As my DC area trip comes to an end, I find myself reflecting back on all the personal lessons I have learned in the week I’ve been here.

Cold weather + Natural Hair = Drama

My natural hair sisters living in colder climates will disagree but I have learned that my hair does much better in Caribbean weather. Besides, all you colder climate “naturalistas” have a clear advantage over me, having lived in winter weather for a while. This little island girl however, has not. Me and my fro are still getting to know each other and one thing I’ve learned about my new friend here is that she does not do well in lower temperatures. Poor thing shrinks, loses moisture and gets downright cranky. It is clearly time to revisit my favorite “how to” hair channels (cold weather do’s) on Youtube.

IMG_5855

Messy hair while exploring DC

Lazy is as lazy does

It irritates me whenever we are traveling and my husband decides to stay indoors on a perfectly great day to explore whatever destination we are at. But this trip taught me that my husband and I have more in common that I thought. I too worked my butt off before getting here and arrived tired and overworked. Also, sometimes I need to take a break from all the running around I tend to do while visiting somewhere new. I always worry that I might miss out on seeing an important landmark, statue or building. There is a lot to take in, especially here in the DC area and it can be exhausting. Taking a little break now and then to re-energize is sometimes just the ticket. I realized that seeing all you want to see can at times be an impossible task. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. You’re on a break from your everyday life. Enjoy it.

Plans can be broken

Making plans before you arrive at your destination is great. You have a clear idea of what is important to visit but remember that there are other great things to see that you might not even know existed, and doing everything strictly according to what you have planned might prevent you from discovering all of the unexpected.

Staying with friends

Staying with friends is amazing, especially if you have friends like mine. You have a place to stay, you get to reconnect and your friends can serve as guides. But remember that while you are on vacation, they are living their everyday lives. They still have to go to work, go to classes, take care of their kids and basically live their everyday existence. Try not to depend too much on them. Be considerate, help around the house, assist where you can and be independent. Look into public transportation, Uber, city tours, etc.

IMG_5880

Exploring DC Solo

Social Media Hits and Misses

Nowadays we tend to experience our vacations and travels through our phones and find ourselves having to visit our latest Instagram posts to relive what could have been a fabulous trip, had we just pulled our noses from behind our smart phones. Do yourself a favor: put your phone and camera away at times and allow yourself to just take in your surroundings. Your trip will be over before you realize it and all the social media “likes” and comments in the world will not bring back lost opportunities. Take in all that a simple edited photo will never be able to do: the smells, the feel, the experience.

IMG_5938

Don’t forget to take it all in. Even that piss smell in an alley.

Home is where the heart is

Lastly, visiting other countries is awesome. There is nothing like it. But so is coming home and being away makes you appreciate it more. Yes, little St. Maarten can get claustrophobic but there is nothing like touching down at the Juliana International Airport and sleeping in your own bed. Remember that to many this little rock in the Caribbean is called paradise. It’s time we see it as such too.

IMG_5678

St. Maarten down below

It is back to island life for me in a few days and I’m super happy to have had the chance to experience the DC area and for the friends who helped me find my way around, taking time out of their busy schedules to show me things I didn’t have on my list, experience areas I didn’t know existed and provided me with a place to crash and delicious home cooked meals. You know who you are.

Look out for my posts on what to do in the DC area. Now it’s time to start planning the next destination. Where should I visit next and why?

Remember to Laugh, Live, Love and Travel.

TTIG