My inner journey.

My inner journey.

Being a mother is a never-ending travel experience. Just like taking an actual trip, preparation is vital! My recent journeys have been a bit different as I felt like my travel and motherhood journey was at an end. Yet the reality is that it is still at an inflight stage. Covid19 became part of my reality in 2020, and I could no longer consider myself an empty nester. Even though my children are in their 20’s, I immediately felt the mothering phase kick in; are you well, taking care of yourself, wearing masks, social distancing, and the like. I will always be a mother, but after becoming an empty nester, I lived my life as such, and so was an absent but present mother.

My oldest has graduated college, started a career in the USAF, and became a homeowner at 23 (shameful humble brag). My youngest is in her senior year of college and is doing well in her social and school life. She attends the number 1 HBCU Spelman College (prideful plug), responsible enough to have been a resident advisor, scholarly enough to be on the honor roll, and social enough to be on several school boards and activities.

2020 came, and the Covid pandemic was apparent.  My youngest had to leave school in Atlanta, a ten-hour ride from our home in Texas. I am an empty nester, was +24 hours away on another continent. All I could do was advise. “Pack up the car and drive safely,” I said. For the next six months, I remained in Asia while my baby girl lived at home alone. The choices we made were heart-wrenching and although I constantly checked in, not being there was very difficult, so my “inner” motherhood travel journey began. Was I a bad mother? Should I be with my grown daughter instead of my husband? What were people thinking of me?  Should I travel back home?

I have been home in Texas for a year now, and another inner journey has begun; am I a bad wife? Should I be with my husband? What is the right choice?  How do I feel?   What I do know from my lived experiences is that self-care and self-love are essential! We must acknowledge the inner journey. I live my life between two continents, North America and Asia, so my journey has to continue.

What will my next journey be like? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that I will share it with you, so keep following for more.  Let’s take this journey together.

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5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

Having flown as a career for over 20 years I have stayed in many hotel rooms and so the experience has taught me a lot about what to look out for in terms of cleanliness.

1. Check the hotel sheets. No one wants to sleep on possible dirty covid sheets. I can’t tell you how many different times I have gone into a hotel room just dying to shower and get into bed and found that the sheets have not been changed. If you do this when you first get into the hotel room, there is plenty of opportunity for the hotel to fix the issue before you are ready to go to bed.

2. Make sure the sheets are visibly dirty before you check out of the hotel and prevent any possible Covid spread. I think it’s just a matter of kindness to the next guest and just plain hygienic. Don’t feel bad as the hotel should automatically be doing this anyhow. I always wiped the bottom of my shoe across the sheets before I checked out.

3.Place a face towel or hand towel on the bathroom counter to place all your items on. Especially in this time of covid you do not want to transfer any germs to your face or hands. It’s also a visual reminder of anything placed on the counter and it helps in not forgetting items like jewelry in the bathroom.

4. Take an extra washcloth and wipe the toilet seats down. I think we all assume that the hotel room has been cleaned thoroughly but my experience has shown that the toilet seat is often overlooked.

5. Treat hotel room floors like airplane bathrooms and never assume it’s just water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed through hotel corridors and seen the remains of a hotel room party gone wild. Let’s face it, the hotel does not have the manpower or capability to thoroughly clean hotel room floors, nor do they often have time between checkouts. Covid can be easily spread through bodily fluids.

I hope my tips have been helpful, check back in for more of my lived travel experience.

5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.

5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.

As an avid world traveler who has done this both professionally and personally, my carry-on is always semi-packed. Here are my tips and advice on the 5 items I consider must-haves and should always be in my carry on.

1. A lingerie organizer bag (details on another blog post). The one I use has two sides, one for clean underwear and the other for dirty. You never want to get them confused!

2. An electronic organizer bag (blog post coming). With people being so connected it is so inconvenient to lose connectivity and most hotels do not provide enough power outlets for the technology we use in our daily lives.

3. A toothbrush which in my opinion is even more needed than the electronic organizer. Many people pack this in their suitcase but with the chances of your luggage being lost, I like to always have this at hand.

4. A medicine bag with items like Tums, ibuprofen, cold medicine, etc. I tend to also have eye masks, face masks, prescription medications, band-aids, Neosporin, alcohol pads, and such (more on another post).

5. Finally I always have a small makeup bag with the basics like mascara, lip moisturizer, lipstick, makeup remover cloths, toner, and face moisturizer. These are always found at beauty supply stores and pharmacies in travel sizes.

You make have other priorities for your carry-on. If so, what are they? I’d love to find out.

Thankful for the memories

Thankful for the memories

2020 has definitely been a year of great emotions with many highs and lows. My last blog post discussed the angst of Covid travel during Thanksgiving. This post I’d like to dedicate to the joy of going back home.

My life has significantly changed since I left home so many years ago to make my mark on the world. I have traveled extensively both for work and for pleasure. Pulling up to my mom’s home reminded me not only of how much I have made inner travel, as much as I have made the physical travels.

My mom has lived in the same apartment for over forty years. In comparison, I live in a five- bedroom home with plenty of hosting spaces, inside and out, as well as an apartment in Singapore that I also call home.

Despite those differences, this thanksgiving was one of the happiest and memorable ever. Chairs had to be brought in for seating, the floor became a seating space, and laps became temporary dining spaces. However, the laughter flowed and happiness permeated the room.

In our travels, it’s not always the destination, but how we get to the destination that matters. I invite you to take an inner journey and reflect on the travel you have made to reach the destination you’re currently at. I encourage you to be thankful for the memories. It could have been better or it could have been worse, but give thanks for the journey you’ve traveled keep looking forward to the ones ahead. We are not all as blessed.

Covid travel or not?

Covid travel or not?

This was not my first trip since the outbreak of Covid 19, but with the resurgence and travel advisories against Thanksgiving travel, I had lots of inner struggle with my travel plans.

My first trip during Covid was the long trip back from Asia and it was a struggle trying to decide whether to stay in Asia or return to the US. As my youngest had braved Covid on her own for several months, I decided it was time to return home and be there for my daughter (see motherhood blog). As I was now in the US and only 3 hours away from my mom rather than 24, I planned my Thanksgiving travel. There was certainly a bit of angst as New York had been designated a hot spot.

However, my trip was a choice I felt I had to make. Having been an ex-pat for many years and not seeing my mom in a while, I looked forward to this visit. I had planned this trip well before the resurgence of covid concerns and realities. With a recent unexpected death in the family, I struggled with the thoughts of missed opportunities. Should I reschedule my trip? Covid was so unpredictable I wondered whether any other timing would be optimal for covid travel.

It is said that most family gatherings are at funerals and I struggled with the thought of canceling my trip and missing a positive family experience. Still and all, I am a prolific traveler, and I honestly missed the travel experience and was looking forward to the trip. I chose to keep my travel plans but wondered how much of my decision was a want and how much was a need. No one can predict the future, and my choice could be seen as unnecessary and risky. It could also be seen as a perfect time to choose family while they are around, rather than grieve for them or the missed opportunity to create memories.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences if you’ve had to make a similar choice. What would your choice be? Covid travel or not?

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