2018 Travel Recap


This year, I traveled to 30 cities and 3 countries. Some of my travel was for work and some of it was personal. All of it was an adventure and worth every moment of my time. I also moved from Houston, TX to Greenville, SC in May. This was a year of change and discovery.  Since I began traveling more in 2014, I realized that experiences are more memorable than any gift I've received. Since then, I've made it my mission to travel more and have unforgettable experiences. In this blog, I'm sharing my 2018 favorites: favorite experience, favorite city, favorite country, and favorite hotel!This year I traveled to:

Greenville, SC (Before I moved to here!)

San Francisco, CA

Nashville, TN

Austin (3x's)

Edmond, OK

Bentonville, AR (2x's)

Houston, TX (2x's since moving away)

Dallas, TX

Fort Worth, TX

New York, NY

Chicago, IL

Omaha, NE

Ellisville, MO

Knoxville, TN

Woodbridge, VA

Columbia, SC

Las Vegas, NV

Temecula, CA

Mesa, AZ

Mid City, OK

Birmingham, AL

Atlanta, GA (7xs)

Columbia, SC

Charolette, NC

Asheville, NC

San Antonio, TXMontgomery, ALNew Orleans, LAColumbus, MSPanama City, FLCountries: 

Havana, Cuba

Progreso, MexicoAddis Ababa, Ethiopia


Favorite Experience: Legacy Museum  and National Memorial for Peace and JusticeI went to the opening weekend for EJI's Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.  This was my first time to Alabama. Montgomery is a small town but we all know about Montgomery, AL because it's known to be the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. I learned a lot of new things and mainly I was moved to tears. We as black people have overcome and endured a lot. Grateful for the ancestors who have gone before me, I won't let their fight for equality be in vain.

Favorite City: New YorkI booked this trip on a whim with my friend Sharon and her cousin Catherine. We decided to hang out in NYC for her birthday and we loved it. This was my second time to NYC and I got to visit a few places I hadn't been to before. We went to the top of the One World Trade Center. Ate Pizza at Roberta's (TWICE!). The second time we went to Roberta's we ubered and walked two blocks in the snow-- just so we could eat this pizza again. It was that good. We Brunched at Le Barricou which is this delightful French Bistro with an amazing Brunch Menu. We ordered way too much food but enjoyed every bite! We got our nails done at Local Honey, this was a cute chic place and all of the employees were super kind. We visited the Museum of Modern Art's Charles White Exhibit, drank Coffee at Manhattanville Coffee, got some healthy drinks at Grass Roots Juicery, and ate Lunch at KAFFE 1668 with an old friend!  We also went to a host of thrift stores around the city. It was truly a memorable trip.

Favorite Country: EthiopiaI went to Ethiopia for work. I had REAL macchiato's NOT the Starbucks version and my life was changed. The coffee was delicious- I had more macchiato's a day than I'd like to admit. I shopped in Addis and purchased genuine leather purses for cheap. The people are so kind, welcoming, and friendly. I had a life changing conversation with one of our partners there and our talk has stayed with me all year. This is a beautiful country. I hope more people visit Ethiopia!
 
Favorite Hotel: Springhill Suites By Marriott I am in love with the remodeled Marriott Suite hotels. Y'all I remember when suite rooms were boring, lacking functionality, and a "last" option hotel. Now, I will book a Springhill/Courtyard Marriott Suite hotel in a heartbeat! I stayed in about 7 of their locations around the country and I have no complaints. The staff was friendly.  The accommodations were incredible, beds comfortable, and they all had complimentary breakfast and a social hour. If you are looking for a place to stay, check them out!sh-main-0001-hor-feat.jpg Happy Traveling and Cheers to the New Year!

Faitth, where are you going to next?

So this year is coming to a close. I planned to document this epic year of travel in real time and discuss my travels and the places I went but that did not happen. So I plan to blog about it in past tense but hey, better late (like a year late) than never, right? I went places I only dreamed of going and I even went to Paris without a boo! Y'all I really wanted to go to Paris and I waited a few years because *maybe* I could save my first trip to Paris for me and someone special. But I decided to go for my 27th birthday because it was time for me to go on my dream trip and I don't have time to wait for a man to experience life and travel. I will gladly return to any country I've already visited ;)Okay, I digress.So lately, most people ask me the following questions: Where do you live? Where do you work? Are you still in school? etc. Because I travel so much I understand why people are asking me all of these questions, you never know what part of the world you'll find me in. So I am going to answer a few questions I get asked frequently.Where do I live? Houston, TX. I moved back to Houston from Austin in June of 2016 but I traveled so much the last 6 months of the year that I didn't feel like I "lived" in Houston until the beginning of 2017.Where do I work? I am the Communication and Programming Director for Legacy Collective. Best job ever. If you want to give monthly and help us impact local and global communities, join us! *Shameless plug but you won't regret joining us*Am I still in school? YES, I am two semesters away from finishing my Master's degree in Social Work.Hows Auntie Life? It's the best. I am so glad my brother and sister-in-law had a child. All my baby fever is gone. I will love, spoil, and kiss his little cheeks and give him back to his parents. Glory, Hallelujah.Do I plan to travel in 2018? YES. I do plan to travel in 2018. In fact, I am already planning my trips! I do not plan to travel nearly as much as I did in 2017 but I do hope I get to travel out of the country at least 3 times. The rest will be domestic travel!How do I find travel deals? I follow travel pages like secret flying, escape Houston, and Houston flight deals. I try to outline the places I want to go before the year begins and then look for those flight deals throughout the year. Also, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. The more I travel, the more disciplined I'm learning to become with saving and planning for the unexpected. Traveling is wonderful and can be expensive so you really want to make sure you have a financial plan when you choose to travel. Here's the thing. Don't let finances hinder you from traveling. There are some really good deals out there. If you can afford to buy several pairs of $200 shoes you can afford to travel. Like I said before, SAVE. Start exploring the US, go on a cruise, and work your way out of the country. I'll be posting deals as I find them on my travel FB page, FaitthB: Travel, Write, Repeat.Say yes to adventure this year, its worth the investment.
   

The lonely days...

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I've never felt more lonely than my first night in Portland, December 1, 2016.A year ago, I went to Portland for vacation. My friend was supposed to join me but due to a family emergency, she could no longer come on the trip. I was not mentally prepared to be in Portland alone. After exploring the city for a few hours, I sat in my hotel room, crying, determined to find a flight home, ASAP. I was so lonely, I hated it. I had a rental car and my hotel was about 20 minutes outside of the city with not much to do nearby. I sent an SOS to my people..."I gotta come home ASAP" but they convinced me to stay. Why did I feel so alone in this city?img_2359Those emotions stuck with me, in fact, sometimes, I'm reminded of the chill winds and overcast skies of Portland in the moments I feel lonely. I feel every ounce of uncertainty and unfamiliarity that I felt in that hotel room.Here's the thing...I've learned to enjoy being alone but its outside of my personality type. As I've gotten older I've acquired some introverted tendencies but I've always been an extrovert.img_1363I was lonely in Portland but I pushed past the fear and anxiety that wanted to cripple my soul, got on the meetup app, and found out a small group was gathering for a bible study at Starbucks. I figured this could go well or really bad but I wanted to meet new people so I went anyways. I was greeted by a joyful woman named Kiesha. She introduced me to everyone and they were all so welcoming.Later that night, I went to a restaurant that a few friends recommended. I needed one seat and the bar seemed like the only place I would snag a seat...I watched as couple after couple overlooked me waiting and took a seat before me. Over time, I locked eyes with a gentleman waiting for a seat as well, we both saw a couple getting up and knew it was our chance to sit down. We began chatting and he told me he immigrated to the States from the middle east and loved Portland because people were so kind and welcoming to him. He asked if I was traveling alone, I told him yes. He proceeded to encourage me to travel more and seek out new adventures.img_1398It's in the moments of loneliness that I feel the ache of singleness the most. I ended a relationship earlier this year and it was the right thing to do but very difficult. I knew the end of that relationship meant the feelings of loneliness would come sweeping back in. Growing up in church, they told us to kiss dating goodbye and "wait" because your husband will appear just when you "least expect it".  A perspective I kissed dating goodbye author Joshua Harris is re-evaluating. The reality is, there is no formula for meeting the person you decide to spend forever with. Every story is unique. While marriage isn't the ultimate goal of fulfillment for my life, I am keenly aware of my desire to love and be loved by a significant other. We are all wired for connection (thanks, Brene Brown for studying this). I know I am not the only one who feels this way, I've talked to girlfriends who are now dreaming about the future for themselves with no one else in mind. This isn't what most of us had planned but its where we're at. Welcoming peace and stillness to our hearts is where we learn to walk in the "dark" without fear. Its where we bow out of the rat race and learn to fly.It's been a whole year since Portland and I am well-acquainted with the feelings of loneliness;  familiar with the change in seasons with friendships; and well aware of my own sadness when I wish I had a boo. BUT this year, I deepened my friendship with adventure, 7 countries, and 10 US cities later I am more confident, empowered, and determined.IMG_8317

I'm no longer anxious on lonely days.

I am aware.

From that awareness, I choose to wake up and ignore the self-imposed deadlines I'm "behind" on. Because who's keeping track of the time anyway?

  

Houston to San Francisco Tickets STARTING at $136

Are you trying to get to Cali in May? Well, there are some great deals I found on priceline.com and Momondo.com.  Just input the dates below to retrieve the prices I found. Keep in mind that prices change frequently.May 2-9, $136 on Frontier Airlinesscreen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-28-04-am.png May 2-6. $167 Frontier Airlines screen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-29-30-am.pngMay 9-13, $151 Frontier Airlinesscreen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-34-04-am.pngMay 9-16, $159 on Frontier AirlinesScreen Shot 2017-03-21 at 12.16.29 AMMay 23-30, the price jumps up to $192screen-shot-2017-03-21-at-12-36-23-am.png If this was helpful, follow my blog to keep up with my updates on great travel deals. Feel free to Like, comment, or repost!

Travel on a Budget

[gallery ids="1252,1027" type="rectangular"]I love traveling. I find so much thrill and enjoyment from jumping on a plane and finding myself in a different city or country. Several of you have asked how I get these said deals and I am writing this blog to tell you about the tricks I have learned. Mind you, there is so much I am still learning.

  1. Follow Travel Blogs and Travel Bloggers
    • Blogs like Secret Flying, Escape Houston, Travel Pirates, etc. have great deals listed daily. When you see a deal input the dates listed for that price range in a search engine, then decide of you will bite the bullet and pay for the ticket. Most deals do NOT last longer than 24 hours. If you miss it, then that is it! Also remember that millions of people are trying to travel too and oftentimes these deals go quickly.
    • If you really want to get a flight deal you need to be checking these websites constantly and be prepared to buy an airline ticket without having everything lined up. If the deal is killer, you can figure out a hotel and rental car later.
  2. Use websites like Airfordable
    • Airfordable allows customers to take a picture of the reservation they want and put a down payment on the airline ticket which will hold the price. Then the customer makes a series of payments before the departure of the flight. So if you do not have the money on hand consider Airfordable to help you experience the trip of your dreams.
  3. Find a side hustle
    • If you want to travel more, you need a side hustle to help you make extra money. If you do not have supplemental income that can be used for leisure, then it may not be time for you to travel, yet.
    • SAVE, SAVE, SAVE

There are so many travel websites and blogs you can follow. Remember to decide on the place you want to visit and then begin looking for deals and sales for that destination. If you have anymore questions, comment or reach out to me on my facebook page and I will be happy to help!xoxoFaitthB  

What Defines me?

 I've read plenty of books dating and read too many blogs on dating, dressing modest, and purity rings. There are so many perspectives and for a young Christian woman and these opinions can be overwhelming. The one thing I have rested on is that loving Jesus gives me fulfillment.

When I get anxious about being single I have realized one thing:

My feelings are fleeting and cannot be trusted. 

Some days I feel like I can change the worldSome days I wonder why I am singleSomedays I compare my life with othersSome days I feel disconnected from some of my peersSomedays I am full of passion and drive

What I am learning is, my feelings will change and somedays betray me and somedays tear me away from my destiny. If I buy into the lie that my dreams or goals can't happen unless I am married then I what am I really living for? Who am I living for-my imaginary husband?

I ask myself often, "Can I really trust Jesus and his plan? Can I just do that?" Someday's it is challenging especially when you are sitting at yet another wedding or bridal shower but I have quickly realized that I love my life and I am so blessed. I am right where I need to be and although, it is not where I thought I would be; I am thankful for where I am right now. I am so enriched by the people that make everyday better.

Let's just face it, I am having so much fun.

 You my friend are so dear and have made life so fun.Bachelorette Party for Amy! 

Culture says I should be defined by my relationship status and I beg to differ.

Some of the most precious souls on earth. I love every second with them.Coffee times.

I think that instead of debating whether or not getting married before you're 23 or staying single till 25 is better, we just celebrate each other. Instead of comparing our journey's lets learn from each other. Some people get married early, some people get married late, some people have kids, some people don't, some people stay single because they WANT to. Everyone's path is different. There is no right or wrong.

Life gets tough but one thing I have learned is living in community is life giving. My relationships with my family, my married friends, my single friends, and mentors enriches my life.

Every stage of life is valuable and so priceless.

She is my biggest cheerleader and friend. She believes I can do anything and I believe her.Everyone needs people to laugh with and lay on the grass at Discovery green.The greatest story of redemption and Christ's love is shown through the way Arnie and Jenna Cazares love each other. Getting to be apart of their wedding was such an honor.These two. They keep me laughing. Buddies. Not sure why people confused us for sisters but you all really made college amusing! My favorite engaged couple.My High School lifegroup- these ladies are so fun and keep me on my toes! I love that I can keep it real with you, laugh often, and  you are always a listening ear. <3

Below is the definition of single.
 
sin·gle
adjective
1.only one; not one of several.
 
Here are the synonyms:
alone, companionless, lone, lonely, lonesome, solitary,unaccompanied.
None of that sounds interesting, exciting, or fun.
I think it's time we changed our view of
happiness.
Let's be honest,
life will not be perfect when you get married.
You can't base your happiness on a person.
Learning how to be truly happy with yourself
and who you are is a gift.
Many people are still trying to figure that out.
Sitting on the lawn care-free. Those were the days. College was good to me.

 I love making new friends. This picture is from a few years ago, I just met these people and starting taking pictures with them!Paid for my first all inclusive vacation to Cancun a year ago and as you can tell, I was "soaking up the sun." Can't wait for my next vacay.This guy. I love my Dad.

Enjoy life.

Laugh often.

Dream Big.

Live out those dreams.

And Like My brother says, "Just love Jesus."

Somehow we think that loving Jesus won't be enough because

we want a relationship with someone "in the flesh."

No matter how hard we try

NO ONE 

can fill the God shaped hole we were all born with.

Only God can.

Until we understand that

nothing and no one will satisfy those desires.

 My ACE. Best brother ever.I've gotten to travel the world just a little and I am not done yet. #RwandaDoesn't Logan look lovely? Such a precious wedding. Childhood friends ;)My first time hiking in the wilderness, senior year of college. This is when LizBeth got hitched;) These two keep me laughing with our group text messages and random conversations. I love living life with you two. 

Of course these pictures represent a fraction of the people that enrich my life but they make life fun. These people strengthen me, encourage me, and laugh with me. Guess what, some of them are married, single, dating, or engaged, sharing life with them brings me joy.

So when your feelings try to take over and put you down, remember that every day we GET to enjoy this life we have been given and that is worth living for.

 XOXOImage P.S.I am working on launching Hannah's Hope that non-profit I told you all about. Stay tuned for more details. #KeepDreaming #AwakenTheDreamer