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Me/Myself: The Struggle of My Life & My Passion

Me/Myself: The Struggle of My Life & My Passion

What happens when your world is in CONSTANT conflict with your purpose in life? Do you back down, do you take the hits, or DO YOU FIGHT BACK?!?? Lord knows that I love hard….but I fight just as hard. So, the obvious answer is YES, I Do Fight! Not physical (of course), but I fight for my beliefs, my character, and my passions.

For those new to my journey, I made a career change that lead to a new lifestyle. Quick Review! I did my first solo trip in Nov. 2016 (whoa, epiphany moment!), new eyes towards my purpose in traveling, quit my main income job to put more time towards my website and traveling. A lifestyle that almost everyone in my life didn’t like at all…..some of them don’t know what I do now. They know my passion for travel, buuuuut the solo part is always missing from my conversations. When they think traveling the world, it’s always in reverence of bad stereotypical movies, Taken and Hostel. (I can just hear some of my family members right now, ‘Don’t get taken!’ *giving serious side eye*) 

First OFF! (THIS SEGMENT HAS MOVIE SPOILERS AND A RANT, YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO SKIP THIS PART)

For that Taken movie, that whole situation could have been easily AVOIDED, if that promiscuous girl didn’t tell ALL of their business on where they stayed AND that they were alone ALL WEEK to that creepy guy. Why not have a banner for all to see?? Dodson_sings <<<< My Reaction to Stupidity

As for Hostel, AGAIN AVOIDABLE, it was unprofessional and just plain creepy from the get go. If I see a couple in one room, then the next night see a group of masculine guys in black throw all of their stuff in a trash bag??!?!?? I’m jetting that night! Fooooorgeeeeeet that!! I’m not saying that things such as trafficking and weird secret elite cults don’t happen in the world, but one thing you should possess as a traveler is wisdom. It can’t get you out of all situations, but it can take you out of most of them.

*OK!! BACK TO MY LIFE OF SOLO TRAVEL WOES!*

I come from a family that is comfortable with the ‘norm’. Normal job, normal interests, normal life. Pretty much like this >>>>>>>>>>>>>5450039845_5022b1a0c2

And, I’m this girl pretty much >>>>>916272pleasantville_1998_hdclub_mkv_11_24_331_000032Now that we have a visual, do you see where the struggle is? Recognizing and accepting what’s different.

How do you deal with it?….What do you do? Consistent questions in my life. I keep in mind that everyone is here for different things. We possess a set of skills and talents for something bigger than ourselves.

If you are going through a similar situation, here is a couple of things that I would advise:                                                                                             1. Know who you are and don’t let ANYONE take that away from you! People will come in to change you and/or distract (even family), but stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.                                            2. Take heed, but don’t always take in! This is where wisdom comes in. Your blessings and affirmations can come in from familiar and unfamiliar places. You have free will, you can sow it into your life or leave it be. Make sure that it’s for you, for that time!                                    3. In spite of, ALWAYS have love. Sometimes, this can be tough for me and my current situation with my family. Blood is thicker than water, which can be really good and really bad, be ready for both sides. Words from your family can affect your life, knowingly and unknowingly. It’s up to you to take it or leave it be. Spiritually, our hearts possess our emotions and desires. If you taint it with hate, it will affect your innermost self! Your passion, your purpose, your life is plagued!

From experience, I strongly encourage love AT ALL TIMES.

I know it’s tough for those out there going through the same thing, but WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!  

You can’t change people or their attitudes, but you CAN control your actions towards it.

Please share with others, this post holds near and dear to my heart, since I’m sharing a piece of my life with all of you. This just might help someone going through with their loved ones. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave it in the comment section or shoot me an email: mshellsy@yahoo.com.

As always,                                                                                                                 Spread love and travel well.

 

 

 

 

Women’s Travel Conference 2017!

Women’s Travel Conference 2017!

Some of you already know that I've started my traveling journey on November 4, 2016 with my first official solo trip to New Orleans (check out my first blog on that *wink*). On the brink of a total burnout of everything in my life (your girl was going through!), I was in dire need for some sort of outlet. I said to myself, "I need a vacation, I need a vacation...then, I will be refreshed and alright." Well...during my away time, I felt like I was in my element...an indescribable amount of peace and assurance filled my spirit like never before. Afterwards, I thought the feelings would shake off and I go back to my normal, but......I couldn't faze it out. I've become entranced by traveling.....the mere word gives me shivers. Yes, ice cold lol. This fascination turned from a quick trip into a possible career. Yes, A CAREER!

Now, how did I come across this conference? Well, let me tell you how 'cookies' work in technology. In my term, cookies are little trails that keep accounts of everything little thing you do online, especially what you search. Since I look up things related to travel, I will have ads on the side of the window that tells me about Expedia flight deals, Hilton Honors Rewards perks, etc. On Facebook, an ad popped up on my newsfeed for the Annual Women's Travel Fest hosted by Go! Girl Guides. Of course, I clicked it....duh lol! The fest is a travel event just for women that consists of travel tips and support from well-cultured travel vets! Not only is it a place where I would meet like-minded women (cuckoo crazy about travel!) but it was held in one of my favorite cities, NEW ORLEANS!!! Ahhh!!! Yes, I'm screaming!

I'm not going to lie...I was not sure about going there. Knowing me, I made a very, very last minute decision at 10:00 at night to leave around 3:30 A.M. to be there on time for registration at 10......I know, I'm crazy and I'm proud.

I was so inspired by all of the speakers, vendors, and my new travel sister community. There was great tips on traveling solo as a woman, building a business in travel, getting the editor's attention in travel writing, how to make money from Instagram, and so..much..more. I was like a kid in a candy store, cliche but true. I've met great speakers like Deidre Mathis (the first African American to have a hostel in the U.S. and it will be in HOUSTON!), Kelly Lewis (founder of the fest), Shannon Kaiser (international motivational coach and bestselling author), and many more. I've even connected with other travelers from all over the world....London, New York, you name it. They were there representing!

Yes....I took freebies *cheesing* and bought a book from Ms. Deidre (make sure you check out her hostel, Wanderlust, if you are in the Houston area. It should be open around summer time!).

I felt the need to share this because this is starting to become more than just a blog to share my experiences and my emotions. This is the beginning of something great and powerful in my life to fulfill my purpose in this world.

Enlightening women and men that you can achieve your dreams, only if you apply yourself and help others along the way. You can do this!

Thanks for reading, loves 🙂                                                                                          Spread love and travel well.

 

Austin, You Love Me…I Know It (Part 2)

Austin, You Love Me…I Know It (Part 2)

As promised, I said that I was continuing my Austin experience with you all...and here we are. Sorry for the delay, I've been tired, lazy yet wired up all at once because of (my latest addiction) the Iced Vanilla Coffee at Chick-fil-a that I chug almost everyday til 10 p.m. *little voice whispering* Help!... Like, I do need help, but it's sooooo good! This explains why I'm typing this blog entry throughout the entire weekend, all hours of the morning. I am going to finish before 8 TODAY *fingers crossed*.

Day 2

Ok, picture this: There is a warm glow from the sun filling the room to wake you from a deep slumber. You start your early morning with a brisk, peaceful hike within central Austin trails. Afterwards, you enjoy a flavorful french toast, fruit, and eggs at a local restaurant with a cool glass of freshly-made orange juice.

Sounds great right? Well....it didn't happen.

With many attempts to wake up around 5:30 for a hike, we finally woke up and left around 12 (so much for that french toast smh). This was my first trail and it was a great suggestion by my coworker, Sara (Hey, girl!). It was at Barton Creek Greenbelt or "The Greenbelt" << local term, just 15 minutes away from our AirBnB and 20 minutes away from Downtown Austin, it is literally in the heart of the city. Little fact: Barton Creek Greenbelt is considered the 7th best hiking trail in Texas (Texas Outside). OooooOooooooo. You can go climbing, swimming, walk your dog, ride a bike, or just walk and take in the beauty of nature. It's a really popular place for locals, so I suggest going early around 6-10 a.m., if you don't want to get trampled by joggers and cyclists every 30 seconds (traffic will pick up around 12, especially on weekends). I found this blog post by Jessica Pino, if you want info on all the access points and great destinations at the Greenbelt >>> http://austinot.com/austin-greenbelt-guide

To be honest, I'm glad we didn't pass out with NO FOOD in our stomach (Does sunflower seeds count as a dietary supplement???) after the almost 2 hour hike. One of my friends told me about a place called Kerbey Lane Cafe and swears great things about it....why not? I've heard great things too. Coming to one of the locations off of South Lamar, the parking lot is crazy full along with the people hanging out the door. It is 2:30 on a Saturday, not surprised. They said the wait was 30-45 minutes....hmmm, yea.....not surprised. There was favor on our side because it didn't even touch 10 minutes for our turn to be seated, yes!!! This location has a modern, cute, retro 60's diner appeal with a sit-down counter service. Again, I love nostalgic-like places! Even though I love all different types of food, I have a deep rooted love for comfort food. I ordered a sweet roasted corn chowder for my appetizer (The best I've EVER had!) and for my main, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli (my fav!). The sad thing was....there was a piece of plastic in my meatloaf, ahhhhh!!! It turned out to be the plastic from the package that the meatloaf was wrapped in before the cooking process. My waitress and the manager were really sympathetic towards the situation....like really. I didn't make a big fuss about it, I just lost my appetite *shrugs*. Again, they are the best customer service team that I've encountered in awhile. I felt nothing but sincere concern and compassion from the whole staff (and I'm not just saying that because I received a food comp *smiling hard*. I will try again soon...but not that meatloaf tho'.

After a much needed shower in that awful, dreadful shower (KILL the visuals, please!), we are getting ready for dinner with one of my coworker's cousin at this quirky, soul food spot called Lucy's On The Fly Chicken. (Hi, Danielle!) I wanted to try EVERYTHING on the menu!! Fried Gizzards, Fried Chicken Spaghetti, Chicken N' Waffle. After that quick daydream, I jumped back to this reality called "Budget City" and "What Money Do I have Now Island?". I decided to get the Deep Fried Deviled Eggs with house aioli (it had fried chicken skin!) and the Tenderlovin' Chicken Tenders (and yas, I was giving it some sweet luv lol). Great laughs, cool brisk weather, good food......we can only top this with a night of fun on 6th Street. Don't worry, no one was harmed or caused any embarrassment to themselves/others lol. It was a great last night with my friends!

Day 3

I don't know why my last day always seem to be the worst one for me (and I hope that it's not a trend with ALL of my trips).

Quick Recap on some of My Bad Last Day Trips:

  • Paris: Possible food poisoning and dehydration
  • New Orleans: Missed my bus to the station and bad Greyhound experience.
  • Austin: The longest wait for food.....ever. Thank you Gourdough!!

Credit: A Taste of Koko

Gourdough's is a food truck specializing in making extravagant burgers, sandwiches, and desserts using donuts!  So of course all of us wanted to try it! It took almost 2 hours for food to get ready (and having the food come out was a different story). We sat at the bar being somewhat entertained by a drag queen show (unexpected) and a bar staff full of sarcasm, making nicknames based off my attire (Overalls). Frustrated, we cancelled our order and left the establishment.....worst of all....still hungry. We didn't care where we wanted to eat, just as long as we had something and leave Austin on time.

While my coworkers are getting Whataburger, I still had a kick for something local. Just a couple of feet away from the restaurant is an old school hamburger stand called Sandy's. It has the walk up window service, dipped chocolate ice cream cones, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, custard.....need I say more? I had a cheeseburger and fries, I'm still thinking about it! Old school good food, old school good prices = winning!

The Austin trip had its ups and downs, but it will go down as one of the best experiences of my life and I didn't do it alone. I can't wait to go back for a new adventure (yes, even try Gourdough's again)!

Austin Take Aways!

  1. Embrace what the city offers. Explore the Hope Outdoor Art Gallery like what I did (the featured pic in my overalls lol), trails, and the live music scene.
  2. Get that local food! The places that I've been to is just a small bit of what Austin has. Other places that I've heard are good: Micklethwait Craft Meats, Torchy's Tacos, Veracruz All Natural Food Truck, Moonshine Grill, Whip In, plus so much! Google it!
  3. Ask locals. I say this for anywhere you go! Who knows better than the people who live in the area that you are visiting?!
  4. Start your day early. Spread your day evenly to enjoy the scene that you're in. Enjoy an early morning stroll, have breakfast in a cozy cafe, brunch outside, an afternoon of local attractions, and so forth! Take it all in!

Well loves, until next time.....Spread love and travel well.

Leave your girl some love and feedback! If you want more advice on food, travel, or just some support on taking adventures head on...let me know! Plus, I have the notification tabs below on every post below the comment section to let you know, if you want to stay tuned on every new post!

 

Oh, Austin…..

Oh, Austin…..

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist….that is all.

Oscar Wilde

Experiencing where you are can bring a new perspective to your world. Usually, when you decide to travel the world, you want to go far away from your surroundings. In my case, Western Europe (France, UK, Spain, etc.), China, Indonesia, Japan, and Africa. I want to create great experiences in my world travels like my 2-hour hammock resting and yoga in Bali, life as a monk in a monastery and sushi making in Japan, and so much more!

I get so caught up in all the hype, that I forget about my own backyard. Shucks, I’m ashamed of myself, the U.S. is truly beautiful and each state possess their own unique qualities.

For instance, the great Lone Star State…..my state….TEXAS! In my 27 years of life, I’ve only been to Austin ONE TIME previous to this trip. It’s only 2 hours away from Houston, buuuut I didn’t go alone. I went with my awesome coworkers from my job, which made it twice as fun! My short-term narrrow mind didn’t know that I could take such a beautiful picture of a flower tree (flower unknown to this day) on a hiking trail in central Austin………Ta-da! >>>

Eclectic Food…Live Music…Hiking…SXSW…Chill People…Cool Vibes…      Austin is the total opposite of the stereotypical Texas (cowboys, horses, etc.), which is why we ‘Keep Austin Weird’.

 

Day 1

More like half a day….didn’t get there until around 8:30 and I didn’t eat ALL DAY! First things first…BBQ. We go to the U.S. famed, award-winning The Salt Lick Barbeque, known for the All You Can Eat Ribs, Brisket and Sausage and the not-so-ordinary BBQ Sauce. It was really good, not great. Meat is one thing for me, but sides are my favorite! Unfortunately, they only have 3 sides (beans, coleslaw, and potato salad). I had the brisket and sausage plate with double potato salad and beans, I haaaaaaaate coleslaw. The sausage and the potato salad was the best thing on my plate. I prefer my meat to be a bit more cooked and smoky from the pit. The beans was the worst ever…..it was just beans on a plate. I’m telling you…onions, bell peppers….shucks, even salt and pepper can go a loooong way with those beans. Yes, I’m a palm tree, I’m shading. Besides my disappointment with the beans, the golden yellow barbeque sauce was amazing to me, the original and spicy recipe, was A1! ……No wonder why they sell it worldwide.

What made the night go even more lovely was our beloved, cozy accommodation (sarcasm included).  The property is cute, quaint, and very “homey’. Now, the inside is a whole different story. (Brace yourselves, graphic descriptions. Well, for me, I remember VISUALS.) The door…..the door is rachet as heck broke. Our AirBnB host left notes and texts about the door with ways on how to open the door and lock it. Ugh. The studio can only fit 3 people in my opinion, not 5 as listed. It had a kitchenette, bathroom (open razor and soap in shower, dirty!), and a queen size bed (that broke down 3 times, which states I’m fat lol plus stains on the sheets, DIRTY!). I rate the place 2 out of 5, the 2 stars is for the property being 5 minutes from Downtown, besides that ZERO. You get my point. Notes on picking the right AirBnB: LOOK AT REVIEWS, location of the property, don’t depend heavy on pictures (pictures can be manipulated, not people), and money does weigh in with quality. If you want a 5 star, penthouse in a downtown area, be ready to spend a little more. 

One thing that I fell in love with was the old school gas heater (I’m a fan of nostalgic things).     

Now, since Day 2 consists plenty of info (a full day!)…..I will make a PART 2 of my time in Austin. So, stay tuned with that!!

To end this post, I leave you with a beautiful video of me ATTEMPTING to properly light a gas heater. Enjoy! …..and no one was harmed during the taping of this video.

https://www.facebook.com/rawr.its.danie/videos/vb.659378413/10154181988423414/?type=2&theater

 

Joie de Vivre: My Short Journey into the N.O.

Joie de Vivre: My Short Journey into the N.O.

Joie de Vivre

French: ..... Joy of Living

This is the perfect visual description of my alluring time in New Orleans (or as the locals say, 'N'Awlins baby'!) I have topped this city as one of my FAVORITE places to go because of the beautiful, soulful people treating you like a long lost friend. Not an awestruck traveler looking for Bourbon Street to get blazed or drunk, which only leads to wild nights and hangover mornings.

In all my journeys in this God-created beautiful world, I seek EXPERIENCE with the living. Clearly speaking, I want to live like the locals in all of my destinations from food, music, transportation, and more!

sooo..........New Orleans and why? ESPERANZA SPALDING *Hands Up* .........yes, a concert. Check her out HERE. She is AMAZING...

This is my FIRST TIME traveling alone and why not try something different with an ease of comfort. I'm a Texas girl! 🙂

My mom always say that I'm a girl with "delusions of grandeur", always wanting the finer things of life. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate nice things but I don't need it and I'm always looking for the quality and the experience. I took the Megabus from Houston to New Orleans for only $25 ($15 added $9 fee for upper deck window).

   Day 1

We only had 1 stop and it took us 8 hrs. to get to the bus station. For a first time experience using a bus service, it was inexpensive and professional. I loved every minute of the ride: the rich scenery of this great land, several PEACEFUL naps, reading, and my journal! Truly a zen-like, meditation moment.

 

I arrived to my Airbnb host's house around 4 p.m. in a quiet neighborhood by City Park, just in time to get ready for the concert for 7!!!! The concert was held at the historic, newly renovated Orpheum Theatre in the Business District. The concert was beyond extraordinary, unique, aggressive, and colorful (like, it was that dang good!). Overall, a beautiful, chaotic love-binding musical structure! Bam!

Afterwards, the girl was HANGRY....not hungry. I had to get some local cuisine. My food list for the N.O. was simple: Crawfish Etouffee, GUMBO, AND BEIGNETS......Simple. Now, I had no idea I was 4 minutes away from the French Quarter! I walked over to see what I could get from the my infamous list and came across the Olde N'awlins Cookery, right off Bourbon Street lol. And yes, it was LIVE on a Thursday night. The Crawfish Etouffee was pretty good. The rice was not undercooked, the crawfish was decent and lightly seasoned, and the stew was a good, rich brown (I'm used to the Creole way (red stew). My overall deal breaker is customer service, which was great and very attentive to my needs.

Day 2

I make it my goal to serve the community, no matter where I go. I had the honor and pleasure to work with Next Gen and NOLA Serve reaching out to the teenagers at Riverdale High School in Metairie (15 minutes from New Orleans). I have a strong passion for the youth and their development in this society. It is crucial to be involved with youth because the influences that affects them now, will affect them later.  Every week, the Next Gen organization goes to local schools throughout New Orleans and surrounding areas to bring the Message of Jesus to the students during their free periods. 10 minutes of the message and free pizza! I really wish we had this back during my school years *sighs*.

3:00 p.m.----What can I do for my last day? Explore the city as much as I could!

First stop, the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park (7 minutes from my Airbnb). I am an Art/Museum FREAK.........                        Passionately, I fall numb at the sight of Monet, Degas, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Magritte...Pre Renaissance to Modern...                                                                 I love them ALL.                                I touched every inch of this building, trying to grasp every piece that I see. 3 stories of artwork from different continents, eras, and local pieces. Mind blowing. Every Friday, they have free arts/crafts for the kids (adults can play, too), live music with light treats.

$12 Admission = Winning

 

 

Again, the GIRL IS HANGRY!! I was so attracted to this place that I spent almost 2 HOURS IN IT! That is just the average time to spend in there. I asked the lady in the gift shop where the nearest street car was because Shellsy just spent nearly $80 DOLLARS WITH UBER IN 2 DAYS!.......umm no thanks! Public transportation will do for the rest of my time here!!!!! Thank God it was walking distance to the streetcar stop and it takes me straight to the French Quarter.

<<< Me thinking: Why did I spend so much on Uber when I could have mostly been on here or the bus??

$1.25 One Way, $3.00 All Day Pass........you're welcome.

Back to my Food mission: GUMBO AND BEIGNETS

I stopped at St. Peters Street because that is where the infamous Cafe Du Monde is located, but I need dinner first. I thought about the last time I was here with my sister, who constantly RAVES about the Gumbo Shop, which is conveniently two blocks away from Cafe Du Monde (Look at God!) *praise break*. I forgot how popular this place was because the line was out the door, but I didn't mind the wait. In the line, I noticed a woman walking up by herself and getting behind me. The friendly person that I am *smiling* had to spark a conversation with her. She was also traveling by herself from CANADA for a nutrition convention; the conversation was going so well that it was our turn to be seated at the restaurant. Out of the moment, I asked if she would like to have dinner with me. She replied yes and she said she was going to ask the same question as well. We DIVED into our Chicken and Sausage gumbo with bliss! (Sidenote: I do not recommend the seafood gumbo! It's not the same satisfaction!) Next, we walked together to Cafe Du Monde, just to dive deep into our beignets FULL OF POWDERED SUGAR! Then, we spent our time eating our delightful bag of treats sitting by the docks, overlooking the great Mississippi River. It was a fun-filled night that neither one of us wanted to forget!

I can say that God took care of me and wanted me to enjoy my visit in New Orleans with a handful of great people that I built lasting memories with, even though it was only for a short period of time. I'm grateful.

 

Day 3

Let's not go much into detail about that: going back to Houston (my reality) and the Greyhound. Ugh.

 

Quick Tips and Highlights of New Orleans
  1. Pack LIGHT! It will be easy on your back. One carry on, One duffel bag. Done.
  2. Show up early, not on time. Again.....Greyhound.
  3. ALWAYS have a portable charger! I got stuck TWICE in the French Quarter when my phone went dead before I had to reach an Uber. Thank you N.O. locals for lending me a phone and charger 🙂
  4. DISCONNECT YOURSELF. DISCONNECT YOURSELF.                                        Lose yourself in your surroundings, cut off your phone, embrace the culture.

For more pictures, it will be in the Gallery tab.                                                                If you want more info for places to eat, stay, or just have a good time in the scene OR if you want to share any great places with me on my next visit (most likely, Essence), feel free to hit the comment section or my email: mshellsy@yahoo.com.

'Til my next trip.....spread love and travel well.