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confessions of an obsessive travel planner

confession: i have obsessive tendencies. once i pick up a new hobby or interest, it’s full steam ahead until i’m pulled into the next adventure. since i’ve crocheted my entire family multiple scarves, it’s time for something new.

thanks to the growing black travel movement, exploring the world is my latest obsession. remember my summertime fine piece where i made a commitment to adding more stamps to my passport?  thankfully, i did just that with a recent trip to costa rica. cool breezes, palm trees, beaches, delicious food — we lived la pura vida for five relaxing days (check the ‘gram if you missed it).

while we were still in costa rica, i was already planning our next trip abroad. i mentioned i was obsessive right? here are my top social media and black travel bloggers who give invaluable access to a world without borders:

    1. zim ugochukwu and travel noire: get real familiar with zim and everything that is travel noire. after losing her job, traveling the world and sleeping on a friend’s couch, she emerged from a personal journey with a dedication to encourage black folks to see the world. she’s lowkey my latest inspiration, and travel noire’s #tndistrict is one of the most creative ways imaginable to connect with black folks around the world. check out zim’s interview with time magazine for more insight into the black travel movement.
    2. oneika the traveller: traveling to 70 countries on 6 continents has made oneika a certified travel expert. she’s been everywhere — when i say everywhere, i mean EVERYWHERE — you ever thought about traveling and thankfully chronicled her experiences online. browse her blog for top notch advice before you even think about booking a flight.
    3. catch me if you can: me and j.nambowa should be friends. her courage to get up and go off the solo move inspires all type of black girl magic. not only does her blog offer travel tips, but her periscope takes things a step further with realtime visuals from her epic locations. plus her advice on saving to travel helps squash that voice in the back of your head saying “you can’t afford to take that once in a lifetime vacation.”
    4. hashtags, hashtags and hashtags: #blacktravelers, #blacktravelhackers, #travelisthenewclub, #travelnoire and #jettsettingchicks are my go to hashtags for travel experiences. just scrolling through the pictures will inspire you to get up and go.

living in a fast-paced-urban environment provides lots of distractions from my inner self, but travel puts life as i know it to a halt. traveling is not only my latest obsession, but part of my dedication to self-care.

Black Girl Sabbaticals Amina-2

black girl sabbaticals: amina’s story

it felt as though i’d been tired for days, for months…maybe i’d been tired all year, maybe even longer.

i remember waking up one morning in the middle of june, in a flood of tears. the migraine i had struggled with the night before still raging like a storm in my head, and my chest still skipping off-beat from the panic attack i’d fought with the week before. as i rolled over in bed, sobbing uncontrollably at the thought of having to face another day, another dozen or more emails, hundreds of texts and several other “urgent” demands on my time, i realized that i needed to make some very *urgent* and intentional energetic shifts in order to regain a sense of balance in my life. i knew then that for the sake of my own well-being – and life – i needed to slow down, stop and catch my breath.  i needed to do things differently.

Amina4as an activist and someone that’s been involved in social-justice-community organizing for many years, it’s hard to explain what it means to suffer from “systematic exhaustion.” though my body and mind felt weak and drained almost daily, i often felt shrouded by feelings of guilt for my tiredness. the moment i would start admitting the need to rest, i would hear myself saying really quite, destructive things like – “there are so many other people out there who have things a whole lot worse than you do,” “just keep going” and “you can do it.”  being relatively young made it even more complicated – because who the hell was i to be feeling so tired at 30?

…and that’s when i decided to take a moment to pause.

i needed to be with myself alone in the cool, dark, quiet of dawn, outside among the trees and flowers, in the ocean, in my kitchen boiling ginger and lemongrass and chopping garlic. i needed to be in all of these places in order to release myself of all of the guilt, pain and anguish that i was feeling – and the ridiculous need to compare myself to others.

…and it was in those moments of revolutionary quiet that i found myself making decisions such as taking time off from work (and being unavailable and offline), shifting to part-time work to give my creative self the time and space that it needed, learning to say things like “no” (thank you) and being able to respond with “yes, but i will need some time for that.” i found myself reaching out to my various communities of care and sister circles saying– “i need your support” and “i need to be held.”

there is no shame in creating the space, and making time in order to allow yourself to heal. admitting the need for rest and prioritizing wellness does not make you any less of a “great” human being (or an activist). in fact, it speaks to the heart of self-preservation and revolutionary love, something that black women like toni cade bambara and audre lorde wrote so fiercely about.

taking the time out to heal and be well is one of the greatest gifts we could ever give ourselves and our communities. truth be told, i’m still figuring out what true balance looks and feels like – but these days i’ve been waking up feeling lighter, and with more of the sun in my eyes.

photo (iphone) credit: sabriya simon and amina doherty | graphic credit: politics & fashion


amina doherty is a nigerian feminist artivist whose work focuses on feminist philanthropy and creative arts for advocacy. she is passionate about art, travel, photography, fashion and writing. she lives and works from kingston, jamaica. you can tweet her at @sheroxlox.

go big girl what you gon’ do?

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i’m not the only woman with a small frame and large chest, but for most of my adolescence and early adulthood, you would have thought i was sent from mars. when was the last time you saw one of those cute $19.99 two-piece bikinis at target with a 34ddd top and size small bottom? you said never? i know. thankfully, bathing suit shopping was sooooo much easier this year when i discovered that asos has an entire line of swimwear for the dd+ crowd.

my new white swimsuit snaps snugly in the back and the three straps on each side really help to ease the weight of my chest around my neck. this was just a test run, i can’t wait to try more.

what are you wearing to the beach this

the long weekend

my weekend was amazing.   the sequence of events was so random until i couldn’t recreate it if i tried.  brunch, dc rooftops, cookouts, a block party and good company made for pure perfection.

p.s. thanks to my right eyebrow and vscocam (photography app) for putting in so much work.  oh and to that random girl who photo bombed my second picture — priceless.
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summer staycation

my little sister spent a week in dc, and her stay was the most fun i’ve had in a very long time.  it’s amazing to have a sibling who you watch grow into your best friend.  she’s undoubtedly the coolest 10 year old on the east coast–i won’t bother to brag about how smart she is–the most important thing is her compassion, maturity, and loving nature.  i cried like the 10 year old when she boarded the plane; her response: “bye shi-shi!  see you next year!”

in case you’re looking for kid-friendly activities in washington, dc, we loved the natural history museum, dr. king monument, national zoo, and kayaking in georgetown.  oh, and don’t forget trips to pinkberry for frozen yogurt.

what turning 30 looked like

i turned 30 last week and celebrated by treating myself to a stay at the berryville inn, a bed and breakfast in berryville, va.  this was my first stay at a b&b and it definitely won’t be my last.  when i arrived, honey bee greeted me at the car and we quickly became friends.  we sat on the back porch contemplating life while drinking pinot grigio.   actually, he was chewing on a bone, but i digress.  this place was fabulous and is the cutest getaway you can imagine.   janet (pictured above) made a delicious breakfast, topped off with a homemade cinnamon bun with peanut butter icing.  oh my gahhhh it was so good!  before leaving the area i stopped by the veramar vineyards for a wine-tasting-induced-mid-day buzz.

just what i needed for my dirty 30.