Posts tagged “travel

The Future is Young Loud Proud

I launched this Blog site “Young Loud Proud” and “Speak Up: a podcast for invincible girls” to encourage and educate my peers,  break stereotypes, promote diversity & inclusion, promote self-love/care, self-expression, and to celebrate art.

I want to continue with this theme and over the next five years transform Young Loud Proud into a mentoring program that engulfs my current MISSION and will encourage young people to strive for greatness despite their current shortcomings.

I want to expand YLP’s reach by visiting various areas across the world to bridge the gap between various cultures, conduct classes that celebrates individuality through art, and share the mission of  YLP while campaigning “I like me.”

There are young people with deep emotional issues and there are children who may not be able to express themselves; as a result I see a need for this mentoring art program.

The art classes given through this mentoring program will be a huge developmental benefit because it will help strengthen cognitive skills, communication, team building, and this will help children with self-expression.

Poetry

This program will be based on art that promotes the production of: poetry writing.

We’ll explore poetry throughout history and have the opportunity to review a variety of previous works (from Dr. Suess to Langston Hughes).

The educational components will include an overview of famous/infamous poets in history.

The overall goal will be to motivate children to be accepting of each other, promote diversity, and to spread love between cultures.

Cosmetic Making

These classes will teach young people how to create beauty products from scratch (this craft will help with team building, promote camaraderie, and bridge the gap between foreign cultures).

Participants will be given a variety of ingredients to create their beauty products.

They will be mixing ingredients together and (I will melt them and mold them); increasing knowledge on how cosmetics are made is a great skill to obtain.

Podcasting

I want to help young people create Podcasts ultimately teaching the importance of communication.

After learning how to create their own poetry/ short stories participants will be given the opportunity to read and record their stories and poems, explain their meaning, learn how to splice recordings/ add music & sound effects, and ultimately create an “episode” for a Podcast.

I have submitted this propsal to many different agencies for funding and have filled out a ton of grant applications. It can be fustrating to have a vision of this magnitude (without funding) and without a solid/ concrete plan to execute goals… but I am hopeful and positive!

I know I’m making these ideas real every time I talk about them, type them out, and put them on paper.

I shared this idea with everyone, I thought it was time I shared it with you.

I love you Young Loud Proud, I see the prgress, and I see your future (it’s BRIGHT)!

If you are interested in supporting this mission please email: proudloudyoung@gmail.com or support Mystiky Maquillage.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Four countries in one week: Part. III “I made it out of Paris, France in one piece”

Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventure Part. III:

Despite the Protest, I made it out of Paris, France in one piece!

“Melting Pot”

The world is a huge melting pot.

Merriam Webster defines a melting pot as is “A place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc., are mixed together” and I couldn’t think of a better description to give the United States of America, London, Lisbon, Toronto, and Paris. In the short time that I’ve spent traveling throughout different parts of these countries (10 days total), that’s what I concluded from seeing so many places and so many faces (I did a lot of people watching lol).

I don’t know if it was just my ignorance but I never thought I’d carry on a conversation with an Asian man with a heavy British accent, or witness a young dark-skinned Portuguese girl playing with a white Barbie doll with Purple hair. I met a Filipino woman in a hostel in Portugal who spoke proper English (better than me). I heard so many different languages, beautiful accents from a variety of people that I would have never met if I hadn’t taken a chance and went on this awesome, crazy adventure!

As I said, it is/was just my ignorance of maybe the fact that I’ve been stuck in a small Philadelphia bubble for the past 27 years but I’m so glad that I’m finally got out in the world, way beyond my comfort zone…and now, there’s no stopping me!

There are people on the other side of the world, so many people different from me, but the same, it sounds completely crazy, absolutely mad, “utterly ridiculous” but please try and follow along.

See what I mean (I love rollerblading and I love Mary Jane!)!!!

Paris, France

Out of all of the places I visited PARIS was my favorite! Despite the violence and protests I’ve managed to avoid all of it and I had a great experience!

I took the train all around and it was so simple (compared to Portugal):

Paris❣️❣️❣️ stole my heart what a magical place❣️❣️❣️ It was definitely a great last minute addition to my itinerary & ended up being one of the highlights of my trip. I’m glad I was able to end my tour on a great note lol It didn’t rain at all (haven’t seen a blue sky in 7 whole days), the weather was warm & I finally met up with some family. Traveling solo was fun but it felt good to be around someone familiar.

I ate some tasty crepes at the BEST Creperie:

Saw the inside of an amazing Cathedral:

VISITED THE ICONIC EIFFEL TOWER:

I MEANNNNNNN…..😍 “TOUR EIFFEL”

I took the train and you couldn’t miss the stop…

No fancy descriptions: this was an absolutely beautiful experience (1. To see it light up & 2. to stand under it and get the view while looking up!)

Next favorite:

The Palace of Versailles, King Louis XIV royal residence 😍everything about this palace from its architecture (all that gold OMG) to the gardens was just 😍😍 one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been…

(The Palace of Versailles was the official royal residence of Louis XIV & the official residence of the court of France! It was abandoned after the death King Louis in 1715..)

So yes, Paris was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited 😍 and I was lucky enough to visit #arcdetriomphe (one of Paris’ most famous monuments built in 1806)! My grandfather was in the same spot taking in all of its glory in the 1950s❣️I thank God I was able to have a wonderful experience and see its beauty, again, all without getting caught up in the protest that began just a day after I got home.

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. IV “Cheap Flights, Hostels, & Public Transportation”

Four countries in one week: How I survived my impulsive solo adventure Part. IV

“Cheap Flights, Hostels, &amp; Public Transportation”

Heart Eyes @ Indirect flights

Let’s take a step back. I don’t want to miss any details.

Adrenaline pumping, I decided it was time to plan my trip even after considering the “alone” aspect.

I started pricing direct flights and they were so pricey so I had a great idea, I’d look at all of the indirect flights, see where the common stops were, and plan my own trip by purchasing individual tickets modeling the indirect flights’ layovers (from Philadelphia to Accra).

Not only did I prematurely plan a trip to Africa I had this wild idea to take the most elaborate route to get to Accra; all in the hopes of seeing as much of the world I could before reaching my final destination.

The most attractive and exciting thing about planning this trip was the affordable flights; they seemed so inexpensive at first. I thought I was catching a break but I soon realized (and I think most seasoned travelers could agree) that all that glitters (cheaps flights) ain’t gold (aren’t the best vacation/solo trip ideas).
I am able to admit all of my travel mistakes ( but there’s light at the end of this tunnel, I promise).

After deciding Africa was a no-go I was stuck with all of the individual flights I ended up purchasing. I chalked up the non refundable money for the flight to Africa and I decided to continue planning a trip that would include the “layover/pit stop” flights I purchased (the Hopper app displayed so many flight options including long layovers in London so originally I thought I could enjoy London all in ONE day; yeah, that would have been enough time to explore (insert rolling eye emoji).

Since I was no longer going to Accra the money I would have spent on the visa/vaccines were now free for fun in London, Portugal, and Paris.

I was a bit relieved I didn’t continue with my original plan because I would have spent all of my money to just get there and probably would not have had a good time…

I figured “ok I’ll still take that bus ride and explore a bit of Canada, go to London, Portugal (for a day trip) and go back to London”. Paris was the last minute addition to my itinerary and I’m so glad about that (click here to find out why)!

I started researching sightseeing activities for London, and again, the cost started adding up between accommodations, spending money (FOOD & transportation), and of course, everyone should have disposable (“oops/accident”) money.

PubLove, Corujinha & Safestay @ Elephant & Castle

After many hotel confirmations and cancellations, I finally settled on the cheapest option: HOSTELS.

For my first night’s stay (London, England) I stayed at PubLove; a hostel not conveniently located close to  Buckingham Palace. This hostel was pretty bad; I hated that it was literally on the second floor of a Pub and that it wasn’t clean.

I opted for a mixed dorm and that was a HUGE mistake. I stayed with smelly, loud, and drunk guys. The linens weren’t clean so overall I gave this hostel two stars (the two stars are only because the staff were extremely friendly and let me check in early); I’m glad this was only for one night.

For my second night’s stay (Portugal), I stayed at the Corujinha Hostel and I will gladly rate them five⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. The Hostel was extremely clean, had an awesome common room full of musical instruments and TVs, and the staff was very helpful. I ran out of Euros toward the end of my night and only had twenty American dollars. Currency exchange near this Hostel was closed and wouldn’t have opened until 8:30am (and my flight was at 6:00am); if it weren’t for the nice owner of this Hostel I would’ve missed my flight (not having enough money (Euros) for a taxi). I am eternally grateful that he took my American dollars in exchange for Euros! He even called my taxi for me early the next day and I got to the airport just fine. If you ever read this please know you were such a blessing!

I was happy to get back to London (on the third day of my trip and after my failed adventures in Portugal) & for the duration of my London stay I occupied a dorm in the Safestay @ Elephant & Castle hostel which was eh, just ok. I had some trouble finding it at first (thanks a lot Google maps) but once I located it, it was easy to find from the Elephant & Castle tube station.

Check-in was fast and easy, but once I settled into my room and I noticed it was extremely hot and I was unable to adjust the temperature. The room was extremely hot and this made it hard to sleep…It was to the point the window in the room needed to stay wide open (this was inconvenient when it rained). 

Anyway, I had two other roommates who were from France (one guy and one girl) and they were semi-friendly. When I said “hello” only the guy spoke back to me. What did raise some concerns was when I opted for an all-female dorm and this guy showed up with all of his luggage. When I asked the front desk to confirm my reservation that confirmed that I opted for a mixed dorm. I checked my confirmation and it said otherwise…this may have been an error on booking.com but either way they were booked and it was nothing I could really do about it.

Since I didn’t spend too much time in the room, I wasn’t concerned with making friends with my roommates so no harm no foul…also I purchased luggage with a built-in lock so I was fine with my luggage being left in the room unattended.

I kept everything valueable on me (even when I slept). I had a fanny pack attached to me 24/7 with my passport, money, room keys, and phone because I would be damned if I had them stolen everything else was replaceable. I had some unusual dormmates although that isn’t the Hostel’s fault.

I gained another roomate later that day who convinced me she was a vampire; she was always sleeping no matter what time I came into the room (whether it be 10am or 10pm), then around 3am each night for five nights I would hear her get up slam some shit around and leave the room. I didn’t see her face until the day she checked out and that’s OK and all I just think she was a vampire!

I liked that area; this particular hostel was located conveniently close to the tube (Elephant & castle station) which allowed easy access to central London. I spent most of my time traveling on the tube. I would encourage anyone traveling to invest in an Oyster card. If you load 20 pounds you should be good for at least 5 days of traveling (bus & train) and this is much cheaper than buying day travel cards each day.

I ended my adventures in Paris; I stayed with family for the weekend and in a nutshell, I saved a ton but not staying in hotels over the course of my trip!

Paris’ train system was pretty simple to follow just like London. Although everything was in French I had a cousin that spoke English and she gave me explicit instructions on how to travel from the airport to her house (a two hour trip from CDG airport to Viroflay); this trip only cost ~15 euros vs. a 100 euro taxi ride.

 I really don’t see myself traveling anywhere and paying 50-100 euros, pounds, or dollars, for any taxi ride. Oh, and Uber works around the world but all of the Uber gift cards & credits that I stocked up on didn’t work AT ALL!!! Thanks, Uber for failing me…

Sometimes you can think you have everything planned out and realize you are not as prepared as you think. I’m here to tell you that this is OK because you can improvise! When in doubt, ASK and just take a train!!!

I feel so accomplished traveling throughout the world while using public transportation; it definitely gave me an unforgettable experience, makes me feel so independent and travel savy, and I have beautiful pictures while traveling through cities; what an awesome way to experience the culture!

Traveling solo can be a bit scary but it is a growing and learning opportunity; I think it’s what living is all about…

You don’t have to take my word for anything you read…prove me wrong! Get out the and create your own adventures and then tell me all about it! If you have something you would love to share please don’t hesitate to contact #youngloudproud: proudloudyoung@gmail.com

“One Solution: Revolution (System Change Not Climate Change)”

Buckingham Palace’s beauty & the unexpected protest I ran into on my solo adventure in London, England (11.24.18)

I arrived in London, England after an extremely long twelve hour Megabus ride to Toronto Canada, then another seven-hour plane ride courtesy of West Jet.

I was so eager to get out and start doing all of the touristy things I’ve always dreamed of.

The first thing I wanted to do after I checked into the PubLove Hostel, where I would be spending one night, I was off to visiting Buckingham Palace!

I wandered through the city of Westminster, without a working phone or a reliable WiFi connection, just a screenshot of google map directions that revealed Buckingham palace was only a short distance (25-minute walk) from where I would be spending the night.

I passed by Victoria train station, where just an hour before I was dragging my luggage in one hand and a Burger King meal in the other, lost and frustrated trying to find my way to Publove; now luggage free and full, I followed “Buckingham Palace street” (so clever) all the way to one of London’s famous places.

I heard the palace before I saw it!

To my surprise, I was greeted by loud chants, songs, drums, and people waving flags with half painted faces.

At first, I thought to myself “I must have this all wrong this isn’t Buckingham Palace” but…it was, after all, I was on BUCKINGHAM PALACE STREET and after all of the tourist and swift moving locals I dodge on the way there it just better had been.

It’s just…not exactly what I expected, instead of it being a completely magical experience, it was sort of ruined by the large group of people creating a huge ruckus in the name of climate control; but one thing I’ve learned is that in protesting is there are no rules and it has known no bounds.

I had a brief conversation with one of the yellow-jacketed police officers, guarding the gates, just to confirm what I already knew.

I asked if the protest was really happening before my eyes at Buckingham Palace? To his reply was simply “yes it is.”

The friendly officer, with the awesome accent, followed up by explaining that prior to this protest demands for better climate control programs (by the same group) were demonstrated at the Parliament (law making- city council headquarters) but on this particular day “they chose to come here” out of all of the days I thought!

Anyway, for the record, if I were to be caught up in a protest that would have been the one to wonder into…

Nothing compares to America’s protests or more recently the uproar in Paris where locals (with yellow jackets ironically) are literally setting fire to the streets and police are launching canisters of tear gas for crowd control all over fuel prices.

No, this was something different; it was peaceful, people were singing and dancing, and there was clearly a huge mixture of tourist in with the locals (I could tell by all of the selfie-taking).

Typically you wouldnt think a local would yell “CLIMATE CONTROL” but first, let me get this selfie (although today that may not be too far from reality…)…

I missed the changing of the guards but I still caught a glimpse of the guards marching back and forth at the entrance, in uniform, protecting the Palace.

Let’s get into the details!

Buckingham Palace’s physical appearance is GORGEOUS. The Gold trimmed gates, huge fountains and carefully sculpted statues were just amazing; it was like looking at a page from an art history book.

Although this was not what I expected for my first experience at this famous landmark in England it was nothing short of amazing and is unforgettable.

“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!

A trip down Graffiti Alley in Toronto Canada

After a very long Megabus ride from Philly (almost 11 hours including two 20 minute layovers) I finally made it to Canada!

Today marks day #1 of my solo adventure and I had a great time exploring downtown Toronto.

You may be asking why the heck I opted for such a long bus trip and the truth is I was just being cheap lol the bus ticket was only $30.

When you purchase Megabus tickets in advance you can travel almost anywhere at a discounted price (compared to flying).

Anyway, ITS COLD! The high today was only 29 degrees and it was pretty windy (not too far off from Philadelphia temperatures right now so I was prepared).

I’m just thankful it wasn’t snowing today and there was barely any evidence of last week’s snowfall so it’s all good.

Although the temperatures are pretty cold I felt nothing but positive vibes from the warm welcome of Toronto today.

I dedicated my morning to exploring on foot and it was pretty simple figuring out my way around downtown.

Although my phone didn’t work a lick and there weren’t any available WiFi networks to connect to, I found the places I had been researching prior, just fine.

The streets were pretty familiar thanks Google maps (especially street view)!

Streets like Augusta & Queen (near Graffiti Alley), Bay Street, University Ave, and some other major landmarks (like Union Station) were so easy to find.

I’m only passing through Toronto and for the short time I had to spend here I needed to visit Graffiti Alley!

I think street art is so beautiful. There is an entire section in Toronto dedicated to this type of art and it’s dubbed “Graffiti Alley.”

Think of the artist and how FREE they are in the moments of creating these pieces.

I enjoyed the art as well as the extremely friendly people I met why exploring.

One thing I’ve learned already from traveling solo is that there really are some kind hearted people out here (the kindness started with my Megabus driver letting me on the bus early to get me out of the cold so shout out to him and the entire South Philly!!!)…

I didn’t get much time to do the traditional touristy things (I managed to get some great pictures of the UN tower though; I couldn’t miss that lol) but nonetheless my day was unforgettable.

Stay tuned for the rest of my solo adventures this week! I’m traveling to London, Portugal, & Paris. Follow me on IG for more @mystik.y & @youngloudproud

More blog posts coming soon!

How NOT to fangirl (when you really want to) Part II. #YLPtalk

Fan·girl: (of a female fan) behaving in an obsessive or overexcited way.

Gather around Young Loud Proud, this is Part II of How NOT to fangirl (when you really want to). #YLPtalk

This past year I’ve been in a few unbelievable situations where I could’ve fangirl-ed the hell out of a couple of my favorite celebrities and could’ve made some memorable events, but I chose to stay quiet and keep to myself with the overall goal of not acting like a complete fan (even though my insides were exploding). It’s a self-control thing, I’ll tell you all about it, here goes nothing!

How to act like you don’t care that: Mary J Blige, Judy Jamison, Lena Waithe, Naomi Campbell, Naturi Naughton, Fantasia, Beverly Johnson, Queen Latifah, Ciara, Janet Jackson & Phylicia Rashad are all sitting within arms reach when all you want to do is run up to them, give out hugs, pull out your camera, and snap selfies:

I attended the filming of the was the Black Girls Rock 2018 awards show and the only question on my mind was: Do I carpe diem or nah?

BET just aired the 2018 awards show “Black Girls Rock” (on 9/9/18) an annual celebration of Black women while recognizing some of the most prominent pioneers in culture.

I had a brief close-up camera appearance so the excitement of seeing myself on TV a few weeks after the filming, basically prompted this “Part II” (of a new ongoing series on Young Loud Proud about keeping your cool and resisting the urge to fangirl celebrities).

A few weeks ago, my best friend sent me a link to attend a taping of this awards show and since I’ve always dreamed of going, this “win a chance to attend” link was right on the money (just not my money—that was a joke). I figured “sure” anything free is for me; it didn’t matter that it was almost 3 hours away in New Jersey.

So I signed right on up and the following week I was sent a surprise text asking me to confirm my attendance to the “2017 Soul Train Awards.” I rolled my eyes so hard at the confirmation, I was already reluctant to travel for this event, and part of me felt like this was the confirmation of some scam, after all, the title, year, and overall details of the show were so off.

Any who, it was all good because once I arrived, I saw a bunch of elegantly dressed people and signs indicating that I was indeed at the right show. It was a huge relief to see event staff eagerly smiling with their “Black Girls Rock event staff” tee shirts on.

So, then I exhaled. I was signed up for the correct show, traveled to the right location, made it on time, I was super cute in my semi-formal outfit, the last thing to ease my mind was the understanding of my role…while I thought I won exclusive seats what I really signed up for was an opportunity to be a seat filler.

For those of you who don’t really know who or what “seat fillers” are for award shows (if you’re reading this puzzled don’t worry I was too) the name is pretty self-explanatory. I was signing up to fill seats as necessary for the duration of the Black Girls Rock ceremony. I was expected to be shifted around, to make room, and fill in seats as necessary for the models, actors, actresses, and VIPs (et al.).

Once I ingested the duties of a seat filler after being prepped by the event staff, my best friend and I was ushered into a waiting area/auditorium where we waited over 2 hours in the hopes of being needed.

In the agreement, it clearly stated that not everyone would be chosen, so I braced myself for rejection. I don’t know why sometimes I count myself out (I need to stop doing that!!! this is a #YLPtalk for another day).

While waiting in an entirely separate and crowded auditorium, away from the actual event, I have to admit; I was anxious, hungry and ready to leave, but, I AM SO GLAD I STAYED!

I was sitting next to some complainers who figured the long wait was because they ran out of room, or they weren’t going to need us, or the “powers that be” didn’t like our outfits but I’m so glad I’ve mastered the art of tuning people out because they were dead wrong.

Not only did we get seated, but the ushers ended up sitting my best friend and I (together) in the second row! Yes, we were up close and personal, just a few feet from the amazing “Black Girls Rock” stage and we didn’t get shuffled or asked to move NOT ONCE!

Capture.JPG

(This was the only picture I was brave enough to snap as we were leaving out!)

Overall, this was the best experience ever; I ended up sitting right behind Naturi Naughton (commonly known as “Tasha” from 50 cent’s show “Power”), and while trying not to fangirl, I began to notice more of THE GREATS and it was completely unbelievable.

I saw the likes of Mary J Blige, Lena Waithe, Naomi Campbell, Fantasia, Beverly Johnson & Phylicia Rashad … it was all so inspirational just to be surrounded by them and to feel their positive energy. In the words of Mary J “Black Girls just Rock, we just do…” I felt the magic all through the room.

My opinion: to fangirl at an elegant awards show entirely uncalled for and is probably the quickest way to get removed. One thing I will confess: I did bring a copy of “An Ode to the “Good Girl” and leave it under Judy Jamison’s chair but whether she got it or security removed it is neither here nor there…that was the extent of me fangirl-ing…

I was so honored to be there, and I respected that this was such a sacred space full of #BlackGirlMagic. I didn’t see a bunch of bodyguards everywhere, you know? Everyone was basically enjoying each other in harmony, and I thought to myself “yeah this is exactly where I should be.”

I declared to myself that next year I’d be up on that stage and not just in the audience and you better believe it! It was like the best motivational rally, therapy session, church service, and most amazing free concert I’ve ever been to all wrapped up into one event.

You have to realize people are in celeb’s faces all day snapping photos, asking for selfies, recording, and it’s entirely annoying for them. At least that’s what I think. Although I had already signed an agreement not to take out my cell phone before going inside, I was so tempted! Especially when my favorite auntie Phylicia Rashad came on the stage!

They showed me twice so I’m just being joe 😭😭 like look ma I’m on TV!

Some of my favorite moments:

Mary J Blige’s acceptance speech (click here on this link to see my cameo LOL)
Fantasia’s tribute to Aretha Franklin
H.E.R’s performance
Lena Waithe’s acceptance speech

Honestly I signed up through the link for the “2017 Soul Train Awards” with my best friend, ended up waiting for almost 3 hours, and then come to find out it was only to be a seat filler. I was so disappointed but I’m glad I held on because it turned out to be one of the best experiences ever.

I never expected to be sitting up front at alllllll…

The Black Girls Rock 2018 awards show was epic; I’m so thankful to have been a part of that celebration on our culture. I was moved by Trana Burke’s (the founder of the #MeToo movement) speech. I was so excited to celebrate, alongside so many pioneers in our culture that I truly admire, ones that I grew up (past generational celebrities) with and am growing up with (current generation). I realize the magic that took place is unique and want to acknowledge that it isn’t often that we (black women) are celebrated or glorified in the media.

We have to mostly fight for our kudos and share the weight of having to overcompensate for ourselves sometimes, so let me just say I don’t know of a better example/way to do that than exclaiming “Black Girl, YOU ROCK!”

Thank you BET for displaying positive images of black women, shouting out those that are otherwise dimmed, or volume turned down by the media, thank you for shouting us out!!!

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Don’t let me discourage you Young Loud Proud people, if you fangirl, do it with pride, go hard or not at all…this is only a mere suggestion of how to get re-invited to the events LOL!

I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you because you never know sometimes… I’ve been in certain situations with people whom I really admire, and for the sake of not being a complete fool, I suppress the “shock and awe” methodologies I try and live by… but…what do you guys think? Will being bold always work for your benefit? Sometimes you can put yourself out there, not act shy and grab what you want and it totally works but you have to be careful, or you’ll look thirsty.

Have you had a run in with a celeb or hung out with a crush/someone you admire? Do you disagree with this theory? Please let me know!!! Email me! proudloudyoung@gmail.com

If you’re interested in more personal reflections/rants/stories like these check out the book of poems I recently published: “An Ode to the ‘Good Girl’” available in paperback or kindle (e-book)

I’m going to let y’all in on a lil secret (a Twitter thread turned short story) #YLPtalk

(For the full experience on How to lose a guy in 140 characters or less…click here!)

I’m going to let y’all in on a lil secret

I called myself being adventurous this weekend

AND a couple of weekends before annnnnnd…..

I got my feelings hurt 😭✨

y’all date outside y’all race or nah???

I met think extremely NICE white guy

Peep I didn’t say cute lol

And we started taking our dogs for walks and whatnot

Explored all the trails in the Wissahickon

Smoked a lot of bud so I was like ayeeeee yassss we can get fried together no problem yassss

He drank off my water bottle one time (I was a lil thrown off)

We did share a blunt so I figured maybe that’s why he was real comfortable

Anyway, he told me he taught at a local school

(environmental sciences, lectures on etc.)

I started applauding myself on my versatility in men

Like yasssss Maya 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 you are diverse you’re not particular at all 😭😭

Finally a guy who is lecturing on sustainability and not spending hundreds of dollars at the strip club

I never dated outside of my race before but for my first time I wasn’t too mad

That was until…😭😭😭😭😭😭 he started showing me affection

I’m so mean y’all

I kissed him a couple of time but nah I wasn’t feeling it too much

So like a week later we went out for sushi it was such a great date

but after he wanted me to go back to his house and I declined…

I could tell by the look on his face he was disappointed but I didn’t care in fact I ended up feeling some type of way that after a few walks and a sushi date he thought I would want to go back to his place for “more drinks and a smoke session”

Anyway anyway I just asked for a rain check on the session and asked him to take me home

so he pulls up to my apartment to drop me off and I saw him coming in for a kiss it was the most awkward thing ever…

He had food all stuck in his beard and it was just not a good look

So I kinda gave him my cheek to kiss and gave him a big hug and his reply was “oh I only get to kiss you on your cheek I want your lips”

I just stared at his sloppy beard turned off and it was just making the situation more awkward that he asked idkkk….

So I just told him I would call him later and I got out of his car and he immediately peeled off

Like ok you’re mad omg I was ctfu

until I realized I didn’t have my keys

So while I’m dumping my bag out on my front porch not believing how salty I was, he calls me…

He literally said “I felt like a little boy asking you for a kiss like I’m peterpan or something why didn’t you want to kiss me?”

I didn’t know the situation could get any more awkward…

I just replied and said “you know I’m still looking for my keys I’m not even in my house yet so I need to call you back”

But he would’ve known that if he hadn’t peeled off all mad but anyway

I found my keys and went in my house and not five seconds later I was greeted by this

Why the fuck did I tell him I like poetry 🙄

So I realized that obviously I’m not naturally affectionate toward him and although I was extremely curious I just wasn’t readyyyy and the fact he kept pointing it out was making me feel even more awkward

So I just figured I’d fall back a bit I didn’t want him to think I was leading him on and I did like him but maybe as friends and I thought maybe affection would come in time…

Bruh.

It gets better…

Y’all I thought I was being mean…I thought this nice guy deserves another chance

all he wants to do is shower me with affection and he’s so nice so what am I running from?

I thought I was being “that girl” the one who complains about wanting a nice guy than when she gets one she doesn’t know how to treat them blah blah blah..

So I said fuck it I’ll go out with him again and if he does the touchy-feely kissy kissy too much I’ll just and say something and we’ll see where it goes from there…

So we walk our dogs on the trails and smoke (and I thought ok I’m in the middle of the woods with this man I better act right😭 he out of no where stops and goes in to kiss me on my neck

Not awkward at alllllll right? I cringed and stopped him immediately

like this isn’t even the time or place like wtf it’s bugs everywhere I’m getting bit up Brownie has run off somewhere where is my puppy?

So he asked me “where is this going?” “You and me?”

Do y’all think I stayed in the woods and answered him truthfully or got out of there first?”

My crazy ass let it rip I told him that the aggressive affection was not for me…and why he expected me to make out with him every time I saw him (only knowing him a couple of weeks)

He told me how attracted he was to me and how beautiful I was so it was hard not to be aggressive

I told him I was flattered but it’s just too much especially since I don’t know him like that

I admit I might have been lying a bit bc when you like someone and you’re attracted the timeline doesn’t really matter lol

but since he’s a white man it’s all so new and I needed to take baby steps OK judge if you want but I kinda liked the newness of what we had and I just didn’t want to ruin it with all of that extra shut that’s the honest truth

*shit*

So after a brief silence he asked if I was celibate or ever going to show him any type of affection

(Yikessss) bc if I wasn’t celibate then there would be no excuse for not wanting him to feel all up on me and kiss my neck and slobber on me in the woods right?

I told him I was but that was besides the point…and that it wasn’t that I didn’t like him it was just new to me.

He said ok and I felt immediately bad like maybe I was being too harsh but fuck that I’m a woman and I get to choose what and when I do things right?

I made it my mission to go on another date just to seeeeeeeee if I was trippin

So after he dropped me off we said an awkward goodbye, he kissed me on the cheek, and keys in hand, I headed toward my front door.

He calls after me and get ready for this, he runs up to give me some lavender, peppers, tomatoes and other things from his garden that he had picked for me earlier but just forgot to give to me

So I graciously accepted (even tho I still had my mind made up I was going on another date bc I still needed to see sumthn)

I changed clothes and headed out on my next date…

My other friend (black guy) picked me up we smoke and talked and had a grand time.

I asked him if he’s dated outside his race, if he was curious, would he do it again, was she affectionate, did he like it, all the questions I should’ve never asked him ctfu

He admitted he had out of curiosity but it just wasn’t his forte but his younger sister was ONLY into white guys

He explained that she was living in a fantasy world and only wanted relationships she saw on tv (🙄) that was only his opinion so I disregarded but one thing that stuck was the fact he admitted the white girl showed him another side to dating

That was true for me as well, and I had confirmed that some times people date outside of their race for different reasons (and I wasn’t alone)

I liked his thoughtfulness, his compliments, the fact that he lit up when he saw me, picked things from his garden for me, would run to his car so I wouldn’t dare touch the door…

he was vegan, he was all earthy, he’d traveled the world (current goal of mine). He’s experienced so much that I had only dreamed of and that was attractive idk it was all new and I liked him for that

BUT him touching me and saying things like “oooooh what are you doing to me” turned me off so much

So anyway, I was talking to guy #2 enjoying my second date that turned more or a friendly pow wow and I sort of came to the conclusion that I wasn’t dating either just looking to fulfill a male friendship role in my life

So remember when I said I got my feelings hurt?

As I was leaving guy number two he says “oh yeah I saw you a couple of weeks ago” and I go “oh yeah where” he was like “mad mex”

I said “oh yeah why didn’t you say anything?” then he goes on to tell me that wasn’t the first time he goes on to tell me how he’d seen me with some white guy in the park a few times too but figured he’d mind his business

Then THEN he goes on to ask me if I used to have red hair…fuck yes but everyone knows that bc my hair was red for most of last year

I’m rapping this up y’all..PROMISE lol

So moral of the story is I was annoyed with two different guys for two totally different reasons but it was so similar I could’ve gagged

On the one hand I have a white guy who is too affectionate, sort of stalker-ish but I was so into him because of the unknown, my curiosity led me to him but my fear of intimacy fucked everything up

On the other hand I had a black guy that I had been dating on and off (completely stalker-ish) but I wouldn’t have know unless I pulled it out of him…attracted to him bc of all physical (no unknown aspects)

So yeahhhhh my feelings hurt 😔 bc I realized while I was trying to see something (the something being my comfort level in dating black guys vs white guys) I realized I just have a pattern in men and it has nothing to do with race

I’m looking for something that neither guy could give me something I can only give myself

I just want someone I’m physically AND mentally attracted to but I just make up so many excuses so I’ll never find that person…

My feelings are hurt bc I realize I push people away all of the time and run after other people who do the same thing to me….

I realized I’m someone’s Anders 😂 I’m someone’s curiousity, someone’s favorite person living in the friend zone too and…

If you want to read more about my crazy life/realizations ❤️ check out my new book of poems “An Ode to the Good Girl” #AnOdetoGG Excerpts are on

I’m actually giving out a few free copies so RT this thread if you’re really interested and I’ll DM you 😛😂😭😩✨👀

 

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