation and getting to those amends being made. Um, it, because there's so much evidence, which is to some extent, a darn shame, but also not cause that's wonderful that we have it and we can be very surgical
Delia Gillis (00:19:19):
Because we don't know, we don't always have it. We know but -
Orion Brown (00:19:24):
It's and it's, and it's, and it takes time and money to find it. And how much time and money does one, one to spend when one knows the output outcome, we'll be spending more money.
Delia Gillis (00:19:39):
Well, you know what, but we've also got to think about the emotional toll because part of the reason why the story had been suppressed for so many reasons, but for descendants reliving that trauma. So it's also about, you know, I can not, can I not only put my pocketbook on the line, but can I put my heart and soul on the line again? And I think is, um, that's also a part of the it's triggering and it's difficult to relive, um, the tragedy.
Orion Brown (00:20:11):
And, but if we go through it, like, this is just like, it's like therapy. It's like there, because therapy, you have to be re-triggered, you have to walk through the moment and there's numbers of ways to do that. It's a controlled environment. I'm not saying don't be going back into stuff and then going off on people, that's not what I'm talking about, but it is therapeutic socially when we go back and we revisit and we say this happened and we have to accept that it occurred all of us, except that it occurred. Look at it. Um, I hate to almost say dispassionately enough, to be able to move through that and move past it and say, what do we need to do to learn from, and build off and, and make people whole from here. So that
Delia Gillis (00:20:57):
It's been exciting part of being there in the art scene, as you said, the art scene, there has been amazing. The music scene, Fire in Little Africa, the way that they grasp what had happened and the musical genius that is coming out of that. So the arts, you know, they're very well-funded for city like Tulsa. We have a lot of great art museums and, um, calls for art. There's a call now for murals to be done along the highway. That basically, as you mentioned, there's been destruction on a number of levels, not on the massacre, but urban renewal. So yeah, let's take a drink to that urban renewal. And so you, now you have a major interstate and this is not new, and this is not the only city where that community was divided under the guise of urban and rual improvement. So bless you, bless you. Well, you look, you look lovely. It really? Yeah. Um,
Orion Brown (00:22:00):
Look filter, Technology,
Delia Gillis (00:22:05):
But there's a call for artists now to paint murals. So to beautify that and to create community and, and all of that, um, I love seeing that part of that part, I feel is going well in terms of the creativity and art and you know, what are we going to draw from that? Um, anthropologist, Marlin Hall has a new, um, exhibit out and he's calling it a garden, not a graveyard. That very thing that while we learn or the destruction we have risen, we're blooming, what can we take from it? So, yeah.
Orion Brown (00:22:43):
So it's crazy. Y'all I, so again, I had never been in Tulsa before and I just started walking around. It's quiet. It's like the beginning. It was like night of the living dead quiet. Like it's super quiet. It was like Saturday afternoon. And I was like, whoa, where is everybody? But it was sunny. It was beautiful. A little bit windy. I walked through, I had a great brunch. Let me walk it off. Yeah. Just walk and see Black Wall Street. I didn't know anything. I just, you know, I read stuff articles on New York times, things like that. And I go through and it's like, I came around for those of you are in Tulsa. I came around like the ball field and like came around the little path. That's actually next to the highway. And so as I'm approaching Black Wall street, I look and I'm like, this is the, like, if any of you have seen cars, if you didn't have kids and you seen the movie cars, cars was all about how it was a booming town. And they came through and they put this highway and the, the, the exit bypasses, the town and the township
Delia Gillis (00:23:44):
Exit. There's no exit there.
Orion Brown (00:23:46):
It's true. Y'all that is Tulsa. And I remember I was like looking and I was like, okay. So I see you, the buildings are here. And then there's still spaces where there aren't any, and then I'm like, this is a massive, massive highway. Ain't even that many people around, but I don't know why, how we got to be that big in the first place is almost like Texas. I got off a flight into, in Dallas once. And I was like, this is a six lane highway. It's five cars what's happening. What is happening right now?
Delia Gillis (00:24:14):
Well i adon;t know what part of Dallas you've been in but yeah, but that 20 stays pretty packed.
Orion Brown (00:24:20):
Well, coming out, coming out the highway, coming out the airport and coming out the airport, I was just like, this is huge. Where's everybody. But that's the same thing as Tulsa. It was just sort of like, this is such an eye sore that just cut right through the heart of what was Black Wall Street. And it's like, sketchy. I'm not going to lie from the south side of Chicago. I was like, it's dark up under there. Like, it just, it was so clearly made to be this ominous thing in the middle of what was a thriving and revived location, right.
Delia Gillis (00:24:57):
At that point where you are, was the dreamland theater and, you know, one, one of the first in the nation and thriving and they owned and it was Black. Uh, the wife as well was very much involved in that development. So what was there was, um, pretty amazing. What was there, um, that it's basically, um, mowed over, but since you mentioned Dallas, a tie in, it's also a gravesite because we do know and believe that there are bodies on seven interstate 75, and Dallas has recognized that. So they have honored that in Dallas, but basically it's still kind of hush hush and talked about are basically, well, we know, but you know, we're not going to dig up the concrete, you know, to, to take care of it, this kind of, you know, what I've learned. Yeah.
Orion Brown (00:25:54):
Mixed feelings, mixed feelings. Yeah. Yeah. Cause it's almost like want to desecrate it now, but it was desecrated by being created. So was it, are you on desecrated?
Delia Gillis (00:26:05):
It's about the inconvenience it's, it's the money it's about the cover up. Um, so yeah,
Orion Brown (00:26:12):
There's so much to it. Yeah. There's so much to it, but knowing, I really think is half the battle y'all GI Joe fans were like, it really is like just knowing what went down and that's that educational piece is so, so important. And so I would love, like, tell us a little bit about like taking it back from Tulsa and going to this Ghana experience. Like, did you go in and like, what did, what do you focus on as a historian and as a, as a professor, number one. And then how did that link up with your experience in Ghana?
Delia Gillis (00:26:54):
Wow. I've been doing this history thing for a while. I've been traveling for a while -
Orion Brown (00:26:58):
For a minute, just for a minute.
Delia Gillis (00:27:02):
Just for a minute, I was a kindergarten. Um, you know, I'd spent time on continent before in South Africa. So I had wanted to go for about a decade and I finally got to go right after I finished my PhD and had an opportunity to spend a semester there. So throughout my career, I've taught African-American history, especially a lot on, on women, but a variety of topics. Um, and I've taught on South Africa. And as I said, I just really, I had the opportunity to go. I had wanted to go for some time, but taking a semester out of your life is very difficult. You have family and some of the youngest. So my youngest graduated off to college and it just came up. I said, well, where are we in the rotation?
Delia Gillis (00:27:42):
Because it was a consortium different. And so they said, well, your, your school's turn is not to next year, but we're not sending any one. If you want to go, you can go. And I was so glad because we were the last program, they decided to end the consortium. Wow. Yeah. So again, it was just, um, very, to me, intentional, um, on my journey, you know, the God is just making these things happen because I couldn't even put it together. Because if you tell, you know, if you had told me two years ago, like I would be living in Tulsa and loving it, I'm like, no, because I had been to Tulsa before I've lived there, worked professionally in Kansas city, you know, for a long time, I've been to Tulsa. It's cool, but I'm going to live there. And I think not, I've got, you know, want to live in some other places or the fact that I would be starting a business, you know, that I would have a partner we're starting a business it's successful. We've been featured, just got featured in Travel Noir. Totally unexpected. You know, I'm just kinda like, you know, again, you can't, you can't dream, but, um, again, being in Ghana in 2019, um, the year return, it was everything that everyone said it would be. It's just one of those things. You're living a very simple local life. You're running into celebrities. Um, it can be all of that. Like for example, when I visited Cape castle with my students, that was the day that Steve Harvey was there. Um, and so that's how, yeah,
Orion Brown (00:29:17):
In my mind I'm like, you're over here with the students talking stuff. And all you hear is like, Steve Harvey.
Delia Gillis (00:29:25):
So Steve, so Steve Harvey, Harvey was there that particular day. I think, you know, Beyonce and Jay Z. And I think Alicia keys rolled through while I was in the country. Um, I think one of the things that I was really excited about was getting to meet the first lady of Zambia. I got to go to the Zambian high commission for their independence celebration. And then the next week, the first lady was in town and I got invited back so that wasn't even on my to-do list. And so that's, that's Ghana. We just never know what's coming to you. And you know, every day can be like Saturday.
Delia Gillis (00:30:04):
That was just an amazing experience to spend a whole semester looking at people that look like me or my family looking at billboards. I love this huge, um, bank that had one of those banners with a Black man president on it, you know? So it that's just affirming for someone who has spent their entire life being the first one, the only one, one of the few. That's been my experience. So whenever I am in spaces where people look like me, I feel really affirmed whether that's south Florida, Jamaica, um, parts of Portugal, South Africa. Yeah. It's, it's a different, it's a different feeling. So
Orion Brown (00:30:46):
You know what I, I had, and I've been to South Africa and I've been in Jamaica and these places have been to Kenya. And like, there's something beautiful just about that. Like exactly what you said, but what was unexpected for me was I went to Japan and I'm on like a train and all the advertisements are Japanese people. And for some reason I felt a kinship to that in the sense that all of the visuals that we get in the U S is very Eurocentric. It's changing. It's definitely changing, but it's, it's very Eurocentric. And to be in a space that was not Euro centric was just like, cause even in South Africa, you go to the mall in South Africa, you're in Cape town. You think you could be a mall in London, like the main retail sort of in, and I have retail on my mind because I come from sort of that space and brands and things like that.
Orion Brown (00:31:49):
So that's the first thing I noticed when you go into stores, it's still catering to white, south Africans and European tourists and things like that. And you see the same thing. Yeah. And you see the same thing in Nairobi and things like that. And it's like, but to be in a space that is, has a ubiquity of what we would consider minority, I actually don't kind of care who, what y'all look like. A lot of you, if you consider a minority here, I want to see you shine. I want you smiling teen teen on all the little posters and all the things. And I had like sort of this existential moment where I was like, this is dope. I mean, they don't look like me, but they don't look like what I always see plastered everywhere.
Orion Brown (00:32:38):
So that was my little Japanese therapy moment where I was like, Hmm, yes, let me go to onset and take a nice hot bath and just meditate on this. Um, but I love that. So, so, oh my gosh, you brought in so many things and you got to do so many, so many awesome things. Let me ask, would you recommend people and obviously you would recommend people go to Ghana because it's a dope place. But like, do you think that the vibe has changed now it's past the year of the return? Or is that something that you think is continuing on there? Like not necessarily the celebrities, I get that, but like the welcome, no openness and all of that.
Delia Gillis (00:33:20):
You still coming the welcomeness and um, the president is very contested. He's not everyone's favorite, but I do appreciate the fact that he issued the call and that we have beyond the return. I mean, there's a lot of work that can be done to it. We're also building Wakanda city. Um, so I think Ghana can be poised, forget Disney world. We going to Wakanda city? I think Ghana. So, so when I got back and I was on sabbatical, I was supposed to come back for a Fulbright. It was canceled because of COVID. So there's a lot, I dislike about COVID, but COVID made me sit down and think about what I wanted to do going forward. And I said, okay, forget you COVID we're just going to go ahead and start this travel business because I did not want to lose that fire the context and momentum, because I really do think it's a game changer for young people.
Orion Brown (00:34:17):
Tell us about this and like, what, what is the concept? Like what makes it unique? Because we know like we got all these travel groups and stuff out here, everybody trying to be attached, travel guru, um, you know, we got the old heads shout out to Avita and you know, but then we've got people coming up. So like, what is sort of the unique secret sauce besides your wealth of knowledge? Like what's the secret sauce to what you're doing?
Delia Gillis (00:34:44):
Well, thinkers as well. My secret sauce asleep because it's like, well, after midnight here, but we've got the American and the Guinea connection, my partner speaks four languages. We have members of our team. So between our team, one person speaks six different languages. So we bring the American side to it are with me with the education request, the preparation, but we have a Ghana team of locals and we're very invested in making sure that the dollar, the economic dollars translate back to, um, the average Canadian. So we are not necessarily going with the Western chains. Um, we did our first tour this summer with 15 people and 90% of our vendor chain was Black or African. So we're extremely proud of that. We're extremely proud of that. Yes, yes. And being again, being, and making those choices. So we are we're friend and family owned. Um, we believe that we can find excellence there. Um, and that's our niche. If you're looking for something else, I think that's fine. Um, but that's what I've learned that people learn that very quickly. We've learned that very quickly, every dollar is not our dollar and we're okay with that. We're really okay with that.
Orion Brown (00:36:04):
That's a hard lesson to learn because sometimes people want to get desperate, but it's like the best businesses in the world segment their customers, you know, who's for you, you know, who's going to look at the people who's for you and you know, the folks that had nothing to do with you, what you're doing.
Delia Gillis (00:36:20):
Right. Right. And there are other, and there are other companies that, that do that. And so I think that's what makes us, um, special, um, that we want to show the beauty of this country and not just across, um, the Northern region is absolutely amazing. There are so many waterfalls. I mean, God is absolutely beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful. And so we wanted the world to know that, that, you know, this country is more than that. But even though put across jumping, I mean, they, they think across going to be like the, you know, the next Vegas, Dubai. Yeah. Afro, it's a party. It's always a party.
Orion Brown (00:37:03):
Um, like I go to Vegas and I'm like three days and I have to tap out Dubai two days and I'm like,
Delia Gillis (00:37:10):
Well you do. But then you can go to the rest of the country, like the Western region where you can actually go surfing and diving, you know, the Volta, which is absolutely beautiful and very much reminds you of, of Jamaica. There is so much diversity to this country. Um,
Orion Brown (00:37:27):
So the continent, let's, let's just take a note about the luxury. Like if you bougie, let me, like, people are like, oh, I'm bougie. So I'm going to go to, I know this place in Dr. I know this place in Costa Rica, or I know this place in Jamaica and it's nobody talks about the absolute bougie audacity of some of the features are gorgeous around the whole continent. Y'all number one. It's the whole continent. We forget that Africa is a country. Africa is not a country. South Africa is a country. But even that is that the whole south of Africa? Um, no. Oh my gosh. And so like to know
Delia Gillis (00:38:08):
It's something for everyone. Yeah. If, if your boozy, we, we have it. We have, we have the nightlife, we have the resorts, I'm working on a retreat. Now, a wellness retreat for some friends for the summer have found a beautiful spot. Um, that if I didn't tell you, it was in Ghana, you would pick a few places in the Caribbean,
Orion Brown (00:38:29):
Hold up. So is it a resort? Is it a Villa? Like give us my, you'll have to give all your secrets away, but I'm just curious. Cause I need to, so I turn 40 next year and I need to plan all my travels. I've already got an Arctica cause I need to step foot in the middle of nowhere while I'm still young enough, my knees don't hurt. And uh, yes,
Delia Gillis (00:38:51):
I go with that. Um, I have a really good friend, Kimmy, G travel. She is a seven continent person. Uh, I think I'm going to skip it. I, I can do without Antarctica. I'd like to do all of the African countries, but no less, you go,
Orion Brown (00:39:07):
Well, look, I'm over here, stuffy already, but I'm like, I'm going to put a nice coat on I'm from Chicago. I lived in Minnesota. I feel, I felt the coat coat. But the funny thing is, and this is something that I always try to like stress to people is like, you never, like, we have people talk about, I live in, I live in Denver. People were like, Ooh, Denver's cold. I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. Denver's not cold. It's sunny. We get more sun than Florida. And so investigate a little bit at this time. You're like, Ooh, I can't do that. I got you. But like I was even looking at our itinerary and they're like, oh, you could go to the outdoor pool for like the first few days when we're sailing, because it's going to be summer. It's going to be summer. And then as you get closer to the pole, it's going to get cold. But in the middle there, it's going to be summer time. Pool time, get a 10. Or for me get burnt. Let's just be honest. I'm bright. It is what it is. Uh, no amount of melanin will save you. I will tell you that though. You got to still use your Black girls sunscreen.
Delia Gillis (00:40:04):
I had an aunt that laid out with cocoa butter that never changed. She never changed
Orion Brown (00:40:10):
About Sandy. No, it's the burden. Like my mom, when I was kissed, you'd be like, oh, you got that little radish. You got that reddish tan. And I was like, for years I was like tans or red. No, I was burning. When it depends on what
Delia Gillis (00:40:27):
So Anartica is on a bucket list, what else are you doing for your 40th?
Orion Brown (00:40:31):
I'm still figuring it out. So that's all I'm listening to these things. I'm like, oh, do I need to go to God? I feel like it'd be nice to be on the continent. And I haven't done sort of the Western coast. I've done Nigeria and I've done the South Africa slash bring myself up and swing around to, to Ghana. I'm going to Morocco in December the north.
Delia Gillis (00:40:56):
Yes. You should look at Ghana. I'll slip. I'll send you, I'll DM you some suggestions. But yeah, there's a lot of great places, but let me just say Volta Western region. Yeah. You can do bougie.
Orion Brown (00:41:09):
I'm like, I'm like, wait, I'm snobby. But cheap. Like I went to Bali and I ate nothing, but I was eating noodles for breakfast. I got no chill number one. Cause I just like food too. Um, so I'm like, yeah, we're going to go to like the nice resort, but I'm gonna order the noodles and it's going to be drinks and noodles. That's all I, you know. Um, but tell me, so, so do that
Delia Gillis (00:41:33):
Two weeks. We can pick you up some into me on the way. And, and some Savannah, which is south African. That's why, that's why I brought that. I said, um, because of the time I spent in South Africa and I love the Savannah and I can't get it in the states, we try, even though it's the most exported, but for some reason we can't get it in the states, Amazon get it together. But
Orion Brown (00:41:56):
It's not even world market. Cause I feel like world market comes through on the obscure stuff.
Delia Gillis (00:42:00):
No, my girlfriend visited when she was here and she's in California and she's constantly looking for us.
Orion Brown (00:42:08):
We got it. This is where we got a network. Cause I have a friend that started a company called Valora and they are all about logistics and bringing particularly craft beverages right now from the us to the Caribbean and Latin America. But I think, you know, we need to really get the tasty stuff going.
Delia Gillis (00:42:27):
That's another stuff we'd have in Tulsa. We have your, um, breweries. We've got some VOC, Bucca, distilleries. Yeah. A lot of drinking going on.
Orion Brown (00:42:40):
It's look when you, okay. Number one in the Midwest, it's what we do. It's what we do. Like it's if y'all ever been in Chicago and winter time, like all the, all the sports bars are packed, nobody's outside, but the inside with the coats hung on this thing and they're just, you know, cause you got to keep warm. You got to keep warm
Delia Gillis (00:43:00):
I'm from chiefs country. You know, it was all about the tailgating when we weren't winning for a long time. So it was all about the tailgate he wasn't mad about.
Orion Brown (00:43:06):
It's not the connection as the people deep down in our hearts. I love that. I love that. So with your travel company, what trips like, are your trips themed or is it like, you kind of take the same trip and you just kind of like bring people along, like was like, what's the deal. I need some details what's going on.
Delia Gillis (00:43:25):
Okay. Yeah. It's theme. So right now what we've done is it cultural heritage tour and we're hosting a group for Thanksgiving and so it really, yeah. For Thanksgiving. And so they're arriving this weekend and it was basically around the item. Let no, we need to be in Africa for Black Friday. Like buy Black in the market on Friday, we're going to be doing though is historic. They're going to be going to the slave castle. So it's going to be business from a different perspective. We actually will be castle in Elmina on Black Friday, but the day before we're having Thanksgiving on the beach. So there'll be having, um, a seafood buffet, fresh lobster, fresh lobster, Cron fish. That's freshly caught, you know, not that frozen variety. Yes. And they'll have a, uh, naming and drumming ceremony. So they will receive their Ghanaian names and have an opportunity to, you know, pay respects to the elders. So that's what our group is doing for Thanksgiving. Um, as well as you know, some of them. Yeah.
Delia Gillis (00:44:36):
Yeah. So those are the, you know, a couple of ideas of things we do in the culture heritage, but we're really excited about doing adventure, um, in the spring where you get new things, like we've got a new skate car, dirt, bikes, alligators, safari, waterfall, hiking. A little crocodile won't bother you. So the adventure, the adventure because we want people to see more of the country. And so getting to the north and actually being able to go into a family compound, my partner's family, live on their ancestral lands and live a traditional way. So it was just so beautiful to be there last Christmas. There's no electricity, but the stars in the sky light, you know, so when the lights go out to the city, it's still dark. But when the sun goes down in the north, the sky is still very light and you can see, you can see the stars. So it's
Orion Brown (00:45:38):
Just, like being out in the bush.
Delia Gillis (00:45:40):
Yeah, it's just beautiful being out in the Bush. You have to appreciate that for what it is. And so giving people those opportunities that like that. So if you'd like it adventure, a little extreme. And then we do the adventure tour and then we will host your private to a really excited to do one over new years. A good friend is bringing her fiance, celebrating his birthday. There's no better place to be, to party than to be in Ghana for uh, Christmas and new years. Oh and Coachella. Who's who's coming? Wiz kid, Stone boy, you know, just a few folks.
Orion Brown (00:46:16):
Just hanging out, just kicking it.
Delia Gillis (00:46:18):
Just hanging out. Well this summer we were kicking it. It was just a Thursday night. We went to a rooftop bar and [inaudible] was there. So we got to hang out. Just totally. You know, we just, we were just, there.
Orion Brown (00:46:30):
Just happened to be there. There is nothing. I have to say New York, when you go, like there, you'll see like celebrities and stuff like that around quite a bit in New York and same thing kind of in LA where people like, yeah, I was, you know, on the treadmill. And then I looked over and it was whoever. Um, but when you're in like the most random places in the world and you realize the person who's got their mouth hanging open to next to you. Oh. And you're like, there is nothing like it,
Delia Gillis (00:47:02):
It was a lot of fun. Like I said, it was a Thursday night and we had started, our first guests started arriving on Wednesday and we partied every night we even found this one. They kept saying, no, that's not a place to say yes, it is. Yes it is. I've heard music. And they were so excited. So we started partying on a Wednesday night and Thursday night. It was something every night, every day.
Orion Brown (00:47:21):
Uh so you're just like following your, your nose to hear the music. Like, no, no, there's a party over here.
Delia Gillis (00:47:27):
Well, okay. So I'm really good at something, even though here's the thing, I'm not a party animal. I become one kind of by being when I'm not by no addition, I'm not, but this is what I will notice. I love any outdoor place that has the stringing lights that will catch my attention. And so we, and by, yes, I'm like, I'm seeing some nice planners and I'm seeing some strong lights and I'm hearing music. And so, like I said, we only had two clients and I'm like, well, I think there's something up the street. So we had dinner and we walked like two blocks and lo and behold, it was absolutely amazing place. And it was a Wednesday night and the DJ was hot and we had a great time. And then the next night we're like, oh, it's ladies night at the rooftop bar. Let's go. And where they shot, you know, Jata, Wally came just for us. Right. You know? So
Orion Brown (00:48:21):
It was meant to be, I lost that. And you got me on the string lights. I am the same way. That is something that will be like,
Delia Gillis (00:48:30):
It could be a
Orion Brown (00:48:32):
Market. It could just be a restaurant. I don't care what it is, but I want to be around it because it's just the,
Delia Gillis (00:48:36):
Yeah. I love, yeah. I love the fresco dining. So, you know, that's when you tend to see that. So everybody was very impressed with me because like I said, I was the least party animal in the group. I really can't dance unless I've got that backbeat. So good. So yeah. So lots of places, poolside beach, side rooftop. Um, they're all here. Lot of rooftop, places, beautiful, you know, 360 degree views of the city. And that's a much better place to be than in the traffic. So
Orion Brown (00:49:14):
That, that we're not here for anybody's traffic now.
Delia Gillis (00:49:19):
Yeah, no, I've stopped wanting a luxury car. I want a helicopter.
Orion Brown (00:49:25):
I like the arbitrage. There's just beautiful. Like you can just come fly over.
Delia Gillis (00:49:31):
Yeah. Yeah. I don't, I don't care about getting a luxury car anymore. If, if I had the, you know, the cash, let's go look
Orion Brown (00:49:38):
Rent once. He definitely, you don't have to own it and you don't have to house it. You just rent one same thing with the private planes. I'm like, it's coming. I'm not quite at private plane status, but it's coming.
Delia Gillis (00:49:51):
No, I think you want to, one of my students is definitely, I think she's going to do it. And we're all going to buy into it. That's been her dream ever since we did one of our study tours to Jamaica, she said, you know, it's not very expensive. It's just the fuels and all the research or whatever. We know it, You know, it comes from the equalizer when I was watching the equalizer with Denzel and his CIA friend came home with that helicopter on the line. That's what I'm like. That's what I want.
Orion Brown (00:50:27):
I mean, then Queen of Sheeba took it over and while it's different, I feel like it too. Um,
Delia Gillis (00:50:33):
Yeah. Yeah. And I'm a big thing. I'm a big queen of Sheba fan. It took a second, but yeah, I like the series.
Orion Brown (00:50:40):
It's not, it's not the equalizer. It's not the old equalizer that was on TV. It's not the Denzel equalizer. It's its own thing, but it is pretty dope. And by the way, her hair is laid every time she is beaten, these dudes up and her hair is like, I'll hop out and I kinda hate her and love her and hate her for the same. I'm like, Ugh, Dana out here showing off. Um, that sounds absolutely amazing. And I can not imagine how dope it must be for everybody around you to be like hanging out with a history professor, kicking it and dancing. Cause I'm sure like, you know, you have a few drinks and you start popping off at the mouth and stuff that used to happen. Like, well, I bet you didn't know. Yeah. They got bones under there too. Um,
Delia Gillis (00:51:30):
Well actually I try to save that for my day job if you will, because it's actually this last generation of students that made me look at things differently because, um, uh, yeah. You know, kind of the kids that are in their, you know, twenties to thirties, they don't hustle like old school. It's not all that they're different. And what I appreciate about them is that they will take time for themselves to enjoy. And I picked up on that. And so while I was schooling them and mentoring them to get through their programs and, you know, teach them where the library was and what studying was and how to Teach them that I learned from them too. And so now it's like, you know, it's okay to, you know, take a day off. It's okay.
Orion Brown (00:52:28):
That is a word right there. So y'all see me out now, mind you, I want it to come to Wine Down because this is my happy place I come every week. And, but I did test to make sure that y'all, wouldn't able to see the like bed. God bless the filter anyways. Um, but
Delia Gillis (00:52:46):
Orion Brown (00:52:48):
But yesterday I was like sweating, sweating, and cold and all of that stuff that you don't love when you're really, really sick. And I found myself pushing myself to work anyway. And I had to take that moment and say, wait a minute. Why, but why? Um, because even from, so I work a day job as well as running my business.
Delia Gillis (00:53:12):
Orion Brown (00:53:13):
And so with my business, I have to really think about how much of myself can I bring to it if I'm sick another two weeks, because I didn't get the sleep I needed to get now, you know, like how much can I really, when I'm, you know, messing up the work that I'm doing, because I'm not fully focused because I'm not well enough to give it a hundred percent or even 80%. And the same thing with, you know, people who pay you, y'all 15 years in corporate. I will tell you this. If any of you are earlier in your career, take your sick days, take your PTO, take your floating holiday. Number one is a part of your compensation package is a part of how you're being paid. That is equivalent to cash. But number two, they will have you stressed and thinking, you gotta show up anyway. And it's like, just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Delia Gillis (00:54:03):
Well, and it's the stress that's killing us. And I think the fact that I lost a colleague, he was 48 years old and he had just gotten his letter that he was being promoted in tenure, which is our big deal. And he, and he died on text day and he didn't get to read the benefit of that. So that was, you know, that was a wake up call for me. I'm like, Hmm. Okay. You know, you got to do some things for yourself now. So definitely for me, the travel is a part of it. I started traveling young. So, you know, I'm, you know, I was traveling in the eighties, you know, I lived in Germany. I traveled throughout Western Europe, went to school there. And, um, I think that helped me a lot moving forward. You know, the fact that I, I lived six years in Germany, I worked for American Express.
Delia Gillis (00:54:52):
So when I went to graduate school in this, the fact that I speak a little German and you don't have to pitch in Europe, you know, I, you know, it boded me well. And so th that was getting back to one of the questions you asked me is that's one of the things that I think it's important for my students now, whether it is, you know, definitely I want them to be involved in the continent, but Asia and south and south America, I just wanted them to understand that their future does not lie within the borders of the U S that their future can be any global. Yes. Um, moat, you know, this is a new revolution of what you can do, um, with remote work. And, um, so, so that's what has really inspired it. So we're excited this summer, one of the young ladies on our tour, she's a freshman at Spelman college. And so we feel really honored that we were a part of giving her. It was a graduation gift from her family, her mother, aunt, and grandmother. Um,
Orion Brown (00:55:50):
He was right there because sometimes at least where I am from, I cannot speak for other people because clearly you've seen the world early, but there's this trepidation particularly, I think it's a Midwest thing. Oh my God, the micro ban, all of this area, I'm just going to tell you all that right now. It's just me here. And I'm like, stop sneezing on me anyways. Um, but there's this trepidation about letting our kids in that like parents parental protectiveness extends when they're like in their twenties, letting our kids out into the world. And it's like our less melanated counterparts let their children out into the world. Now, honestly, I understand the protections are different and all of that stuff, you get to be mindful of that. But that being said, the, I remember being in college and one of my best friends in college was one of the wildest people I've ever met in my life. Like you girls. Wow. Y'all she watched me Ross and well, she went on a study abroad. I either went a semester. She went a full year. I think she just went a semester and she came back. So mature me as like a 20 year old. I was like, you could tour, like, there is something so enriching by seeing a world outside of the one you grew up in, whether you feel like your future is out there, or just even understanding that, like, what you know is isn't everything in life can be different. It's huge.
Delia Gillis (00:57:23):
And bringing that back to your community and bringing it back to your community. That's true. A lot of the work in preparing the students for the study tours and that preparing the parents and the families, you know, they may not have known what a passport was. Some of the students had never flown before. Um, all of that plays, um, into the equation. Um, but I want it to do it. So I'm sorry. I ran off when I was 17. And so, yeah, I, you know, that was my first. Yeah. My mother got, she got the letter. I'm sure everything was a done deal at the time. But being the reading teacher that she was, I know I sent her some postcard and she sent it back corrected and ready mama, just trying to let you know that I'm okay. I mean, I know
Orion Brown (00:58:11):
That is like the original internet truly, except it was by snail mail. Like it was like, yeah, no, you're doing stuff out of pocket, but you need to at least do it with the right, the right thing, the grammar, The shame,
Delia Gillis (00:58:27):
Especially when some kids won't even call and let you know that they're okay. I sent a postcard. I'm okay. I'm alive. I'm good. And look,
Orion Brown (00:58:36):
I'm off doing things far worse than a loping. And while loping can be its own thing. I mean, hell, you could be at your 30 minute lope B. It's not the best. It depends. Um, and you became an assessor and you're out here educating the world. So like, it'll be all right. It'll be all right.
Delia Gillis (00:58:54):
Yeah. Well, it got me to Europe. We get to meet his name. I don't know about seven countries. I lived in Germany, German, you know, all of my monumental useful things took place in Germany. I turned 18. There got drunk. Bayer turned 21 had my first kid drove on the Autobon so yeah, it was
Orion Brown (00:59:14):
Okay. Number one. Yeah. I don't want to go to like Euro Disney, but I do want to drive on the Autobahn. I've no, that like, I feel like driving down 95 on the east coast. I'm like, that's the suggested speed limit. I know that's terrible. And I know that's the number of the interstate and not the actual speed limit. However, I feel like they keep telling you and you should just go that speed. So to me, the Audubon is like, I just want to drive an Audi on the Autobon just once, just once.
Delia Gillis (00:59:42):
Okay. So you can do it because there's rules to the game. Unlike in Dallas, where there is no slow or fast lane, which is ridiculous to me, it's very clearly demarcated in Germany. The left is the fast lane and you don't get in unless you're in the portion in the Audi and you're doing what 140 clicks. So you're doing well over a hundred
Orion Brown (01:00:03):
Show up in a Honda civic, trying to, unless you souped it up with nitro.
Delia Gillis (01:00:10):
No. And that's the other thing, then the transport trucks, they're not in that lane. They're in the far leg because they're going extremely slow. And then the other traffic and you get over and get out. Well, then you also learn if they run up on you tap your brake and they back off there's actually
Orion Brown (01:00:28):
Look cause there's New York, somebody run up on you, you tap your brake, they hit you on purpose. They saw you stop. They're like, no, you're not supposed to do that.
Delia Gillis (01:00:40):
Yeah, no, I was trying to sit this Tappy. I like have it, like they did it.
Orion Brown (01:00:46):
No, this, I feel like is a place I need to be. One of the things on my bucket list is to go to Germany for Oktoberfest, which incidentally is in September. For those of you who don't know, it's very confusing for non German speakers. Um, but now I'm like, I need to drive on the Autobahn and then go drink. Cause I'm just going to drink for the whole week. I'm just, I, beer is, it's like bread. It's good for the soul. Uh,
Delia Gillis (01:01:11):
I was wine. So we were living near the Mosel river. And so we went to wine fists every weekend. And so I collected wine bottles and then I was so sad because
Orion Brown (01:01:20):
I wonder you like the sweet wines, like the recycling's and stuff. Or If [inaudible] go find a Reese link, I'd go find a nice, diverse, demeanor, like, uh, recently is sweet. It's interesting.
Delia Gillis (01:01:39):
So yeah. So in South Africa has a, has a few good ones, obviously, because they're coming out of those Stellenbosch, uh, wine vineyards. But yeah, so that was my entree. And then the fact like I was 18, I could drink. So it was funny coming back to the states. I couldn't drink, I couldn't go into any places. I wasn't 21. But when I was in Germany, I could do all of that. So
Orion Brown (01:01:59):
You know what, that's a real interesting like this, the us is wild because there's a lot of things that we restrict and kids end up getting into it and like overindulging in it and just be a while. And it's like, you go to these other countries, you go to Italy, you go to places in Europe and it's like, kids can drink wine as long as there's an adult at the table. Like I'm telling you like, well, that kid isn't going to like swing from the chandelier later. Like that's just not how they think about indulging and interacting with things. You look at television, there's nudity in there, like, oh, it's photograph, it's only photographing here because we don't talk about
Delia Gillis (01:02:40):
When you're in Germany, you have new pictures on the magazines when you're coming up to the, to the checkout counter. So it's just a different sensibility. But yeah, no, but the youngest was really excited because he didn't get to go with me displaying the other year and you know, he did, but, but it was good to see him do it so I could see what he can do, what he's exposed to, you know, and suddenly that it's not like, okay, now I'm out of the house and I can do anything. I want to do that. He can do a responsive,
Orion Brown (01:03:14):
Well, you know what? Not only that, I think it's the environment that models it. Like if, if the first time you drink is going to say a high school or a college party where people are just taking it to the head kinds of crazy stuff, it almost becomes the template for what drinking is. And it's like, like me, I love a good cocktail. I can't stand being drunk. I can't stand being drunk, but I love a good cocktail. And so it's just, you know, once you get some space from that and you can be in places where people are doing wine tastings and flights and things like that. And you're like, okay, yes. Sometimes we just split that wine right back out because we do not want to be in a place of off the deep end. And we got formal tastings coming up like,
Delia Gillis (01:04:02):
Well, on the other hand, you can go to the rum tastings in Jamaica and end up being slash no matter how hard you try not to be,
Orion Brown (01:04:11):
Because they show up with the, you go to Appleton. And the first thing they do is they hand you a little cup of you're like, oh, that's a cute blood cup, seven rounds in it. And it tastes like fruit punch. And you're like, oh, it's fine. And then they hand you another one. Cause you've been waiting time. Yo, yo, I love Appleton though. But yes, you need to take the bus back home. You go through black river, a pepper posh trip on the bus on the way back, eat it out of the sandwich bag. It sounds weird. It's so good.
Delia Gillis (01:04:42):
No, we stopped at what Johnson to get patties. But no, we w we tried so hard and I warned them so much not to, but we just kept getting, I know the first one we went, we came for the education. The tour says it's a tour, it's a tour. And that there would be a room tasting. They didn't say anything about the cocktail. They didn't say anything about the rum punch to canter.
Orion Brown (01:05:12):
That's the hospital.
Delia Gillis (01:05:15):
You remember, we go in the, and we can smell it. And then we go to the rum tasting and then they give you the small monitor to take,
Orion Brown (01:05:23):
Wait, so hold up. So when I went, the last time I was in Appleton was probably oh, 8 0 9. And when we finally get to the tasting, y'all, I've already had three rum punches for rum punches during the tour because they just keep like refilling you or bringing you another one, which I almost feel like if you go to any ethnic hassle, I don't even want to say a black household. You going to any ethnic household around the holidays, not necessarily with alcohol, but with food, people will constantly feed you, even though you're like, I can't physically take in all this food. Here's another thing. And here's another thing. And here's another thing. And so it's, I, I feel like it's part of that is really that hospitality. They do get a kick out of seeing you twisted. I ain't going to lie, but you get to the end of it.
Orion Brown (01:06:09):
And they take you. At least they took us into a little saloon area and they had our group, our target was maybe 10 or 12 people. There was a levy full bottles full like 180 mil or whatever you call them. Full-size bottles and Jamaicans don't play. Cause what they do is they take the top off and they throw it out or they crush it. If it's the old metal ones. And the whole idea is you can't close that back up. So you gotta finish it. It's sort of like, you know, you can't leave half a sandwich on the counter. Almost went to heaven. Y'all almost went to go see Jesus. It was that intense.
Delia Gillis (01:06:48):
No, we, I think the last, my last group was in 2018 and we had the pleasure of having joy Spitz, do our class for us. Um, she's the master blended the first black woman Masterblend in the spirits industry. And so my students were on strict instructions to behave. Don't cause don't doubt. But this is what, this is what happened. We're sitting there waiting for her and the bartender keeps giving us cocktails. So we would've been fine if we'd been wanting ushered. And so there was one student said, they said, you know, Dr. Gillis, I think I'm just going to go ahead and sit on the bus because I think I told him I was gonna make them sit out and basically I'm just going to go ahead and sit myself out.
Orion Brown (01:07:33):
You know? Is that yourself a time now where you self-aware is bad?
Delia Gillis (01:07:38):
Yeah, but luckily she came and got us at that moment. Cause I don't think we would have held on for another round of drinks,
Orion Brown (01:07:45):
Always snack at the bar. Y'all always put some carbs down as a base so you can make it through a pace yourself.
Delia Gillis (01:07:52):
No, they kept giving me this
Orion Brown (01:07:56):
Guy drink that water in between. You gotta be like, well I need some water with some line it'll twist. Don't lump put nothing in it. But yeah, it's hard. Cause they'd be so nice. And it's like your auntie coming to you, but like baby number one piece of pie I do. But I can't, I just really,
Delia Gillis (01:08:10):
It tastes like punch. It tastes like punch. And so for the unsuspecting, they think they're just you,
Orion Brown (01:08:17):
This is our history. Y'all when you, if you've ever been to a Greek party, like a black Greek party. And I wasn't even Greek in that way. Like I w I went to a very, uh, yeah, clear school. Um, but GOME, if you've ever gone to a Greek party, it tastes like Kool-Aid, you're done. You're already done once you've tasted it. It's a wrap. It's a wrap. I guarantee you, there is ever clear and Draino and all kinds of craziness in there. And you are going to wake up in the Bush period, period, period, if it tastes good, if you don't get that, whew, because that's what slows you down. It's just like absent for those of you who haven't had absent, you can't guzzle absence because it's so intense. It is so intense. So it's, it makes you slow down. It makes you sip it and enjoy the different nuances of the flavor profile and all that. But man, when it's smooth punches, merge, y'all, don't, don't drink. Don't drink nothing with alcohol. And it just the look,
Delia Gillis (01:09:27):
Well you haven't called, I am mad at all those kids that have been drinking one of the, uh, medicines, because now I can't get my cough medicine because of the, with the coat, you can't get it any more. I'm like, what? And that's the one I need, like I'm not abusing, but you know, the youth have abused it. So it's very difficult to even get a perspective board anymore.
Orion Brown (01:09:49):
Crazy. Because like, with most of those, I don't think they go over like 10, 20% alcohol. I feel like you would do better. Just sneaking a cheap bottle of wine. Yeah. I'm sorry. I'll just, just sneak a cheap bottle of wine. Not that I'm telling you about.
Delia Gillis (01:10:04):
Uh, one of my latest discoveries has been a German bourbon and it's only 30%, but it's smooth. It's a honey bourbon really smooth and it makes for nice. Kopser a nice nighttime.
Orion Brown (01:10:17):
I want a hot potty right now. Back of my throat is like,
Delia Gillis (01:10:21):
Um, yes, a little lemon honey. Hmm.
Orion Brown (01:10:25):
Yeah. That's like a,
Delia Gillis (01:10:30):
Well, yeah, like the Jack Daniels honey, but I forgot we were, we were at a bar called bar crawl and Tulsa. Sorry. Yeah, that's what we do. So there was a bar crawl and they had a wall of whiskeys and I had a girlfriend in town and we're like, okay, well what, you know, let's try one. And it tasted really great. And then before she was leaving town, I wanted to get her some wine. There's a black woman's winery. Urban wines. Yeah. And, oh, what's the one that they have. They have a marshmallow Reese lane. Yes. They have a marshmallow recently and
Orion Brown (01:11:04):
Delia Gillis (01:11:07):
And it's like, we just happened to ask. And because I had been looking for example, for [inaudible] Italian, um, vanilla, Italian bourbon, it's pretty difficult to find the hat that he even knew. I think I've mispronounced it. And he said the right thing. And I said, well, do you have this bourbon? We try last night. So yeah. We kind of walked out with like liquor groceries on a Sunday. We were so excited that we could get anything on this Sunday
Orion Brown (01:11:32):
Delia Gillis (01:11:34):
Yeah, we did. We got to let you know. So, so she had a great time and I sent her home with, you know, with lots of libations.
Orion Brown (01:11:41):
Oh gosh. I, so a, yeah. I'm, I'm just gonna, I'm a holler at you next time. I'm in Tulsa because clearly a model three yourself. I went there for like a church thing. I had brunch, I walked around, but I missed all the, the, the mayhem and foolishness. You know, I want to dip my toes in it just a little bit, just a little bit. Ah,
Delia Gillis (01:12:00):
Just the little things. It's a slow, it's a slower version. It's a slower.
Orion Brown (01:12:04):
No, it's nice. Cause that's when you get to, when you talking about obscure, bourbons is not what you do at a sports bar tossing back like fireball shots and like Jaeger, Meister, right? Like that, those are two very different things and it's experiential and it, I'm not, it's a little, it's a little funny. You told me you ain't met a whole, he told you, I told you I got, look, I got some tendencies because some illusionists that I have,
Delia Gillis (01:12:26):
Well, let me just say the place was not our favorite place, but we walked away with that whiskey. We ended the night at the baka bar with some good food for retro the soul food place. So yeah, it was, it was, it was a moment we were walking around and we were very proud of, we were walking around and we weren't tripping over the railroad tracks. And we got from point a to point B got up and downstairs
Orion Brown (01:12:49):
Through the middle of it.
Delia Gillis (01:12:52):
Yeah. So yeah. So, so, so good old school. We did good. We did good that night. We, we, we, we hang out. We have,
Orion Brown (01:13:00):
And this is what she, you know, y'all, y'all heard it. She was like, I don't really party like that every night. And clearly we need to come kick it with you on your down at chores or come find you and Tulsa. Um,
Delia Gillis (01:13:16):
Orion Brown (01:13:17):
What's your next open tour? Where can we find you?
Delia Gillis (01:13:22):
And as soon as south coast you'll make, I love south coast Jamaica. Um, that's where I've taken my students,
Orion Brown (01:13:28):
Delia Gillis (01:13:29):
Yes. Elizabeth parish is where I've taken my students on seven different trips over 60 some students. So our next, next trip, our next planned trip is in March for spring break. Then we have one in late June, but we're here to customize. And against that, that's what makes us special is that, you know, I've got the Canadian team. We can put together any trip for you, birthday anniversaries, you know, just kicking it, you know, girls going, Ghana, kicking it, you know, with,
Orion Brown (01:14:02):
Can we re, can we roll that back? Girls gone, goanna
Delia Gillis (01:14:06):
Girls gone, done. So
Orion Brown (01:14:08):
That right there And bike and get my life, right?
Delia Gillis (01:14:17):
Yeah. You can come any time. Um, but our website is item travel.com and we're on IgE and Facebook. I don't travel. And it means by his grace,
Orion Brown (01:14:30):
If you can re come back in, uh, slow it down and spell it for us. Cause we slow. We slow.
Delia Gillis (01:14:36):
I don't travel. E Y E as in I Adam, a D O M travel. And that's Canadian. It means by God's grace, because you start a business, you can start a travel business in the middle of a pandemic. It's, you know, truly by his grace and blessings, we just have met so many wonderful people, even being able to come on your show, being in the Tulsa, remote, um, circle. We just have a beautiful circle of people who care and love on each other and build each other up. And when you're in that kind of ecosystem, you know, the sky's the limit. So that's the name of the tour company.
Orion Brown (01:15:15):
And she put it in there for me. Cause I was like, I don't know what she say, girl.
Delia Gillis (01:15:20):
Oh, that's why she's in track. She's a travel, um, uh, meaning ag. Um, she was one of my first clients to come. She's the reason we were partying on Wednesday night because she had just arrived and said, well, you don't have anything else on the schedule for 12 hours. What are we going to do? What do we do? So we found something for her to do so. Yeah. So I love it. That the young people that I have mentored they're out there traveling, uh, Cuba, Tanzania, the middle east, they've gone to places I haven't been, so I have to catch up. So I just really love that. We're talking about people that didn't even have a passport or had never flown before in their life have gone on to continue to travel and make so, so that's my blessing. That's my blessing.
Orion Brown (01:16:07):
That is opening the world up to people that the world is everybody's, it's all of ours, all of ours, you know, and that is beautiful before we close out, because I've kept you over an hour. Like we just kicked it now. Like if we just weren't around late, let me go ahead and pour me another glass. Uh, where is, because you said you've been to 18 different, or you have 18 different stamps in your passport. You've lived abroad, you're going back and forth to Ghana. You have this business around travel, you have this, this worldliness and you understand history and expertise in these places. What is the next place on your bucket list? And I know not everybody has a bucket list necessarily with places plus the next place that you guys want to go.
Delia Gillis (01:16:49):
Well, specifically Sierra Leone, because I've done my African ancestry and I'm to me on my mother's ancestral line. And, um, the Sierra Leone government honors, they have a partnership with African ancestry, which is, I think the only black owned DNA company. And so if you haven't certificate from African ancestry, you automatically are put into the process to get your citizenship and your passport. Obviously you have to pay for those documents, but things like that is the best. That's the best $300 I ever spent. I gave it, yeah. I gave it to myself the other year for, um, my birthday. And so I found out about a year ago that that is my ancestry. And they do do tours to Sierra Leon because I'm in Ghana a lot. I think I'm just going to try and range to, to fly. So I think that's really important. It really meant a lot to my mom.
Delia Gillis (01:17:44):
You know, my mom, you know, just to be, to tell my mom, mom, this is who we are. Um, it means a lot to her. And so that's definitely on my 2022, I do want to spend time in south America and more in the Caribbean and the continent. So wherever you know, sail Tomasz, um, to-go, Beneen, you know, west Africa I've been to Morocco, um, um, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Rwanda. Yeah. I want to get back to South Africa. I have friends. Thank goodness for Facebook, their friends that I've been able to keep up with. Um, one of, one of my friend's daughter who I remember dancing the Marco arena on the table at tiger valley mall.
Delia Gillis (01:18:28):
Yeah. She'd say she's having her second child now. So, so I appreciate Facebook aspect of being able to stay connected to people that have, you know, welcomed me and you know, treated me well when I have visited their country. So I would like to get back to South Africa to see, um, you know, I was there right after president Mandela came president. I'd like, I'd like to go back, but definitely Sierra Leone is on the 2022 list. And, um, doing a couple of programs that would take me around the world, like remote year, where you can go do a different country a month. Um, they have a month program as well as four months. Yes. Yes. You can work remotely. They set everything up for you. You have a co-working space, they find your housing, they curated activities for you. Yeah. Yeah. And I want to go back and get that Damia, but that sounds like fun. You don't have to be an academia for that. It's remote. It's it's not, it's very similar to the Tulsa remote program. Um, yeah. So basically you, you pay around $2,200 a month, but if not, I can rent or lease exactly. Exactly. You can be in south. Like if you like right now, they're doing Lisbon for the month of December. You could be in Lisbon for the month for the holidays.
Delia Gillis (01:19:49):
They had one to Columbia. They've had one to South Africa for a month. They've done one for four months to south America. When you do the year, you do all parts of the world. So you do Asia, Africa, Europe and south America. I'm right now I will close my jacket remote year, remote year, remote year, and then volunteer vacations. If you don't want to do something bougie, if you want to do something low key, um, volunteer vacations is another one that I've been sharing with my students. But ultimately I want to go back and get off another Fulbright. I, you know, COVID took that one away from me. I still want it.
Orion Brown (01:20:26):
That's when you were supposed to get a full bar Fulbright and then you didn't end up going.
Delia Gillis (01:20:31):
Yes. I was selected for a Fulbright teaching opportunity as well as one of my students who is a K through 12 teacher. It was going to be six weeks paid and Ghana for summer 2020. But because of COVID, it was canceled.
Orion Brown (01:20:47):
It was canceled for the next summer.
Delia Gillis (01:20:50):
The professor took a position at a new university and was not able to, you know, make it work or whatever. They didn't have it. And so, again, that was the impetus. I'm like, no, I can't visit on my sabbatical. You took my Fulbright. I can't take no. I'm going to open my own company. Wow.
Orion Brown (01:21:08):
Sometimes it takes those lows to get you to do that thing that you wouldn't have done either way. And now
Delia Gillis (01:21:17):
Two years ago, two years ago, this would have not been the conversation. So
Orion Brown (01:21:28):
Hi, I'm just, I am floored and honored. And just so geek to have chatted with you. You like it, this has been such a rich conversation. Y'all we get political don't let me have some rosy. I won't get political in a second. I just, I can't. Um, uh, but you know, we we've gotten political, we've talked and talked about amazing experiences and connecting with people and the importance of seeing the world. And I'm still on Thanksgiving, seafood buffet. I'm I'm old school. Like I'm just like old country buffet after church. So you telling me it's a seafood buffet and I'm like I'm so there
Delia Gillis (01:22:10):
Lobster, prawns, fresh fish chicken on a beautiful white Sandy secluded
Orion Brown (01:22:18):
Clutching my proverbial pearls. This has been,
Orion Brown (01:22:25):
Go ahead, hit us up, hit up BlackTravelBox tag us. So what's what kind of fun you have it. Um, but, oh my gosh. Thank you so much for joining. This is exactly what wind down is about. It's about having, like, if we was in person, we probably would've had a little rum and some spades going or something Amber station. Um, and so the, the, the, the curse of, of COVID has brought the blessing of these, these zoom calls and these IgG lives. I never would've gotten a live one for a whole pandemonium. I just wouldn't have they my, my life, but this has been so, so great. Thank you so much. We still have, I had, I had, um, travel. Am I saying that right? Yep. Is how it's pronounced and yeah, I am doing travel and I don't travel.com is where we can find out how to go kick it with you and Ghana.
Orion Brown (01:23:26):
I'm just going to read straight through IgG and be like, okay, so what's, what's good in Tulsa because yes, you're welcome. You're welcome. Anytime, come, this has been such a delight, such a blessing. I've had such a good time. Y'all I pulled together my whole second wind. This is the whole second one for the whole day to do this. And I'm so glad I did. I'm about to go take me a shot of NyQuil and have wonderful dreams of seafood dinners and dancing the night away in Ghana under pretty lights. And this was just, this was so great. I hope for you all for listening and watching, if you just joined, come back in a minute, we'll have it on IETV so you can go back and roll with it. There's so many gyms in here. Uh, I hope this was a highlight to your week.
Orion Brown (01:24:13):
There's a reason why we put it on Wednesday, because Wednesday be that point where you like y'all. I don't know if I could make it. I don't know if I can make it Monday. You're like, oh, I don't know. But it's the beginning. Let me keep going by Wednesday is like, I don't know. I don't know. Jesus. And so I hope this was a boost and a bump that you got a minute with us to kick it. I really appreciate you. Um, deli, I just, I, I, I just love your spirit. I'm so glad we got to meet. This was so much fun. Same here. Same here. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate you. Enjoy your beverage. Wait here. Let me hold up. Hold up, hold up. Cheers. Enjoy your beverage with the cider over there. Well, yeah. Thank you everybody that joined us good night. Have a wonderful rest of your week. I hope it is all downhill from here. I think down here it was the right way to say it. It's not uphill. No more work. Just everything comes to you. Just let it roll. Just let it roll. I appreciate you. Thank you so much. Take care. Bye.
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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