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5115 Wissahickon Ave.

Times like this my mom would say the devil is busy..

I think he has too much time on his hands

He’s taking a break while I’m filling my head

with silly things that aren’t true

In the back of my mind and in the front of my mind is you

You, telling me, reminding me of our sacred ritual

I’m head over heels, heels over heads

always indulging in a mess, stuck, never moving all the way through

Loving the lust, the lies

Comforting hellos, harsh goodbyes,

you know I love me… some you

But you, and I, this back and forth, aint nothing new

In time itll all be gone, the ending of a song, but just wait for part 2

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5115 Wissahickon Avenue

“Does Mr. Eric spend the night with your mom often? Is he living in the house with you?”

At the time I didn’t know that my mom’s best friend was questioning me only to stab her in the back. After all, I was only seven…who uses a child as a vehicle for evil and gossip?

When my mom went to work the next morning, her best friend, Mrs. Miami, handed her a copy of an email she drafted to the Philadelphia school district asking for her immediate removal as Principal from Bethune elementary.

The email contained personal information (information she squeezed from a 7 year old) about my mom’s relationship with an accused rapist.

I was only a child so of course I didn’t know what was going on.

I carried the burden of my mom losing her job which left us homeless for 4 years.

I carried that burden all by myself until I was old enough to realize that it was all bullshit and I forgave myself I told myself that I was only a child and I didn’t know what I was saying.

I didn’t know she was pressing me because she was jealous of my mom and her relationship.

I didn’t know at the time that Mr. Eric’s daughter, Rachelle, moved from Haiti to live with him and he was touching her.

I don’t know if everything was happening for a reason or if I was the worst erson in the world.

Mrs. Miami setting my mom up saved us in the long run.

Maybe if her business wasn’t put on blast, we wouldn’t have found out about his past, and his present.

Maybe my mom would’ve gotten married to the rapist.

But at the time all I know is that my mom lost her job and we didn’t have a place to live and it was all my fault.

“Why would you tell her those things?”

What did I tell?

I was only being honest.

The real question was…why is your friend questioning me about your panties?

It’s crazy how things work.

Devils are tricky.

They come to you sincere, as a friend, trusting, promissing, really beautiful lies…

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Cheers! Find out some of the highlights of my experience traveling to London, England (solo)

I traveled to London, England and had the best experience ever traveling solo.

At first, I was nervous to take this trip but I’m so glad I took the chance!

The following are some of the highlights from my solo adventure.

First up (one of my favorites):

The Shard London:

The shard is the UK’s tallest structure (skyscraper) and it’s the fifth tallest building in all of Europe.

(Here’s a view from the London Tower Bridge)

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It’s dubbed “the shard London” because, just like it’s name, this beautiful structure is shaped like a shard of glass.

It’s 95 stories tall and the view from the top is breathtaking.

Construction started in 2009 and doors opened in 2012 (so the Shard is fairly new). It’s home to offices, restaurants, and apartments.

The view from the Shard:

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this was one of my favorite experiences because you could see all of London at once and take in all of its beauty!

The Tower Of London:

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Home of the Crown Jewels!!

The most BEAUTIFUL diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, pearls, gold, royal crowns, scepters, jeweled out swords and just a bunch of royal history (from generations of the royal families) reside here.

All in one place are the most breathtaking jewels I’ve ever seen in my life.

I was not allowed to take any pictures inside but take my word for it!!

There were guards everywhere protecting the vault Crown Jewels.

The Tower of London was many things over time…

It was a defense tower:

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It was a menagerie (zoo) for when the royal family would receive live gifts (animals) from all over the world.

One of my favorite stories was about the pet polar bear that King Charles received and how he would take it to the river Thames so it could fish:

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The Tower was also a place of execution; within its walls was the “bloody tower” where prisoners who were sentenced to death would spend their last hours.

London Tower Bridge:

This historic landmark was built between 1886-1894 and is used to cross the Thames River.

The tower bridge gets confused as the popular “London Bridge” all of the time but this Bridge HAS NEVER FALLEN.

In fact it is built with some of the strongest materials in the world.

This Bridge was built because of the necessity of having to cross it everyday for work and other purposes (over 170,000 people cross this bridge everyday).

The steam/ engine rooms were pretty cool to visit.

Once operated by coal and a 100 person team, now a single person is able to operate this Bridge with a few clicks on a operating board.

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The view of Big Ben:

Lastly, one of my favorite moments was taking a Thames River Cruise ❣️ and the view of Big Ben!

London is so beautiful at night because everything is illuminated; this cruise was the best way to see all of the lights:

Look at the London Eye!!

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I purchased a three day London pass which turned out to be my best investment because I was able to skip long lines (or queues as the British say), avoid pricey entry fees, and receive other types of discounts at over 100 attractions.

<Please invest in this pass if you’re planning on doing any sightseeing in London it’s so worth it!>

For more details on my trip make sure you’re following the series “Four countries in one week: how I survived my solo adventure” (or simply click here)

Click here to find out about my experience at Buckingham Palace and the protest I encountered.

Four countries in one week Part. II “No, your basic Spanish won’t help in Portugal”

Welcome to Part. II of “How I survived my impulsive solo adventure(“No, your basic Spanish won’t help in Portugal”) 

This series will detail my personal experiences while traveling solo in the hopes of encouraging my fellow solo travelers! I also want to explain the side effects of making impulsive decisions (when you rush into a trip without planning it right).

So, cheers to more careless mistakes I’ve made that snowballed into the best experience of my life!

Comfort zones are overrated

I really want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone(s) and experience something or someplace new even if it’s just once…a year.

Even if the adventure doesn’t go exactly how you planned, the trip is still worth a shot; you don’t know what’s out there in the world until you get off your butt and see it for yourself!

Not everything (travel wise) will be perfect but, hey, it’s all about your perspective and you should be determined to take the good with the bad in any “fail” or “bust” as I’ve learned to do!

I’ve met so many people who are satisfied with where they are in life and who feel at ease dwelling in the same city blocks of their hometown.

I’ve always wondered about the people who are OK existing in a world where they’ve only traveled around >10% of it.

As if traveling somewhere new isn’t attainable or is so much of a farfetched idea (maybe this is just out of fear); I’m here to share that this big ole world is yours and it’s time to get out and explore it!

You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn about yourself when you’re in a brand new place.

American Privilege: Imagine That

Imagine: standing in long customs’ lines, being questioned about your history, whereabouts, and intentions in a country you are trying to enter then receiving the ultimate prize: entry across the border!

Imagine saying “I’m just traveling for fun!” and getting the response “oh, I see you’re on holiday.”

This was only the beginning of my experiences last week and I melted inside at every accent I encountered, every smile, and every frown!

If you’re American, like me, all of this may be a new experience for you, with your American privilege and all…you really don’t get how foreign you are until someone is pissed at you or impatient because you don’t know the language or if you take time to examine each coin before paying for your food.

Lisboa 🇵🇹

Originally my trip to Lisbon was only supposed to be a fourteen hour layover but since I was no longer going to Africa I figured why waste the $50 ticket? Maybe I could still go to Portugal and experience a really cool day trip.

I was determined to see the best of Lisboa (in turn, this was also a bust but a beautiful learning experience nonetheless).

After spending two hours in the customs line and spending the next two getting drenched by the rain and trying to make it to Castelo de Muros just to get there and find everything shut down I was so disappointed and declared it another BUST!

I waited for a bus that never came, I walked up a steep hill-ed street to another bus stop just to find out I needed the bus going in the opposite direction, and it was just a bad experience.

Picture this: you’re wandering around in a country where YOU are the foreigner.

It may seem scary at first but the more you explore the more you see yourself in other people; humanity becomes more than just a word, it becomes a realization.

There are people on the of side of this world living their lives, and they’re so much like you but so different at the same time.

Language Arts

To all of the people (who love to make impulsive decisions as I do), I would first like to say learning everything possible about the places you want travel PRIOR to booking the flights is key. One thing I regret is not taking the time to learn Portuguese.

*Take time to learn the language (No your basic Spanish won’t help in Portugal) and trying to sound out places with your American accent will be frustrating.

“Este Rios” is NOT pronounced how it looks…I found that out the hard way.

PLEASE, I can’t stress enough, even if it’s just the basics, take the time to learn the official language of the places you’re traveling and don’t rely so much on a translator because most times they won’t work as they should…

This was a huge inconvenience for me in Portugal and one of the reasons it was my least favorite stop along my travels. I couldn’t understand anyone and they couldn’t understand me so it made traveling via their public transit system.

I fried my brain trying to decipher these maps but I pride myself in finally figuring them out…my mission was to get to Sinatra to see the Castle of the Moors, I needed to take the 427 bus from my location, get off at “Este Rios” catch a train to Sinatra and I’d be set.

By the time I got there everything was shutdown so I had to turn right back around and head back to my hostel.

The moon was absolutely beautiful at night and I came across this massive church that I admired for a bit.

Hostel Stay (Corujinha Hostel in Portugal)

To be honest the best part of this trip was the view of the moon and my hostel stay.

Being cheap once again, I decided that instead of spending a ton of hotels I would stay in hostels.

Why pay money for hotels that I would hardly spend any time? Also, Air BNB got a bit pricey and all required prepayments!

I did so much research on hostels and read hundreds of reviews (thank you Trip Advisor, Booking.com & Reddit).

I went to college so the idea of sharing a room with a stranger didn’t scare me at all.

I stayed at the Corujinha Hostel in Portugal and I give them ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ five stars. It was extremely clean, had an awesome common room full of musical instruments and TVs! Very homely compared to so of the other hostels I encountered (I’ll do a separate blog post rating the others so stay tuned).

I’ll see you next time!

I will most likely give myself five years to learn Portuguese and go back five years after that but I WILL go back not let this experience be the only memories I make in Lisbon.

For more on my impulsive solo adventures, and to see what other countries I actually ended up in after this second FAIL, continue on in this series!

I PROMISE IT ISN’T ALL BAD PLANNING & FAILS! IT ONLY GETS BETTER FROM HERE!!!!!!!!

Click here to visit Part III of “Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventures”

Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventure Part. I (“Ghana was a FAIL- why do vaccines and travel visas cost so much?”)

“I’m going to Africa and I ain’t going back and forth with yall!”

My impulsive, solo, trip started with just an idea: Investing in myself will be my top priority and I would kick this idea off my by committing to international travel.

It was my birthday and I wanted to celebrate myself like I never had before so I thought “what better way to celebrate (my 27th trip around the sun) than to plan a trip to Accra, Ghana 🇬🇭

I decided I would travel to West Africa which was a no brainer because I have roots there; my father was born and raised in Ghana and I wanted to explore his old stomping grounds, possibly meet some of my family, and overall get a feel for where I come from.

What would be so terrifying about traveling to Ghana solo?

It is completely beautiful and I don’t care what the narrative may look like through mainstream America’s lenses…

I wanted to find out all about Africa’s beauty for myself (and solo if need be!).

I figured if I waited around for other family/ friends I could possibly lose my nerve…there’s no time like the present…right?

No time to answer that! I just began booking!

SHE did it & so can I!!

While being so inspired by the many female travel bloggers/IG influencers making their mark all over the world (like “@thecatchmeifyoucan”) I convinced myself I could do the same thing.

This is so true HOWEVER, planning, researching, networking, and just being honest with myself would have been key and it took a few mistakes for me to realize this.

I dedicated the past couple of years to facing my fears and accomplishing so much; I was about to cross out another “need to do” up off of my list (or so I thought)…

RESEARCH is key

I began “researching” and I started accumulating some of the “must haves” every solo female traveler should have.

I had gained all of the materials but none of the actual knowledge it would take to carry out a successful trip to Africa.

The materials included (but weren’t limited to): an awesome carry on suitcase (with a built in TSA approved lock, a great sized traveling backpack, rain proof slip on sneaker protectors, Anker power bank, travel adapter, new digital camera and mount, selfie stick, travel SIM cards, and a variety of apps downloaded on my phone to help with everything else (what’s app, hopper, WiFi map, cash app, money exchange, google translate, hotel tonight, etc.).

Before I knew it I was in the hopper app finalizing the flight arrangements because I set set, right?

WRONG!

Yes, I would have the physical things I needed for traveling, but the most important question was “could I actually meet the requirements to enter into the country?”

Caught up in excitement, I was overlooking key elements, like securing my safety all in the name of trying to live my best life.

I didn’t consider all of the vaccines until I contacted Penn’s travel medicine and looked into the type of travel visa I needed.

I told the angel and demon on my shoulders “I’ll be fine” and “I ain’t going back n forth with Y’all” (in my best Lil Duval impression).

Without doing the ACTUAL RESEARCH needed to actually be prepared for Africa I booked an expensive flight…

If you’re catching on to how irresponsible this trip was about to be you’re keeping up.

My biggest mistake was not doing enough research first! If I had, I would’ve realized in addition to paying almost $400 for the flight, I needed a visa to travel to Ghana (~$280), and needed to get pumped full of vaccines (averaging over $300).

At this rate, I needed to spend at least a month out there in Accra & Kumasi (and not just a week of vacation time I saved up.

For someone who was balling on a budget, I sure started off by wasting a TON of money I already didn’t have…and needed to dish out more if I wanted to step foot on the continent.

I was honest with myself and admitted I just couldn’t afford this trip (not at this point in time).

I would’ve spent all of my money just trying to get there and one week wouldn’t be enough time at all to enjoy it all!

I was going to keep this trip a secret but as discouraged as I was becoming I decided to talk to my mom about it.

I was so reluctant about that because I knew she would freak out at the idea of me going anywhere solo let alone the place where she had the worst experience of her life.

My parents honeymooned in Ghana with back in 1990 and my mom was so homesick and out of her element so I just knew she would be totally biased against me going.

Anyway, I decided to share my dilemma with her I started off with “mom, I booked a crazy trip” and smiled reluctantly.

She asked where and when I told her she said she was sad and didn’t want me to go but I already knew that.

She said it’s not like it’s Cali it’s Africa lol okkk I realized that I started explaining the money situation because I value her opinion.

Finally, I decided I wouldn’t go all the way but stop in some places where I didn’t need any vaccines or visas, just my passport which I had and was eager to get it stamped.

GHANA WAS A FAIL (for now…but with better planning I’m definitely taking a crack at it again)!!Hopefully I’ll go when I turn 30!!

We all make mistakes and sometimes they cost us big time. I’m thankful I listened to my gut and my mom (and went back and forth lol) because I could’ve spent all of my money just to get to Africa and I probably would’ve had a terrible time (being short on money which isn’t a good look!).

For more on my impulsive solo adventures, and to see what four countries I actually ended up in after this FAIL, continue on in this series!

Click here to visit Part II of “Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventures”

“We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue” aka London’s Harlem! I had to find the African presence in London…I had to!

During my first night in London I made it a priority to visit BRIXTON.

Brixton has been dubbed as London’s Harlem (it may have been after Nelson Mandela visited in 1996) either way I had to find the African presence in London…I had to!

I read a lot about Brixton and found that this area in London is where a lot of African/ Caribbean culture resided (ever since the ending of the second World War) so it was at the top of my list of “must sees”.

After the craziness at Buckingham Palace I decided to end the day on a sweeter note and rock down to Electric Avenue.

Luckily Brixton wasn’t too far away from Victoria station, which was so close to the Buckingham Palace (it was basically the last stop on the Victoria line) so it just made sense to go while I was in the neighborhood.

So I took the “tube” (Victoria line from Victoria station to the last stop) and was instantly pleased.

As soon as I reached the top of the escalator I was met by a sea of brown faces and heard nothing but Caribbean music.

I shopped around a bit at the outside marketplace…

Stopped by “Pop Brixton” a cool indoor shopping mall/ pub for a drink…

Then I treated myself to some of the best Caribbean/Jamaican food I’ve ever tasted!!!

Brixton was Amazing!! I definitely want to return and get some more beef patties soon!

Speak Up: An Invincible Girl’s Podcast is available on all streaming platforms #SpeakUp #SpeakUpPodcast

Li·bran Hollow-Cost

People tell me I got a light about me but I dwell too much on things

Wasting time wasting time on remembering memories of wasted things

I look up and stare at the moon at night, the sight of her comforts me

We have an understanding that no matter what, at the end of the night Ill count out loud my blessings

Look at me, your Libran Holocaust born in Philly, A1 cheesesteak sauce

My eyes opened, wide, wider than they’d ever been, staring right past you, past the lies, straight down to heaven

Then I look up to the moon, and she’s still there with me, shining and smiling down, what a sight to see!

There I am, I think as I see myself, just a fragment of black girl magic, made from the image of God

Heavenly woman, made so heavenly, when life gets to be getting the best of me, I’ll close my eyes and remember you’re with me

You are me, we’re one, my desire, burning bright like a fire, with my eyes wide open, I gravitate higher, and drop down to heaven, heavenly spun

You’re the one, you won me, mostly heavenly one.

Inspired by Teena Marie/ irons in the fire

One Step Away Philly: Brian says “Talk is cheap”

I commute into work every day, and I pass by Brian, a vendor for #OSAPhilly (One Step Away Philadelphia). You can’t miss him he’s always greeting the stream of commuters with an enthusiastic “GOOD MORNING!” even if no one returns the love.

I’m usually halfway asleep (and not fully accepting of the fact that I’m more than halfway to work) but Brian’s greetings snap me back to reality (thank you for that)!

This morning he was excited to stop me and tell me all about the two poems he wrote in this morning’s One Step Away Paper (“We Matter” issue) check them out (Disclaimer: I told Brian I would be putting him on Young Loud Proud and he said it was fine):

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One Step Away is an organization that produces a “street newspaper” whose mission is SOCIAL JUSTICE; overcoming homelessness, joblessness, &poverty.

The purpose is to create jobs for members of the homeless population, in the hopes of diminishing people experiencing homelessness and joblessness in Philadelphia.

Vendors, volunteers, and the staff at One Step Away create the paper by contributing to its content; filling the paper with personal experiences, stories, poems, and insights.

The vendors then distribute One Step Away on the streets of Philadelphia, advocating for social change.

One Step Away: The Process

Vendors (Philadelphia residents experiencing hardships) receive their first 20 newspapers for free with additional papers costing 25 cents.

The vendors sell the newspapers on the streets of Philadelphia for a dollar (or whatever donation they receive), and they can keep the profit.

This process helps the vendors to gain self-sufficiency, engage with the public and strengthen social skills, gain employable skills, and most importantly earn an income.

 

Journalism ❤️ YLP blogging (Thank You)

New blog posts are up on #youngloudproud.com I’m continuing to shine light on #blackexcellence ✨ “I can’t help but to SHOUT OUT the #YLP kings & queens and their incredible stories.

There are always so many noteworthy #blackexcellence posts being shared all over my social media timelines/dashboards/feeds/etc. and I feel like the positive needs more recognition period!!!!

Thank you all!!! From the people who post/repost, to the people being shouted out- who are out here putting in the work, paving the way and grinding!

You fuel this blog:. I find so many melinated people so inspirational and motivating and at the end of the day that’s why this blog YOUNG LOUD PROUD even exists, so again, thank you all.

If you have a personal story or someone you want to SHOUT OUT for being #YLP don’t be afraid to email me: proudloudyoung@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you.”💪🏾❤️🙌🏾💕✨ (blogged by @mystik.y)

Here’s a bit of background just Incase you’re curious on how/why YLP came to be:

My interests in journalism continuously grow. I love to read and have always enjoyed creating stories both fictional and non-fictional. I have a strong interest in literature and always wanted to spread knowledge to teach people while spreading the truth. Growing up, my mother nicknamed me Action News because I reminded her of a reporter; consistently gathering information and investigating.

My long term goals include writing/publishing a novel and ultimately publishing my own magazine. I’m slowly but surely accomplishing my goals (An Ode to the “Good Girl” is now available through Amazon). My short term goals include continuing my education to advance my journalistic integrity and acquire additional skills. A girl can never really stop learning right?

One thing I’ll always need is to hear from YOU!! Please email me you thoughts comments concerns contributions, etc. proudloudyoung@gmail.com stay blessed, stay YLP!!

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