Why Galveston, Texas for Juneteenth 2021.

Why Galveston, Texas for Juneteenth 2021.

For those who don’t know about Juneteenth, it’s important to learn about its history and its significance. Juneteenth celebrates the actual day that slaves in Texas found out about their freedom. Galveston, Texas, is recognized as the birthplace of Juneteenth. On June 19th, 1865, it was there that the announcement and enforcement of the emancipation proclamation were made. More than two years after it went into effect. On June 19th, 1865, the Union army made it to Galveston, Texas, to notify slaves that the civil war had ended and slavery was abolished. The name Juneteenth is a combination of June and nineteen.

As of 2021, Juneteenth is now a new federal holiday. I thought it only appropriate to celebrate it this year in the place where it all started, Galveston, Texas. My friends and I joined the influx of tourists to Galveston who reflect and celebrate black history. Additionally, we came to acknowledge Jubilee Day, best known as Juneteenth, and its importance in/to black history. More importantly, we participated in a unique camaraderie with other black visitors doing the same.

As an immigrant, Juneteenth is part of my journey of understanding all black cultures. For years the joy of celebrating Juneteenth has been a fact of life for many blacks. Galveston, Texas, has for years been part of the commitment to progress for black people. Now that Juneteenth is recognized as a national holiday, it represents freedom and equality for blacks and every human being.

Amongst the now common protests of police brutality and the recognition of structural racism, the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday is essential. Most Americans celebrate July 4th as their independence. However, for many blacks, that independence was not a reality.

My friends and I celebrated by eating and shopping at black-owned businesses. This Juneteenth was an opportunity to celebrate the now widespread recognition of the Juneteenth holiday. For me, it is just as important to celebrate my blackness as it is to keep fighting for black equality. Galveston on June 19th is the ultimate representation of that celebration.

Have you celebrated Juneteenth before? Did you celebrate Juneteenth this year? How has this made an impact/impression on or in your life? I’d like to know.

Five tips on planning a trip.

Five tips on planning a trip.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “where should I go?”  Traveling is a very personal decision, and what I might find enjoyable may be vastly different from what someone else finds pleasurable.  Here are my five tips for those who want to travel but are unsure about making travel plans.


It’s important to know what your travel budget is before you decide where you want to travel. Travel costs will include not only transportation costs but lodging.  There may be passport and visa expenses depending on your travel.  The cost of food and activities at your destination will also be a factor. These are but a few of the expenses that are involved with travel.  Knowing how much you can afford for your trip and setting a budget is essential when planning travel.


When considering your travel destination think about weather and location.  Do you prefer warm weather and beaches, or would you like cooler weather and nature?  Knowing your preferences can help to narrow down your destination choices.  Another consideration is the travel season of your destination.  If you do not like crowds, then you may prefer going to a location in the offseason rather than during the peak of travel.


It’s important to consider how much time you have for travel.  A traveler can fit much more into a planned vacation that is weeklong than a weekend vacation.  On the other hand, it can be an awful experience to be on a trip where you can’t wait for the journey to end.  If you don’t have a lot of time for travel, you might want to go to a destination that’s nearer to home. With more time for travel, traveling far away is a great option.  Knowing how much time you can allow for travel will help a great deal in planning your trip


I think people often overlook what kind of travel experience they want from their vacations. Plan a trip that meets your needs, and you will have a much more pleasant experience than traveling for the sake of travel. When you know what type of experience you want from your trip, it can lead to an enjoyable experience worth your time and money.

Travel style.

Each traveler has a particular style. Two people going to the same destination will have significant differences in their travel experience based on their travel personality.  Determining if your style is more as a backpack traveler than a luxury traveler is essential. If you prefer an active adventure or lying by the beach or pool is critical to your enjoyment of travel. Your travel style can significantly impact your travel experience if it does not match your travel plans.

Determining what you value most is an essential part of ensuring you make the right travel plans.  What do you consider most when you plan for travel? I’d like to know.

Know before you travel.

Know before you travel.

After being confined for months, people are ready to travel. Whether domestic or international, there are a few considerations to make if you plan to travel. From my lived experiences, here are five things I think you should consider.


Be prepared to show vaccine documentation and not just for covid-19. As I stated in a previous blog post, being vaccinated against covid-19 or other viruses does not permit you to act without thought for others. In addition, there is no uniformity in requirements locally or internationally for vaccine or testing documentation. Know that the documentation you have given to you at your local vaccination or testing site may not be acceptable at some places as valid documentation. Be aware and know before you fly.

Visa requirements.

Many new travelers overlook the fact that some countries require a visa before entry. The US Department of State is a great site to visit to determine if the country you are planning to visit has visa requirements and what they are. Although the US passport is highly valued, many countries still require a visa before entry. Sometimes these are available at the airport, but some countries require prior authorization.

Passport requirements.

Many people assume that having a passport is all that’s needed for international travel. However, as a general rule, US travelers need to have at least six months of validity left on their passports before they travel. Of course, there may be cases where this is not a requirement, but please ensure you have a valid passport if you plan to travel.

Flight options.

Flights are another overlooked aspect of travel that many new travelers do not realize is important. Often new travelers are swayed by the price of the trip rather than the duration of the journey. It is essential to consider whether your flight is nonstop, and if not, how many stops are included to reach your destination. As a rule, most travelers try not to have less than an hour between flights to be cautious of delays. However, some routes might include long airport layovers or even overnight stays. Be careful with your flight options.

Trip insurance.

I have also written about trip insurance before. I highly recommend adding the cost to your travel budget. With unforeseen personal circumstances, airline delays or cancellations, and weather conditions, travel insurance is well worth the cost to ensure your travel goes smoothly, or you are aptly compensated.

There are many things to consider when planning travel. With so many travelers choosing to make plans on their own, knowing what’s needed is essential. Have you ever been caught unaware? I’d like to know.

Travel souvenirs.

Travel souvenirs.

I’ve spent more than half of my life traveling.  Through the years, I have amassed my share of travel souvenirs.  My collection has ranged from T-shirts, magnets, coffee mugs, keychains, art, and furniture.  Having also lived as an ex-pat, moving with your collection of souvenirs can be a hassle.  Now I prefer a photographic memory or a small trinket that evokes special memories.  Here are my thoughts on travel souvenirs.

You can find magnets almost everywhere you travel.  For novice travelers, they can be a great souvenir from your travels. They can also be a great way to keep track of all your destinations.  However, magnets can soon overwhelm the spaces you are displaying if you are or become a prolific traveler.

Destination coffee mugs are another excellent travel souvenir.  However, they are fragile and take up a bit more room when packing. Like magnets, they can also become overwhelming as you can only use them sparingly.  Choosing your morning coffee mug often becomes a chore when you have so many choices.

T-shirts are one of my favorite travel souvenirs, and I still collect them everywhere I go.  Like magnets and coffee mugs, they too can become overwhelming.  However, I have started creating T-shirt blankets and throws.  These allow me to keep the memories the tees invoke close to me in a much more visible way.

Art is a great souvenir, but getting it home can be a challenge.  As a souvenir, art requires much more thought than handheld souvenirs.  It usually has to go with your home décor, and you need space for display.  Packing art to carry home can also be a challenge as it often does not fit into your luggage, so transporting it can be a hassle.

Furniture is a great way to bring memories of a place with you.  As a travel souvenir, however, like art, it is a thoughtful investment.  Furniture usually requires shipping to your final destination, and often the costs can be prohibitive.  But it will be a cherished memento that you will have for many years.

Whether a novice or expert traveler, I encourage everyone to grab a travel souvenir. It not only supports but can be a great way to keep your travel memories alive.  Do you collect travel souvenirs? What are they? I’d like to know.

Being a Black ex-pat.

Being a Black ex-pat.

My lived experience is affected by being born in Barbados, a former international flight attendant, and living in London, Germany, and Singapore as an ex-pat. I am accustomed to being exposed to different cultures and being in spaces with people who do not look like me. Being a Black ex-pat is a similar experience as most ex-pats tend to have less melanin. Here are a few of my experiences that you might find interesting.

As a Black ex-pat, nationality has at times played an even more significant role than race. Having an American passport has occasionally lessened the impact of my skin color. Additionally, the perception of me being an ex-pat gives the assumption of certain socio-economic status. This notion seems to provide an added benefit my skin color does not always allow.

Most foreigners view black culture through what they see in media, pop culture, and their local prejudices. It’s not uncommon for someone to strategically take a picture with me in the frame. I am now not even fazed when asked to take a picture with someone. This request is much more acceptable to me than being staged in someone’s photo without consent.

Microaggression is always present. It’s a constant reality navigating other people’s perception of the black lived experience. As an educated black woman with a doctorate, I refuse to be the racial educator. It can be exhausting to explain racism when tone-deaf comments tend to be frequent occurrences.

I’m comfortable with being the only black person in the room. People often express to me their love for a famous black person. I often refer to this as the “Obama” effect. I see these expressions as people’s way of affirming their acceptance of me occupying the space I’m inhabiting and making me feel comfortable.

As a Black ex-pat, I have become familiar with being stared at. I tend to see the stares as a curiosity that lessens the discomfort I may feel. However, I have had to aggressively stare back in some instances to make people realize that I am not a museum piece.

Whether as a Black ex-pat or a frequent traveler, have you had any similar experiences? I’d like to know.

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