Love, Food, Travel

Tag: art

The Beasts of Travel

The Beasts of Travel

 

Even in my greatest pains and failures, I still have joy.

Travel has brought a new meaning to my life: friendships from around the world, new cuisines (the South STILL remains the best ‘tho), and landscapes that can be on a cover of a magazine. I’m blessed and forever grateful with this bold decision that I’ve made for my life! My fellow travel wanderlusts will understand these questions: How do you make time in your work schedule to travel? How do you get the money to go on your adventures? << My Fav! Why do you go by yourself? What about your safety, especially as a woman?

I love the curiosity drawn to me from others, my lifestyle (and me *waving*) is not normal. It’s always this twisted fantasy, an immaculate perception on how travel should be. Now, don’t get me wrong! Yes, all of my travels are the most amazing things in my life, with God being by my side. I do live in a fantasy world sometimes, but reality can hit me DEAD IN MY FACE when I least expect it! There is plenty of  beauty and plenty of beasts in the world of travel.

Getting lost in a city at night with a dead phone. Running after a bus that I missed at a stop. Food poisoning in one of the most beautiful cities of the world, PARIS (I will RE-DO that trip!). Trashy travel/room accommodations. Believe me…there’s more, but that was just my highlights.
…….Then, here comes another highlight to my chapter, what do I do when I have to say “NO” to a HIGHLY ANTICIPATED TRIP because of a stupid budget mistake?! I had the opportunity to go to the Essence Festival this past July 4th weekend. I had the perfect 2 day plan for it: live interviews, meeting other creatives, the Essence Bookstore, free workshops, the food (it’s in New Orleans, you already know). Out of all of the crazy things that I’ve been through on my trips, this is the only one that really got me upset. My…heart…was…broken, but it hurts even more when you are the cause of your pain. On July 1st, 2017, I declared a pity party for 9 HOURS when I decided not to jump in my car and go to the Essence Festival. Ugh, that was one of the SADDEST parties that I’ve ever attended! My pity parties don’t have balloons, streamers, good music, or people. Phones are silenced. Chips, croutons, and melted ice cream is on the menu. Hopelessness is all in the air. For 9 hours, I was going through this IN MY HEAD! Around 11:00 that night, I had a conversation with myself (OUT LOUD) in my car: “Shellsy, you f’ed up. Yes, you messed up! I apologize to you for that mistake, I know stuff happens a.k.a. Auto Pay from Checking Account amnesia *sighs*. Own your part in it, be more watchful, and keep it moving!!!” BAM!!! One important advice that I strongly abide in is, don’t go to bed angry. Sort your stuff before you go to sleep. Negative energy has NO BOUNDARIES, it is similar to any cancer/disease, it can spread to any area that it wants to control and multiply cells. Letting your mind be plagued by depression, sadness, anger, or any negative thought can linger into your well-being, relationships, friendships, and  your careers. Don’t let it!!! Check this! We are humans, we are emotional creatures. Therefore, keep your emotions in check, love.
So, what did I do after my party ended? I made a list. It’s compiled with affirmations over my life and a to-do list to ‘keep myself in check’. A close friend of mine told  me, “Shellsy, you are living your dream and your purpose in life.”
Here is just a couple of things to keep in mind for anyone living out their purpose:

  • Self-discipline is key. Get close friends or someone you trust to help you be accountable with your decisions. Whether if it’s with your budgeting skills, relationships, getting tasks done, or any issue you need help with to conquer.
  • Know and ACCEPT that mistakes will happen. Perfectionists, beware! This will happen to you too. In Alcohol Anonymous meetings, the first thing you do to get on track to success over the addiction is acknowledging that you have an addiction issue. Now, that you know and you accept it, you…..
  • Move forward! This is where a lot of people get stuck because you don’t know where to go or how to get there. Think about your goals and passions. Make a list (step-by-step) on what you should do to complete that goal. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, make sure you stay consistent on getting it done!!!
  • CONSISTENCY! I say it all the time and stress over it! *Like this website!* You have to stay consistent to get results! It will get hard, but there is no ugly feeling like giving up on your passions! Meditate day and night, exercise, BE AROUND PEOPLE THAT YOU ASPIRE TO BE OR ADMIRE, podcasts, or whatever inspires/pushes you to be BETTER!!

Now, say a declaration aloud to yourself. This is the first step to your purpose in life! Much love and blessings to you guys!!!

Thank you for sticking with me on my rocky journey, but this is sooooo worth it!

‘Hi, my name is Shellsy. I make mistakes. I am still powerful and wise. I will move forward, CONTINUE TO STRIVE towards my goals and passions. I will not STRESS over what I did, I will use it to propel and drive me to make sure that I will NOT make the same mistakes. I am a fighter and a conqueror over all things that will try to deter me! I love myself and I will take care of myself: mentally, physically, and spiritually.’

Spread love and travel well,

Shell

 

This is for The “Homies”

This is for The “Homies”

#ShellSLAYSVancouver..watch for those hashtags.

I’ve experienced world travel and I’m looking forward to more as I grow comfortable to my new lifestyle. Canada…I’m coming for you next….#ShellSLAYSVancouverAlong the way, I’ve encountered different types of travelers (no, we are NOT all alike lol). Some will not settle for less than 3-stars and up hotels (Hey, Hilton!), while others prefer bed and breakfast accommodations (the Airbnbs’ and the HomeAways’) and hostels a.k.a. The DL (Dorm Life). Once you break those categories down, travelers’ have destination preferences. You have your Caribbean shakers, European lovers, African enthusiasts, Asian fiends, and so on and so forth. Then, there are the ones that are explorers of their own backyard. I call them The Domestics (it’s not that original but work with me lol). They are crowned the adventure seekers, looking for budget-friendly thrills, but still close to home. Lately, for those following my journey (sidenote: if you are new to my little rocky journey, check out my previous blog entries, thank you! ♥), I’ve been traveling around the U.S. because of some career/family adjustments and prior engagements in Houston. I will be back overseas by the end of 2017! Ok..ok….ok….so, what if you want to be around home for a bit?? WHERE do you go??? HOW do you get there????? Well, don’t worry, I’m going to tell you…of course!

DRIVING, RIDING, OR FLYING??

Beignets!! Essence Festival 2017, who’s coming??

If you are like me, I ask myself 2 questions, 1.What’s really going to stretch my dollar? $$$$$$$$$ 2.What means more to me, time or convenience? Budgeting is important for ANY traveler! For example: In less than a year, I went to New Orleans twice, by bus and driving my SUV (Beep, Beep, who got the keys to the Jeep?! Meeeeeeee!).

Driving: $35 gas, 5 1/2 hours dest. time, more time to experience the city, forcing myself to stay awakeNO WIFI, limited free parking, which meant streetcar (local) transportation which I LOVED!                                                                                     Bus (Shoutout to Megabus!): $25 upper deck front window ticket, 8 hours dest. time, less time to experience the city, taking PLENTY of naps, FREE WIFI, and UBER UBER…everywhere (I will never forget about that $85 dollars!) That will be in my heart for-EVAAAAA (Cardi B voice)!

As for flying, even with my tricks, STILL $60 dollars one way for 1 1/2 hours dest. time…….nah. For that trip, I had a goal (still surprised by that sneak attack by Uber, $85 smh) of keeping my transportation costs lower than my experience costs (you need a budget for New Orleans food!).

BUUUUT, everyone is different, what is valued to you???

Now the GOLDEN QUESTION, WHERE DO I GO AROUND THE UNITED STATES?!?!!

Yep, there is New York, L.A., and Miami, nice places but what about the hidden gems?

MY TOP 8 FAV places to Visit in the United States (**)-places I really want to go to

  • Austin, TexasFood, Live Music, Food, Cool Vibes, Nice People, Hiking,…..did I say food?? If you want to stay away from the very ‘lit‘ 6th Street, there is the Alamo Drafthouse (to experience some ‘abnormal sing-a-longs’ during the movie) or go to South Congress Ave. (SoCo) on a Thursday where you can shop, eat, or just hang out late.
  • Denver, Colorado – Beautiful mountain tops and hills, Lower Downtown nightlife, and THE BRONCOS! By far, one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to. I suggest to go during the winter time to REALLY experience the scenery and the ski resorts!
  • Nashville, Tennessee – Good..Classic..BBQ, Nashville Hot Chicken from Hattie B’s!, Sunday Brunches (which is taken SERIOUSLY), Live Country Music….I’m a Southern girl, ‘nough said.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana – You guys should ALREADY KNOW how I feel about this city! Great cajun/creole food, great history (music, architecture, festivals), I can go on and on about this
    New Orleans Jazz Scene

    place. Just know you will NEVER meet people like New Orleans people, you swear that you’ve been friends since forever ago when you meet. This city shows its rich, joyous soul….only when you look for it. Hint: It’s NOT on Bourbon Street.

  • Seattle, Washington ** Kerry Park (the BEST view of the city, you can do that needle if you have the money to spare!), Seattle Art Museum, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Paseo (cool Jamaican place featured on Travel Channel!)…just a few things that I will be doing there ♥
  • Washington D.C ** – The Land of Museums…free museums! (and the African American Museum!) I’m a nerd at heart and I work in a museum..so, it’s evident what I will be doing for majority of my time *shrugs*.
  • Arizona ** – The Grand Canyon, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just pure God’s creation in my face
  • Maine ** – Not only is it the northeasternmost U.S. state, it has the
    Maine Lighthouses!

    most beautiful shores full of lighthouses, beaches, and lobsters!

 

To be honest, I believe this is just for anyone, domestics and international lovers…shucks, from all walks of life! This is just a small taste of a testament that I am setting out for myself, another stamp to my self-discovery, if I can put it in words lol. If you are a traveler like me, a teacher, lawyer, or a barista….you have dreams and goals too! We have different paths, but we all strive for the same purpose: to better ourselves. Stick to your dreams (no matter how crazy they are!), anything is POSSIBLE!

This post is dedicated to my friends, my loves, my sisters, my brothers, my dreamers, my ‘doers’, my homies.

 

 

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.