Afros and Passport Stamps

Standing by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda!

So I am pretty used to getting looks, stares, pointed at, and asked for pictures in almost every country in SE Asia because of my hair and skin color, but Myanmar (Burma as the English call it) surely takes the cake as the most intriguing people. Myanmar has been shut off from tourism for so long, I mean just as early as 2010 was it safe for people to freely engage with Myanmar. So it’s not really their fault that they do not know what’s going on outside of their country. I arrived in Yangon, Myanmar the second to the last day of their water festival called Thingyan. Now I had previously been in Thailand during Songkran, and I got drenched everyday all day, but Thai people have NOTHING on the Burmese people when it comes to the water festival activities. In Thailand it seemed more commercialized and gimmicky, but in Myanmar it was definitely more about the rituals and people just having fun and anticipating a great new year!

These guys had just poured water buckets all over me!

Thingyan usually lasts about three to five days, and guess what…this year it lasted five just so that I could spend a few extra days getting drenched! LOL! It is customary to throw water on everybody that walks past, because it is seen as a cleansing ritual to prepare you for the next year. Only the elderly and monks are safe from this practice…although there were plenty of old folks who threw water on me *side eye* but it’s all in good fun!

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Sometimes when you go looking for peace, you find it! I loved this man’s regal elegance.

 

I remember as soon as I hit the street early on the last day of Thingyan, which was my first full day in Yangon and people stopped dead in their tracks and just pointed. Now I mentioned before that I have seen this before, but the Burmese people were not shy! There were truckloads of people yelling for me, and I didn’t even realize it until a group of tourists I was walking around with shouted at me to pay attention to the locals LOL! I had so many Burmese women try and give me betel nut (an addictive stimulant much like tobacco or caffeine) to chew and clay powder to put on my face, but I firmly had to tell them no each time. I even had one woman come up behind me, pull me back and try to forcibly put betel nut in my mouth…I mean the Burmese people were not shy when it came to wanting pictures or just the obvious stares. I took a video of ONE man taking pictures of me with THREE different phones, now that just blew my mind!


By the time I got to Myanmar I gave up on trying to tame my fro, so it was flying high and mighty! One woman told me that they would have to pay a lot of money for something that I have naturally. I spent four days at a Buddhist monastery called The Bar Wa Centre and the buzz surrounding my fro just kept going! It had been my dream to stay at a Buddhist monastery and learn more about Buddhism and meditation, and these monks and nuns were asking about ME!?! Like all this ruckus because of me and my fro? I didn’t know it at the time, but I was diving into a deeper level of self-love!


I can’t tell you how much I love my skin AND hair after my experiences in Myanmar! I believe this is the country, along with its people, that helped me appreciate my natural beauty; and realize that I can love the way I look and not conform to what society’s idea of what beautiful is! I love me, my black skin, and big afro! Afros and passport stamps forever!

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When I finally let my hair be wild and free!
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Best of Singapore in 3 Days

Bless my heart I didn’t know what I was getting into when I went to Singapore…it’s the most expensive SE Asian country that I’ve encountered so far. The Singaporean dollar was on par with the Australian dollar which for a backpacker’s wallet isn’t the nicest. I used Singapore as a long layover and spent three and a half days there, but got to see almost everything I wanted to. Singapore actually isn’t that very big, less than 5.7 million people live on this tiny island which happens to be one of the world’s richest countries…who knew?

Fun fact…I actually learned how to use my camera correctly in Singapore. I was there in late March so it took me being three months on the road until I figured it out, but watch out now! You would’ve thought I was a professional, so I will take you on a picture display of why you should go to Singapore. I hope you enjoy!

 

Gardens by the Bay!
Gardens by the Bay!
Cloud Forest in the Gardens by the Bay
Cloud Forest in the Gardens by the Bay
Cloud Forest
Cloud Forest
"La Famille de Voyageurs" at the Flower Dome
“La Famille de Voyageurs” at the Flower Dome
Supertree Grove in the day.
Supertree Grove in the day.
Supertree Grove at night.
Supertree Grove at night.

Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer
The famous Merlion statue!
The famous Merlion statue!
The Marina Bay Sands hotel

Travel is Therapy

So many people have been asking me how and why I travel, but I think it’s best to start with the why…many people have different reasons why they travel. I think one of my main reasons is that it is a humbling experience for me. In America everything is given to us, no matter how poor you may think you are, go to a favela in Rio, Brazil, or to a remote village in Yangon, Myanmar and then talk to me about being poor. At least our government will step in and provide assistance, these countries don’t necessarily have that help. Also, I use travel as therapy. Ever since my Dad went to go home with his Heavenly Father, I’ve been lost. Going in every direction for everybody else but myself, one day my Mom just looked at me and told me to go after my passion and find my purpose…just GO she said! I’m so thankful for her support and her pushing me to take this gap year. Nothing worse than that feeling of not knowing which way is up or down, and going abroad makes you fend for yourself and helps you grow. I wanted to come to the most uncomfortable side of the world, where I did not know the language, the culture was so much different than mine, and where I could have a humbling experience…so I chose SE Asia!

WHAT PERSONAL BUBBLE?

Now if you know me, I like my personal space and in Asia you don’t get any! I don’t know what it is, but everybody in SE Asia is in a hurry to get somewhere. I usually call it in a hurry to go nowhere. Don’t get me started on the countless times that someone has climbed over me when we land at the airport to get their bags and WAIT to get off the plane. As I sit in my seat and give them the side eye. This is definitely a learning experience for me, as I normally don’t like people touching me or getting into my personal space.

I know no strangers in SE Asia!

WORLD HISTORY

Actually learning about world history in whatever country you happen to be visiting is so special. After going to countries like Cambodia and Vietnam where war had devastated them and still continues to linger, its always interesting to see how a country can rise above. I go to museums and I’m just astonished as to why this devastation was not in my history books growing up, but as a friend pointed out to me other countries rarely learn about slavery in America.

The Killing Fields...something I never learned about in our history books!
The Killing Fields…something I never learned about in our history books!
The bands signify how many kids died on this tree.
The bands signify how many kids died on this tree.

QUEEN STATUS

Did I mention that I live like a Queen over here!?! Another reason why I chose SE Asia was the fact of finance, you can be a multimillionaire in Vietnam or Indonesia, because of the currency exchange rate is CRAZY! I can spend anywhere from $1-3 per meal, maybe $4-5 if I want to “splurge” which is way cheaper than America! The nightlife is so fun and affordable as well, a good night out can cost a max of about $10 in most SE Asian countries.

Pad Thai in thailand for only $1.25!

 

Chicken pho in Vietnam for about $2!

PEACE AND MEDITATION REIGNS!

So the basis of this whole “world purpose trip” is to find my purpose in life, and just gain some peace after feeling so much turmoil within my body and mind. Grief is one hell of a ride! I have been on the roller coaster of grief, and I have wanted to enter the land of Peace and Joy for so long. Traveling always gives me clarity, so I decided it was going to be a perfect outlet for me. In SE Asia many meditation centers and Buddhist monasteries are at your finger tips. I couldn’t wait to check this off of my bucket list…this high anxiety and hyper girl was actually going to sit still  for 30 minutes to one hour and meditate? That’s a joke, right?

One of many Buddha statues that I got to zen out to!

Well I did it! It was the best thing that I could’ve done for me at that time. I was raised in a Christian household, so it was cool to be able to use what I learned about meditation from the monks and talk to God. See I’ve been mad at him for awhile now, but in my short four days at that mediation center I felt like I could loosen my grip on that anger. Holding onto anger is not healthy, physically and mentally. It was so awesome to talk people from all over the world who had their own stories to tell, and to know that we all came to this particular Buddhist monastery in Myanmar for peace.

All smiles after my first meditation session!

 

Everybody has their reasons to why they travel and these are mine, I love discovering God’s beauty in our vast world! I hope you get out there and chase your dreams, no matter what they may be!

 

Malaysia: Pearl of the Orient

Malaysia oh Malaysia…The most slept on country in SE Asia! I believe that Malaysia rocks! Malaysia has something for everybody; whether you want big city country, or beach lifestyle, Malaysia has it! I’m so glad that I went and not only stayed in Kuala Lumpur but also flew up to Penang. Like I mentioned in my Top 5 Reasons to Visit Perth, I went against what people told me about Malaysia and decided to go and find out for myself! I love going to cities and/or countries that people tell me not to or that I won’t like it, just to prove them wrong. So I’ll provide a short recap on this fascinating country.

First of all coming from Bali I wasn’t expecting much from Kuala Lumpur, but when I saw the city center my mind was blown! It almost reminded me of a smaller version of a big city back home. Skyscrapers, flashing lights, cute cafes, and night clubs, with an Asian flair to it! Here are a few highlights of my time in Malaysia…

CLOTHING or lack thereof 😒

So I learned the hard way that you should cover up in Malaysia. I completely forgot that Malaysia is predominantly Muslim and even after passing all these beautiful ladies with their bodies completely covered, it didn’t click until I went to a local grocery store and had a couple men follow me. Now I wasn’t scared or anything but it made me realize oh shoot Ashley…you have SHORTS and a SPAGHETTI STRAP shirt on! I was dressed out of comfort, and instead I should’ve dressed more to culture. Whoops! I think the men were very intrigued by so much skin because that’s not the norm. Nonetheless, I started wearing longer pants and shirts while I was staying in the Putrajaya area. Being in the city of KL was totally different, like night and day! I got to bring the shorts back out lol. This experience is what I needed to remember to humble thyself and be respectful.

FOOD 

Chicken satay and fried eggplant! Yummy!

At times I struggled with the food in Malaysia because it has such a strong Indian influence, and for people that know me…I do NOT like Indian food. I don’t know if it’s the curry or the turmeric powder, but I just can’t hang. While in Malaysia, I continued to eat fried rice and fried noodle that I had grown to love in Indonesia. Malaysia’s fried chicken was amazing as well! I just don’t know how to describe it, it doesn’t sit on your tummy like fried chicken does back home (no nasties). If I did find myself at an Indian restaurant in Malaysia I would find some reprieve in the naan bread, I’d have naan every which way…buttered, with garlic, and if I was feeling extra fancy I would have it with cheese! Once again, you gotta do what you gotta do! And this girl loves to eat!

PENANG

I’m telling you right now, if you go to Malaysia and skip Penang you are doing yourself a major disservice! It’s an absolute MUST! I’m talking about eating, beaching, drinking, and art every turn! I didn’t know anything about Penang until I got to Malaysia, as I just usually show up to a country and figure things out. I’m so glad I listened to many people’s suggestions and came to Georgetown with its cool and artsy atmosphere. I had no idea that Georgetown was known for street art and as I began to walk around and notice that not only can you take pictures of it, you can be a part of it! That part was especially cool!

Street art fun in Georgetown

I had the pleasure of meeting a girl who took me around Georgetown and showed me how the locals live. The restaurants and bars she took me to were amazing! Street food so cheap and drinks so delicious…my mouth is just watering thinking about it! She showed me what to order so that I could actually enjoy my food and not have to rely on eating naan all the time lol. It was nice to connect with someone who has a similar background and knows where to go and what to do! One day I’ll come back to Penang and I’ll make sure I’m ready for some great diving!

THE SIGHTS

Lord Murugan at the Batu Caves

Surprisingly, Malaysia has a lot of touristy things to do and see. There’s the Kek Lok Si temple, Penang Hill, Petronas Towers, KL tower, and Batu Caves complete with monkeys 🙄. The Batu Caves was a highlight for me as I was proud of myself for climbing all 272 stairs to the top. I mean I was sweating like a pig while going up and huffing and puffing but I made it! I actually got to see a Hindu prayer ceremony going on, it was so neat to be able to witness how they worship their deity. The huge statue that can be seen from the highway is called Lord Murugan and it is the second tallest Hindu deity in the world.

Kek Lok Si temple

Another impressive sight was the KL tower and Petronas Towers. I was able to first see them during he day when I went up to the top of the KL tower and took pics of of the Petronas Towers. The best time to see these towers is at night. The KL tower lights up and there’s a show to go with it. As well as the Petronas towers light up and if you are near to take pictures, it is breathtaking!


If I had to do it all again I would have spent more time in Penang, but I’m thankful for the time I did have there! Please don’t skip Malaysia if you do a SE Asia tour, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how eclectic the culture is and how nice the people are! I’m sure glad I went!

Bali Birthday Behavior

I’ve been thirsty for Bali quite some time, and I knew that was going to be the destination that I spent my “dirty thirty” in! When it came closer to the time to book flights, most of my friends just couldn’t make it for my birthday and I’m not going to lie it made me a bit sad at first. With solo travel you have to deal with being on your own for an uncertain amount of time. Family and friends may come visit or they may not, that’s the risk you take with solo travel. Since I was turning the big 3-0, I knew this portion was going to be a splurge part of my trip. Saying that you’ll splurge in Bali is quite funny seeing how the Rupiah and dollar exchange is quite in our favor! Every US dollar was about 13,200 Rupiah, basically I was living on Queen status! I mean Bali does mean “Isle of the Gods”! Bali, Indonesia was my first Asian country that I’ve ever been to, so I was not sure what to expect. Sure I did some research beforehand, but it doesn’t really mean anything until you actually go! So here are my top 4 reasons to go to Bali!

1. FOOD

 

Fried chicken and rice, oh & a boiled egg 😖

Yup you guessed it! Food!!!!! I wasn’t sure what to expect other than rice and noodles, but I was surprised at how many fried chicken places there were in Bali! And I don’t mean that nasty KFC stuff, true “homemade” fried chicken! My mouth was always watering at the thought of tasting this deliciousness! And I could get this chicken mixed with veggies, and rice or fried noodles? Come on! I’m in Heaven! So in Bali, like most of Asia you go for the street food or local warungs, which means a small family restaurant. I found the food cheaper at these warungs and also healthier because the food was made right in front of you! There was no guessing where they got their ingredients or how long something was sitting there, but the main key is to go to the warung that has the longest queue! That means the locals are enjoying it, so it must be good! I try to do as the locals do!

 

Suckling pig!

I like to eat what the locals eat, so when I heard that a Balinese delicacy was suckling pig, I was all in! And it sure did not disappoint at all! It actually tasted like a roasted pig like back home when we had big pig roast parties! It was served with rice and some spicy veggies, it had my mouth on fire but it burned so good!

Not only was the food tasty, it was dirt cheap!!! Where in the United States can you get a huge plate full of freshly made meals for $3-4? It totally blew my mind how cheap it was, and I had been told it was cheap to eat in SE Asia but I didn’t expect THAT cheap! There was also a plethora of different cuisines to try in Bali, but of course I stuck to the traditional meals and usually that meant it was cheaper! There were definitely times when you could fine the comforts of home, like pizza and burgers but that also meant they were relatively expensive. Plus it’s more fun to have an authentic experience.

2. CULTURE 

As mentioned before, this being my first Asian country I’ve ever been to I was nervous on what to expect. As soon as I landed at the airport I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore! All the comforts of New Zealand, Australia, and even Fiji went out the door! Nobody spoke my language nor did I speak theirs but you make it through! I took it as a challenge to get myself out of my comfort zone, because that’s the only way you grow!

Bali is about 90% Hindu and about 5% Muslim, so it was fascinating to see the men and women offer alms in the morning and evening. I also heard Hindu prayers over a loud speaker about four times a day! At first I thought to myself dang they pray a lot and it was annoying because I wanted to sleep! I had to check myself and my attitude because every faith has their own belief, and I should respect that.

The Balinese believe that animals and nature has significant power and are even seen as God. During my visit, I had the “pleasure” of going to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. These monkeys are quite mischievous and all of us were a bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The monkeys are EVERYWHERE! Mommas and their babies, old grandpa looking monkeys but they are all very frisky. I wouldn’t advise anybody to buy the bananas to feed the monkeys as I saw a guy get scratched by a monkey because he ran out of bananas! I tried staying away from them but they loved my camera and they even climbed on top of my friend, who then freaked out because she got peed on! The architecture that was around the Monkey Forest was telling of how much they respect these animals and nature in general.

All I could think of is Planet of the Apes

During my friend, Farrin’s Bali Escape, we got to take part in celebrating their new year called Nyepi. It was cool to be there in Bali when it was going to be quiet, because Bali can be quite hectic and loud. Nyepi Day is their day of silence, where no one can be in the streets, household electricity should be shut off and even the airport is closed. The Balinese are very religious and we could see the pride they took in constructing their Ogoh-Ogoh’s, which are evil monsters or demons. We attended a parade the night before Nyepi Day where young children paraded large papier-mache demons around town with loud drums and chants. These large demons were very scary looking too, it blew my mind how creative these young boys were. Experiencing Nyepi Day was amazing because I got to see and appreciate Bali in a new light, because I had been used to the chaotic and loudness of Kuta and Seminyak! It was nice to sit back and reflect on this portion of my trip and have meaningful conversations with the other girls!

 

One scary Ogoh-Ogoh


3. KRAZY KUTA VS. MELLOW UBUD

 I loved Kuta/Seminyak areas with all their crazy madness, but being in the jungle, laid back scene of Ubud really captured you! It was nice to experience the bustling cities of Kuta & Seminyak but just a couple days to one week is sufficient. If you can arrange to spend 1-2 weeks in Ubud, I would do so. They have an awesome market that you can buy anything from Buddha statues, sarongs, tea, and other trinkets. I had to refrain from buying too much because I would have nowhere to put new items! Of course I did end up sending somethings back home with a friend (thanks Emma!).


My utmost favorite thing about these areas were the CHEAP massages! OMG! Can you say $5 massage? I had an amazing 7-hour spa day on my birthday and it only cost my wonderful boyfriend $70, back home that would’ve been well over $350+! I had an hour massage, a flower bath, an hour facial, mani/pedi, and hair cream treatment. I was literally the Queen for the day and no one could not tell me any different!

4. MY BIRTHDAY!

 

Birthday night drinks at the Red Carpet Champagne Bar

If you want to celebrate your birthday in an epic way, then go to Bali! I absolutely made the right choice in going to Bali for my 30th birthday and even though I wasn’t near family or friends on my “special” day, I was still treated like a Queen! After all my trip mishaps, my wonderful family and boyfriend wanted to treat me to something nice. They rented a villa for my birthday weekend, right in the heart of Seminyak. The villa I stayed at was called the Villa 888 Watermark where they made me feel like a true Queen, the wait staff listened to my every need and even gave me a birthday surprise! And let me tell you, if you do not have an Airbnb account, you need to get one! Here’s my Airbnb link for $35 off and if you use it, then I’ll receive $35 off as well!

 

Villa 888 Watermark “Paradise”

I was real emotional during my birthday not because I turned 30, but the fact that my Dad couldn’t see how far I’ve come! I just wanted to hear him say that he was proud of me and my life decisions. I was also all in my feelings because it was the first time in my trip that I didn’t have to rely on my crutches 100%! I was able to be free of them and slowly move about! I appreciated all the love I received on my birthday, and I definitely felt it all the way over in Indonesia!

This country will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first time being in Asia! Do you have someplace that will always have a special part of your heart?

Laughing at Life’s Lessons 

So let me preface this by saying that nothing goes according to my original plan(s) during my travels; and for people that know me or have traveled with me, I’m sure you are nodding your head in agreement. I mean I knew my world trip wouldn’t go exactly as planned, but seriously…these kinks in my most perfect plan are preposterous and just downright so stressful that all I can do is laugh at this point! I have high expectations during my travels that I planned for anything and everything, but being three countries in has shown me that I cannot plan for EVERYTHING! So here’s a bit about what has happened thus far on my trip…

I was supposed to fly out to Orange County and have this amazing NYE and pre-trip celebration with my boyfriend and bestie; well the day we fly out to Cali, the bestie calls and says her flight is cancelled and she can’t get back until it’s too late! I jump into action and book a hostel and Airbnb, but then I remember that my Christmas gift was shipped to her house in Cali! To put a long story short she ended up getting back to Cali and took my boyfriend and I to LAX airport, with my camera before we disembark to our respective destinations. Don’t even get me started on leaving my boyfriend of two years in the airport…I’m such an ugly crier! He’s so supportive though, told me how proud he was to date a dream chaser and such a strong woman. Well we soon begin to learn just how “strong” I am! Ha!

I started my journey in Fiji for the main reason of wanting to become PADI dive certified; well little did I know that January is cyclone season. So a couple days before leaving I get an email stating that my dive school is cancelled due to weather. I took it like a champ and decided to make the most of my stay in Nadi. The small city of Nadi is somewhere that you only spend 1-2 nights in before leaving to go island hopping. I was due to be there for 6 nights because of the dive school, but I met the most incredible people and got to go snorkeling and see beautiful creatures at the Castaway island, like where Tom Hanks shot his iconic film! Silly me, never knew that it was a Fijian island that he was on! 

Just a beautiful view of the Castaway Island!

The snorkeling was so magnificent on this island and the coral was very close to the shore, which I’ve never encountered before and I’ve snorkeled all throughout the Caribbean. The funniest thing about this excursion is the fact that our tour guide dropped our group off (on this deserted island) with nothing but a cooler of Fiji Bitter Beer lol…basically if we were left to die, we were going to go out with a party! 

The day I left Fiji, I was so sad to leave the new friends that I had made but the beauty of it is most of us were following the same path to New Zealand or Australia! While boarding my flight to Auckland, New Zealand I noticed that my feet were starting to swell up, but I chucked that up to my lack of water intake in Fiji. During the flight they got worse, especially my left foot. The nicest couple sat next to me on the flight came to my immediate rescue, as I couldn’t walk. I could not walk! This couple (I call them my Guardian Angels), who didn’t even know my name assisted me from the aircraft to a wheelchair through customs got my bags and then took me to my hostel. I’m crying hysterically because of their kindness, again ugly crier alert! Well I get to the hostel prop my foot up and still no relief. 

Within 5-6 hours of landing in Auckland I find myself in the Auckland City Hospital with no family or friends present. Trust me I was scared, crying, and calling out for my Mommy! Come to find out that nice and pretty coral and reef that I snorkeled at in Fiji cut me and gave me two different nasty infections, which landed me an 8 day stay in the lovely Auckland City hospital. Thank goodness for travel insurance! During my stay at the hospital I was able to cry, meditate, and pray, which are somethings that I’ve needed to do for myself for a long time now. I prayed that the Lord would give me my Mom’s grace and my Dad’s strength, and more importantly healing and peace. No one in my family asked me to come home, which I’m thankful for. In those moments I knew that I was going to move on with my trip, there’s no going back because I’m a DreamChaser!

 

My favorite nurse Helen!
 
 I was released with crutches and antibiotics and a warning to stay out of the water until I finish it. “But what about the Great Barrier Reef”, I said. The doctor replied, “that will be a big no”! I felt a bit defeated but fortunately there are alternatives for people to still see the reef who cannot get wet (I made it!). So I leave Auckland to get to Australia and the love and support continues throughout my whole stay! From Sydney to Cairns to Perth, I have found multiple people who are willing to help me along and each and every person has a special place in my heart!

 

Mullaloo Beach, Perth WA
 
New Zealand taught me that it’s not necessarily the terrain and landscape that I should be focusing on, but the personal relationships that I can find and build with people which is more everlasting in the long run! I tried preparing myself for this trip the best way I could, but obviously you can only prepare for so much. Life happens and it’s how you deal with it that determines the outcome! Just keep pushing through and move forward to chase your dreams! Everything is going to go up from here, just keep believing in God and myself! 

Let’s talk about a time where the unexpected happened to you during your travels…How did you handle it? 

The Power of NO!


Dream Chasers…Dream Chasing…

You’ll read that numerous times because I mention these phrases quite often and you’ll find out what it means to me. What do dreams mean to you? Well from my previous post you’ll know what dreams mean to me, they mean EVERYTHING! I am a true dreamer, I especially love to drift off into space and day-dream about my future! My Mom could tell you that I am always thinking 10 steps ahead and need to slow down and enjoy the now, which has been hard for me. Being the protector and in survival mode since my Daddy passed, led me to put myself on the back burner and I had become complacent in life. When I finally decided to pursue my dream it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. A lot of dreaming and planning went into this process which I’ll discuss in a near future blog, but this has been the most exhilarating roller coaster ride thus far! I have done things in the past few months that still even shock me! All for the almighty dream of happiness and joy!

Part of my dream cost money of course, and since I can’t take my whole wardrobe with me, I decided to sell most of it! Getting ready for this yard sale had me thinking about how materialistic I had become over the years. Eminem’s song “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” kept playing in my head as I just laughed at myself. Look how far I’ve come…just to chase my dream! Nothing and no one could tell me I cannot do something, because my thirst and desire for this trip is more than someone telling me no. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something! I remember a story my Dad told me about not making the varsity basketball team, because a coach told him his grip and shooting skills were no good. All summer long he worked on his technique, took constructive criticism and stepped his game up to get on varsity the next winter. My Dad was a firm believer that your words either would uplift you or defeat you, he would put affirmations all around the house. Some said, “You are Above and not Beneath, You are a Conqueror and not Defeated”…I took it upon myself to make my own affirmation back in April, and it read: “You WILL travel the world and see new things! You WILL pursue and chase your dream! You DESERVE to have your dreams come true! NOBODY CAN STOP ME!”. Reading this daily helped boost my confidence, not only in my dream but in myself.

Let me tell you what the power of NO can do to a determined person…I remember sitting in one of my performance reviews and my District Manager told me I would fail if he gave me a promotion at the time. I was stunned and furious at the same time, but I just smiled and nodded my head. Human Resources is one of my passions and no one was going to tell me that I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t really want to deal with the politics. Even my brand new illustrious Masters degree would not help me get promoted, I had grown complacent and did not even realize it! So naturally I looked elsewhere, and the interview process was lengthy but I was breezing by until the last interview…corporate said I didn’t have enough HR experience. The HR manager had to politely tell me how sorry she was but could not extend an offer, as much as she wanted to! After I talked to that HR manager I cried like a baby, right in Smokey Bones restaurant and all over my ribs lol…after two days of feeling bad for myself something woke up inside of me, a dream that I had pushed to the side a long time ago. I decided right then I would stop crying and actually do something for ME, accomplish my long-lost dream and hopefully fulfill a deep desire within my heart.


All dreams are different and no one dream is too small or too big, just taking the first step is the hard part! Thankfully I had been saving for a world trip, but maybe you are in the first stages of saving for something big and that is alright! Just get out there and chase your dreams! Do not let those dream crushers I talked about previously slow your roll, trust me they might even be very close to you! Just keep it moving…they are not going anywhere in life anyways. I don’t care how young or old you may be, if you are not chasing a dream, then what are you doing with your life? It’s fine to live, laugh, and love, just start TODAY! And remember that you are more powerful than someone’s no!