Featured

My Divorce Led Me to Become a World Traveler

Let me be the first to tell you: Five years ago, becoming a world traveler was not in my crystal ball of how my future was supposed to be. I was married, living in Virginia, pursuing my bachelors degree in psychology, and my five-year plan consisted of my husband, children, a puppy, work and THAT’S IT. But life had it’s own plan for me…

At 21, I got married to my former husband who was 20 at the time. WOAH! I know, but this was military culture. It was “normal” to marry young. We barely knew ourselves, and now that I am older, I could argue that we barely knew each other. All we knew is that we loved each other and we didn’t want to be apart.

As young adults, we had differences. MANY differences. Honestly, we didn’t know how to handle or approach this. Again, we were young. So, we coped the best way that we knew how: Partying. Drinking. Sex. Anything that offered us a temporary distraction from our issues was refreshing. Things were bad from the moment we said “I do,” and I mean… really bad. Every month it was something new; almost as if the universe didn’t want us together, like someone else was orchestrating our inevitable downfall.

To top things off, he left for deployment on his second tour during the middle of all of this, and I was home and alone. Feeling afraid, lost, and distressed, I turned to church. They say desperate people find faith, and I was feeling pretty hopeless. I wanted peace. I desired guidance. I needed healing.

& this is what started my spiritual journey.

I didn’t feel prepared or equipped to save my marriage. Well, not on my own at least. I grew up in the church, so I went back to my roots. I learned how to pray over my marriage and how to have a personal relationship with God. I learned how to hear His voice and distinguish between mine and His. I became a prayer warrior whose prayers moved mountains. This monumental first step is what prompted me to leave.

One day, fed up and deep in depression, I dropped to my knees and asked God if my marriage was for me. I heard, “No.” YIKES. So, I followed up because maybeeeee my question wasn’t clear. You gotta be “clear and precise” (at least that’s what the pastor said). So I asked, “Should I stay?” and again, I heard, “No.” At this point, my heart was racing. I panicked. How am I going to afford to live on my own? He paid most of the bills. Will I get approved for an apartment? My credit is bad now. What will my friends think? OMG! What will my family say?

THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING.

Confused, afraid, and defeated… I succumbed to my bedroom floor and cried. I knew what I heard wasn’t my voice because ultimately, deep down I didn’t want to leave him. We’ve been through too much, and I didn’t want to explain anything to anyone and I damn sure didn’t want to feel embarrassed. We were “that” couple who shared everything on social media. There were way too many factors to consider. Making the decision to leave was complicated.

I asked God, “How can I do this without him?” and He replied…

“I got you.”

The next day, I went over to my mom’s house seeking some advice and comfort but quickly remembered how my mom kicks it to me straight every time – tears flowing down my face or not. It was as if she could hear the desperation in my voice to stay with this man. Her motherly instincts and profound wisdom were in overdrive. She told me something that changed my life…

Latrice, I love my husband. He can wake up tomorrow and tell me that he doesn’t want to be with me anymore and I have to be okay with that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be hurt and I’ll probably cry for a while…but I have to be okay with just me.”

That made me realize, I was not okay with just me. I didn’t even know who I was. My identity was my title. I was a wife. I was a daughter. I was a sister. But who was I REALLY?

I finally made the decision. I packed my things, moved out, and moved on. Just from taking that first mental step, doors opened for me. I remembered God’s answer, “I got you.” My credit score went up over 100 points and that allowed me to secure my apartment. My job offered me a full-time position with benefits. Still, there was one thing missing: HEALING.

Whether you’re the divorcer or the divorcee, the pain of going through a legal separation from your spouse is real. It hurts. It hurts soo damn bad. There were soo many days when all I could do was put on a fake smile at work (if I even had the strength to get up) then go home and cry all night.

I NEEDED HELP.

I joined another church, that was non-denominational, because my baptist church was just lacking the extra something that I needed. A member of the church asked me a question that literally stumped me. A question soo simple and soo easy to answer for most, but I had nothing to say:

What do you like to do?

I couldn’t answer it. Everything I could think of was something that my husband liked or introduced me to. But, what did I like? What made ME happy? I spent years investing into a relationship with someone when I didn’t even know who I was, what I liked, and what I wanted. I was dumbfounded. I realized that I was his wife and that was it.

From that day on, I made it a point to try new things. I learned about myself. I dated myself. I went out and spent time alone. I’ll admit, it felt weird at first. I was very self-conscious about what other people thought when they saw me eating dinner alone all dressed up. Until it became normal to me.

I explored new hobbies like yoga and working out but there was no spark. I had fun but I didn’t feel all fuzzy and bubbly inside. I had a friend who lived in D.C. (3-hour drive from Virginia) and she invited me to visit one weekend. Finally, a spark.

Traveling became my cheap thrill. I went from looking up driving directions, to bus deals, to affordable flights. Once I saw how affordable flights were, I booked my first international trip to the Bahamas with my girls for my 25th birthday. I loved everything about the process: choosing a destination, researching locations, watching prices, buying new clothes, traveling to/from, taking pictures, diving into a new culture, EVERYTHING.

It just made sense. It felt good. I knew I found my passion. I had purpose when I woke up. I was excited about something that motivated me. During the early stages of my divorce, I was soo devastated AND embarrassed that life didn’t go as I had planned. Until I realized how life can go off course sometimes and lead you to something better. It might even lead you to find yourself. When I share my travels with people, it’s not to brag. It’s in hopes of reaching another person who hasn’t quite found his/herself yet and will see my story as an example of resilience.

Pay it forward.

Much Love, Trice <3

Featured

Program Overview: TEFL Course with “TEFL Campus” Chiang Mai, Thailand Location

I knew that I wanted to move abroad but I also knew that I needed a back up plan just in case blogging did not pick up the way I wanted to I wanted another source of income to fall back on. Momma always to have a plan B and C.

At the time, and with my prior experience already I figured the one thing that made most sense to do was to teach English abroad. But in order to teach English abroad you would either need a bachelors degree and a TEFL certificate, but in some countries only a TEFL is necessary or just a bachelors in teaching.

TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language means to teach the English language to students with different first languages. With obtaining a TEFL you can either teach at a state school, teach more privately at a language school, teach English online or even tutor on the side as well.

While researching which program I wanted to use (because there are soo many out there to choose from) I realized that the cost for most of the highly rated ones were in the 2000s for Thailand’s location. I could understand why some were too expensive because they were offering “guaranteed teaching placement” instead of “lifetime job search” assistance but still, $2000 on to of the $600-$800 one way flight ticket would make anyone reconsider. 

I began to get frustrated and nearly gave up until I finally stumbled across TEFL Campus. I ended up choosing TEFL campus because for one, they were Thailand based. I’ve read and heard from first had experiences that people who used American based programs started with one company and then was transferred to another once they reached Thailand. I considered that to be very risky especially being that I was considering moving my whole life abroad. I wanted to be able to deal with the same people from start to finish.

There are two options available for Chiang Mai – standard and premium.

On top of the $300 off they even also offered a free online course to take to boost your qualifications.

Now, in order to be able to take TEFL Campus Chiang Mai course you do need to have these requirements:

  • Must be 18 or older.
  • Must be fluent in all aspects of English.*
  • Must have basic computer skills for creating classroom materials.
  • Must be good with working under tight schedules and meeting deadlines.
  • Must have an open mind as it relates to living within new and different cultures.

Not Required:

  • Teaching experience
  • University degrees

Important for those whose English is not your first language:

***If English isn’t your first language, you must be fluent in reading, writing, listening and speaking in order to pass our course. If you are unsure about your level of English or have any doubts about your ability to pass the course, we would like to conduct a 10-20 minute interview with you over Skype. Basically, you must be able to present the language accurately at all times in the classroom. We strictly enforce this requirement and no exceptions to our course standards will be made for non-native English speakers (or native speakers!).

Are you convinced yet?!?

Choose a date and apply today!

Featured

8 Things I Wish i Knew BEFORE Going to San Juan, Puerto Rico – The Ultimate Quick Tips

I returned from my “Christmas vacation” to San Juan at the end of December with mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself THOROUGHLY however, I felt like I would’ve had too much more fun had I known a few things before hand. Each one teach one, so here’s a list that should help you while planning your Puerto Rico trip…

1. Rent a Car

Although Puerto Rico has Uber and taxis available and accessible, Puerto Rico is still a territory of the U.S. and with that being said them prices are HIGH. My AIRBNB was about a mile away from Old San Juan and depending on the time of day my Uber prices were between $5 and $25 – and the is was morning, day and night.

Not to mention even though the island is pretty small, there is soo much to do within the whole island that would ring up a pretty pricey uber bill if you need a ride. Most of the tours and excursions starting point are about an hour drive away from Condado/Old San Juan/Miramar area.

2. Invest in Bugspray

The mosquitos are alive and well in and they don’t play around. I left PR with HUGE bites all over my arms and legs. Oddly enough when I went through the rainforest and jungle there wasn’t any mosquitos, the tour guides ensured us that the trees gave off something that repelled mosquitoes.

But, while I was out in them streets, ya girl was getting bit every chance there was. Two words for you. BUG & SPRAY.

3. Buy Local

Technically PR is a territory of the United States but that’s not how they are treated. There is some major beef going on between their government and the people that isn’t really spoken of publicly. Owning a business in Puerto Rico is essentially hard and they are taxed on everything. The government takes a huge portion of their earnings.

They have families to feed and provide for. So please if you can manage, while in Puerto Rico please buy local! I stayed in an AIRBNB and all the places I’ve eaten at were owned by a local. I also tipped well. Tourism is how the island makes their money – I cannot begin to count on one hand how many times I’ve heard a Puerto Rican say that. Let’s help OUR people.

4. Bring Comfortable Walking Shoes

Ladies leave the heels at home. Well okay, maybe bring one pair ONLY. I do not know who I thought I was bringing 3 pairs of heels thinking I was going to trut through the streets of San Juan lol. Firstly, Old San Juan is filled with beautifully historic cobblestone throughout the streets. You will break your neck if you are not a skilled heel walker out there.

Also, Old San Juan is pretty big, its sorta like a “downtown” area here in the States. One ways, hills, a lot of incline and lots and lots of walking.

5. Increase Your Spending Budget

Typically when I travel, my daily spending price is less than what I spend in the states. Subconsciously I knew that PR was still technically apart of the U.S. but I still had this bazaar spending limit as if the states don’t be taxing just to breathe here. My first day, wasn’t even a full day and I spent easily $80. That was for Uber to and from Old San Juan, ONE meal and a couple of drinks.

I was in PR and I had set my budget for $400. I figured that with me having a few all day tours I wouldn’t have the need to spend too much oh but I was wrong. Ubers, my meals plus tips and a little dranky drank definitely added up quickly.

6. Take a Nap – Nightlife Goes Until 4AM

One of my favorite things to do while abroad is experiencing their nightlife, indulge in their culture, music, art ya know? Here in Jacksonville, FL and also back when I lived in Norfolk, VA by midnight that is when the bar/club/lounges begin to fill up if not already filled. Why? Because they close at 2AM :/ Especially with the “free before 11” promotions, you’re typically starting your “lets get ready to go out” routine around 930PM.

You’ll get a rude awakening if you believe that you’re going to find fun at 10/11 PM. It was too dead and I was too exhausted to wait until 11/1130PM to see what the potential turn up was going to be like due to my strenuous tours that I did early that day. The day of my departure I told my Uber driver about me not getting to witness the nightlife there and he informed me that the night before in “La Placita” it was too many people out there and the party went until 4AM.

He also was the one that gave me the info on how he tended to be dropping off drunk Americans around 12AM to take them back to their AIRBNBs/Hotels AND picking up locals to take them out. My mind was blown.

7. Don’t Believe the Hype – They Speak English

While I was on my “Old San Juan Night Tour” my tour guide randomly told us that almost everyone speaks English even if it’s very little. Puerto Ricans are required to take it in school as early as Kindergarden and required 6 college credits of English to even obtain their bachelors.

I say that to say this, while buying local and the owner hits you with the “no habla ingles” 9/10 that is not true and he/she does not want to business with you. I personally had it happen when I was in Old San Juan at the top of the hill where the locals hang out and drink. The bar owner hit that move on us so one of the locals I met ordered for me and my friend. But later, after seeing we were accepted by the cigar man outside his bar, he then warmed up to us.

8. CATS – They are Everywhere

Not much to say here lol. If you have a phobia of cats or are afraid of them be careful and mindful because they are literally everywhere. One even followed me all the way into my AIRBNB and upstairs. It was a kitten and it was harmless, but for someone who is terrified of them you may want to reconsider your trip to PR.

9. Bonus: Try the Mofongo

Thank me later 😉

Featured

6 Proven Secrets To Booking Cheap Flights

There are two main reasons why people do not travel as much as they want to. One is time, the other is money. Flying is conveniently, inconvenient – if you fly often you know what I mean. However it does get you to your destination pretty fast. That does come with a price though and if you do not have the funds for it, it could be stressful.

I’ve created a list of secrets to help you book affordably and save yourself some extra money…

1. Best Days to Book are Tuesdays and Sundays.

I am sure while talking with your friends or family conversations of catching a flight usually arouses on the Friday or the weekend while the fun juices are flowing. However, DO NOT start looking to book flights on Fridays or Saturdays the rates are ALWAYS super high. Book your flight on either Tuesday or Sunday if you can wait. Some studies even say “Tuesdays at 3PM” but I don’t know how accurate that is because I’m usually on my booking sites all day Tuesday and I haven’t seen a rate change.

2. If You Are a Planner – Book 7 Weeks In Advanced

img_5991

I am in no way shape or form a planner, I book my flights at most a month in advanced. However, it has been proven that if you start looking for your flight 7 weeks in advanced you save a total of 10% on your flight total by doing this. To me, 10% is sorta like taxes paid, but any money saved is a good day. Right?

3. Cheapest Days to Fly Out: Tuesday, Wednesdays, Saturdays.

Being in the economy that we have today, it is easier or more convenient to travel on the weekends and either extend our trip into Monday or leave early on a Thursday and airlines know that unfortunately. To get the absolute best prices and save yourself possible over $100, you should fly out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Flexibility is key.

4. Early Bird Gets the Worm – Choose the Earliest Flight.

The cheapest flights typically are those adorable 6AM beauties that seem to never sell out. Usually you’ll have an entire row to yourself on these flights if its not around the holidays and is in the middle of the week. Probably because that requires you to wake up before the birds start chirping to get to the airport on time and situated. The next cheapest time to fly out is around lunch time so the 11AM-1PM time frame flights.

5. Go Beyond Search Engines – Check Individual Sites

I am pretty sure we all use our different forms of search engines we use to research our flights – my personal favs are Expedia, Skiplagged, and Hopper. However, some of the booking apps don’t cover all the airlines. Most times, airlines like Alleigant Air and Southwest don’t make it on the list so it’s best to go to those sites individually. Also, sometimes you may even find the same flight cheaper by a few cents on the actual website.

6. Subscribe to Those Booking Websites

img_5986-1

Yes, no one wants their email clogged with a bunch of promotional emails however there be some gems in there. Airlines like Spirit, Southwest and Frontier constantly have flight specials that they have sent out in emails. This is how I stay current with the flight market as well. These flights that are offered are perfect for people who have flexible schedules or for those who want to do a spontaneous trip to a not so common city. What’s life without risk eh?

Featured

Beginners Guide On How To Take Pictures Like a Pro While Traveling Solo

Alright, so… outside the question of why do I travel solo, I always get the “who takes your pictures for you” question. I do not hire a photographer nor do I ask strangers to take my picture (because they cannot capture the moment like I need it captured.) So, I just take them all myself, if possible. HOW? – Typically the follow up question asked. Lol In order to take successful pictures of yourself you will need some form of vision, a dope background and the right equipment. So far, all of my pictures have been taken on my iPhone XR – even though I do have a DSLR camera. I use my iPhone because the tripod w| remote I use requires Bluetooth and my DSLR does not have that capability but I still get the job done with my good ol trusty iPhone. So here’s how I do it

The Vision.

You have to have a vision of what you want the picture to look like. See it before you take it type thing. Manifest it if you will. What do you want in the background? How much contrast, brightness, and vibrancy do you want in it? I visualize my pictures all the way to the edit in my head before I start shooting myself. Okay, I get it not everyone has that eye for a nice photo or you can’t think of an great ideas (it’s okay it happens to me too) I either google or Pinterest search picture ideas like “beach photoshoot ideas” or enter in the area I am in (i.e. “Manama souk photos”) and then scavenge myself through the images populated and then recreate the picture I like and throw my own twist on it. DO NOT steal someone else’s complete idea. Use as inspiration only to get those creative juices going.

The Background.

Before I start shooting I scope out the area. I see what’s around where I am and what scenery I would want in my shot. Before hand, I also do a little research so it’s easier to pinpoint by name or even by looks where the best spots are to shoot. I check for lighting/natural sunlight – meaning does the area have enough light that my phone can capture the shot and still be edited. Is there trash and debris around that does not add to the shot? What about people, is it secluded enough if I am aiming for a solo shot? These are some important key things to ask yourself before you begin just taking pictures. You need an idea in mind.

The Equipment. 

Like I said, I do have DSLR camera, but it is not compatible with my Bluetooth remote that I use so I just stick with my iPhone XR. My tripod cost me less than $20 and it is super sturdy, light weight (I can carry it in my purse/beach bags), easy to use and comes with a Bluetooth remote so I can click away my photos instead of constantly resetting a self-timer. My tripod is compatible to any accessory that has Bluetooth capabilities – it is not exclusive to only cell phones. On top of the cool Bluetooth capability features that doesn’t require an app for you to download in order for you to connect, the tripod is “3 in 1” being a selfie stick tripod, table tripod, handhold tripod for all your versatile needs.