NIKE told me to “Just Do It,” so I did it. Travel! Discover the reality outside of my world. Learn about different cultures. Capturing a mind photo of that gigantic skyline, the A-list celebrity landmark, and the beaming HD wallpaper-like nature view. Traveling is the best medicine to increase happiness and reduce stress. How did my excursion adventure start? Sail aboard, and let’s take a journey.
Coming from a rural community, there was little to see from my lens. My reality view limited my vision to the trailer parks, dispersed land, the same faces, agriculture fields, condemned slave homes, and dirt roads, with the sound of the crickets (the music of the south). The three-story brick buildings, family status, churches, the high school, and local mom-and-pop stores dominated our city’s identity. No fascinating skylines, landscapes, mountains, or beaches that wow my eyes.
I recall my father purchasing Encyclopedias from his brother (my uncle). I was glued to reading those encyclopedias at a young age, between 7 and 9. Encyclopedias expanded my imagination to see a world beyond my current reality. I would read up on geographical regions, study and memorize US states and capitals, and view pictures of different cities, states, and countries. My fascination was rambling wild, wanting to see a world outside the Encyclopedia. I can recall nostalgic memories of my aunt visiting from New York and sharing pictures of her travel experiences to Europe. Going back into memory lane, the time castle of 2005, before I continue with the story. That same aunt told me there’s more to New York than the clubs after hanging out at the 40/40 club with ESPN on the screen in Jay-Z words and the shopping districts. “Discover historical monuments like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty,” shared my aunt.
I wanted my eyes to see something different from the rural fields. I wanted to further my road trip experiences to more unseen territories. Still, I was afraid to travel, thinking it was expensive and worrying about what my mother would think.
The 2010s was the decade of gradually stepping out of my comfort zone. Little by little, I travel on business, solo, girls’ trips, conferences, and conventions. Traveling to Atlanta a few times, New Orleans, Miami, Orlando, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the Cayman Island, Gatlinburg/Chattanooga, TN, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Dallas, West Virginia, Birmingham/Montgomery, AL. That stretch for traveling felt good, like a morning stretch after waking up from a night’s sleep. I made progress but needed to see what else was out there. I wanted to stretch further. I wasn’t satisfied with my cravings and hunger for adventure. To taste adventure, I was ready to fill my plate with cheap airline tickets, lodging, and travel buddies. I transform from the Encyclopedias I read as a child to watching geographical places on YouTube. I was sizzling! My desire to travel more was so strong that a firefighter couldn’t extinguish the fire.
I wanted a traveling buddy willing to Dora the Explorer to different places. Not shopping malls and clubs, but to visit hidden gems and infamous landmarks and discover the city’s famous eateries. God placed a good friend who shared commonalities to travel and taste adventure. We both made it a mission to visit all 50 states before traveling overseas. We realize the monthly money we spend dining out, shopping, and hairstyles equate to lodging and airfare. I met people whose planned trips and the plan fail through. My good friend was an action person who stood by her words when traveling. In 2021, we rotated to never seen states to explore.
I experienced the reality of what I envisioned as a girl through the encyclopedia books and photos shared by my aunt. The actual experience of my traveling reality felt good – observing numerous gigantic skylines with the silhouette mountains from the Space Needle, throwing silver balloons in the air at the Summit One Vanderbilt, tilting from the 94 floors of the John Hancock building, submerging the scenic view of the Golden State Bridge, walking the coastal sands of San Francisco bay, sailing the Boston harbor, strolling through the European-like atmosphere of Providence, watching the Wyoming tumbleweeds roll, and climbing the multiformity cooper rocks of Colorado. Capturing those photographic moments of landmarks to share with loved ones and social media, telling others I Just Did It, and encouraging others to Just Do It. The world is yours! Travel and live life.