Aired: February 2nd, 2022
Audio and Photo Source: Valerie Bell and Instagram
Grab your wine! It’s the only way we know how to celebrate making it through hump day. Today’s Wine Down Wednesday special guest was Valorie Bell. The multi-hyphenate shared with us her travels as an military brat, living in destinations like Latin America and Europe. Valerie also lets us in on her latest business ventures from Airbnb ownership to poetry and life coaching. Of course you’ve got to stay for Valerie’s curates list of foods and restaurants to try based on her latest travels.
Wine Down Wednesday: Valerie Bell
Orion Brown (00:01):
Hello? Y'all I pouring my wine because guess what day it is. I'm not gonna say it's hump day. It is, it is hump day, but it is Wine Down Wednesday. Hi everyone. Come in, let us have a drink. Y'all you see this snow out here? Mm, no, no, no. We are staying inside where it is warm. Having a chill glass of wine, doing what we do. Hey, y'all for those of you who don't know me, my name's O' Ryan Brown. I am the founder and CEO of BlackTravelBox. We are a personal care products company for travelers of color. We make all kinds of dope, yummy things. Make sure that you follow us, um, @blacktravelbox here on IG, or go to our website, theblacktravelbox.com. Yo what's good. What's good. And this is wait, can I get this a nice sound?
Orion Brown (00:57):
Ooh, it's Wine Down Wednesday where I have, mostly drink a glass of wine and watch out. No, I'm just kidding. Um, I created Wine Down Wednesday. Oh, Valerie's here. Yay. Um, I created Wine Down Wednesday as a means for everyone to enjoy my favorite pastime. Thank you sweetheart, which is travel and you know, it's a whole RONA out there. It's a whole, whole RONA uh, I'm. I'm gonna invite Valerie to join. She's gonna be my guest today. Uh, but it's a whole RONA out there we need, we need a moment to just enjoy, right? Like, so we're gonna spend the next 45 minutes or so talking about all things, travel, all things beauty. I'm trying to pull Valerie in where you at. Oh, there you are. Valerie Ashley Bell. That's A real easy screen name, girl. I should have known that. I should have just looked you up. Hey, real queen of diamonds, who the fake queen. Tell me who the fake queen is. I'm so excited. Oh what's good.
Valerie Bell (02:04):
There we go. How are you doing?
Orion Brown (02:06):
What's good. Hello, Valerie.
Valerie Bell (02:08):
Orion Brown (02:08):
How are you?
Valerie Bell (02:11):
I'm well, can you hear me? Yep. I can hear you. I can hear you. Okay, fantastic. Okay. Wait, look, show
Orion Brown (02:16):
Me the twist. I like the, I can't swipe. See the texture, but it looked real
Valerie Bell (02:19):
Cute. Ah, yeah, it's just, uh, something I do when I don't feel like doing my hair for a while. I just put, twist my hair up. That's about it. It looks
Orion Brown (02:28):
Lovely. This is the magic. Thank you. That comes with having textured hair. You can just do some little, do a little something and it looked fabulous. I love it.
Valerie Bell (02:37):
Thank you. I appreciate that. <laugh> you look, you look wonderful as well.
Orion Brown (02:43):
Yes honey. It's me and this filter. We having a good time.
Valerie Bell (02:45):
Orion Brown (02:47):
I'm just kidding. Y'all I mean, I do have the filter on now. I'm not even playing. My skin has turned a whiter shade of pale and I'm like trying to hold on the three spots of melanin. So we go use the filter. That's what we gonna do. Cause y'all see the snow. Okay. Y'all see the snow out here is no joke. I'm so excited to-
Valerie Bell (03:04):
Oh wait. Where are you?
Orion Brown (03:05):
I'm in Denver, Colorado. And it snowed. Okay. Yesterday. And it got 14 degrees, which is not normal here at all. And I'm not feeling it. I didn't sign up for this. I didn't sign up. I signed up for sun. Where are you? You located?
Valerie Bell (03:20):
I'm in Richmond, Virginia.
Orion Brown (03:22):
Oh girl. So you- well, you guys got a cool front going, right?
Valerie Bell (03:26):
Yeah. But this was uh, 60 today. I think's supposed to be 60 tomorrow or this weekend, but then they also tell us it's gonna snow. So I'm not really sure which one is gonna be <laugh> let's just be honest. The weather does whatever it wan't to do nowadays. So
Orion Brown (03:41):
The weather is like, forget you guys. I'm doing what I feel like. Yeah. It's a whole. Exactly. And Jenique just said it's snowing there in Tulsa. She's in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Y'all. It's - as windy, as it is in Tulsa. I don't know that I could take it being snowy and windy that's just too much. That's just way too much. So Valerie, thank you so much for joining. Uh, we have a little tradition. Uh, wait, who said it actually feels like winter in Denver. Yeah. It's not. So here's the funny thing. I'm gonna slide. And then we gonna introduce you. People are like, oh, you are in Denver. That's really cold there. I bet. Ooh. The secret is the secret is y'all it's gorgeous here. Most of the time. It is. I absolutely gorgeous. We get more sun than Florida, like over 300 days of sun and these people out here.
Orion Brown (04:26):
And I say to these people, cuz I was looking out sideways when I moved here six years ago. They're like, we don't have snowplows. What do you mean? You'll have snowplows. You have snow. The sun melts it magically. And I was like, yeah, right. Yeah. Right. In my first two weeks here, February, 2016, it was a blizzard. And I was like, I cannot believe this. And then like four days later, all the snow was gone and I was like, I, what, what y'all the sun is right. The sun is right. Uh <laugh>. So miss Valerie, I would love for you to introduce yourself to everybody. Tell us we know that you're you're in Virginia, but like where are you from versus where you are? If those are two different places. Um, oh boy, tell us what you know what you're doing. Cause I know you got, you got some interesting stuff going on in your life. I love it. I love it. So tell us what you do and then tell us how many stamps you have on your passport. Roughly. It doesn't seem
Valerie Bell (05:23):
Accurate. All right. All right. So my name is Valerie Ashley Bell. I was born in Maryland, but my dad was in the Navy. So I spent seven years in Puerto Rico, uh, Puerto Rico, six years. And right.
Orion Brown (05:37):
You have to, you can't
Valerie Bell (05:39):
<laugh> uh, six years in Sicily. And then we came to Virginia when I was like 13, 14 years old. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I went to high school in King George Virginia came to Richmond just to go to VCU, graduated in '09. I left Richmond at the time cause I absolutely hated it traveled for like five years. Went to Atlanta, went to Brooklyn, New York came back to Richmond in 2014. So it was Richmond home. Eh? Yeah, I guess.
Orion Brown (06:07):
She said if I have to, if I have to say it, I will. What's the place that your heart's in love with though that you've lived,
Valerie Bell (06:14):
Oh, I'm a traveler by heart by nature. Like it's I wanna have like four different houses and all over the country sort of thing. So yeah. I'm there is no home wherever I am is home. That's how I feel about it. <laugh>
Orion Brown (06:26):
I love that. I love that. Yeah. So you've done a lot of traveling. How many stamps do you have? Like do you have like, are you just counting books at this point as opposed to stamps? No.
Valerie Bell (06:36):
No, I actually haven't done too much international traveling as an adult. Um, but I mean, I I'd say about, about five, about five stamps, I'd say about five stamps. Yeah. And
Orion Brown (06:48):
You said as an adult, cause because of the military background, like you, you got to, what was that like being a kid, traveling the world?
Valerie Bell (06:59):
Uh, hindsight. I appreciate it a whole lot. I don't think I appreciate it in the time because you know, you're moving from your friends, you know, I'm not seeing my, uh, I was raised by my dad, so I wasn't seeing my mom in her side of the family often. Um, it was overseas so completely different culture, energy than it is in the United States. Which again, I didn't know until I got here.
Orion Brown (07:22):
<laugh> um, and then you like, y'all weird
Valerie Bell (07:24):
<laugh> yeah, exactly. A little bit backwards. I had to learn that I had to adjust. Um, but I loved it. I mean, I, I love traveling. I love islands. It's wherever there's a beach and some Palm trees and some sun stick me there.
Orion Brown (07:38):
Oh my gosh. I love that. Have you been able to travel at all through the whole pandemonium or have you been keeping it wrapped up?
Valerie Bell (07:46):
No, I've I still travel. I've I've been to Florida at least. I know Florida. Right? I've been to Florida at least, uh, three times.
Orion Brown (07:54):
Aye look, it depends on where you at as long as they don't have their guns out, sun's out guns out. Don't be. <laugh>
Valerie Bell (08:02):
Yep. Uh, Florida, Las Vegas, um, Nasau Nutton uh, where else have I been Tulsa, Oklahoma actually have an Airbnb down in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Um, yeah, just a little, a little bit of everything. That's wherever I can go.
Orion Brown (08:17):
That's awesome. That's awesome. And so obviously like early and, and I also wanna get to what you do because you have, okay. You're a multihyphenate but I wanna ask one quick question. Yes. This, you know, having traveled so early. So I had the opposite experience. I didn't travel until I was an adult. Like the passion, like sometimes the things you have, you have to do as a kid, don't become passions later just because it wasn't your choice, but obviously you have a love for travel. What was the thing that made travel click for you? I believe it was mainly understanding that there's more than one way of living. It just expanded my consciousness and my lifestyle choices. And it let me know that there isn't like one way there's you there's, you're not stuck in a box when you're traveling, you see that, you know, you can do this and do this. You can have these opportunities, but still live this type way. And I know I'm not, I'm being very vague, but there's I say, gimme an example. I wanna know what you've been up to.
Valerie Bell (09:26):
Well <laugh> um, I, I, I guess I'm kind of more of a, I don't wanna call myself a hippie cause I'm definitely not a hippy, but I'm artsy Fartsyy and um, you know, but I'm also can be very wealthy and be artsy Fary and be very frugal and still like live a small house and still have all these other things going on and it doesn't have to mean, oh, just cause I'm wealthy. I have to have this S lavish lifestyle. Um, and just being like humble about what you have based off the people around you in the environment. So, uh, let's see one keen example. Where was I? Uh, where was I? Where was I? No, I was gonna say San Francisco, but I don't think it was San Francisco.
Orion Brown (10:12):
Y'all she travels so much she's like, I don't remember which city it was. It was, there
Valerie Bell (10:15):
Was, yeah, I know. I don't. I can't remember. Yeah. So anyways, there was just like, it expands your mind. It allows you to understand that there's just more than one way of living there's that's just honestly, and
Orion Brown (10:27):
Honestly, that's such a great lesson. Um, because from an exposure standpoint, I'm from Chicago, there was like a narrow set of exposure to you got the Midwest has its own way. And then you got Chicago that has its own way. And then you have like the south side of Chicago and it's one of those things that once I started to explore the world, I was like, for me, it was the threat of how much thing, how much things were the same. Like underlying it, even though it felt very foreign, right? Yeah. Like the core principles of this is so bad. This is gonna make me sound petty y'all. But you know, you see a little baby trip and the baby like, Ooh, and, and you like you and the person next to you who don't speak English are both giggling and be like, oh, that's so cute. You know, just little things like that, where you have a human connection. And it's like, there are things that are so different, but then there's some things that are just so much the same. And it's really fun. Fun to explore that. I love that.
Valerie Bell (11:27):
Yeah. I always say that in every city there's there's a strip club. There's a restaurant. There's a bar. There's a, McDonald's, there's a Walmart. Like wherever you go, it doesn't, you can be, you know, everywhere, a thousand miles away and you still have the same thing. There's still a store. There's still a restaurant. There's still, you know, poor. They're still wealthy. They're it's like you said, it's all the same. And sharing that commonality and bonding on that. Just it's nice. Even if it's just different, it's still there. You still feel it.
Orion Brown (11:56):
And there's some fun universal truths as well. Like the greasiest place is usually the yumiest place. I'm not saying it's healthy, but when it looks sketchy, like the sketchy, like I, you know, you talk about like having, having wealth or like even being bougie or whatever, how they, that kind of comes to life for you. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I am the person that's like, I actually don't really like super high end restaurants. I don't want you to have an a plus. Exactly. Because if you have a plus that flavor, I don't know what that is. Maybe if somebody put, you know, you put your foot in the pot, you can't do that at a plus place. You know, they need to have like a C, maybe a C minus. They just pass and that food y'all yo woo son.
Valerie Bell (12:36):
Yep. Good. Take out food. Uh, DC used to have some great takeout, food, Northeast DC, where it was just like, uh, you know, but that's takeout, food, chicken wings, mumbo sauce, and French fries. That was it. That's what you wanted. I have nothing.
Orion Brown (12:51):
I've never had mumbo sauce and I've heard so many and I need to give some, I know capital city Mombo sauce is a big thing. Now it's a woman, Black woman owned company. I need to hit them up. They wanna send me some sauce. I'll tell you some too <laugh> but uh, I think that might be the Chicago equivalent, like to like mild sauce. We have mild sauce. There is basically like a, a sweet hot ketchup, barbecue type of situation. Yeah.
Valerie Bell (13:16):
Same thing. Mm-hmm <affirmative> yep. You have food, right? I'm hungry. It's dinner time. <laugh> Y
Orion Brown (13:21):
Seriously, every time we do Wine Down, I, I think it's me. I always stir the conversation too. So where was the last place you had a bombass meal when you travel and how did you find a, who hooks you up? You know, how did you get to it? So I'm gonna ask you that, like, cause I could tell you, you appreciate,
Valerie Bell (13:40):
Okay. Oh, absolutely. Okay. I went to Bethesda, Maryland, uh, about a weekend or two ago. Oh my goodness. This place called duck, duck goose has some duck buccatini, some pasta. I didn't even know what it was. Some duck buccatini, some delicious pasta. Ah, so good. So good. Went back there the second night just to get the same thing. Um, but then also, also you always
Orion Brown (14:05):
Good when you're willing to eat it two nights in a row and it's not left over.
Valerie Bell (14:08):
Two nights in a row. Exactly. They also had this crispy trout, the textures that they had on it was like lightly cooked. But the textures, little crunchy, little lemon, little capers on it. Little mashed potato. Yeah.
Orion Brown (14:21):
Girl. Say it again, but say it slow. Go ahead and say so <laugh> there is nothing like a really nice crispy trout. I am that person I'm like, I'm ordering again. This is why you can't take me to nice restaurants. Cause I'm like, so do we have a skin on it? Cause I mean, just again, I need the crunchy. I get the, I get extra loud cuz I'm passionate about that little crunchy layer where all the flavor and the sun duck, duck goose.
Valerie Bell (14:49):
Yep. Beautiful place. Great place. How did
Orion Brown (14:51):
You find that spot?
Valerie Bell (14:54):
Uh, randomly stumbled across. It was near the hotel that I was at.
Orion Brown (14:58):
Okay. So you have good food Juju when you travel, like you just be like, oh what's this and it just, you find great places.
Valerie Bell (15:05):
<laugh> I'd like to think. So we gonna, we gonna go with that. We gonna go with that. I'm
Orion Brown (15:11):
Mad at it. I'm definitely I through season, sometimes I'll randomly find a place and I'll be like, Ooh. And then the next one. Ooh. And then sometimes it's like, that's third meal. I wish I hadn't had <laugh> But I love that.
Valerie Bell (15:26):
I think also -
Orion Brown (15:27):
Valerie Bell (15:29):
I think also if there's a certain hotel spot or place, I feel like all of their food around. There's just good. Mm. You know, like if it's that type of area, it's just like, they're known for just every, everything was good. Cause it wasn't. That was the only restaurant that was good. It's a couple other places. Oh, burrito. Burrito was delicious there too. Burrito
Orion Brown (15:47):
Like burrito, like a little burrito
Valerie Bell (15:49):
Burrito. Yeah. It was a breakfast burrito from a it's called um, dog house. I don't know. Doghouse doghouse. I have no idea was delicious. Yeah. Yeah. But anyways, great food in Bethesda Maryland. I will say that. We'll be going back just for the food.
Orion Brown (16:05):
That's what's up. I'm not mad at that. I'm not mad at that. What have been some like, like when you like, okay, so pick your hotel and you kind of go, okay, this is an area that has great food. What have been some other signals for you when you go to different cities, especially cities you haven't been to before where you're like, this is how I kind of navigate and make sure that I have a great meal experience.
Valerie Bell (16:30):
Mm. I have no idea. <affirmative> I, I don't think there's a formula to it. I just, you know, I guess if I pick a area and I, I, I don't mind driving or traveling to it. If I see a place, um, the reviews, I think I just look at the reviews. I typically like, uh, lamb, salmon. Um, so any place I got LA lamb and salmon and some good review use. I think I'm interested.
Orion Brown (16:56):
So you triangulate, I'm not mad at it. Go ahead, tri. So y'all got some sand we're about some lamb. All right, right. We got at least five star, four star. Okay.
Valerie Bell (17:04):
We can do that. Exactly. Okay. We can work with it.
Orion Brown (17:07):
<laugh> I love that. I love that. What's what's another place like, so now, I mean, it's it's winter now. Are you gonna go on any like warm weather trips? I mean, obviously you guys have moderate weather there, but are you looking for sun and sand anytime soon? Or are you just like, let's keep it local. Let's keep it road trip and it just have enjoy the, the space.
Valerie Bell (17:31):
That is a good question. I thought Tulsa, Oklahoma was going to be more, I'm supposed to be going there, uh, at the end of February, actually. Uh, but clearly it's not <laugh> so, um, no, I, I guess I, no, not really. Yeah, no, no plans yet. If I travel, it'd probably be in spring. Yeah. I'll be in spring, Puerto Rico Bahamas. One of those places. Ooh.
Orion Brown (17:56):
Are those like, so you already said you've been doing Florida a lot. Do you normally do like the Caribbean as like your go to for beaches?
Valerie Bell (18:05):
Yep. Islands. Yep. Stick me on island. Do
Orion Brown (18:08):
You have any favorite places? So for instance, like I went to The Bahamas a few years ago and I had been a couple times before, but really was just very like, you know, staying Atlantis or that kind of thing. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and walking around, especially in NAAU. It's like, obviously it's a very tourist city, but like, do you go off the beat in PA or are you like the, I wanna all inclusive. I go to this place. I know their service is great. Like how do you kind of navigate that?
Valerie Bell (18:37):
I'm one of those people, a little bit of both. I always like both. That's how I am. So give me what the tourists are experiencing, but also give me what the natives are experiencing. So catch a taxi, someone drive me somewhere where I'm not supposed to be <laugh>.
Orion Brown (18:53):
Is that what you say? You just get in the cab and be like, take me somewhere. Be
Valerie Bell (18:56):
Going essentially. Yeah. Take, take me like 30, 40 minutes away from here to see what happens. Ooh.
Orion Brown (19:03):
So what's been some of the most, like, what's been the most interesting journey that you've been on where you just hopped in and said like, let's get, let's get out of the tour. Hysteria, take me somewhere. Cool.
Valerie Bell (19:14):
So Aruba mm-hmm <affirmative> Aruba was nice. It was different little bit drier than I thought. Um, but still really nice. Yeah. I would say, I would say I went to Aruba. It was yeah. Yeah. Some met and some type of cave and mountains are back somewhere that, you know, tourists, people don't typically go Uhhuh, but
Orion Brown (19:38):
So, so you, you hopped in a cab or a Tutut or whatever they have and you're like, take me somewhere. Cool. And they're like, here's a cave
Valerie Bell (19:45):
<laugh> yeah. Pretty much up on this hill on this mountain, go there's this cave. Figure it out. Yeah. I mean, there was a couple people there. I wasn't completely by myself. Yeah. But
Orion Brown (19:55):
Yeah. Was it like nice hiking? Was it beautiful vistas? Was it like, you know, uh, Sinnot like little swimming areas, like what's what would, what made that like a memorable experience for you?
Valerie Bell (20:10):
Honestly, I think it was the fact that I, it was drier than I thought. Um, that's what stood out to me, honestly. Um, but yeah, it had some very tropical areas. It was quiet. It felt very quiet. I feel like when I went there, wasn't a lot of people. So I feel like it just was like this open space. It was quiet. It had a mixture of both going on. So yeah. Lots of, lots of, um, iguanas. I remember that a whole lot. Just, just everywhere. I do remember that they
Orion Brown (20:42):
Gimme the willies a lot. They're cute. But they gimme the wills.
Valerie Bell (20:46):
Yeah. And then the place that I was in had like this, a hole in the middle of the, the house where you can like shower outside. So that was nice. Ooh, nothing like showering outside, you know, like, but inside the house, but outside. Yeah.
Orion Brown (21:00):
So it was just like a, was it like a, I don't know, like a, a four seasons kind of thing, but it was a, no it actually, but a shower or
Valerie Bell (21:08):
It was, it was someone's house. It was like someone's house that they had built a, a really nice house. Yeah.
Orion Brown (21:14):
And they put a shower in the middle and just opened up the roof.
Valerie Bell (21:18):
Yeah. It was like, it was like a donut shaped house and there was like a hole in the middle. So like the, it was like a open patio space right in the middle. So you can like barbecue cook a shower, uh, you know, just like whatever. It was very strange, but I, I loved it. How did you find
Orion Brown (21:34):
Valerie Bell (21:36):
One of my friends found it. Yep. I'm not one of those people. I don't typically find the places. Yeah. Not for real someone. Else's. Yeah. So was an
Orion Brown (21:45):
Type of thing or
Valerie Bell (21:47):
At the time, this was years ago. Um, I don't even know if Airbnb was a thing or
Orion Brown (21:51):
Airbnb thing. Like, like, did you rent the place from somebody or were you staying with
Valerie Bell (21:55):
Yes. Yes. Rented the place from someone? Yes. Oh,
Orion Brown (21:58):
Nice. A donut shape house that you can barbecue and take showers in the middle.
Valerie Bell (22:03):
<laugh> in the middle. I'm
Orion Brown (22:06):
At it. I'm not mad at it all. So you clearly have a real passion for travel and really love it. How has that kind of translated to what you do? Like as your career, or have you found ways to make your career drive more travel? Tell us a little bit about what you do and how it relates.
Valerie Bell (22:27):
Hmm. That's a good question. Um, so what I do, eh, like you say, it's a bunch of HS, um, author. I, I love writing. I've been writing since I was 14 poetry books and started going in directions and self-help books, uh, life, coach, business consultant. So just helping people figure it out, whether they're business owners, whether they want to become entrepreneurs, just helping them figure it out. And other than that, it's just a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I just little sprinkle everything, some real estate. Um, yeah. I don't even know. I don't even know where to begin. So traveling. So what I used to wanna do was travel a whole lot and go see clients, go see clients, visit them at their own place, their different homes or whatnot. Hang out with them for a couple days a week. You know, that sort of thing. Not so much anymore. Um, as I've gotten older, I'm nah, I'm good with this virtual. I do still like in person, I still want to travel, but I think my traveling is more, it, it would be more for networking with people than it would be for concretely doing business, uh, meeting different people from all different walks of life. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, yeah, that, that's what I'd say. It's, it's more, more of that nowadays when I travel and just fun. Leisure. Yeah. Just leisure.
Orion Brown (23:58):
Well, it sounds like, you know, writing and consulting that gives you a lot of flexibility. Like you can kind of do that from anywhere.
Valerie Bell (24:07):
Yeah, exactly. That's why I've traveled a whole lot. And I was able to still maintain my, my business. Yeah.
Orion Brown (24:15):
And so I always ask this because I'm, I'm still figuring out I'm very comfortable in my home space. I'm not gonna lie. I'm one of those people that I'll take trips multiple of times a year, but like, there's nothing like sleeping in my bed cuz it's got my booty marks in it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and just, you know, it's just right. But that being said, I find it fascinating. And especially during COVID, a lot of people have taken what I would consider, like working sabbaticals, where they just like go off somewhere and in Mexico for a year or stay, you know, go off to the islands. And then we hear, you know, we hear things like Barbados giving people three month visas at the beginning of COVID and being like, come here, we don't have any COVID we got your, we got our phone lines up. Do what you gotta do. Yep. So I personally don't believe that I would have enough qua to keep my tail off the beach and like in front of my laptop and actually doing work. How do you balance that? Especially having so many hyphens, like how do you balance the many things that you have your hands in and still are able to like show up and be present in these locations? When do travel
Valerie Bell (25:29):
Typically when I'm traveling now it is off time for me. It's it's off time. I have downsides my business where, you know, I might have maybe two or three clients, uh, writing is, you know, I can write anywhere, take my laptop or tablet with me. But for the most part, just scheduling out blocks of time saying like, okay on Tuesday, this is what I'm gonna do on Tuesday and Wednesday. These are the hours I'm gonna work on contacting clients or getting back to them or just, you know, business hours where they can call me and that sort of thing. Just blocking out time. I think that's the most important thing.
Orion Brown (26:08):
And so it's but there's a discipline that's oh, you froze on me. You froze on Mesis y'all is she frozen for you too? I can't tell. Hopefully it's not me. Hey y'all I saw y'all just come in Marla. McGoo love roses. Hey candy. Can a, a Courtney. A oh, I can hear you now. You're back. You froze. Well, I don't have you in my headsets now, but can you still hear me? I can hear you. Yeah. Okay, cool.
Speaker 3 (26:44):
Orion Brown (26:46):
<laugh> yeah. So you froze just as you start. <laugh>
Speaker 3 (26:49):
Really wait, I say,
Orion Brown (26:52):
I've been talking to folks in the chat. I'm like, Hey, how y'all doing? We just gonna wait. I see the most spin day. Oh, So you said it, so does it take discipline or is it something you just, you know, you enjoy having like the variety of some work in the day and some, some play?
Speaker 3 (27:10):
Uh, it, yeah, it takes discipline. Some organization definitely should have like a, a calendar, a planner, a book of some sort. And just, uh, whether it's you go week by week where it's like, okay, this type of work I'm gonna do this week and the next week come do this type of work or you just kind of break it up into Monday, Wednesday. This is what I do Tuesday, Thursdays. This is what I do. So, mm. Um, yeah, an accountability partner that helps <laugh> that always helps. So
Orion Brown (27:37):
Now do you have a business partner that's an accountability partner or you have friends or other folks, like how do you find a good accountability, especially when you trying to kick it? <laugh>
Speaker 3 (27:48):
Um, I, I have a business partner or colleague shall say, we're not really partners, but he's been around for about 10 years. And, um, you know, weekly, we have conversations. He's like, what are you doing? And I'm like, what are you doing? Okay. So this is what I'm working on. All right. This is what I'm working on. Just to having someone to talk to about what you're doing. And then they're like, oh, well you mentioned that thing a month ago. Have you started doing it? I'm like, oh yeah. Okay. I probably should start doing that. You know, that's just phone calls. <laugh> just kind of keeping up with social
Orion Brown (28:17):
Pressure. Peer pressure is
Speaker 3 (28:18):
Good. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Orion Brown (28:23):
That's awesome. That's awesome. You mentioned that you write poetry. Um, how much of your sort of travel experience has been brought into that? Does it come into your creative process or is it something that you really keep separately?
Speaker 3 (28:40):
No, I'll be honest. Most of my poetry is just some raw emotional stuff. It's typically love relationships whenever I'm feeling the, the woes and the woos and the yearn and in the longings. That's typically when I write. So, um, yeah, that, that's, that's my poetry writing wise. I, I feel like the books that I've been writing recently is self-help books. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> have a lot to do with what I witness and experience beyond just like home life. So when I travel and I witness, you know, poverty or different people living this way and the wealthy doing this, it just gives me a perspective so that I can streamline my knowledge and insight and intuition to share that with other people. So they kind of have like a guideline on what to do to make their life more holistic and more fulfilling and more successful. So I, I hope that makes sense.
Orion Brown (29:34):
No, it totally does. Like, and, and I, I think, you know, it, it does, if you pay attention, when you travel, it does make you wax philosophical, whether you're a writer or not right where you notice stuff and you are like, Hmm. So you start getting into the meaning of life type thoughts, or just even like, do I need all the things that I think I need or, you know, all of that. Can you talk a little bit about in your writing and how you're getting people to think about this? What are some of the ways that you're giving them that perspective without them having been on the trip with you, without them having seen the same things, like what's your way in to help give them that lens?
Speaker 3 (30:17):
So particularly the self-help book that I'm been, but also still tweaking. Cause I feel like a writer you're never done tweaking your work. Um, the universal truths, food shelter, uh, government education, money technology, we all can relate to those things. So when I talk about them, I make it so that there's, I always talk about this end of it and this end of it. So whoever we typically fall somewhere in that spectrum, whether you're on the poor side, rich side or whatever it is like you fall on the spectrum of things. So I talk about it in that way. I always talk about both sides of it, so that anyone and can figure out where they are on that spectrum. And when I'm giving the information, I might give a little bit of examples, um, to tie into what's happening with society. Um, again, being vague cuz I'm, I'm a generalist and to, so my books kind of have a general, uh, general filter cause they're are philosophical. So I try not to go too in detail so that they're applicable to most people. But I, I just, I think being able to paint both sides of a spectrum allows people to find their space in the middle.
Orion Brown (31:38):
I like that. And, and that idea of your philosophy, your values, the way, way you view and translate the world is what's important. Not the details of any particular situation. That's
Speaker 3 (31:51):
Exactly the fundamentals, the universal truths that I'll never go away, all the stuff that we share as human beings, but we need to live and survive. And, and so Horman traveled to me is honestly one of them, you know, I really do put you travel is one of them should be,
Orion Brown (32:06):
It's an incredible form of self care and an incredible way to socialize you to the world and UN socialize or de socialize. We gonna pretend one of those is a word, but to take away feel like it's,
Speaker 3 (32:18):
I feel like it's always both it's
Orion Brown (32:20):
But it to take away what you believe the social construct is because it's, it changes where you go and you know, different places, you get to be different versions of you. I love that. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (32:33):
You said that perfectly. I like how you said that. Yeah.
Orion Brown (32:36):
I love travel. I'm passionate about it. I love it. It's it's that? It's that splash in the face of fresh water to remind you you're here. You're here right now. That's just in a moment. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (32:48):
Here experiencing something. Enjoy it. Yep. You're not in this autopilot space. Like you actually are taking in new things. Senses, smells, taste, you know? Yep. I totally understand that.
Orion Brown (33:01):
And you say you also do life coaching. So are you a, are you taking the same things like the same philosophical tact as you have in the books? Or is it more like tangible and grounded and like situational? Like how do you, what is it that you do with your coaches? Mentees? I don't know what you call clients. Clients. Okay. I know you're calling either.
Speaker 3 (33:22):
<laugh> um, I,
Orion Brown (33:29):
Oh, no, she froze. Ah, technology's not trying to let us be great today. Y'all I say hi. Hey. Oh, Hey, Angela came in. Hey girl. Yes, you do. You do need to travel more. You should come with me to Mexico. I'm going in two weeks. Uh, Hey Kara. Hey, y'all thanks for joining. Well, hopefully, hopefully she'll come back soon. Valerie, come back soon. In the meantime, if y'all don't know me, my name's O' Ryan Brown. I'm the founder of CEO of black travel box. Oh man. We lost her. She gonna come back though. Uh we're we're at travel, ready? Personal care brand for travelers of color. And this is wind down Wednesday. If you don't know black travel box, go up to the top. You see black travel box. That's probably on this side for you and say, and, and follow us and say, hello. We are all about that travel life.
Orion Brown (34:19):
And just as Valerie and I were talking about this idea that ch travel is so integral, I think, to the human experience and it can give you such great perspective. Hey, you back you back. I know, right? There we go. I was just tell everybody, like, I, you know, one of the reasons why I, you know, I do wind down is because travel gives you such great experience and it is so integral to, to having, uh, you know, new perspectives within that human experience. Instead of just having that place that you, you grew up or, you know, you've always been. Um, and so, yeah, I love that you were kind of getting into that. You froze though. I didn't get to hear the whole thing. Yeah,
Speaker 3 (34:59):
It though. It's fine. So we're in Mexico. I heard you say, you're going to Mexico with part of Mexico.
Orion Brown (35:03):
I'm going to Mexico city. So I turned 40 in two weeks and I said, you know what? We about to go, just kick it somewhere, just kick it somewhere, have a fresh face. Um, I've never been to Mexico city before. I've mostly been to like the beach areas. You could Tampa, peninsula, that kind of thing. And so I'm really excited to get some of the historical Mexico. And then you've got places like T T walkon and these other places that I'm like, I might just wanna go up a, a my pyramid. I don't know. We'll see. Or ink. So we'll see how it goes. Yeah.
Valerie Bell (35:40):
Have you been Mexico? No, I was gonna say it's on the bucket list. I've been to Casa mail, Mexico, but I was a cruise and we just kind of got off there, you know, wandered around for a little bit, but I haven't like been in Mexico.
Orion Brown (35:54):
Yeah. I Viva LA. Yeah. I love, I love Mexico because I don't know. There's just something about like, particularly as you go down the Yucatan peninsula. So that's where most people go. Kamel is at the top. Cancun is on the mainland and then you work your way down. Riviera might like, to me, Kamel is we wanna party it's fruity drinks. Right. <laugh> and then Cancun is like, but also let's do some water sports. Let's have some fun. It's like very recreational, little bit more family friendly. And then you go further down and you get in places like Riviera may that's like honeymoon territory, right? Like where you just like, we're gonna go to an all inclusive. We gonna eat at the nice restaurant on the, on the resort. <laugh> and then you get further down and you get into Tulu and Tulu before COVID I will say, cuz Tulu now is the hotspot.
Orion Brown (36:48):
Like it is the club. It is the da club right now. I don't know EV every black person on the planet got like a siren call and I just missed it. But like, everybody was tu them over, over the RO break. I'll call it. Um, and tuum, you know, they have amazing beaches. Like, you can go on the beach, you can rent a hut and sleep the night on the beach. They're raised up, but you can go like rent a place on the beach. There's a beautiful son, no taste in different places. You can go and like find caves and go swimming and little watering holes. And it gets like, really, I would say like the more rugged part, obviously not the club. Cause clearly the club's a whole different thing, but um, and then as you kind of come further in Lany, you can tan that's when you start getting sort of like the jungle Oasis type villas and, and stuff.
Orion Brown (37:39):
And it's like quiet and you got a big pool and you just enjoy in the space. So I'm really excited to get to like central Mexico and see the art and the history and, and those other pieces that, you know, typically beach I'm like, don't tell me nothing about no politics. I don't wanna read no books. I'm sorry. I, I don't. I, so some people read on the beach. I'm like, mm-hmm no, my brain is just gonna listen to the ocean right now. That's what, that's what we gonna do. And we might get a massage while we listen to the ocean. That's all we gonna do. So, um, I highly,
Valerie Bell (38:08):
I enjoyed hearing you talk about Mexico. I, yeah, you're very knowledgeable. I was, I was like, I could just listen to you. Just talk about Mexico. I was like, okay, you seriously? It was nice. You're very knowledgeable it nice. I
Orion Brown (38:21):
I'm just passionate about it. I love it. And you know, it's and I've been different places. I've been diving there. Y'all wait, hold on. Side note. So me and my ex-husband called ourselves hustling, cuz we wanted to go diving and we got one of those people at the airport stopped us. And they're like, if you come listen to this presentation, you'll get free dive tanks. <laugh> and dive tanks are like a hundred bucks cuz you're, I mean, one you're paying for life it's air. Right? And the tank is heavy and all the equipment and stuff. And so we're like, cool. We'll listen to this hour. Long presentation ago. When I tell you this man, this dude got up in our faces and was like, you're not gonna get, we almost got a condo. That's the crazy part. It was one of those like time shares mm-hmm <affirmative> and I'm gonna come back to your question back.
Orion Brown (39:03):
Is it blacken? Wait, is that blacken girl? Is that what you put your name as? Wait, is it, is it black? <laugh> I'll talk about Mexico city in a second, but um, yeah, we sat through this whole and we were actually considering, we were like, we weren't trying to buy nothing, but this sounds pretty dope. And the dude messed up and said y'all would be stupid if you didn't take this offer. And I was like, you are not about to insult me to get money outta me. And I will take my taste down and we went to we a beautiful dive and it was so good. It was so beautiful. So a beware, but two y'all can get a free dive out of it if you play your cars. Right. Um <laugh> so go ahead, get your, get your Patty certification and go dive in.
Orion Brown (39:45):
Okay. Safety in Mexico city. I don't know about safety in Mexico city. I'm not even gonna lie. But one of the things that I think about is how, how much of our American fear is predicated on news sources, stereotypes. And he said, she said type stuff, right? So I'm from Chicago. People call it Chira, all these different things. And you're like 372 people just, just that this weekend. And it's just like what the, it sounds crazy, but the, the way that they position it and I really do take offense to it. I really, really do just personally, because the way they position it, it's like this, the most dangerous place on the planet. I have not heard a bullet or a gunshot since I was a kid in Chicago and I go all up and through the south side, like I, I, that doesn't mean they're not there.
Orion Brown (40:38):
I'm not denying the stuff that's going on, but it's one of those things that people, especially if they don't know anything about it, especially if maybe they're from other cultures, they'll be like, you know, I was in Chicago. I wouldn't go near the south side. It's just, it's so scary. And ultimately, you know, if you actually look at the math and look at the St it's like, it's probably scarier to go to St. Louis. I would still go see the arch, but you know, so when I think about places like Mexico city and others, what I do is, and when I think about safety, I do two things. One I find out if there's people there that I know, because if they're navigating it and they're comfortable, there's a high likelihood that I can navigate and to be comfortable. Um, and then two, I just look for like major red flag stuff.
Orion Brown (41:21):
So I always look, state department website, doesn't matter where I'm going outside of the country. Just type a glance at it because they'll tell you if some really crazy is happening. And if there isn't really crazy, it won't be there. So it makes us like three people were shot in Mexico city and it's like, you know, five people got shot up the street here. Like not to be funny about it. And it's sad when these things happen, but my soapbox is don't be so afraid of the world based off of hearsay. Cuz oftentimes it's just that, you know, we've vilify the country south of us for so many reasons. Um, and just remember that we're the Mexico for Canada.
Valerie Bell (42:01):
Orion Brown (42:05):
So that's all I got to say about that.
Valerie Bell (42:07):
Well, that's nice. I like that.
Orion Brown (42:10):
How do you kind navigate safety and, and going to different cuz like even in the states I feel like it's different places. Like we hear stuff and like neighborhoods, Ooh, that place is sketchy again. I think the sketchy places have the best food. That's just me. How do you kind of think about that? Do you travel in groups? Do you travel solo? How do you kind of get your head wrapped around safety? Or did your daddy teach you Kung food and you just bad me? Yeah. Cause you know, got a military dad. You like, I know how to kill a man 12 away. So I don't even really care
Valerie Bell (42:40):
<laugh> um, again, it's a combination. I honestly don't really think about safety when I travel and I probably should. I'm one of those people I'm like LA LA LA LA LA um, fill it out. I mean yeah, by my spicy senses, go off then I'm kind of like, uh, you know, might need to do something different, but <laugh> that's other than that point,
Orion Brown (43:03):
Because me get so wrapped up, like, you know, you're traveling, I'm looking for my phone, I'm look, I'm in the phone right now looking for the phone. Cause I'm gonna pick it up. But you know, don't be oblivious to your surroundings. Cause when you you're completely oblivious, then you can't listen to your spider senses. But if you've ever been anywhere, you know, I, I feel like I know when somebody's up on my back, like somebody's following too close or somebody's staring at me. Um, and you don't have to be in fear, but you have to be aware enough of your surroundings to even be able to notice those. But once you're aware, God gave you that voice. <laugh>
Valerie Bell (43:39):
Exactly. I feel like the more you travel, just like anything you pick up different skills, observation skills, senses of what's going on around you and like what's okay. What's not okay. You're being taken advantage of with this or that. Or you gotta pay, you know, just kind of filling it out. You're like, okay is weird. Or this is okay. Just based off of how much you travel. Yeah.
Orion Brown (44:01):
Yep. That's so true. That's so true. And to, so Angela just popped in, she said some stuff happened with her friend in Columbia, cousin in Mexico. I'm sure those things happen. I do wanna know. I wanna hear the tea girl. I wanna hear the tea. Um, but we hear stuff happen all the time. You go to an Airbnb and then somebody breaks in at two in the morning and like they had the key cuz somebody's uncle, you know, trifling. I, I, I have to put it that way. It's it really is. I think we forget when we are in spaces outside of the states that if you, if y'all ever had any trifling family or friends at any points in your life, those are people that are cookie cut in all kinds of cultures. So doesn't matter if they look different, speak differently, it's things like, okay, so you gave me the Airbnb, I'm gonna make sure all the windows are closed and I am gonna look around and see if there's any cameras.
Orion Brown (44:48):
I know that I can't find everything. I'm not, not gonna be paranoid about it, but I'm gonna take a good look and I might be, you know, mindful of what I do in, in public rooms and things like that. Yeah. Um, but you still can't. I, I heard a story of a young lady that do came in through like they thought he got in through the window and found out he had a key cuz the owner gave the person a key and came in on like four girls in the middle of the night and they all ran out and left. Cuz they were like, you can't like, that's not, you can't be doing that at two in the morning. And, and those things do happen. So you just, you know, that's when that's, when it come in handy, I got my pepper spray y'all it looked like a flashlight security never takes it. I'm just gonna give y'all that tip. That first one's free. So, so, uh, black said, Val, you are such a vibe. Everybody's trying to be your friend. <laugh>
Valerie Bell (45:38):
Wait, is this black? Wait, is this who I think it is? I think it is who I think it is who that is. It's Rachel, who is Rachel <laugh>
Orion Brown (45:48):
Now you, you have the fess up now we're on a delay. So she probably, is it?
Valerie Bell (45:53):
Yeah. Yeah, it's fine. But
Orion Brown (45:55):
Even still, even still, I mean, I love, I love the depth in which you think about stuff. And I think that, you know, uh, it is really cool that you're taking this world travel experience and I know it's not just world travel. It's also philosophy. And how you approach things, it's it <laugh> yes. Fran <laugh> I love it. Um, it's also, you know, taking that own philosophical point, but I can't help, but think that having experienced the world at a young age helped develop that. And there's a lot of people who don't get the chance to, and even like in their own backyard. I mean, honestly there parts of this country does foreign as, I don't know what, like some of y'all y'all go drive through Utah for a minute. Just go it's it's crazy. Culturally. Um, you know, terrain rock wise is very different than a lot of places. Like there's a lot that you could do. And I love that. You're bringing that to people and helping them get that perspective. So thank you for doing this. Do I encourage
Valerie Bell (46:58):
People to tra I encourage people to travel all the time. I'm like, please go somewhere. Even if it's just like a couple hours away, please go somewhere. <laugh> once I know that they haven't been anywhere, I'm like, where's the furthest you travel. I'm like, please do it.
Orion Brown (47:12):
Just, just to try it. Even if you hate it, at least, you know, you hate it. You know
Valerie Bell (47:16):
Orion Brown (47:18):
Aw, man, you just left Denver. Ah <laugh> so tell everybody, where can we find you? Where can we get up on your writing? Where can we get up on your life coaching? Where can we, where can we, you know, stalk your travels and find out the next great place you eat at? Cause you know, I'm gonna be stalking cuz you got that good. You got that, that good food vibe. So now I'm gonna have to be like, where's she eating now? Let me put this on my Google map.
Valerie Bell (47:42):
See, now that you said that, I feel like I probably should share. I don't share enough. I wanna, those people, honestly, I'm, I'm kind of quiet little introvert. I don't share too much. I be doing a whole lot. And then I'm like, oh, I guess I should share. Um, but now that you mentioned that, you know, I guess I'll share a little bit. Um, but uh, let's see my website, uh, Valerie, Ashley, bell.com a bunch of stuff up there. Podcast meditate, my books, uh, some online courses that I have, uh I'm on Spotify, anchor, SoundCloud, Amazon, all of this stuff. She
Orion Brown (48:20):
Said I got stages and stages y'all I got stages all of the stage,
Valerie Bell (48:25):
You know, just making it easy for people, just, just building, you know, but yeah, I'm, <affirmative>, I'm out there. Just look for Valerie, Ashley, they'll type it in. If something will pop up.
Orion Brown (48:34):
I love that. I love that. And you have a podcast. What do you, what do you talk about on your podcast?
Valerie Bell (48:39):
Oh boy, that's rough. Um, I'm getting there. So yeah. You know how you just start something you're like, all right, just start, we'll figure it out year from now. I'll look back at it and be like, mm, I don't know what I was thinking, but um, I talk about a variety of things and this year I'm kind of going through the manifestation process of like thoughts first and then, uh, feelings and words and actions and just kind of going through that. So it's a variety of things probably about once a week I pick a random topic. I have this long list and it's kind of close my, I be like, okay, today I'm talking about clothing. All right. So let's talk about clothing, uh, or diversity or whatever. It, it varies. I
Orion Brown (49:21):
Love that. It's just
Valerie Bell (49:22):
Your deep thoughts. It's on Spotify. It's your it's
Orion Brown (49:26):
Valerie Bell (49:26):
I like that. It's just my deep thoughts. Yeah, just me talking to the ether. <laugh>
Orion Brown (49:31):
But you're not talking to the either because you have a platform. I mean, and for being a person that like, I don't love, I'm not gonna lie. Y'all don't love being on camera. It makes me nervous. I always feel nervous before I start. And then I have so much fun with you. And I, I appreciate like y'all feed my soul every week, but the reason why I made it a wind down Wednesday was so I could drink and relax. Cause that was the only way I would get myself to do it. And now I've been doing it since June of 2020. I've been doing this, um, most Wednesdays unless I was sick or somebody canceled on me and I punked out cuz early in the days I was like, mm-hmm I'm not gonna be able to do nothing there y'all y'all cancel on me. We just not gonna do it.
Orion Brown (50:14):
So it's been, it's been a labor of luck. Oh, she's she froze again. Y'all but for those of y'all who are listening in, thank you for riding with me. <laugh> definitely ride with it. Froze up again. Oh, you're back you're back. Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Yep. Yep. I was just thinking everybody for riding with me on that journey and they definitely need to ride with you on yours and listen into your podcast. If nothing else. I think one of the best things in the world is to hear how another person is process and similar things that you're going through. Just so you're not hollering at yourself in your head. You know what I mean? So yeah. Yeah. Listen to her manifest. Y'all <laugh>
Valerie Bell (50:58):
There you go. There you go. We're all part of this collective consciousness. We just need to be more honest about it. So yeah, you're talking, you're doing this, you're sharing, I'm talking, sharing. Everyone's just kind of vibing out. Like Rachel said, you know, we're just kind of vibing, which is good. It's really good to share that energy.
Orion Brown (51:16):
Totally, totally. And I appreciate you sharing your energy with us. I really love, I just I'm I'm really on the philosophy kit, cuz it's hard to get people to think about you, not the specific situation, but the, the way in which you approach life and what that means and how that sort of comes through. So I love that you're spreading that and sharing that and I'm so appreciative that you came and kicked it. Oh God. Y'all she froze again. Rachel, you still there are you following us? You need to come back next Wednesday. Melody, Elliot a was good new beginnings. I don't know why I thought I said new beginnings and then I was like, that's not right, but Hey y'all thank you so much for joining. We're gonna wrap up. It has been such a pleasure. Uh, we lost Valerie technology. Not trying to let us be great, but you know what?
Orion Brown (52:08):
We're gonna be great. Anyway. I hope y'all had a good time. Thank you so so much for kicking it coming every week. I see y'all that's in here every week. Love you. Thank you so much. Y'all have seen the uh, the, the, to video where it's like to all my people, to the six people who be liking my posts, which y'all need from gas station. That is you. I appreciate y'all so much check out black travel box. Um, make sure you tap, you tap on us. Um, check out what we're doing. There's some really cool stuff happening you guys. And come back again next week. Cuz we gonna be talking about travel. We gonna be talking about food. Y'all already know if y'all, if this is your first time <laugh> you can probably see the first thing I'm last is like, so, so what a good food and.
Orion Brown (52:54):
So that's always gonna be a part of it. Um, the experiences and just sharing and getting excited. Yes, Valerie. I'm so sorry we lost you, but thank you so much for coming. You blessed me this week. I know you blessed the audience thank you'all so much. Have a wonderful week. It's all downhill from here in the best way. Come on. Like Jamaican Bob sell team is going fast and furious baby. And next week we'll be back to do it again. I got my Chardonnay. I can't wait to see you guys again. My name's O' Ryan. I will see you next week. Follow black travel box and I'll see you there. Take care. Bye.
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