Travel: A spiritual practice and food for the soul.

Relax. Re-calibrate. Rejuvenate. Recharge.

When you ask God does he have time to talk to you and he meets you right where you're at...My sister took this picture of me, but she had no clue how much I would cherish the captured moment of me fulfilling one of my many goals, which is meditating on beaches and land all over the world. In this moment, I felt so connected, free, present, empowered, motivated, raw, emotional, fortunate, beautiful and vulnerable.

If you're not ready to travel alone, find you travel tribe and GO!

Growing up in the Bronx, travel wasn't at the top of the priority list. Going from borough to borough, and maybe upstate for a church convention or BBQ was as far as I got. Viewing destinations, lifestyles, dialects and different accents on TV and in magazines wasn't enough for me. At 28 years old I still hadn't owned a passport or had gotten on an airplane. It was more than time to spread my wings, and I haven't looked back since. After being the third wheel on my first trip to Miami, with co-workers, I came home spread the word on the beauty of a new land, recruited my friends and have been adding stamps to my passport, and searing sisterhood memories into my brain ever since.

Due to adult life, motherhood, work, etc., my travel tribe has decreased in numbers, but I didn't let that stop me. I've been fortunate to have a sister who, as grown woman, also made the choice to see and learn from and about the world that society told us was out of our reach due to the tax bracket and the zip code we grew up in. We have fun, share, bond, and get to see each other in raw, jovial ways; that can get muddied with everyday life. I'm blessed to have my principal travel tribe member be my blood. Find like-minded people who have the desire to explore and experience. Don't feel bad about who can't or won't join, JUST GO!

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Relax. Re-calibrate. Explore. Go on an Adventure. Find Wonder.

Not every vacation will be on a tropical island, in an all-inclusive resort, with spa and easy living. Some may be in and RV, on a hiking trail, backpacking, with maps, and Google translate. Some may be at a family member’s house, in the city, state, country, or continent where your parents were raised. Either way, you have the luxury to customize your itinerary for whatever goal you have on your trip. R&R is great and necessary, but try to step out and do an activity that you wouldn't normally do in your everyday life. Climb, swim, create, dance, participate in a local ritual, try a local cuisine and open your mind. Trust me, adventure is as good for the soul, just as much as being a beach bum is.

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Give the gift of travel

Most children from urban, and poor neighborhoods aren't granted the gift of travel for various reasons. Most people think they can't afford to send their kids away, or go on family vacations, but it is possible with budgeting and awareness. Instead of gaming consoles, expensive sneakers, parties, dinners out, etc.; save, and give the gift of experience. All of the material things in the world may never compare to you changing someone's life, and witnessing your loved one trying a new food for the first time, inhaling new air, conquering fear, or realizing that there is so much more to life, all because of you. Start small and local, and gradually venture out to the other side of the world. Your perception of the world and its people will change and grow. Love yourself enough to give yourself and others more than what was given to you.

Gratitude

Costa Rica's, your nature, people, love, and heat took over me. I became a fearless girl, who swung from trees in the jungle, fed animals that no one would touch, and open up from my beach bum ways, which allowed me to meet some really amazing people, with great life stories, lessons, and even better energy; like Shannon Brown; a kind, brave woman, on vacation with her son. She was sweet, engaging, and open. We sat and exchanged sorties of our lives in New York vs. hers in Canada over breakfast. I now have a new friend and a tour guide for my Canadian adventure. Costa Rica gave me a temporary home in its paradise, a check off my 'bucket list,' and experience's that I'll never forget. I look forward to returning.

Images by Shannon Brown & Tinique Williams

Back home

Dear universe, as the air of the "real world" settles down on my skin; know I am fully aware that traveling is a spiritual practice.  Know that I came back with even more of a fire in my soul to make Better Life Choices of New York the global brand I always intended it to be. When I wrote BLCNY in the black sand, I asked God for his guidance and favor. Not just to travel around the world, but to do so while being of service by holding yearly life skills, empowerment, motivation, and life coaching summits for girls and women, in various locations around the world, including Costa Rica. My prayers are detailed, clear and I know they are heard. Get your passport ready, because it will happen. And when it does, are you coming?

Have you always traveled? Where's your favorite place to go? Where do you dream of going? Have you given the gift of travel?

Let's have some 'girl talk.'

Coach Stefanie, Life Architect

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