You cannot visit London and not make your way to Paris. It doesn’t work like that and is completely un-natural. Paris is literally 2hrs away by train and even shorter by flight. During my Euro tour, these two cities were a must and literally the two main destinations.

I’ve always thought of visiting Paris in the winter time. Pictures and aesthetics wise, it just made sense in my head. Also the foodie that I am, I was eager and very excited to visit the cuisine capital. Paris is the capital of France. Just like London, it is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion,  and culture. Known for its major landmark like the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

These attractions are all around the same area and can be visited all in one day which was exactly what we did. I was a bit skeptical visiting France. Everybody who I knew had visited Paris or France in general, said they would never go back for various reasons. The traveller that I am, I kept an open mind and was ready for whatever this city had to offer.

As soon as we got to Paris, it was a whole different world. Unlike London which was a bit more calm, Paris is exactly like New York with the fast paced, hustling and grinding lifestyle. We were also warned about pick-pocketers as well as conmen. Also the fact that it was a whole new language, we kinda felt small and lost at the same time. By ‘we’, I am referring to my travel buddy and my best friend Natalie (Future blog post).

This time round, we got a hotel room mainly because it was cheaper. If your not aware, most Things in Europe are small but very cute. Meaning, our hotel room was more like college dorm room but fancy. Come to think of it, it was actually very comfortable but when your used to getting Airbnb’s, it is very easy to notice that lack of ‘home feel’ that one longs for when traveling or staying at a Hotel. 

At this point in our trip we were pretty exhausted. We had already visited two countries in one week and caused major havoc if you know what I mean (Germany and England). Paris is one of the travel places you need to have a purpose. You cant just visit and go with the flow type of vibe. All the major attractions are very close to each other and can be visited in one day if planned strategically. 

Gauging everything, I must say Paris was really good to us as a whole, apart from the few mishaps that really turned me off and made me understand how one can hate it at the same time. The friendly customer service that were used to here in the states is one thing you should not expect. Actually being American in Europe is not as fancied. We are considered arrogant and entitled. I remember we came across two other american girls Roya and Emma originally from Florida who faced discrimination trying to get into a club because they were not french or did not speak french. 

Another thing that really stunned me about Paris was the language barrier. Being a major city, you would think that most people would speak english. Not only the fact that its such a touristy destination but its only 2hrs away from London. Unfortunately that was not the case. But here comes the part that really shook me. Food was a disaster. Every restaurant that we went to, the food was tasteless. I am talking about no seasoning whatsoever and don’t get started on the lack of hot sauce every where we got food. (Ofcourse this was not the case at the African restaurants) it was literally an epidemic. During the entire trip, we were either eating at African restaurants which were absolutely amazing or fast food spots.  For France which is known for their top-notch culinary schools, I was pretty disappointed to say the least. 

Its sad to say that the only place we found ourselves completely at home in France was our very last night in Paris. As you know I am a firm believer that when you travel you have to experience the night scene just as much as you would with everything else when exploring your destination. Its all part of the culture. All in all, Lets just say that night we partied till dawn and missed our train. Call us party animals but baby that night was everything. Without getting too much into it, check out my highlight story of Paris on Instagram. 

Paris it was nice..till next time. 

Come through 2019. This year started off on such a high and positive note. Y’all know that traveling has always been my thing and by the time this trip came about, it felt like I was caged for way too long.

I spent my last days of 2018 and my first few days of 2019 living it up across the pond. I was fortunate enough to make my way to London during my first Europe tour and words cannot even describe how amazing it was.

London has been a dream destination for as long as I can remember and to be able to visit this 21st century through my hard work was a dream come true. It is often considered as the world’s leading global city. known for its impact on the arts, education, entertainment, fashion, finance and healthcare, its one of the most visited cities. It is literally the NewYork of England and Europe.

I have a cousin and a couple of friends who live in London and outside London. I knew without a doubt that they were going to be my tour guide. Aside from visiting this gorgeous city, I was also going to reconnect with an old time friend.

Sandra and I go way back. She was one of my childhood friends and we also went to the same middle school back in Kenya. #Consolatadays

who I remember as the shy yet smart and a very put together individual, is exactly who I met after 20years since we last saw each other. Only this time, I met a young lady who’s not only grown into her beauty both in and out but a woman whose liberated herself into her glory. Not gonna lie but Sandra is the epitome of who I want to be when I grow up. Y’all know I am still childish and petty but that’s besides the point. In all honesty, I am still amazed and honored that I can call Sandra a friend. I first reconnected with Sandra over social media over the years and that’s how we kept in touch. What I thought was only gonna be a coffee or maybe even a lunch date to re-connect and catch up, ended up being a whole reunion vacation that allowed us to get to know each other all over again as adults.

Come to think of it, the best part of the trip was mostly because of the company I was with.

England was so good to me, I would not mind moving there. I know I say this all the time with literally every place I have visited but the fact of the matter still remains that my heart is a wanderer and I will not settle till I move to my destined place.  On the real though, this had to be the most expensive trip I have ever planned. I mean all the places I have traveled to internationally, the dollar has always worked in my favor and I guess that’s why it took me a long time to make my way to Europe.

Here are some quick tips if you are also planning to travel across the pond. First of all, give yourself at least a week if you dare visit. This way you can get to at least experience the culture and the city fully. We did all the things we had set out to do which has never happened when I go on vacation. Of course with a huge help from Sandra who happened to know the city in and out. The highlights were definitely the nightlife, the culture and experiencing the British tea in the afternoon. This is aside from all the touristy stuff. (London eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace etc). You can check this out on my Instagram page within the highlight section because I documented everything.{@Victor_4realzz}For accommodation, Airbnb was the better and cheaper option. london has a good public transportation system and that’s all we used. Ubers are hella expensive so don’t even bother. Another quick tip is if you can set up a contactless payment either on your phone through your debit card, it is so much easier and cheaper as well.London farewell but your boy will be back!

Podcasts📻🎙

One thing I have learned is that the older you get, you tend to look for different things to inspire you and motivate you. You can call this part of adulting but at this stage of my life, I am always in search of things that are relatable or fall in line with where I am at currently. While reading self-help books, or biographies is the obvious go-to answer, podcasts are a good alternative. Also being the fact that podcasting is the new wave, I was very curious to check it out and give it a shot. I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to an audiobook yet but I am guessing it is the same experience.

With such a busy schedule, I have been able to incorporate podcasts into my lifestyle. I listen to my fave podcast in the car, when I am at the gym or even in the morning when I am getting ready for work.  If podcasts are your thing or you are looking to get started, here is my top five that I think everybody, especially in our generation, Should listen to.

The spread:

This is the first podcast that ever I listened to and will forever remain a classic.  My best friend Natalie actually introduce me to it. shes also one of the few that influenced me into the podcast gang. when I started listening to podcasts, I was using Sound Cloud and this is because it was the only place you could find The Spread podcast at the time. The Spread is an R-rated Kenyan podcast that was started out by Nini Wacera and Kaz. Nini is a well-renowned actress and radio host while Kaz is a musician, socialite and influencer within the entertainment industry in Kenya.  Both women talk everything about sex, sexuality and body. It basically revolves around sex positivity and all aspects of embracing it. The spread has now even grown to bigger height with only Kaz being the host. Not sure what happened to Nini but it kinda wasn’t the same for me. Although its still remains one of my favourite podcasts.

Jesus and Jollof:

Currently, this is on repeat. A podcast that’s hosted by Yvonne Orji from the show Insecure on HBO and Luvvie Ajayi whose an author, speaker, and digital strategist. These two friends came together and literally created a masterpiece. With both of them being Nigerian, all their stories are based from an African perspective. They talk about relationships, religion, their struggles to following their dreams within the entertainment industry and most of all, being black and African in a Donald trump world. Their chemistry is out of this world and they are hilarious. I promise you, you will die laughing especially when they switch back and forth into their Nigerian accents. let’s just say I have listened to the whole season more than once.

Rants and Randomness:

This is also another fave. It is a solo podcast by the same Luvvie Ajayi from Jesus and Jollof. she started this podcast way before Jesus and Jollof and is part of her brand. In this podcast, Ajayi shares advice and knowledge about trending topics that she’s passionate about and also rants on things that shes come across. Within every episode, Ajayi interviews black successful individuals who have made it within the industry. From Shea Moisture CEO and creator Rich Dennis to actor and singer Jussie Smollet.  the guests on this podcast talk about their struggles and their journey to where there are today.

Super Soul Sunday:  This podcast is Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews and conversations with thought-leaders, authors and health & wellness experts. I don’t have cable but I’ve always been a huge fan of super soul Sunday so it’s really nice to get these free episodes through the podcast. this podcast is where I get my Spiritual and mental health fix. literally food to my soul.

So these are just a few of the podcast that I am crazy about. I listen to them on a regular basis and are my go-to when I need to be inspired or just re-energized emotionally and mentally. Because I have an iPhone, I am able to use the podcast app that’s already installed on the phone. Its a very user-friendly and has made it much easier to access my favorite podcasts. #teamiphoneallday

make sure to like, share and leave a comment on your take on podcasts as well as let me know what you think about these specific podcast.

Grown-ish

If there was a legit manual/school or even class on how to adult that one can get access to, please sign me up. I’ve heard it all. From my fellow co-workers, friends and even mentors. They say, “It never gets easier to figure it out, it only gets easier to cope and work your way through it“. Don’t be fooled by what you see online and on social media. People only want you to see what they want you to see. Most of us are struggling or just making the ‘struggle bus‘ look very cute.

We so are so used to a systematic environment from the day you start school but they don’t prepare you once your out of the system. By “they” I am reffering to the education system and institutes. Unless the system has been changed, those in my age group or older know exactly what I am talking about.

I have recently found my self going to seminars and little workshops that teach you  certain things. Like financial advising, money, paying and shopping for health insurance among many others. lets just say adulting is really hard!

Not too long ago, I ran into my high school teacher and home-girl was calling and saying it like it is (love that about her). I remember after chatting about everybody who was in my year that she kept in touch with, I dared to ask her what she thought how my life would turn out. I will not embarass my self by telling yall her thoughts but long story short, she did not hold back. According to her, I was one of the few that somewhat surprised her. Knowing me, I’ve never been predictable but it did feel good to be viewed from a different perspective.

Experiences and conversations through this journey of adulthood have definitely taught me one thing. Never compare your self to those around you. Just like in a race, those who win never look at their competitors. Everybody has their own path. Remaining humble and trusting your own process, is truly a test of its own.

Looking back, 2018 will be a pivotal chapter in my life. In a way, it’s been a remarkable yet the hardest stage of my life. The good has been really great while the bad has been some of the worst fall. Being able to balance everything from responsibilities, expectations, social life/relationships and even that self-care that’s very essential, has been a task.

Now that I have hit a quater life century, it really hit me that one has to be able to prioritize and be realistic when it comes to following your dreams and facing reality. I guess you can’t have it all. Everything comes with a price whether you realize it or not.  Yup, adulting is no joke.

For those who are in college and are really eager to finish and join adulthood, I emphasize to take your time and enjoy right now because that was once me. I would give anything to go back and maybe plan myself a little bit more and enjoy living under my parents roof. Not worrying about bills, loans or fulfilling the worlds expectations.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK🏙🗽🌆

It’s the city that never sleeps. From its vibrant culture and city lights to the hustle and flow mentality of every soul, New York might just be the next move.  I know I have always wanted to move out from my home state (Lowell, Massachusetts) and move to a place where I could finally plant my own roots and lay the foundation of my life. As scary and crazy as it sounds the big apple might be destined for me.

So this whole idea started when I recently went for a weekend to celebrate a friend’s birth day.   Long story short it was LIT. I am talking about from the night life to a day of sightseeing. We ended up renting an Airbnb in Manhattan for the few days we were there and commuted everywhere using subway or Uber.  Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to visit NYC several times but it was only this time round where I got to see NY for its true authentic self and I completely fell in love. They weren’t wrong when they said home is where the heart is. In the past when I visited, I only did the touristy stuff. Visiting Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and so on and so forth. But it was until I got to experience the culture is when I finally fell in love.

NY is well known for its diversity. It’s literally a melting pot of everybody from different cultures and all walks of all life. One thing for sure, you’re bound to at least meet every race and ethnicity. According to worldsrtides.com, More than 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. 4 in 10 households speak a language other than English.

It’s crazy because everybody that I have told about the idea of moving to NY has basically looked at me crazy. They get this look on their face of ‘WTF’. The notion of NY being an expensive city and the fast paced doesn’t scare me at all. I mean it does a little bit but it’s in the sense of the fact that I am getting out of my comfort zone. But all in all the idea of proving everybody wrong and challenging myself on a different level of capacity is one of the few things that’s actually attracting me to it.

In this journey, I have made sure to check other parts of NY just in case this whole city thing doesn’t really work out for me. I had the opportunity to visit a good friend who lives in Albany, NY. Albany definitely shocked me. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. Meaning, I was expecting upstate New York vibes and a whole lot of countryside. (I apologize for my ignorance and bad geography skills.) Although being the capital for NY and way much smaller than NYC, it left a good impression on me. A city that’s way more diverse in every aspect than what I am used to still contributed to my love for the state as a whole. Let’s not forget the beauty of its architectural buildings and its rich history of the American people.

When I think of living in the big apple I picture myself like the likes of Janet mock the co-stars of the new show hustle in Brooklyn, Jessica Parker in sex and the city and some of my favorite people that I follow or look up to. From their career paths to the social lifestyle. Low-key, they have made it look easy but I am ready to hustle and grind to make it in this big city. Failure is absolutely not an option.

All in all I am not putting my eggs all in one basket. The whole point of this post is to put the idea out into the universe and let it manifest towards my end goal. Maybe New York will not work out. It might be a different city or town in Massachusetts or even a different country but am so ready to plant my seeds in a different garden. Wherever that maybe, I am ready to spread my wings and soar.

Rants & Randomness😡😩😒

So this is an epidemic that I honestly don’t know how to overcome but needs to be addressed immediately. The world is evolving and so is its technology. If you don’t know me by now, I like to document and capture every moment either through social media or just for the sake of it. Some might say I am a social media addict but I believe I am just an artist perfecting my craft. Long story short, I am frustrated and tired of being that friend that takes the good pics but don’t get the favor in return. For those who are active on social media whether it’s for work or pleasure or the ones who like to finesse even for the wrong reasons, together we shall rise.

Yup, you guessed it. Today’s blog post is literally a rant. For my friends (you know yourselves), I dedicate this post to you as well. I Am calling out all those folks who be expecting a good picture but in return do a dis-honor to the photographer.For lack of a better name, we call these folks enemy of progress. And Yes, I do say photographer only because these group of people are the ones who understand the art of taking a good pic. You know, from the lighting to hyping you up and even helping you get that good caption for the gram (Instagram).

Personally it’s happened to me several times with my friends. One minute Were literally vibing at a dope location wherever that maybe and then when it comes to taking pictures of each other, the ultimate disrespect comes out. So having the talent that I have, I take amazing pictures of my so called “friends” but it’s never reciprocated and if it is, it’s after hours of taking thousands of pics just to get the one. Now some of ya’ll might state that it’s because I am not photogenic but I rebuke ya’ll in the name of Jesus. The truth of the matter is, those that take the ugly pics just got two left hands.

The frustration is real because some of us are single meaning every representation of our self is an opportunity of a future significant other to notice us. Social media has addressed this issue by making memes out of it. Yes it’s hilarious but not when it’s happening to you.

All am saying lets be considerate of each other. If you know that you are an enemy of progress, get it together and change your ways. For those who are on the struggle and can completely relate, Please let’s keep hope alive and continue the journey in search of that friend who will reciprocate the good deed we share with our closest ones while finessing on the inter webs.

Cancun, Mexico 🇲🇽 🌴☀️

Let me just start off by saying writing on the regular or maintaining this blog is a work in progress. It’s not the lack of content but rather the time, motivation and energy for me to sit down and write. Of course when I do write it’s always therapeutic. Think of it as going to the gym. The hardest part is literally gathering all of yourself and going to the gym. But after you get there and work out, it’s the best feeling ever. So please bear with me and continue showing the love and support. I promise I will get it together.

So it’s the beginning of summer and Lord knows this had been a long time coming. Literally, this was my light and rainbow at the end of my hurricane.  This past winter season had truly been the test of time if it wasn’t already the lowest point of my life.  Afro-Flava wasn’t doing well, my minimum wage job that I had at the time wasn’t working out and having car troubles were some of the experiences life was throwing at me. I was basically trying to make ends meet. Paying my rent at the time was a mission and a half. Looking back, I am still stunned that I was able to push through and make it out. (Those are some stories for another time)

My friends and I had been talking about going on a tropical trip together to start off the summer. All those winter months of watching travel vlogs from the likes of Lydia Dinga, Est-Are and among many others, it was time for us to make our dream a reality. At this point, I had saved a little bit from the new job I had started towards the end of winter into spring. We originally had planned to go to Thailand but the flight prices were not working in our favour. Besides, the amount of hours it takes to travel to Thailand, one needs at least two weeks to not only recover the jetlag but to fully explore Thailand and some of the other Asian countries. (This is still goals). We then settled going to Cuba until last minute when we found out how one has to typically carry cash for the entire trip since debit cards from America do not work there. Let’s not forget the struggles of customs getting into Cuba. (Thanks Trump for ruining it for us after Obama had cleaned up the mess.) After intense deliberation, Cancun, Mexico was where it was meant to be. None of us had been there and some of the packages were within our budget.

We got a package of about $700.00 per person that was all-inclusive (food and liquor, flight and accommodation for 6 days 5 nights). I don’t know about you but that’s a pretty decent deal. This was also the first trip of the year so the hype was very much anticipated. It was also the first time travelling with a big group which I was very selective in going just because the vibe had to be right.

Cancun is a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea. It, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. Just Like every travel destination, Cancun is composed of 2 distinct areas. The more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Cancun is a popular destination for college students during the spring break period.it is also a very popular destination for black folks especially for memorial weekend

We stayed at Princess Yucatan Resort which is about 40 mins drive outside Cancun. A resort that I must say I will definitely go back. We also bought different activities beforehand so when were there we wouldn’t have had to worry about money or any surprising costs. Going to Cancun was the first trip I had done in terms of going on a full vacation resort. You all know that when I travel I like to experience the culture and learn the way of life. Unfortunately this trip was not one of those but at the same time you can’t blame me after the stormy weather I went through. All I wanted was to bask in the sun by the pool with my cocktails and relax.

This trip was everything and more. Not only was it much needed but it was a reward to myself. I am grateful I got to experience this trip and just like I imagined it did set the tone for the rest of the summer. Make sure to follow me on Instagram @Victor_4realzz and check-out my highlight for the full visual aspect of the trip because words cannot express the magical experience.