PODCAST

Slow Traveling Soul Sister

DaniLew of SelfishMe Travel

The Ethos of a Retired Nomad, Slow Traveling while Black and Solo. Yes, DaniLew is doing the darn thing! She retired at age 55 from the Information Technology sector and is now forging ahead in her second career as a small business owner (SelfishMe Travel) while living her dream of traveling the world slowly, solo and Black. Who is DaniLew and what makes her tick? What is slow travel? How does she deal with being the “only one” on the road? How did she retire early? Where is she now, where has she been, and what set her off in the first place? What is she doing and why? You'll find the answers to these questions and more by listening to her bi-weekly podcasts where she will share her mindset changes, travel expertise, and life experiences!

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Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast trailer
016. Slow Travel: What is Slow Travel
Mar 8 2022
9 mins
015. Black History Month
Episode 015: Black History Month.What is Black History Month and why is it celebrated? Black History Month (originally known as African-American Heritage Month) really dates back to 1915 when Carter G. Woodson, known as the ‘Father of Black History’ and the pioneer of African American studies in the early 20th century, created an organization called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. And in 1926, Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February, specifically because of two significant birthdays: Frederick Douglass (February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). The main focus of the Negro History Week was to encourage the teaching of the history of Black Americans in educational institutes, particularly at the primary level. However, most school systems around the country ignored the curriculum or denied the need to teach it.However, more than 40 years later, in 1969, Black educators and students at Kent State University in Ohio proposed a month-long observance to reflect on more than 400 years of American African history and heritage that have shaped the American culture, and the first Black History Month took place one year later in 1970. And by 1976, Black History Month was widely being celebrated across the country, and not only in schools, but in colleges, and community centers. I’m torn. Does it matter? Does it truly matter? Black History Month began as a way to remember significant people and events. But we are still mistreated or treated as 3rd class citizens in the USA. And I feel, that as punishment for helping to elect our first Black President, the USA is going backwards; actually retreating into the Jim Crow era or worse...You see, I never watched the George Floyd video, nor did I watch the Ahmaud Arbery video or any of the others or the trials – or even the Rodney King beating - because I see the killings and the brutality in my nightmares. I saw it as a child growing up in the 60s and every year that has passed since, I was even a victim a time or two (and survived, obviously) but no thanks to the racist cops that I met driving while Black. It just added to the PTSD I’ve been suffering since childhood. And obviously, absolutely nothing has changed a half-century later.So to me, Black History Month (year, century, millennium), it does not matter any more. It never did, really. I mean, I appreciate what the month was supposed to do and I appreciate the allies that stop by to express their opinions online, in emails, and in videos, the conversations that sparked better representation, identity, and diversity in America’s history but… as long as we are feared, they will never stop hunting us and hating us.I watched a young poet’s video the other night, Kyla Jenee Lacey, and it made me tear up. Here’s some of what she had to say: We learned your French, we learned your English, we learned your Spanish. We learned your Dutch, your Portuguese, your German. You learned our nothing, yet you call us stupid...Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Feb 22 2022
14 mins
014. Solo Travel: Australia
Episode 014 - Solo Travel – Australia: where I discuss my 3-month trip to Australia and New Zealand and the forever friends I met there.I worked for the same company in the DMV (that’s Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia) for 26 years but then I did something totally out of the ordinary. What did I do? I volunteered to be laid-off. The company was hurting financially, and they were laying off groups of people every month so… I volunteered at the age of 50 to be laid off. My upline was, of course, shocked but I figured that for 26 years of loyal and dedicated service, I deserved to be treated with respect as I walked out the door, unlike most people who get laid-off and are literally dragged out the door and can barely get their purse or their keys. And respect is what I got. I planned this lay-off exit over eight months…So what does this have to do with Australia? Well, one of my lifelong travel dreams was to visit Australia. However, I knew I wouldn’t get my fill of the continent in a 2-week run-through as most people do, so I plotted for a longer stay.  I retired with nearly three million points and miles all for my 3-month Australia and New Zealand retirement trip. Almost every flight and hotel to and between Australia and New Zealand cost me slightly less than two million points and miles and because of my consulting strategies, I had high status in the four major US hotel groups and two of the three major US airline alliances.  So from February 1, 2018 through April 29, 2018, I visited the following cities and met some incredible people:(1) Sydney, Australia;(2) Launceston, Tasmania;(3) plus a 10-day escorted tour around Tasmania;(4) Hobart, Tasmania; (5) Melbourne, Australia; (6) one month in New Zealand visiting both the North and South Islands; (7) back to Sydney, Australia again; (8) Brisbane, Australia;(9) Cairns (Great Barrier Reef), Australia;(10) Perth, Australia;(11) Yulara (Uluru/Ayers Rock), Australia; (12) Adelaide, Australia;(13) Canberra, Australia;(14) Melbourne, Australia again; and (15) Sydney, Australia againI was truly saddened to leave. After 55 years, the freedom of waking up and getting ready for the day (or not), going where and when I wanted to, and not worrying about being pulled over by corrupt cops or someone shooting me down because of the color of my skin was, to say the least, a huge relief. I truly made some “forever friends” on my Australia and New Zealand 3-month odyssey. We are all facebook friends but for the majority of them we also email and/or message each other on a regular basis, just to keep up-to-date on our lives.Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website. The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Feb 8 2022
18 mins
013. Solo Travel: winning the lottery
Episode 013 - Solo Travel - winning the lottery: where I discuss the latest rumor about my life. The first weekend in October 2020, saw me, my BFF (best friend forever), and a good portion of my high school classmates together for our 40+1 reunion in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful weekend and I won a prize (a neck pillow!) for traveling the furthest. I was surprised to learn that some of my classmates decided that I had won the lottery and that’s how I was able to travel to all those exotic and faraway places. I thought it was a joke when I heard it the first time.  However, this month, it was re-iterated by a high school friend that my life was actually discussed/debated several times throughout the last few years. I don’t know who took part in those debates – I didn’t ask – but it certainly wasn’t anyone who truly knew me. If they had known me, or had asked my close friends, or had asked classmates who actually knew my family; they would’ve known the truth. #1: hard work, #2: no children (the day-to-day costs are astronomical), and #3: some early investments that paid off in the long run. Simple as that.  Why do we have to be reductionists about our successful friends? Why couldn’t I have just learned to do better financially, despite my upbringing? Nope. Either I found a rich man who set me up for life or money dropped out of the sky, or something else… anything else, except for the fact that I thought about the future as a 21 year-old young black woman and planned ahead. Seriously? My Mom, who would probably never leave “the Hill District” in Pittsburgh, but I definitely would’ve set her up in a nicer apartment, have her groceries delivered at least, and have her driven to the casino instead of her catching the bus in the snow and ice. Right? I guess not. I’m not mad at my classmates, not at all. They are a small part of the whole reason why I wanted to get away. But I am disappointed. A lot of my classmates are successful – thank God – but while their dreams differed from mine, some of them assumed that I could not have traveled the world by myself for myself at my own expense.Anyway… No lottery, no sugar daddies, or other ridiculous theories about my worth and worthiness should ever need to be discussed or spoken about again. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Jan 25 2022
10 mins
012. Slow Travel: I’m back in Playa del Carmen
Episode 012 - Slow Travel: I’m back in Playa del Carmen For nearly 35 years of traveling worldwide, I refused to visit our neighbors to the South. Why? Because I’m a foodie and the Mexican food that I had experienced living in and around the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) just did not ignite my pilot. No, I didn’t base my tastes on Taco Bell or Carlos O’Kelly’s – ugh! They both made me sick to my stomach – but there just wasn’t any Mexican restaurants around that made me want to get in my car, let alone get on an airplane for a week’s stay only to be miserable. I mean, I love Guacamole and Tacos but I just can’t narrow down the entirety of the Mexican cuisine to a Taco, can I? No. There's also Quesadillas, Street Corn, Mole Sauce, Nachos, Burritos, Enchiladas, Huevos Rancheros, Pipian Stew, Tamales, and Gorditas de Nata (cream inside a pancake)… and so much more! Well, my indifference to visiting Mexico changed when I started a consulting assignment in Arizona in 2014. I begged my new coworkers – especially since they had bragged about it – to take me to a real good, authentic Mexican restaurant. Thankfully, there were a number of excellent spots that they showed me in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and I frequented them regularly. When I consulted in Dallas Texas in 2015, I asked my coworkers for same – insisting that I did not want Tex-Mex just Mexican. They came through for me there as well. And the rest, as they say, is history! I was unstoppable. From 2016 to 2019, I had visited Mexico (both the Caribbean side and the Pacific side) four times. Cabo, Cancun twice, and Playa del Carmen – for at least one week, each visit. Plus a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise. Unfortunately, the food on that Carnival cruise was less than satisfactory but I made up for it in the ports of Cabo and Puerto Vallarta and on the shore excursions. Only one visit to Cancun was at an all-inclusive resort because I truly believe that you can’t get a feel for a country while being insulated in a cocoon-like environment where every meal is catered to the American and European tourists’ tastes. All my other visits during that period were at standard resorts, with restaurants, but I felt no obligation to pay for standard fare. I wanted local flavors, I wanted the local experiences, I wanted the good and the bad of going off-the-beaten-paths to try to find that hidden gem. And rarely did I find a bad or sub-par culinary experience. Mexico quickly became a favorite! And I spent nearly the entire month of July 2019 in Playa del Carmen as part of my retired nomad life. And loved every bit of it. I had an Airbnb apartment so I went grocery shopping even though I lived half-a-block from the famous Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) which is basically a 30-block long street of restaurants, bars and shops for the tourists. It can get expensive eating in restaurants all the time, even in Mexico. And the tourists spots are priced for the tourists, not the locals, and aren’t necessarily good eats. However, there were some nice surprises on 5th Avenue but mostly just a block or two off from the main street. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Dec 14 2021
15 mins
011. Solo Travel: my favorite countries
Episode 011 - Solo Travel: my favorite countriesWhen I say my favorite countries, it means that I’ve traveled north, south, east, and west and visited multiple cities, towns, or villages within that county. The common mistake people make is when they say “I love Portugal” but have only been to Lisbon or “I love the USA” when they’ve only visited NYC and/or LA. You can’t truly love a country or call it your favorite until you’ve visited more than one or two places; any real traveler will tell you that one city does not represent the whole. You can’t tell me that Californians are the same as New Yorkers or that NYC is the same LA or Beverly Hills – no way! In all countries, the locals will boast to you that their town, city or region is the best but they actually want you to visit other towns & cities in their only to come back and say you agree with them.Some of my favorite countries are, in alphabetical order: Australia, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, New Zealand, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Vietnam. Please listen to the podcast for my opinions and highlights of each country.Of course, there are some notable mentions such as Italy, Portugal, Mauritius, Ghana, and Tanzania but I have not visited more than two or three places in each country to decide if they will be on my favorites list yet. But they are definitely on my “I want to revisit to learn more” list.Special note: I felt “safe” as a solo traveler in all those countries. The only country listed above that I did not do solo was Jordan but even with the group tour I didn’t feel like I needed protection. The people were friendly and helpful, even to the point of wanting to kick a soccer ball around with me in Amman. Plus I know a couple of ladies who have lived in Jordan as a single woman. Yes, anything can happen anywhere and the word “safe” is relative. You should always practice the same common safety precautions in a foreign country that you do at home. Don’t walk down dark streets and alleys by yourself. Don’t get drunk with people you don’t know. Etc, etc, etc.Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website. The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Nov 30 2021
19 mins
010. Slow Travel: one suitcase and one backpack
010.Slow Travel: one suitcase and one backpack“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” When I read that Virginia Woolf quote back in high school, I had no idea that it would impact my life so much in 2016. Granted, she wrote that in 1938 as part of a protest against women being soldiers and going to war to defend their country. But in this day and age of globalization, information technology, and the digital revolution that quote changed my retirement landscape drastically. Vividly. For 16 years, I told everyone that I knew that I would retire to Barcelona Spain. Some people didn’t believe me, others were happy for me and couldn’t wait for me to get there, while others hoped it would never come to fruition. But from July 2001, after my European Whirlwind Tour, up until the day after I sold my house in February 2016, moving to Barcelona after retirement was the only absolute goal that I had. Let me pull back a little bit and give you some background… I was consulting in Scottsdale Arizona in 2015 and rather than fly back to Virginia every weekend, I normally resided in Scottsdale for 3 or 4 weeks at a time at an extended stay hotel. On Friday of that Memorial Day weekend in 2015, I arrived at my house near midnight. Parked in my garage, as usual, grabbed my luggage out of the trunk, and unlocked my basement door. My alarm began its 30-second countdown but when I flipped the light switch to punch in the code, no lights came on. I tried the light switch several times in rapid-fire then remembered that the garage light was still on and the illumination would allow me to punch in the code before the sirens went off and the police were notified. That done, my eyes had finally adjusted to the semi-darkness, and what I saw made me heartsick. In that moment, I realized that I was standing on a really soggy carpet, half the ceiling of the family room was on the floor, and in the distance, I could hear water running.Needless to say, the damage was extensive. To get back to the point… My house was finished by the end of November 2015 and it was beautiful – a paint job and wood flooring throughout, stainless steel appliances, matching granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, new vanities and cabinets, doors, etc. I would never live in that newly-renovated house. It was put on the market and snatched up within a month. I signed on the dotted line on February 2, 2016.That night as I lay in my neighbor’s basement bedroom, I had an epiphany. That Virginia Woolf quote popped into my head and a weight was suddenly lifted off my shoulders...Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Nov 16 2021
16 mins
009. Solo Travel: online forums and groups
009. Solo Travel: online forums and groupsThere are plenty of general travel, solo travel, and solo travel for women groups and forums on Facebook and other platforms. You’ll get hundreds of people asking “where should I go?” And in return, you’ll get a lot of answers as well but then no explanation as to why. There always has to be a why.  From the start, why did you ask perfect strangers to recommend a place for your vacation? Are you surrounded by family and friends who have never gone anywhere or have they’ve only been where you’ve already gone?  Second, there’s a whole wide world out there! Seriously? You’ve just set yourself up for more confusion. You’ll get answers such as Iceland, Jamaica, Europe, the Maldives, Africa, Southeast Asia, etc. Can you narrow it down to a region or continent, at least?   Third, you didn’t say what you’d like to do while on vacation. Horseback riding on the beach, off-roading on atv’s, snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, skydiving, shopping, touring ruins or ancient sites, learning about your heritage, etc. Fourth, you didn’t say when you wanted to go. Even the Caribbean and other tropical destinations have different seasons: dry or rainy. Traveling during school holidays and summer could be absolute madness but perhaps those are the only times you can travel. Fifth, you didn’t say what your budget is. Iceland might be reasonably priced to fly to but do you know how expensive the food is there? Is staying in a hostel or Airbnb okay with you or is this the trip where you go all out and do that top-tier luxury thing? Sixth, you don’t say what mode of transportation you’re comfortable with. Even in this day and age, a lot of people have still never flown on an airplane or taken a cruise. Some people won’t get on puddle-jumper/small aircraft while others won’t get on a ferry or small boat. So going to the Maldives, if you're not staying on the mainland, you're going to have to take a puddle jumper or a ferry boat, a small boat to get to all those different atolls and islands Seventh, you didn’t say how many people are going with you. Solo travel can be exhilarating and costly but if you’ve never done it before, you might want to start with small steps. If you have many people wanting to go with you, some hotels will turn you away (or kick you out) if it’s really a bachelor/bachelorette party or spring break shenanigans.Your indecision about the world at large is grating. Some might respond condescendingly or meanly while others may laugh out loud and/or not answer you at all. At least pose a more focused question such as...Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list. You can also email me at info@selfishmetravel.com and/or check out my website.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Nov 2 2021
12 mins
008. Solo Travel: you’re so brave
Episode 008 Solo Travel: you’re so brave. Why is traveling alone a “brave” thing to do?  I have some friends who have never and will never go on a solo vacation. Case in point, I recently met up with two friends, both black and from large families. One friend said she doesn’t trust anyone – Wow. So, you only surround yourself with family and a small group of friends but trust no one outside that circle? Are you always looking over your shoulder? Are you inspecting the kitchens of the restaurants you frequent? Are your house and car door locks double or triple-checked to make sure you’re secure? Are all mail and packages laser-scanned before being touched? She has grown children; I wonder how many times a day she talks to them… She’s never used an Uber or Lyft or even taken a taxi because she’s afraid of being attacked. I’m a control-freak but that is a level of… something that I’m so very glad I never reached. The other friend said she doesn’t trust anyone from a foreign country. Again - Wow. You are a black woman living in America and you only trust Americans? My mind was blown. No other country has such a fascination with guns as America does, except for other terrorist countries. I honestly fear for my life every time I come back to the USA and I pray every day for my family and friends that still live there, especially the men. So I asked: What bubble was she living in? Does she only ever go from home to work and back home? Does she watch the news? Has she ever been sent to the principal’s office by a diabolical teacher or been treated unfairly by bosses or coworkers for no reason? Yes, she has. Well, on that note I had to change my perspective: she does not live in a bubble, she just wears rose-colored glasses. Granted one friend went from her mother’s house to her husband’s house but the other has lived on her own for a very long time, although not that far from her family. I was still lost on both counts and really couldn’t fathom their narrow-mindedness. I understand that there’s a lot of noise and personalities in families, especially large ones. You’ve got the eldest, the middle child, and the youngest along with sibling rivalry, the favorite, the one who got away with everything and the one who got punished for everything, the troubled one, the screamer, the cry baby, the free spirit, the overachiever, the popular one, the studious one, the athlete, the drama queen (or king), etc. And there’s really no opportunity to block out all of that noise from your relatives and discover yourself. Your real self. The true you. The you who can rely on your own instincts and trust your gut. The you who is ready to surmount obstacles, remove blinders, transcend comfort zones, and step out on faith – alone. Fear of the unknown, lack of trust, lack of knowledge, lack of curiosity, or do you just believe whatever someone else tells you rather than see it for yourself… Some of these things or all of them are holding you back. Which is it? Honestly, I think part of the problem might be that either you don’t trust yourself. And/or you don’t trust the God that you say you believe in.  Let’s examine these two theories, shall we…?Email: info@selfishmetravel.com, put "solo travel videos" in the subject field.Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or join my travel agency email list.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Oct 19 2021
11 mins
007. Solo Travel for Women equals Self-Care
Episode 007 is where I discuss Oneika the Traveler’s solo travel article, titled “Why a solo vacation is the best self-care a woman can give herself”.Many women have attempted to write such an article and many have succeeded but Oneika’s blog post touched my soul. She is an excellent writer and you should follow her on all social media channels.Anyway, on my travel agency website, I wrote that "Solo Travel is the highest form of self-indulgence. It allows a person the opportunity to enjoy a destination on their own - no compromises, no schedule, no drama."Truly “no noise from others” is the only way to de-stress and recharge. Solo Travel is empowering and essential.And Oneika's post is basically encouraging all women to be selfish. At least every once in a while.Webster’s Dictionary definition of Selfish says: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.Pleasure, well-being… Selfish is not a bad word to me. That’s why I named my travel agency, SelfishMe Travel.Women have always been the nurturers and caretakers from before time began. You've raised your children (maybe even your grandchildren) or you've taken care of your spouse, significant other, lover, parents, in-laws, neighbors, friends, or coworkers... everyone except yourself.Okay, maybe being an only child gives me the advantage to think like that but... one of my lifelong goals has been to influence female family members and friends to finally think of themselves first, to be selfish, to feel good about wanting to be alone for a window of time, and that solo travel is safe.I'm also going to use this podcast as a tool to encourage you towards solo travel, going beyond your comfort zone, and stepping out on faith.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Oct 5 2021
13 mins
006. I did not want to go to Africa005. Get to know me: Europe in a flash
005. Get to know me: Europe in a flash: The first vacation that changed my life’s path was my 2001 Solo Whirlwind Tour Around Europe (7 countries and 9+ major cities in 21 days) using the extensive multi-country European Rail System in this order: London, Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Paris, London, Bath England, Manchester, Dublin, Copenhagen, London then home. Whew! So that was England, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Denmark in 21 days. All before the Euro, so I had to learn the English pound conversion to US Dollars, along with the French Franc, the Portuguese Escudo, the Spanish Peseta, the Italian Lira, the Irish Pound, and the Danish Krona. Add on top of that, back in 2001 I didn’t have a cellphone or google translate so it was disastrous even trying to remember common phrases in all of the different languages spoken. Strangely enough, I had zero problems. Do you want to know why? Because despite my lack of language skills in all those different countries, if I looked lost someone was always willing to help (whether it was to find a street, a monument, or even confusion over a restaurant menu) and if I asked for information from anybody on the street, I got a smile and a willingness to be of service. Even if they had to go find or lead me to someone else to answer my question. Never happened in the USA, at least not to me. After meeting all those friendly helpful people all over Europe, I came back to the USA and decided that I would retire to Europe. The place that checked off all my wants in 2001 was Barcelona, Spain. The Food, the architecture (I’m a huge Antoni Gaudi fan), the people, the beach, the marina, etc. Barcelona Spain had it all. This bold move, however, would require me to plan and strategize for the next 16 years from 2001 to 2017. From that time I started to pull way back on my spending. What’s that old saying: man plans God laughs… Unfortunately, after returning from Europe my SUV needed a new engine so it was time to buy a new vehicle. I carefully researched and purchased a car that I thought would last 17 years or longer. Fortunately, my new Nissan Maxima (Black on Black Sports Edition with the Titanium Package) lasted even longer than that. As an only child, the only person that I felt would truly be affected by my move was my mother, because she doesn’t travel much. She would never come to see me overseas. So I needed to get her prepared for my move sooner rather than later, so every time I saw her throughout those 16 years, we discussed and I re-iterated that I was not going to live in the USA when I retired. I also prepped my friends and other family members. Granted, some didn’t like it, including my mother, but their opinions really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t let anyone chose for me, just as I don’t let anyone live my life for me. Yet everyone who knew me or knew of me, had heard from my mouth or from the mouths of my family and friends that I was moving to Barcelona, Spain as soon as I retired. Some of them couldn’t wait for me to move there so that they could come to visit. However, in 2016, after I sold my house, I secretly changed my mind; the freedom from a mortgage was a huge weight off my shoulders and an epiphany.  I had “settled” for the American Dream BS and it never made me happy so I didn’t want to “settle” in Barcelona; there was a whole wide world waiting for me to explore. I love traveling, beyond almost anything, so I decided, instead, to live the nomad life for a stretch of time.  Besides the fact that Barcelona had been “discovered”; meaning it was no longer cheap and wonderful. It is still wonderful – I have visited 4 more times - but it’s no longer cheap. The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Sep 8 2021
8 mins
004. Get to know me: money is the root
Episode 004 - Get to know me: money is the root: Early in my adulthood, I asked God for 3 things: to see Stevie Wonder in concert, to own my own Mercedes Benz, and to retire at age 55 and enjoy it for at least 15 years. Two out of three ain’t bad and I’m still working on the third one.  The first ask: Stevie Wonder is a musical genius and living legend. His songs have were the background throughout my lifetime and played a huge role in my memories. I’m glad that I got to see him live during his prime. He performed at the Capital Center just outside of Washington DC. I can’t remember the exact year but Stevie was on for hours. It was like a tribute to himself and I enjoyed every last minute of it.  The second ask: I never owned a Benz but that dream has passed on by just like so many other material dreams of my youth. It’s stuff. It’s part of the American Dream BS right alongside with keeping up with the Joneses. It’s utter nonsense and does nothing to improve you in God’s eyes.  My third ask: A childhood friend’s mom, whom I adored, passed on way before her time. I knew that she worked hard towards her retirement, but she never saw it. And from age 21, my hope was formed to retire at age 55 and enjoy it at least until I turned 70. At 21 though, of course I didn’t know how it would all work out – because I grew up in the hood; we lived in survival mode and knew nothing of long-term anything.  But at one point I stopped wearing my earnings on my back and started putting it in the bank or in investments. That is another confidence booster: when you can see your money grow and you make the determined effort not to touch it – even in emergencies. Example#1: My old boss who was also a dear friend and mentor wanted to start an investment club. Too many of my coworkers didn’t see the value in it but I did. I had plans. Long term. It was an interesting time and I learned a lot. I learned even more when I became the treasurer of this investment club because I learned how other people spend their money. It was frustrating that some people – as soon as they saw the quarterly statements – suddenly needed new tires on their truck and withdrew their money faster than I could say GMC Denali. Anyway, the constant withdrawals harmed the entire club’s potential future investment strategies so we disbanded and I disbursed the monies per individual. In all that, I learned some very valuable lessons about the differences between mutual funds, stocks, and bonds because we had to do homework each month. And I also discovered that I like reading the prospectuses. So, I used all that knowledge to my advantage.  Example #2: One of my friends used to constantly complain that she was always broke and could never save money for a real vacation. Bored with the same story, I finally told her how it could be done simply. You see, she went to Starbucks twice a day – even on the weekends – and always got the Venti or Trenta sized cups. I told her to go once a day, instead, – we had free coffee at work - and to let me hold the money for the 2nd cup. So at the end of the 12 months, I handed her a check for $1200+ And when she realized how much she was actually spending just on one cup of coffee a day, she nearly fell out of her chair. Lesson Learned. There were things that even I wasn’t willing to give up myself, like getting my hair done every 2 weeks, but all the other stuff was not so important and so, I stopped spending money on them.  I dug deep into the soil and planted my finances in fertile ground. The roots took hold and the tree grew over the years. And yes I did retire at age 55 and I’m now currently living comfortably on my past strategies and investments.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Sep 8 2021
7 mins
003. Get to know me: daddy issues
Episode 003 - Get to know me: daddy issues: By the age of 17, I declared that I wasn’t having any children. First of all, nearly half of my high school senior class had babies – and I could see the fear in my friends’ eyes. The fear of raising a baby alone, the fear of raising a child in a less than ideal situation, the fear of being trapped for the rest of their lives. I didn’t want that. One of my biggest fears is being trapped. As an only child who was basically left to raise myself; I became so independent of everything that I needed no one and I needed no one to rely on me. I had years to develop that skill of total independence but I still looked for a partner. Someone to fly away with me. Well, let me tell you… Trying to find a black man to understand my gypsyspirit and that I truly wanted a carefree child-free life was tiresome. I do believe that every man that I ever dated (all men of color) wanted at least one child and all of them thought that I should feel the same way. I, especially, didn’t date men with children because I didn’t want to be involved in the baby mama drama and I didn’t want someone else’s bad kids jumping on my furniture and tearing up my house when I couldn’t discipline them. I was called selfish and a whole lot of other things whenever the subject of children came up. Everyone is not born to reproduce or even like children. And that was me. Period.It just got to the point that the longest I ever dated any man was 6 months and that was only because he lived in another state. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder because I accepted a lot of messiness from him that I wouldn’t have tolerated from any other man living nearby.I dated another man for about 4 months and I thought I was in love but as soon as he proposed marriage, I regretted saying yes. He was a great guy, fun to be around,  and he lit me up from the inside out, but with the sudden and reoccurring nightmares that I had of being tied up with rope and thrown into the ocean, I realized that I had some serious issues. A week or so later, I was sitting in my father’s basement trying to understand why he would abandon me completely when we lived in the same city. The conversation wasn’t pretty, nothing was resolved, I returned the ring, and felt horrible about the breakup.  But I wasn’t ready to be a wife and I actually didn’t want to be one. Growing up, I had zero examples of how to be a good partner in anything and I needed to learn that before jumping into marriage.Daddy issues are a trap! Let them go and work on yourself. Seek love inside yourself first and find your answers for happiness, even if it’s a selfish pursuit like solo travel. Seriously, if your mother and father stayed together, would your situation be any better? Would it be any different? I doubt it but that is their problem, not yours. Figure out how to make great relationships – even if you remain single for the rest of your life - but you’ve got to learn to love yourself first.Some people think I run away from my problems, my Daddy issues. Nope. I said exactly what I wanted to say to my father; most women don’t have that opportunity. Or they blow the chance because they think they’ll hurt his feelings. Right. He didn’t worry about your feelings, why should you worry about his. If you ever have the opportunity to sound off, do it. There’s no sense in holding it in or holding a grudge. Nothing is ever accomplished by being silent. Nothing.I have people in my life who truly love me. and that’s enough. Period. Being loved, properly – you need to determine exactly what properly means for you – but Being loved, properly and returning that love is one of life’s greatest confidence boosters.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Sep 8 2021
8 mins
002. Get to know me: fierce and afraid
Episode 002 - Get to know me: fierce and afraid: We are a product of our environment, however, it doesn’t mean it’s our destiny. You can rise above it by the choices you make. By the age of 14, I declared that I would leave on the first thing out of town as soon as I could, by any means necessary. You see, I grew up in the hood, and yes, while the village did help to raise me, I wanted more for myself. And from what I’d seen, done and heard while living in the projects, I felt that I would be better off on my own. Yes, you can be selfish, even growing up poor. Many of my family, friends, and acquaintances now call me brave and fearless for doing nearly everything on my own. I suppose being an only child helped in that regard because I had to either fight my own battles or talk my way out of them while saving face. No, It definitely hasn’t been all roses and crystal stairways; I have failed miserably at many things, made stupid mistakes, hurt others' feelings, and took ridiculous chances but I never really had anyone to scold me, advise me, or pick me up afterwards, except myself. So the hurt feelings, broken bones, threats, skinned knees, twisted ankles, vengeful thoughts, and busted lips all healed and served as painful lessons learned. Whenever I’ve had to face my fears, there were no tears, I learned to suck it up, look the enemy in the eye, and step on its neck.  How did I become so fierce, so brave? It was a lot of things but one my earliest memories was when I was around 7-years old and I was fighting this neighborhood boy. He grabbed me and tore my shirt in half; my bare chest was showing and I was about to cry in front of all our friends. My mother had just stepped off the city bus coming home from work and she said to me: “If you don’t kick his butt, I’ll kick yours.” She didn’t say “butt”… Regardless, that’s really all the motivation I needed. My mom is still the only person that I’m actually afraid of.  So being the tough-girl, boss-babe, going outside of my comfort zone, traveling to far-off exotic places, and jumping in head first might’ve caused me pain on occasion but I survived. Of course I was scared! Those butterflies are always flying around in my stomach whenever I’m doing something for the first time. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. Life is scary. But you can’t go around being afraid of everything or you’ll do nothing.  A lot of my childhood friends who stayed in Pittsburgh became drug addicts or worse and I had direct access to do that to myself as well. To take the drugs, or sell the drugs, or deliver the drugs; to follow in family footsteps. However, I truly believe – in fact, I KNOW - that I was more afraid to stay in the hood than I was to escape it. And that’s the way I decided to live my life; balls out. Plain and simple. Failures and successes go hand in hand. I worry about myself and my choices and no one else. No regrets.  To those of you who choose to stay put or are afraid to move, I’m here to tell you that 99.5% of the world isn’t out to get you or kill you; 99.5% of the world are nice people who return a smile with a smile. Growing up in America with its systemic racist policies ingrained in the fabric of its flags and monuments will keep you scared, will keep you home, will keep you down where they want you to be, will make you think that everybody out in the world is racist. That’s simply not true. As I said in the beginning, we are a product of our environment but regardless how you grew up, it doesn’t mean it’s your destiny. You always have the opportunity to change your path; to grow in another direction but it takes willpower and determination. The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Sep 8 2021
7 mins
001. Get to know me: the Hill District blues
Episode 001 - Get to know me: the Hill District blues: Are you old enough to remember the hit television police drama series “Hill Street Blues”? I know most of the exteriors were shot in Chicago but Stephen Bochco attended Carnie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and as part of his thesis, he took a drive in a police car through my neighborhood, and years later wrote the riveting tv series. According to sources close to him “The run-down, shabby, drug-ridden impression of Pittsburgh's Hill District that Bochco acquired was apparently part of the inspiration for the show.” Yes, that was the backdrop of my life from birth to age 17 in a low-income neighborhood, lovingly called “da Hill District Projects”. I was raised by a hard-working, take no prisoners, party-until-you’re-the-last-one-standing divorcee. And as a child of the 60s, what kept me company were tv shows like: Wild Animal Kingdom with Marlin Perkins, Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, Wonderful World of Disney, Hawaii 5-0, plus Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, and Benny Hill; these shows all fueled my imagination and wanderlust.  At age 14, I was an eye-witness to a murder, that took me through grand jury and criminal trial testimonies and resulted in a 20-year prison sentence for the shooter. I also either witnessed or was related to so many other abuses, criminal behavior, drama, tragedies, and trauma that could send almost anyone straight to a psychiatrist’s couch or off a rooftop. I had so many low moments in my young life that suicide was a serious consideration.  God, however, puts people in your life for a reason or a season and thankfully, because of the friendships that I formed, high school was awesome and a saving grace. Even if you don’t believe in a higher power, sometimes you just need to say a little prayer or speak it into existence and trust in the answers or the signs that appear before you. Plus I wasn’t going to go out like that. Suicide was just something Black people didn’t do back then and neither was visiting a psychiatrist. So self-preservation became my daily mantra and I couldn’t wait to leave Pittsburgh to explore the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world.  Anyway, after short stints in the Army and college, I moved to Washington DC with my best friends and became Godmother to their 3 children. Even though I was trying to remain unaffected, my godchildren, slowly but surely, absolutely stole my heart without me realizing it and actually ruled some of my future choices. We’ll discuss them in future episodes…  Anyway, I worked hard and played hard as I traveled the world while working full-time. But deep down inside, I was not happy, not content at all. Living in the USA as a black person, let alone a single black woman, has definitely not been easy and even though I succeeded in most of my career goals, I had too many awful instances that made me dream of living elsewhere. Since I did not have a college degree, my prospects of working in a foreign country were limited so my dreams shifted to retirement overseas. Or as I’ve been known to say “to retire anywhere but here.” Before I go any further, this podcast is not a rant about being Black in the USA – although I will include some real instances of racism, misogyny, and classism that I’ve encountered over the years. This podcast is truly about my thirst (my desperate need) to know and see the rest of the world, my experiences of 40+ years of traveling to and living in foreign countries as a solo Black Woman, and how all of these things impacted my life.The Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast is sponsored and hosted by SelfishMe Travel.
Sep 8 2021
7 mins
Slow Traveling Soul Sister podcast trailer