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- Barcelona !
What happens when you speak things into existence? You may get exactly what you were hoping for! I have been saying to pretty much anyone who would listen that I want to fly more European destinations at work . Being a new fly attendant , I'm more likely to work domestic , Caribbean or South American routes. Europe is for the big dogs ... or senior mama & papas as we like to call them . I decided ( in my mind) this month I would manifest the destinations I've so desperately wanted to explore and then BOOM , enter Barcelona, Spain! Someone originally working the trip decided to drop it and as fast as I could , I picked it up the night before it was scheduled to depart. You would have thought I won the lottery the way I was screaming on the phone to my friend about the exciting moment. Before I knew it , I was in search for the perfect cute yet warm outfit and frantically seeking things I could do in one day! My layover was a solid 23 hours. At this point , I am accustomed to making one day feel like a three day excursion. Taking advantage of every moment even if it compromises sleep is the name of the game to ensure the 9 hour working flight is well worth it. My crew has been working at least 21 years , with the most senior crew member killing it with 43 years under his belt! They work Barcelona so often as though it's a daily drive from Miami to Boca Raton so they quickly informed me , they will not be accompanying my novice spirit into any exploring . I was flying solo on this one guys and you better believe I didn't waste a single second ! Fly Things To Know Facing the Mediterranean Sea , Barcelona is located on the Northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The earliest settlements was dated to be near or slightly before 5000 BC. Legend has it that Hercules ( yes THE Hercules ) founded Barcelona. Although there isn't actual evidence to support it , another story is that Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca was the original founder; naming the city Barcino after his family. I think I like the Hercules story better . Barcelona is the largest city and capital of Catalonia which is one of the autonomous communities of Spain. The official language is Spanish but many people did speak English or at least enough to help me. The currency is Euro but in most stores and restaurants , major credit/debit cards are accepted which makes purchasing very easy. Be sure to exchange some cash for things like taking the bus or tipping . The city's transportation system is simple and easily accessible. There are buses , the metro train , taxis and Ubers to aid in your transport of preference. I did find that taxis were much cheaper than Uber and conveniently there are taxi stops pretty much everywhere in the city. Compare and see what works best for you! Fly Things To Do Sagrada Familia :Antoni Gaudi , a beloved famous architect, began construction on this famous landmark in 1883 until his death in 1926. 92 years later , Sagrada Familia still is not finished but is projected to be completed in 2026; 100 years after its conception. Although incomplete , visitors are able to tour the interior of this famed cathedral and experience the remarkable views from the top of the towers. My visit was impromtu so I was unable to purchase tickets before they sold out so my suggestion is to buy your tickets as soon as possible ! My obsession with cathedrals is endless so I really appreciated the work that had been done thus far and I imagine , once completed, it will be one of the most beautiful and intricately built cathedrals in our lifetime. La Rambla :This is the street to be in when visiting Barcelona. It is known to be the center of the city and connects a series of shorter streets , each with their own specific flair and history to the city. Placa Catalunya , Gothic Quarter , El Raval Quarter, the Christopher Columbus Monument and the Port Vell all can be reached through La Rambla ! I took a taxi into this area and walked around wandering into the various sections. Placa Catalunya (Catalonia Square) , specifically , was filled with tourist and residents enjoying activities sponsored by the city. There were many attractions for kids like theatrical shows , mini playgrounds, etc. as well as tons of vendors selling everything from clothes , books , fragrances and food. There were a numerous amount of cafes and restaurants surrounding the area and other commercial storefronts for more shopping. El Corte Ingles :Classified as the biggest department store group in Europe, El Corte Ingles is what every department store should encompass. I know you may be thinking why would a department store be a must see but trust me it will worth the visit. There are a few locations but I visited the one near the Catalonia Square and was thoroughly amazed. It sits 9 floors tall with each floor catering to your every desire. There is an actual full supermarket downstairs and as you reach each level , you're welcomed into a world of shopping you probably didn't know you needed. On the 9th floor is a #FlyEats heaven. There is a food court/cafeteria that will satisfy every taste bud that enters , especially after a day of roaming the beautiful Barcelona streets. Stop here for lunch or even dinner and enjoy a table next to the floor to ceiling windows and relish in the birds eye views of the very square you just experienced. I did just that and it was absolutely lovely. Casa Batllo Gaudi : Another one of Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces , Casa Batllo was owned by the prominent Batllo family who were known in the textile industry. Originally the building was not appealing to many but the head of the household , Josep Batllo purchased it because of its central location on the then very prestigious street , Passieg de Gracia , also known as a fashionable area. He contracted Gaudi who redesigned the building , adding the roof structure of a dragon . The interior designs are mind blowing exposing the progressive mind of Gaudi to create such a modern look. The building has been refurbished many times and in 2002 , the house was opened for the public as the Noble Floor was created into a museum. Again, tickets must be purchased . Fly Things To Eat The one thing I was determined to indulge in was Paella! I succeeded beyond measure because I ate the best seafood paella I ever had in my life! Yes , I'm dramatic but ya'll know how I passionate I am about food and finally I enjoyed the type of flavor every other paella I ate prior to Barcelona was lacking. Literally every corner has a cafe or restaurant advertising the numerous types of paella they serve so choose wisely! I devoured mine at the food court I mentioned earlier in El Corte Ingles . The second Barcelona food staple is Tortilla Espanola . This spanish omelette has all my favorite ingredients. Eggs , potatoes and onions. Sounds simple enough , I know , but the flavor is powerful . There are several variations with some adding veggies , cheese or peppers but the original version is just as good. Thankfully one of my crew members purchased a couple before leaving and we all enjoyed a bite or four on our plane ride back. What Makes Barcelona So Fly ? If my day in Barcelona had a soundtrack it would be sounds of a Spanish guitar .Like Carlos Santana himself was walking beside me and each note followed every step I made. Barcelona is of course a historical city , filled with landmarks and architecture from centuries ago which lends to its beauty. It also has romance which appear in the words spoken , the exchange between the people and the views surely taken for granted at times. There's plenty to see ,things to do and fabulous food to eat. I had moments of stillness where I stared in awe at the details of the city , the sun rays shining a spotlight on how truly amazing life is. Traveling into Spain , I didn't know what to expect but now that I have a glimpse of this astounding city ; my passport and I have to make another appearance soon !
- Flying Solo : 4 Fly Tips to Combat Lonely Days While Away
Being a fly attendant definitely has its perks . We get to travel all over the world practically for free , lavish in opulent hotels and meet really interesting people ( good and bad ).Our schedules are flexible and we work in an independent environment . There’s no one to tell you when to take that lunch break over here ! Side note , I worked at target while working at my last airline and although that discount isn’t anything to play with (heyy big head ) ; I absolutely hated being told when to eat and what time to break ! I would think to myself, I decide when I want to break or if I want to lean against my galley to eat standing up while we’re boarding ! Lol Ok ok I’m back . Needless to say the list of perks are extensive. The one thing I wish I was prepared for when I decided to embark on this lifestyle was how lonely this career can be . I promise this won’t be a depressing post , just bare with me . We work in an environment surrounded by people more often than not . Being in that metal tube sometimes upward of 8 hours filled with families, businessmen , grandmothers and unaccompanied children hoping to make their flying experience as spectacular as we can or at the very least just a plain pleasant ride. Our duty days a lot of times involve us finding a corner at said airport and being approached by passengers with questions about their travel plans or divulging private convos about their fights with their mother in laws. To be honest , our uniform is a an instant magnet which attract people to us. We are placed with a crew who if you’re lucky , click and become the new bestie you didn’t think you needed but then there’s crews who , well , suck (for various reasons ) and you rather quickly forget about them. There’s really no shortage of person to person contact in this lifestyle . So how can it feel lonely ? When the duty day is done and we’ve reached our hotels , we check in and receive our room keys , is when it can begin to settle in. At times we’re making plans with one another and other times a simple goodnight is shouted from the elevator as we’ve reached are designated floor . Fortunately we have our own room and then we’re alone . Alone with our thoughts . Alone with the reality of whatever is going on in our private lives . Whether it be a bad break up (check) , an ill family member , financial woes or just plain FOMO . Suddenly you’re in a quiet hotel room far away from anything familiar , alone in your thoughts ,left to comfort yourself . Then you’re scrolling on Insta and it seems like everyone back home are having the time of their lives ! I remember I used to be really salty like ohhhhhh y’all really chose when I left to work to have that impromptu barbecue ! Now here I am replaying the stories just to feel like I was there. Often times , you’re in a different time zone than home and that phone call you needed or wanted to make to your family or best friends is halted by it being 9pm in Cali but midnight in Miami and you don’t want to disturb anyone . So how do you combat loneliness/sadness in such a sociable position ? Now THAT is what this post is about ! Here are 4 fly tips which will ensure your Emo flying days are over . 1.Spread your wings: If you read « 5 Fly Tips I wish I knew Before Becoming a Fly Attendant » , I touched on this topic a bit . Mainly for my introverts or people like me who are too much of a thug to want to make new friends. I mean I have friends at home right ?? Wrong ! It’s important to socialize with the crew especially if they are nice . You never know who you will click with. I’ve met so many people opposite of me who I would have never thought I would have similar interests with and they turn out to be my favorite . So when everyone is planning an outing for dinner or lunch on a layover go against your first flaking thought and head out with them . It really may surprise you how much of a good time you will have . Every crew doesn’t deserve your presence so don’t say I told you to hang with everyone . For the crew who doesn't make the cut , head out on your own ! Visit landmarks , grab some food, get lost in a new city and turn what could have been a lonely moment in your room with takeout and Netflix (depending on the day this would be perfect but you get the point) , into an adventure ! Push yourself into new environments and notice the gems that will appear in those moments. 2.Find A Side Hustle! : It’s really important , in my opinion , to find a life outside of flying. Outside of any career to be real . As exciting as my office being 30, 000 feet in the air is , it can become redundant . I’ve met flight attendants who have worked as little as 2 years to 30 years and they are burned out! Even worse , it shows in their behavior , attitude , lack of professionalism and leaves passengers and coworkers to wonder “why don’t you just quit already ?” . In order to not fall into that rabbit hole , find something else you can be passionate about . For me , this fly blog has provided what I like to call a passion project . I’ve always enjoyed writing and I’ve created a platform which allows me to enjoy my job and my passions. It has forced me out of my comfort zone and requires a level of consistent commitment. There’s no flight attendant handbook that states we all have to be bloggers , vloggers or “influencers” but the point is to think about something you love or always wanted to do and pursue it ! I’ve met flight attendants who double as realtors , teachers , entrepreneurs , stylist , etc. Some have gone back to school to earn their bachelors , masters and even doctorate degree . The list goes on and on . Take advantage of the flexibility which this career affords . Balance is key in this lifestyle . Something as simple as volunteering or spending time with love ones when you’re off can shift your mind into a positive track which will combat the moments of negativity. 3.It’s your layover , you can cry if you want to: I know I just wrote all about putting yourself out there and keeping yourself busy but this fly tip is just as key. Confession time , I really hate crying . Like really hate it . I actually would get angry at myself for crying or letting anyone else see me cry . I felt it was a weak characteristic which I did not want to uphold . I’m the “strong friend”. I will comfort you all day but if you start inching in to hug me, my body gets tense and lord if you make contact ... sheesh . Now that I’m older and have endured some of the hardest days , although still a struggle at times , I’ve realized the importance of releasing that emotion . Any emotion . Cry , yell , scream. Do whatever you need to do so that you are not holding in that turmoil. Holding it in really doesn’t do anything for you except make you sick , stresses you and still does not resolve the issue at hand. Use the solitude of your hotel room as your refuge . This can be your safe place . Cry in the shower with some good ol sad song to aid the tears to flow . Cry laying under the covers as you watch the hallmark/lifetime movie that struck a cord . Get on the phone and cry to who ever answers . Plainly , give yourself the opportunity to not just feel the feeling but to live in it (for a moment ) . Accept it for what it is and understand it is all a part of the process of feeling your best self again . 4.Do you boo ! (Shout out to my fellow Fly Attendant Brandon who reminded me of this crucial tip ) : My final fly tip is to remember about self care . It is probably the most important tip for me because naturally I tend to think of everyone else . I always want to make sure the ones I love are good and more often than not I put me on the back burner . It’s great to be a giver but if you don’t insist to give that same energy to yourself , you can become depleted with nothing left to give . Take time on the layovers to reflect on the peace you want , your goals and the growth you envision in yourself. Write that ish down ! Put yourself first and work on magnifying your greatness from the inside out. My relationship with God is important in my process of self care. Morning prayers lead my day into the right trajectory for me and my spirit. Whether it's prayer for you or meditation , calling on God or the universe, figure out a regimen of positive affirmations, speaking out the truths of your heart and manifesting the life you abundantly intend to live.Allow at least 30 minutes a day to exercise or some form of physical activity , drink your water , mind YOUR business and watch the fruits of your labor come into fruition. Being that we are not robots , inevitably moments of sadness and loneliness will appear. That is OK! Those times are a part of life so naturally they will come. The key is to know what and how you will handle these times when they do appear. Sadness may be evoked but it does not need to stay. Let sis visit and send her on her way.(I'm out here rhyming now ! HA !) Any lifestyle that shifts what most would call a "normal life" is a major adjustment. As a fly attendant or any position which removes you from your family , friends and all that is familiar to you can indeed be difficult. Here's a bonus tip though , you can create that "home feeling " everywhere you go. This is your new normal so take advantage of those many perks I've written about. This is the only job where you can spend breakfast in London and dinner in France! Of course experiencing these instances with familiar faces would be extraordinary but if you're constantly waiting for the perfect moment to live the life you've always wanted , you may be waiting for eternity. Do it now!You may be lonely but you're sure not alone.You may meet a stranger who inspires you, a new best friend or the loving partner you've always wanted to have and more importantly ; you will find yourself. Ultimately, that is the most important relationship of them all.
- oNoir : It's Better In The Dark
You are cordially invited to a unique dining experience in the DARK. In the age of if you didn’t capture a picture of it , it didn’t exist , this salle à manger offers the type of dining experience worth writing about . Close your eyes and rely on the senses to journey into a fly eats moment worth imagining . I was introduced to O.Noire by one of my besties. Located in Montreal , she was visiting her native city and shared with me her experience of a restaurant in pitch black! Immediately I was intrigued but banked the convo in the back of my mind. When I told her I was finally going to visit Montreal, she promptly reminded me of the dining experience she had enjoyed. Excited , I quickly made reservations for two even though I had no idea if I would even have company. Thankfully my wanderlust sister was able to join me so we could dive into this bizarre place together . Fly Things To Know 1 . O Noire first opened in Montreal in 2006. The servers are all visually impaired and the restaurant provides a working environment which highlights their skills instead of focusing on any limits. I absolutely loved that because naturally when around anyone with any form of disability we tend to project on them our own thoughts of what their limitations are or what they are capable of without considering their gifts first. I know I’m guilty of that at times! Although you will dine in the dark , the chef does not cook in the dark (you know you were wondering ). 2. As interesting as it would be, the entire restaurant isn’t in the dark . When entering there is an intimately lit area that could very well resemble a quaint cafe with a full bar and tables, if you choose to not embark on the dining adventure . But come on ,if you’re going to show up you might as well go all out . Here is where you will place your food and drink order prior to entering the dark room as well as place your phone or any device that may illuminate in a private locker. 3. You can indulge in a surprise menu ! To make your experience even more memorable you can opt to have your appetizer , entree, dessert and even your cocktail a surprise . The nice thing about it is that you are not limited to a préfixe menu and you can make the chef aware of any dietary restrictions, allergies or preference beforehand. For my Top Chef fans , it feels like you’re Padma challenging the chef to a sudden death challenge of creating an impromtu dish. I personally ordered a surprise cocktail , appetizer and dessert . I chose my entree from the menu . Pricing is fairly reasonable and they offer an option of a two course meal for $36 and a 3 course meal for $42. 4. The old saying rings true here . Do not ever judge a book by its cover . Our wonderful waitress escorted my cousin and I towards the dining area with perfect precision. Prior to entering she explained we would walk in a line holding on to each other shoulders and she would do the rest . Of course it was nerve wrecking initially . It felt in all accounts like stepping into the unknown but at the same time I felt exhilarated . She spoke directions and made us aware of the door that would be to the right or the chair will be at your left . Once were seated the directions became more detailed like explaining where our utensils are and even the butter and bread placed in the center of the table . She delivered each course and drink without any issues. It was beyond impressive . 5. Walking into the dark room , I realized the room is not only pitch black but it’s sound proof. The waiting area doesn’t give away an inkling that there’s a room filled with loud patrons at all . For a minute I thought maybe it would be a max of two or three tables but from the sound, it was definitely a full house. I think for many, darkness is synonymous with silence or at the very least quietness but O.Noire did not lack in the sound department. I've realized the amplified sounds may not have normally bothered me but being unable to see, I was more keen to every vibration. Fly Eats I am the queen of taking pictures of my food. More often than not , I ignite my taste buds by satisfying the visual satisfaction for me to enjoy my entire experience . I appreciate a well plated meal and I do believe the sight of luscious ingredients combined with care and thought sets the tone before the first bite. All of that to say , I don’t know what was more challenging ,actually not seeing it or being unable to take the picture ! As I stated previously I chose some surprise options and oddly enough , I never asked at the end exactly what I was eating . So here’s as close of a description of each as I can provide. Surprise Cocktail - I asked for something on the sweet/sour side and thankfully I received a yummy drink of flavors which burst of grapefruit , tequila , lime , sugar and I'm going to guess a splash of juice....fruit ...maybe. Surprise Appetizer - I informed the chef that I am pescatarian so i figured most of my meals would have some sort of seafood. The app was what tasted like a seared tuna on top of an arugula salad with crunchy plantain strips on the side . The vinaigrette was light and a bit of citrus but I couldn’t put a finger on exactly all the underlying flavors . The tuna was cooked well and I carefully mixed the salad ingredients which provided a truly divine bite . Entree- I opted in not having a surprise entree because well I was hungry and I figured if all the surprises were trash at least I knew my entree would be as close to good as possible . So I ordered shrimp with pineapple fried rice and it was amazing. Dessert - so this part was a little tricky. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what I was eating. I know for sure it was some sort of spongy cake . It wasn’t as soft as cake for tres lèche but it also wasn’t tough. That was the bottom layer. The second layer tasted of a lemon/lime custard, almost like a key lime pie and last on top fresh berries.My guess would have been raspberries. It wasn't bad but it wasn’t great and I think not being able to see what it was played a major role . I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out and truthfully it could still be all wrong . Why is O Noire So Fly ? My cousin brought up mid dinner , “do you feel like eating in the dark makes you more sensitive ?”. Granted we were having a pretty deep conversation but I have to say the darkness allowed for vulnerability to have a seat at our table as well . Our eyes were closed because we realized it was easier to maneuver that way and it felt like a wave of emotions as we dined . The amount of intimacy I felt sitting in this dark room was abundant. Not in a sexual tone but more of a certain connection with everything and everyone. We use our sight to read people , to judge people , places and things. We make assumptions of an environment based on the visual attributes which can very well be fine but O Noire provided something else. Almost like a provocative social experiment on how we can handle removing something as natural as sight , for most , and seeing how we can enjoy a moment without it. The restaurant becomes more than just a dining experience . It is THE dining experience to embark on at least once. Take a minute to close your eyes and really enjoy the company surrounding you .Take a moment to really relish in each bite instead of scrolling on Instagram in between each rushed morsel. Savor and indulge in using the senses of sound and taste to make you aware of each crunch of a freshly crisp salad or the smoothness from a creme in your dessert. O Noire assists in the realization that the involvement in a place like this is less about actual visualization and more the visuals your mind can create through the sense of taste and the reality of how limiting this sense can provide as delightful of an experience as you would have with it. Bottom line is I really enjoyed this #flyeats moment and I would not only go again but I would encourage you to go too! Take on this feasting escapade and tell them Carmey sent you!
- Montreal: Adventure Awaits!
I always joke when most Haitians leave Haiti , they usually migrate to Miami , New York , Boston and/or Canada . More specifically , Montreal. I've always wanted to visit and of course when I became a Fly Attendant it quickly moved up on my tangible fly list. To be honest , my knowledge of Montreal was pretty limited. I've always been told how beautiful it is , how cold it can get and how amazing summers usually are. That’s as far as my knowledge spanned . Now that I have gained a taste of this beautiful city , I’m ready to share my experience and some tips along the way . What Makes Montreal So Fly? Originally named Ville Marie, Montreal has an essence of natural beauty. Each building seem to carry a story of purpose , precise execution and an appeal which makes any wanderer wonder the history behind the sight. I presume not every building tells a story but I think that was the beauty while exploring for me. Wondering if there was a story or just making up my own fairy tale on the steps of each monument visited. The city is designed in a way that reminds some of Europe in many ways. Some even go as far as saying Montreal is the Paris of Canada. Although I haven't explored Paris yet , I'm not really a fan of comparing cities in such a way where it would suggest Montreal is nothing more than a basic replica of another adored city. Montreal carries its own spirit , has its own personality and breathes a different life into it's tale. I'm a Miami girl so I am familiar with heat , humidity and when the temperature drops anywhere at or below 60 degrees, pea coats and boots. Don't judge us Florida people and definitely don't judge the fact that I was born in New Jersey. Being born in the dead of winter doesn't alter how you handle the cold! That being said , I am not a fan of the cold weather and although I've made plans to visit Montreal during the warmer months , the scheduling powers that be saw it fit to send me when it hit 27 degrees and snowfall. As long as you have a good coat , decent boots and gloves, you'll be ready to wander Montreal in the winter..... well at least in December. Fly Things To Know: 1. Montreal is on an island ! I definitely was today years old when I found that out. Don't judge my ignorance . Judge Miami-Dade educational system ! It sets on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and named after Mount Real which is the triple peak hill in the center of the enchanted city. 2. The people are incredibly kind and friendly. At one point of the day my cousin and I read lost in our expressions and a nice woman quickly came to us , insisting she assist us in finding our way. Not like in a creepy way either. Well it was a little creepy because she walked up on me real smooth and close and the Criminal Minds brain of mine had a second of concern. That instantly faded because she sincerely meant no harm and her maternal concern for our safety was genuine. She even walked us toward the right direction.I know when traveling to a new place , the old age question of "How is it" also includes the underlying "are people nice" in particular to traveling while black. I can sincerely say it was so pleasant having people smile as you made eye contact or genuinely greet you when entering an establishment and even more important as a tourist to have folks willing to guide you. 3. Bonjour! Yes if your French is rusty maybe this is the only word you know. Don't break out your google translate just yet. Of course French is a primary language but many of the natives also speak fluent English. Yes, I'm Haitian . No , not every Haitian speaks French and NO , Haitian Creole is not the same. I personally studied French as a student for years and although my comprehension is pretty good , I lack the confidence to not fear sounding like a five year old singing Frere Jacques. Translation : I'm just as rusty as y'all. That being said , I do believe in at least attempting to conform to the culture. Learn a few basic words such as please , thank you , hello and good bye. It doesn't hurt ! … well maybe their ears but you get the point. Fly Things To Do : Montreal has 50 historic sites! There is no way you can fall short on scenes to visit; keeping you busy on your excursion. Research before you arrive what's near the area you're staying and map out a transportation plan that include walking , Uber or the accessible Metro! Below are a few places I would suggest : 1. #FlyEats ! Have breakfast! There's such great food in Montreal . I would definitely categorize it as a foodie town especially for your morning indulgence. My cousin , who lives in Canada, made the great suggestion of dining at Allo Mon Coco on Saint Catherine Street . There are various locations but this is a chain you don't want to skip out on. Their menu has a plethora of options so there's no way you can't find something you like. Their portions are out of this world and the taste will satisfy your sweet and savory needs . Tim Hortons and Second Cup are also great for light bites , pastries , coffee and my go to in the Winter , hot chocolate . Try some poutine while visiting and buy a bag of ketchup flavored chips ( literally my favorite chips ! Thank me later ) . 2.Visit the Notre Dame Basilica ! I have a personal obsession and appreciation of the architect of cathedrals around the world. Perhaps it is my Catholic upbringing but I tend to feel connected to churches and when I witness one built with such meticulous details , its beauty captivates me. Being the first cathedral in the diocese of Montreal , it is one the great pieces of history in the city. You're free to take pictures outside of the church but unless you're attending mass there is a fee of CAD $6.00 to enter. We learned the hard way that they only except cash so make sure you do ! 3. Downtown Montreal is also a great place to enjoy your stay. Like many other downtown areas , it is indeed busy. Tall cooperate buildings fill the city along with cafes and restaurants every few feet. Although the design is modern , the cobblestone and brick pavements provided a nostalgia I didn't know I had. Unlike some metropolitan areas , I didn't feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the moments of congestion surrounding me. My personal space is needed and it was respected. 4.Old Port Montreal is a gorgeous area along the Saint Lawrence River. I imagine in the Summer it is probably crazy busy because there are many mini attractions. There is an IMAX theatre , Montreal Science Center, Montreal Clock Tower and my favorite in any city , the Old Montreal Ferris Wheel. Various festivals are held here as well. Perfect for a leisurely stroll along the river or you can be amused by any of the things listed above. 5. Place Des Arts: Satisfy your love or for the gram flex here. It's the largest cultural and artistic complex in Canada . The Musee D'art Contemporain is also located here and near is the Village filled of outdoor pieces. 6.Places Jacques Cartier is another square near Old Port and actually not too far from Notre Dame. There was construction being done when we were there but it didn't impede on the various shops and restaurants open for business. If you're looking for more unique items to bring back home , you won't be disappointed here. 7. Some other areas to put on your list to visit are Mount Royal Park , Old Montreal , Rue St Paul , Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Jean Talon Market. My "Playover" lasted for one day but as cliché as it seems , my memories will last much longer. If possible, I would suggest at least a couple days to really enjoy the different attributes of the city. I honestly didn't want to leave. I found comfort in the scenes and warmth even among the cold. My smile couldn't be any brighter because I was with people I love and doing what I love, exploring . Journeying through different countries and cities often give me clarity and the opportunity to reflect even amid the chaos and excitement in which travel naturally includes. I will return dear Montreal . A Bientot !
- 5 Fly Tips I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Fly Attendant
I've been receiving an abundant amount of messages about becoming a flight attendant or as I like to call it a Fly Attendant. It's pretty amazing how many of you are interested in this lifestyle and career. I've met a few flight attendants who have always known they wanted to join the aviation world or that they would become a flight attendant one day. I , on the other hand , just fell into into it ! I was encouraged to apply with one of my best friends after a discussion with my cousin who flies for a mainline carrier. The process moved pretty swiftly and before I knew it I was off into a whole new world. Two years later , I'm flying for another airline and am able to give my insight to those who are interested in working at 30, 000 feet in the air. This lifestyle comes with a lot of perks but there are so many things which are not advertised by the company , or FA's alike. Here are five gems I wish I was blessed with before joining the flying club: 1. Le Struggle Is Real ! OK , this first fly tip is probably the most important in my eyes. Lets get into facts. Although this scale can be adjusted depending on the airline, a new hire flight attendant working for an airline carrier can make as low as $16,000 a year ! Now lets break this down. Yes that salary is pretty much EBT status if you want it to be but that is also on the low end and based on a few variables. One is if you are working for a mainline or regional carrier. A regional carrier such as Mesa , PSA , and SkyWest are basically contracted by the mainline carriers such as American , Delta and United to operate their smaller aircraft (usually 50-70 seats) on their shorter routes and to cities that cannot service a larger aircraft. The destinations for the regional airlines may not be as appealing especially depending on the routes your base service but it is all a matter of preference and what you're looking for out of flying. Mainline will start at an average of $20,000 year. Regional and mainline will have different starting salaries so when doing your research keep those things in mind. Broke Forever ?! Nope! Now I'm not gonna have ya'll out here thinking I'm scraping pennies because the way a fly attendant is paid is like no other job! Of course from what you read above , you're probably kissing your cubicle but let me make some things clear. That yearly salary is a base pay meaning not factoring in the additional forms of wages that fall into our bank account. Now , hourly your favorite stewardess can make $25-$30 an hour with a mainline carrier. Mathematicians reading this are like wait wait ? Carmey , you just said ya'll out here making $20,000 a year . How is that possible making $25 an hour? Well here it is. Per the FAA for much longer than me or my mother has been alive, we only get paid once our block begins aka when the boarding door closes. That's right ladies and gentlemen , we don't get paid for the hour ahead we have to be at the plane , or helping with boarding , bags and closing bins , or when we're on the plane singing kumbaya together during a delay. Our clock starts when that door closes and stops when it reopens. We also get paid per diem during layovers which equates to getting paid to indulge in #flyviews & #flyeats. In the long run , senior flight attendants (20 plus years ) are making 6 figures and easily $60+ an hour. Don't cry for me or my wallet because even after a year you can live comfortably as long as you learn the value of budgeting and a little patience. You're in control of what you make . I fly an average of 90-100 hours a month while others fly the minimum of 40-70 hours. It all depends on your financial needs and your want to raise that yearly salary. 2. There's Some Lonely Days ... and Nights I often felt my first few months flying very lonely. I thought , why didn't anyone tell me ? Why wasn't I warned ?! Although as a flight attendant you are surrounded by people constantly , engaging with folks hours at a time , the atmosphere can feel different once you're in the hotel room. At first it's exciting lounging in a beautiful hotel , enjoying their amenities but personally, missing family and friends became at times overwhelming emotionally. Like a nurse or anyone in a medical field or some sort of emergency aid, we are working holidays, birthdays and weekends especially as a junior flight attendant. Facetiming my mom , siblings and friends as they are enjoying a night out together or scrolling through the gram liking photos of dinners and parties I'm unable to attend made me emotional in the beginning. I swear I'm a G lol and really I never even thought I would miss little things like going on morning walks with my mom or just hanging out at my cousins house or even being a couch potato in my living room. It is a sacrifice that is important to mention primarily because many are not used to being away for so long especially on those special days. The Fly Tip I have to cure this home sickness of sorts is really to use the time to gain your independence ! Some trips you click with your crew members and they are down to explore , have dinner or become your much needed workout partner and other trips they are slamming and clicking that hotel door so fast you won't even have a chance to say good night. Either way its cool but I've found an excitement in forcing myself out into the city. Try a new restaurant , go watch a local play or do some #flygiving and volunteer . The options are endless and a way better alternative to sulking in your room watching everyone else live their lives. This job provides an opportunity to experience things that many spend months (years) planning for, so take advantage ! 3. The Glamorous Life Flight Attendants are personified as jet setting , beautiful air hostess , pouring cokes and taking dates in every city they reach. It is indeed true that we have a life that many moments can be viewed as envious but there's also two sides to every coin. I take pride in looking great in my uniform , stomping through the concourse with my heels on on the way to my next adventure. Some of the not so glamorous moments are 5+ hour delays , sleeping on a twin bunk bed in a crash pad filled with 10 other flight attendants , crashing at the airport just to make it to my commuting flight home and changing in bathroom stalls. I've experienced all of that and then some . We don't get designated lunch breaks and many times we may have days where we don't eat at all besides those biscoff cookies you all love . Some work days run 12 hours long and in some instances we're only getting paid for half of that. Like anything in life , there are a plethora of cons within this career and yet with all of those things , I love it . A positive mentality , a great crew and the comfort of knowing the next day can completely be different from the last are all aspects that keep me going . Fly Tip number 5 will add to that motivation as well. 4. Jumpseat Confessionals Flight Attendant : Hi , I'm Sue . I'll be working in the back with you . Me: Hey , nice to meet you. Flight Attendant : So let me tell you how my deadbeat husband cheated on me last month and my kids keep failing at school. I'm actually thinking about cheating too. What do you think ? By the way , where are you from ? [End Scene ] Chileeeeeee! I was not prepared for people I've never met in my life giving me all their business and then some. I wasn't ready ...hell , I'm still not ready sometimes. Some fly girls and guys are like a vault . They barely want to say hello . (I always have a good book stashed away for them ) Meanwhile there are some who put their bags up and immediately break their whole life down to you . I didn't realize and maybe it was naive of me but the magnitude of being in this metal tube for several hours with another person.There is something about sitting on that jumpseat that allows a certain vulnerability from everyone. Within myself , I noticed and surprised to even watch me open up to people whom I've never had an interaction with. I've prayed with coworkers in between slangin diet cokes , hugged and comforted complete strangers and offered advice to women and men twice my age. There is a connection that happens between flight attendants which is magical , for a lack of a better word. In training , they often tell you , you may very well meet your best friend , god mother to your children , maid of honor or even a lifelong partner doing this job. At first, being a private person , it raises apprehension and a sort of fear to allow someone in to your life to possibly never see them again in your career. That's the uniqueness of this job . I've met people who served a purpose for me and I for them for the time on the plane who I haven't seen or talked to again besides on social media. There is also those who I've connected with and have built a lifelong friendship and bond too. So get ready for the unexpected and a beautiful surprise. 5. Fly Perks This is the fly tip I know ya'll been waiting on . This is also the reason EVERY fly attendant does this job. THE FLIGHT BENEFITS! I knew I would have the perks of leisure flying but I had no idea to this extent. We are not guaranteed seats as a flight attendant besides work trips so that entails us listed as stand by. When you are flying stand by , you are flying at the mercy of the hope and prayer there will be an additional open seat on that designated flight for you to have. Some days are easier than others but that is where patience appears again and flexibility. We fly for free to any domestic destination in the United States and pay simply the taxes for any international destination. It is such a blessing to enjoy such a perk , not only for myself but for my friends and family. I'm able to offer a life experience for them to have with me and for themselves and it is probably the greatest gift that I could ever be blessed to offer. Be ready to expand your wanderlust mind into a world of adventures , breathtaking moments and a purpose that is beyond the moments in the sky. Live Abundantly .
- Alaska Is Calling & I Must Go : Anchorage In One Day
It's been a hot minute since I've written about a trip or anything for that matter. A bit of writers block added with a 6 week stint in flight attendant training at a new airline , had me all the way preoccupied and to be quite honest mentally drained. Pinned beneath the boulder of my own thoughts and game plan for the remaining year , I stalled myself from consistently sharing my excursions. Then on one of these HOT Miami summer days , I began to reminisce on a cold winter day in February when I ventured to Alaska. Never in my wildest Haitian girl dreams would I have imagined I would be exploring Alaska. Call me ignorant but I naively envisioned Alaska , as a child, a place solely of ice, snow , darkness and truthfully somewhere that wouldn’t appeal to my travel taste . Those factors play a part as factual descriptions but they also carry much of the appeal as to why so many fall in love with Alaska . Much like how I feel going to states such as Hawaii, Alaska makes you feel as though you are in a different country all together and I’m here for it . Even better to note , is that in one day you can be exposed to some of the best things Alaska has to offer . One Day Itinerary Carmey, Are You Ridin? To Drake and regular civilians alike, you have to be riding in something in this state. Renting a car is necessary if you plan on exploring the various cities in Alaska. I literally only had one day so after landing at 9 am in Anchorage, the first step was to rent a car and get the day started. In winter months it is important to add the insurance option to the rental agreement if you normally don't do so. It may seem trivial , especially if you're a self proclaimed amazing driver but the roads in the winter is nothing to play with. A place like Alaska gets icy and God forbid something were to happen , you will be covered. Another thing to think about would be choosing a car that can withstand the unruly roads when you start reaching mountain territories. If you don't take anything else from this piece just remember to drive safely. I mean you don't want your experience to end before it barely begins. Fly Eats What would a trip be without some foodie experiences? Searching on Yelp at times gives me anxiety to choose the right restaurant to try and my trust issues with user reviews (good or bad) makes it even more difficult to decide.Being friendly on vacation is the best thing you can do when faced with these dilemmas because you usually find people who are more than willing to steer you in the right direction. The representative at the car rental counter, provided the recommendation of the best breakfast spot in Anchorage and I would have to agree. This ladies and gentlemen is a fully loaded crab omlette with a melted cheese sauce on top and a side of crispy homefries. Gwennies Old Alaska Restaurant is where this dish is served daily morning , noon and night as their breakfast is served all day. Full literally all day thanks to their enormous portions and your travel budget gains a win with their affordable prices. Its a restaurant which politely whispers welcome as you walk into the comforting lodge style restaurant and screams you're welcome when you can barely walk out the door from the abundance of food consumed. Bring some leftovers along your ride to the next adventure and you won't regret the decision. Experiencing a breakfast of a champion was the best prelude to the next activity to come. Fly Views So you got the car , your appetite has been satisfied and now you're ready to explore! There are numerous hikes throughout Alaska. How did I decide you ask ? Being friendly on the plane allowed me to become acquainted with some Alaskan natives who advised me with the given time and location, which hikes would be the most convenient and most fun to complete. Bodenburg Butte Trail is located in Palmer , 42 miles northeast of Anchorage. Its about a 45 minute drive filled with glorious views of the distant mountains. Of course in the winter the trees on either side of the road are covered with snow so if you decide to head there in the summer, prepare for lush views of endless trees. The moderate trail can be accessed from two separate ends ; both leading to a breathtaking view. Should you wear good hiking boots ? Yep ! Did I? Nope! I can't lie I just didn't think too far into gear to do any hike nonetheless in the winter but I mean ... I made it to the top.... I slipped twice ...but I made it! Let me be your guinea pig though and heed my advice to wear appropriate shoe wear and gear to make the experience a little less dangerous . Three miles round trip of mix elevation , a good amount of stairs and some intense edges will allow you to witness a view worth a million miles. I take a lot of pride in completing hikes/trails such as this because they are not always easy and the challenge makes the end result that much sweeter. Next stop was a lot less vigorous. In fact I would classify Thunderbird Falls as simplistic and serene. The family friendly trail is only 30 minutes away from Anchorage and one mile to the view of point of the beautiful 200 feet falls. It's amazing to witness mother nature turn the waterfall into the bluest pillars of ice. Even more astonishing was the sound of the falls flowing into the river. Barely visible , the descend of the team of drops fiercely diving into the river is subtle yet powerful. I'm sure to witness this in the summer is just as magnificent. End off the day with a great dining experience at one of the many restaurants in downtown Anchorage. There’s also plenty of local tourist shops and stores that are unique to Alaska. Visiting any place in one day can feel overwhelming for some but it can also be the adventure of a life time. Taking the time to enjoy the moments while not allowing one wasted second is a skill needed in travel. A balance I'm still intending to achieve. In the meantime , in these hot summer days , I'll recall the coolest day I spent in Alaska.
- Nadi Days & Nadi Nights
" Go confidently into your dreams and live the life you've imagined" I've always dreamt of the places I would want to experience and enjoy throughout my lifetime. Fear is something that can hold you captive in many ways but mentally , its power holds more weight than any physical resistance. I decided to live more by faith , not fear , when I left my very stable (well paying) job and took a leap high into the skies above 30,000 feet. It was the bravest thing I had ever done solely for me and I'm reminded of that leap each time I enter a new city or country ! The feeling of entering a whole new world ( cue my girl Jasmine ) and demolishing the fear/doubt vying for an appearance during my incredible ride reinforces my strength with each stamp. My newest proud stamp was given by the Republic of Fiji. The islands scattered in the South Pacific Ocean are synonymous with paradise. I was fortunate to be introduced to Fiji , first by my friend Ana aka Fijian Princess , my friend William aka Fijian Queen and more historic information while visiting Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center. It didn't take long to confirm Fiji needed Carmey's presence! Here's what you should know. The Basics : Fiji is compiled of hundreds of small islands , 110 of them actually inhabited in yet the two major islands (87 % of the population ) are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Languages spoken in Fiji are Fijian , Fiji Hindi and English but don't just be THAT American traveler , staying in your comfort zone, dive into the culture and at least learn a few words in Fijian. Lesson number one and two , hello is Bula and thank you is Vinaka! Choosing where to go can be tricky but you really cannot go wrong with any of the islets. Think about what you're looking to do and the experience that you envision while researching the islands. I stayed in the main island of Viti Levu because I only stayed in Fiji for three days and didn't have the time to venture to the surrounding islands but many do just that! There are boats and flights available to the various islands just remember when booking these transports , island time may not always mean right on time but you'll get there ! As far as transportation , there are plenty of buses , taxis and private companies who can act as your chariot. What's the cost ?? A direct flight into Nadi (NAN) can run you well into $2000 roundtrip BUT if you're proactive with flight alerts it doesn't have to be! Sites such as Google Flights , Secret Flying and even Kayak can get you the deal you've been dreaming of. Even discount sites such as Groupon has great packages that will have you treading Fiji waters with hotel , airfare and activities included ! I lead by example and am not ashamed to say I have purchased a couple Groupon vacays to travel to Bahamas and even Dubai. The point is to do your research and be motivated to create the trip of your dreams while making it make sense for your bank accounts. Where should you stay ?? Normally I am an Airbnb Queen but decided on the resort option for this trip. As I stated above I was in Fiji for 3 days so venturing out to another island and stay in a luxurious rented home ( plenty available ) , didn't make sense. Instead I stayed at the Radisson Blu Resort . The resort is only a 30-40 minute ride from the airport, located among many other popular resorts such as the Sheraton and Westin. Radisson was ideal mainly because it is only about a 10 min drive to the Port Marina of Denarau and like most resorts , offered several in house activities, delicious restaurants on site for your convenience , and the security of staying in an establishment catered to a deluxe stay. For 8 FJD per day , you'll have a hotel pick up and drop off on the Bula Bus which takes you around to each of the surrounding resorts as well as the Port Marina of Denarau. It worked perfectly for what I wanted which is so important . Find what works for you! Truthfully , the people of Fiji are so gracious and helpful so anywhere you decide to lay your head for those island nights , there are numerous amount of people willing to help you along the way. Fly Eats Per usual , food was on my mind immediately ! I was ready to try Fijian flavors and dishes ; thankfully Fiji did not disappoint. I cheated myself out of the complete culture exposure by indulging in the breakfast buffet each morning in the resort. Complete with omelette stations , pastries , local fruit and delicacies , let's be very clear a diet was no where near the menu. The talented staff serenaded us each morning while we dined and started the day with a perfect vibe. The food throughout the day was all courtesy of the locals. We headed to the marina's restaurants and gratified in fresh seafood and desserts such as cream buns. Fly Views Beyond the water sports readily available , here are few sites that you should include in your visit to Nadi. - The Garden of the Sleeping Giant - Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple - Cloud 9 - Port Denarau -Sabeto Hot Springs/Mud Baths - Namaka Markets/ Nadi Municipal Market -Visit some of the villages and some resorts even offer transportation to volunteer at the local schools What Makes Fiji So Fly ? I don't know if it was because I landed on Valentine's Day , I was there with my love or simply the island breeze but setting one foot on Fiji's soil, I could honestly say I felt at home. Not just safe but welcomed by each person from the airport , the resort and most importantly on the streets of Nadi. There's so much pride Fijians carry enveloped by their culture , their land and their traditions and so openly willing to invite you in their circle of family. The smiles are genuine , the food decadent and the culture mesmerizing. I left Fiji craving more , again allowing the pieces of fear to wash away on the ocean shores , only taking with me the confidence this land gifted me to continue to live the life I've imagined . Vinaka :)
- To Israel ,With Love
There are places we travel to and once we've left , we say "this is mine" . The type of vacation that didn't just offer great food , or fun in the sun. It's the destination that has your name written in the clouds and engraved in the ground. The location where even if you never returned , a piece of your heart will be left there while simultaneously carried in your spirit daily. This place , changes you, revives you and awakens a part within yourself that may have been dormant or perhaps never even existed. Is it possible , though, to have this connection with somewhere you have not stepped a foot in? That question marked in my mind as I planned my trip to Israel. If I had a dollar for every time my decision was questioned , my bank account would overflow. I often answered , why not ? The more detailed answer was because of her. My Tati Laura was my favorite aunt whose untimely death I discussed in my Tomorrow's Rainbow post and the sole reason Israel needed to be experienced. Not too long before her death she embarked on a mission trip with her church to Israel. I was 10 years old at the time and I vividly remember her returning with a certain aura that was so hard to describe yet impossible not to see. A devout Catholic , she beamed about every detail of the trip and how she felt transformed and excited to return some day. She fell in love with Israel and as she shared her memories with me , I became just as enamored. Locking away what I imagined it would be like in the back of my mind, my 30th birthday became an ideal time to make my dreams real. I will start with a recommendation to stay in this lovely country for about 4-5 days for the exposure of the different cities as well as allowing the options to travel to the surrounding countries , if interested. As a flight attendant , I pride myself in only needing minimum amount of time to explore but some places require and are worth time to luxuriate in. Israel embodies a cultural overload which causes you to yearn for more so do not deprive yourself if its not needed. My boyfriend and I decided on 3 days/ 2 nights so as you could imagine , our daily itinerary was lengthy in order to allow as much as we could. Here's what you should know : 1. A valid passport is required for entry and make sure you verify the date of expiration. If it is within 2 months ( sometimes 3 ) , you run the risk of not being able to go! 2. A visa isn't required ( for US citizens) to enter Israel but if you plan on visiting the bordering countries , it is important to research their rules and regulations so you won't be disappointed. 3. I can't believe I'm writing this tip because it always seemed to be an exaggeration in my eyes BUT allow at least 3 hours prior to departure for security purposes. I'm not talking body scans or patting your weave down for explosives . Depending on the airline , some require a pre screening process upon check in. Although I travel often and been to a few international destinations , I've never experienced such a lengthy process . Give yourself time and perhaps a few meditating breaths. Nine blissful hours of travel time from New York will have you landed in Tel Aviv Ben Guiron Airport. My excitement could barely be contained as we deplaned. Whenever I arrive somewhere new , I almost have to pinch myself just to verify the reality of the moment. Am I really here ? I am , not only that , I have arrived! Transportation: Israel is pretty easy to get around in. There are buses , trains and taxis which run regularly to aid your journey. Leaving the airport we took a taxi into Tel Aviv which was priced at about 105 Shekel which is equivalent to $30 . Not a bad price but when you learn that the train could have taken you in half the time and half the price on your last day like we did ; you might feel some type of way. The train runs a minimum every 15- 30 minutes depending on the station and if you download the MoveIt app , it will provide a guide of the stations and times.So do your research and figure out which form of transportation will work best for what you want to do and where you are trying to go. Lodging : Of course amongst an array of hotels, there is the option to book your stay in an Airbnb like we did. We stayed in a quaint one bedroom apartment . Located in Tel Aviv, our place was only ten minutes away from the beach ( walking ) and approximately 15- 20 minutes from downtown , also a stroll away. There were ample restaurants and bars nearby with several bus stops scattered relatively close to each other. If walking is not your style , the taxis are readily available at your disposal. It is important to find a location which provides access to all your necessities and the amenities that appeal to you while traveling. Itinerary: Visiting Israel for such a short amount of time meant we couldn't leave our primary tourist attractions to chance so we booked guided tours through Viator in order to experience as much as we could. Day one was an 8 hour day tour to Nazareth , Tiberias , the Jordan River and the Sea Of Galilee. The tour was booked with ease while the company contacted us seamlessly via email to confirm our pick up/drop off location ( at or nearest to where you're staying). This day was as anticipated. Growing up a good catholic girl lol , I studied the stories of the bible and to actually view where Jesus was baptized by John or stand of the shores where Jesus ministries occurred was indescribable. Day Two consisted of about 10 hours of our day exploring Jerusalem, the Western Wall and floating into the Dead Sea. Our guide Yoav Malachi, was a charismatic man who doubled as our driver as well. He managed to tag our group with individual nicknames based on where we were from and it provided an open to plenty of conversations and excitement to begin the day. More than just knowledgeable of the mystical locations , Yoav allowed us to savor the ambiance that is the Holy Land.Jerusalem is more than just a religious melting pot. It calls you by your first name and whispers in your ear the secrets of the past and the prayers for the future. The Western (Wailing) Wall is a landmark significant to Jewish ,Muslim and Christian people for different reasons yet prayer seemed to be the connection that transcended any specific religion. The Dead Sea's name does not disappoint. The amount of salinity in the body of water doesn't allow not even an ounce of any plant or animal to survive and even more remarkable is the ability that everyone has to float . Non swimmers like me unite ! You will be able to flex your Olympic moves and perform the back stroke you've always dreamed. Word to the wise though , be cautious of touching your eyes after dipping in because the amount of salt will be unbearable. The mud on the bottom of the deepest hypersaline lake can catch you off guard as you walk in but just walk slowly into the water and be sure to rub a little on yourself for the mud bath of your dreams. It may seem cliché but Israel was more than " just a trip" and to be completely transparent , no amount of words placed strategically together could depict a place that is etched in your heart solely from your dreams. My aunt placed this idea on my mind yet nothing could prepare me for an experience that not only brought me closer to her , nourished my relationship to the most high , while connecting to myself. Israel isn't a war zone , a place solely of routine , ceremony or rules. It is a land which raises awareness of yourself as you are in constant search for the link between others. It is a nation lead by its heart and cultivated by its passion. You have my heart Israel . Paint my name in your skies , allow my footprints to remain . I will walk this path again , allowing you to lead the way.
- ISSA IGLOO
Have you ever come across a picture of a destination where instantaneously you can envision yourself in? Whether its hiking on a mountain , underneath a waterfall, sinking your toes into the sand attached to the bluest ocean, surrounded by snowflakes or an open field of vast greenery , there are places that exude a certain amount of magic which lures your imagination into making it your reality. Before becoming a flight attendant , I've always had the interest in travel and experiencing the world but this career has allowed me to witness just how much world there's really out there to see. I must admit , especially being from Miami, there were times where I unknowingly boxed myself into a travel limit of the surrounding Caribbean islands like Haiti, Bahamas , Jamaica , Puerto Rico , etc. While being on the beach is relaxing and exhibits an obvious appeal , I began to expand my horizons to other countries that to some would not be on their bucket list but carried enough magic visually to be added to mine. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort entered my wanderlust radar when searching for great places to view the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights , also known as aurora borealis , aurora australis , southern or polar lights are "collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere; displaying patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs , rippling curtains or shooting rays that light the sky of green and at times pink hues." For all my scientific enthusiasts , you can read more details here. The lights can be viewed in some parts of Canada , Alaska , Greenland , Iceland , Norway and Finland between September and April. While on my Pinterest quest (because it's more like my travel agent), I came across a sequence of pictures of glass igloos and the most breathtaking view above of the Northern Lights. My first thought was , this ain't real ! I immediately needed to figure out A. where the hell is this? and B. how do I get there ? Redirected to their actual website , I began to read about their winter wonderland oasis and quickly started to picture myself building my first snowman while stuntin' in an igloo. Break into the piggy bank now because this trip is not for the faint of coins ! The resort offers a few lodging options but all with a pretty price tag attached. The main attractions are the small and large igloos but they do have cabins (referred to as log chalets) to call your own as well. I stayed for two nights. The first night was in the cozy cabin which is about 527 USD ( prices are shown in Euros) per night and the second night was in the small glass igloo for a whopping 667 USD per night. I know some of you are thinking for those prices you better own the igloo but, catch your breathe. If possible ,splitting the cost with a travel partner would be equivalent to a lavish night at a high end hotel suite in Miami, New York or LA. The flight cost varies depending on how far in advance you search but websites such as Secret Flying , offer plenty of remarkable flight deals from the US into Finland and many other European countries.The cost was a bit more tangible for me due to the perk of paying only the taxes for the flights because of the airline agreements as a flight attendant. Your stay includes breakfast buffet style as well as a three course dinner. Feeling better ? I know I was when I realized that perk. The food was so fresh , delicate yet filling . For pescatarians such as myself , it was also refreshing that they had seafood and vegetarian options amidst their prefix menu, ensuring the opportunity to be happily satisfied. I indulged in fly eats such as a vegetable soup to start , fish filet with crispy skin , ranch and dill potatoes ,overlaying a vegetable medley sautéed to perfection as my entrée and a small dessert trio of whipped vanilla crème , apple crisp and raspberry cake. The food literally was beyond amazing and that was only the first night. The resort is located in Ivalo , Finland. Ivalo is a small town and operates only two flights per day out of their airport. I had to fly into Helsinki , one stop in Kittila and finally into Ivalo. Although you can rent a car to drive yourself to and from the resort , I chose their option of an airport pickup. If you're unfamiliar with driving on icy , dark roads , it would be in your best interest to simply pay the $30 fee and get to the resort in one piece. Arriving at the resort at night , I really couldn't capture it's beauty because , well , it was dark as hell lol but my excitement was already on another level. The driver pulled up in front of the lobby , a large cabin where the restaurant is located as well. The resort is ridiculously large and is separated by east and west villages , each having their own lobby so those in the east village like myself were dropped off with our things while the other guests were driven to their respective area. As I stated previously , my first night was in the cabin near the lobby which could not have been more convenient. The lobbies are the only area that have WIFI so it was easy for me to walk over if I needed to make a call, send a text or simply wanting to post a picture of me , in a cabin, in Finland, on Instagram. Priorities. Not only is there no WIFI in your sleeping corner , there is not a TV either . I walked in a little bit surprised initially but I grew a quick appreciation. It was nice to just disconnect and enjoy every part of my stay in this snug lodge. The chalet included a large and comfortable bed , working fire place, spacious bathroom and a sauna ! There was a half size kitchen with a stove and cookware provided. My eyes were glued to the Finnish hot chocolate packets presented in the welcome basket along with a variety of teas and coffee essentials. The next day involved being driven to the igloo villages. The main attraction to the trip ! After checking in the driver transported me to the igloo doorstep. It was surreal and I couldn't wait to run in. Inside the small glass igloo was so warm and comfortable especially after being in 17 degrees weather! I was in awe looking up to the glass ceiling and envisioning the stars , hopeful for the Northern Lights. Let's be real now , I also was thinking , Lord people can see me and my criminal minds/ID channel brain was like um what if the killer is standing against the glass watching me ?? Ok , dramatic but its trueeeee. There's a small bathroom in the small igloo with a sink and toilet but to shower involves a little more work. There are separate men and women locker room cabins with community style showers , sauna , towels and hair dryers for use. It is indeed a bit of a walk and when you're cold , can feel like forever but after doing the route once , I became accustomed. I mean I needed to shower so you just have to do what's needed. The larger igloos are attached to a cabin that has a full bathroom so again, for a price you can reap that benefit. The resort replaces the lack of technological entertainment with outdoor excursions. They offer a tour of "Santa's House" , reindeer , husky and riding safaris as well as snow mobiles , skiing , aurora hunting and ice fishing to name a few. Although they are not included in your stays package , I would highly recommend at least one of the adventures! Due to time restraints and the fact that I'm not ballin , I did the Husky Safari which was priced at $150 per person ( based on the exchange rate at the time which was in November 2017). It was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. The huskies are turnt up early in the morning and ready to take you for the ride of your life! You are given gear , boots and gloves (included in the price ) and partnered up to have one person steer while the other is sitting in the sled and then you switch half way through the safari. Of course when my turn arrived I was scared but the G in me would not allow me to back down. The instructors are great at educating the group before you head out and teach basic movements , commands and most importantly how to break! I promise I was listening and I was doing so well , until ..... I fell! Well more like tossed off and rolled like a cinnamon roll! You can stop laughing now. In all honesty I didn't break when I should have which caused the huskies to make a sharp right turn and had me heading left just as sharply. The huskies didn't even look back to see if I was ok but my partner sure looked back wondering how his ride would end . I wasn't injured at all ( maybe my ego a smidge ) and thankfully the guides were able to command the huskies to stop so my partner was fine as well. I was able to end the safari with my dignity and finish out the route . The group is then guided into a cabin where a beautiful fire is going and we were given the best berry tea I've ever had and small pastries. The guide concludes the tour with information on the huskies and expounds on the connection each guide has with each dog. I was impressed by the actual care and knowledge of these canines. Viewing the northern lights were a major goal especially while in Finland. The staff said they had just viewed an astonishing show of the lights the night before my arrival and since the weather would not be clear during my stay ,my chances were slim to none. I accepted my fate and was more consumed with enjoying the experience of the resort and my igloo. Then , around 11pm on the second night laying down conversing with the stars , light began to appear ! Screams from the other igloos as everyone began to throw whatever warm on and run outside to try and capture at least one picture. My eyes jumped as I witnessed God's magic and canvas of this bright green color stream across the sky. Unimaginable and of course my iPhone camera did it no justice ! I witnessed a natural phenomenon that so many would love to see and it was like being a part of a secret between me and the heavens. The lure of this one Pinterest picture captured my spirit and I was able to connect a fantasy to reality. That is the enchantment of travel. To find yourself while you wander and attach to moments that will live through every story, memory , image and manifest another dream into your next adventure. Wander on.
- Tomorrow's Rainbow
"Grief never ends ... But it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness , nor a lack of faith ...It is the price of love" - Unknown Thanksgiving has passed , there are three weeks until Christmas and four weeks until the new year. The holiday season is filled with love, laughter , food and anticipation for a brand new start. For me , this time of year tends to have a bittersweet tone. As much as I love the family gatherings and fellowship over indulgent dishes and relaxing moments , I can't help but to think of those who are not with me to celebrate yet another season of life. It feels at times that the holidays are the best and the worse of times , mainly because there tends to be a lingering fear in my mind that there will be love ones who may not make it to that dinner table and inevitably not into the new year. Don't get me wrong , I'm not this emo girl who just wants to focus on the negative. I'm sure you're wondering who really thinks like that ? So allow me to back track. When I was 11 years old, my favorite aunt/second mother passed away in a tragic car accident on Thanksgiving Day. I was casually awaken at 2 am as if it was mid afternoon to the phone ringing and hearing my father give my mother the tragic news that her sister would not be a part of our lives any longer. The fog of sleep had exited instantly and reality settled while the words replayed in my head that my dearest aunt was gone. Needless to say, Thanksgiving would go on to never be the same. For years , my family struggled with whether we should continue to celebrate a day which brings us back to our darkest memory. To this day , it is a conflict in our hearts that honestly may never fully subside. The death of someone close to you is an experience of many layers. The amount of grief , sadness and many times guilt can be consuming and indeed overwhelming to say the least. As a child , trying to process the loss of my aunt was difficult because I didn't really know where to start. I did not know what was normal to feel or how long I would be in that mental space. To be honest , many times I questioned my right to my sadness. My mother and father were alive and well while my two cousins had lost their mother , their love and light . How could I want sympathy or comfort? Grieving for them became a part of my grief . I realized as time passed , each person connected to her had been processing their sadness in their own way seemingly internally instead of leaning on each other or seeking professional help. Envision a place where you can enter that is free of judgement , welcomes fear and sadness all while cultivating an experience that will at some point provide you the courage to live victoriously. Tomorrow's Rainbow is that haven. Abby Moshra , after experiencing a tragic head on collision which claimed the life of her husband created this organization that has created a supreme impact on so many families. After such a traumatizing ordeal to endure with her son Dustin ( who also was involved in the accident) , they were blessed to be provided with professional care and guidance to assist with the grieving process and therapy to heal their family from the inside out. She realized the amount of people, specifically children . who go without professional care not because there wasn't a need but because there was none available in an affordable realm. The emergence of Tomorrow's Rainbow came into fruition to predominately allow children a refuge from their pain using the unique technique of using animals, primarily miniature horses to help heal . Children and adolescents can have a natural tendency to be verbally non-communicative in vocalizing the grief their experiencing as it is difficult to even pin point those feelings as their occurring , let alone talking it out. As those emotions go unaddressed , they can play a detrimental factor in the future mental development of that child, inhibiting certain coping skills and can cause a domino effect of negative behavioral actions and harm to others but most importantly to themselves. The facts are that children who are supported in their grief are 10 times less likely to get involved in substance abuse (Rainbows, UK), 20 times less likely to develop a behavioral disorder (Center of disease control), and 9 times less likely to drop out of school (National Principals Association Reports on the state of HS). Tomorrow's Rainbow is located in a ranch site in Coconut Creek , Florida where you are surrounded by miniature horses and trained counselors graciously awaiting your arrival and anticipating their role in helping you through the motions of grief. Although it may seem strange at first thought , horses are remarkable animals that have the ability to play a large part in the healing process for a grieving child. As I learned in the educational orientation provided ( required before volunteering ) , a welcome circle begins your journey , providing an area to openly discuss your feelings or to quietly listen to others until you're ready to share your story. The horses are used a therapeutic source for the children to connect with , focus on by helping care for them and build a natural bond with an animal that is allowing them to display their feelings in the most natural way. The open area also has play areas where children can put their energy into acting out plays , drawing pictures which actually tend to depict the feelings rising within them and the counselors assist with facilitating those moments to provide the skills and tools needed "to take their own personal grief journey in a way that is meaningful to them". Tomorrow's Rainbow is 100 percent funded by private and corporate donations meaning there is absolutely no government assistance given. Through the selfless donations the organization is able to fund their grief camps and maintain it as a whole. There are a couple ways you can be of value to this extraordinary place. Remarkably, they have a thrift store which is always in need for items that may have no use to you but would be a gem for someone else at an extremely discounted price and all proceeds go to supporting the organization. All my thrifters out there can make it your "home" thrift store or for those with the time available can actually volunteer working in the store. For those who are interested in working directly with the children, you can become a trained Program Facilitator. That role is imperative in having a level of commitment that will not waver because the children being helped need stability and true dedication. For those like myself who don't have the time available for such a committed and important role, you can help with the site/horse maintenance or office help. As I stated previously , orientation is required before beginning any role but don't worry it is the quickest and most endearing hour of your time as Abby gives additional information about the organization , what they stand for , statistics and details on the opportunities available. After filling out a quick application you can sign up for the next or most convenient orientation date for you. In case you're wondering ,the next orientation date is Sunday, December 3rd at 10 am. Experiencing death as a child was indeed a traumatic moment in my life which carried on into my adulthood. Shaping my mind and spirit in a way I could have never envisioned in that period of time . Surely as an adult I have experienced the loss of many other love ones but remembering the first impact of losing someone so close to me laid a negative foundation in my mind and heart that would have been everlasting if I allowed it. The 11 year old girl that still lives in me at times allowed the fear of loss to navigate into holding on to situations , relationships and people that were detrimental to my own growth, which in truth, was simply a manifestation of the grief that was not fully healed. Years has gone by and one thing rings true, it is all a constant work in progress. My coping mechanism is prayer (thanks to my aunts teachings ) but many do not know where to begin or what would work for them in order to endure the sadness and triumph over the pain and tears. Every person , despite age , needs that guidance but children , notably , require a touch that will provide a space of comfort, support and the instrument of knowledge to maneuver into their best life and not allowing a moment in time to mold the bright future ahead. Give yourself and time away into a company whose pledge is to be the light that these families deserve and help them realize that while today can be covered in clouds; there is always Tomorrow's Rainbow.
- All You Need Is Ice Cream
" The creative adult is the child who survived " Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination. Ice cream in every station Sprinkle invasion Gummies galore Creativity adored Live your dreams within these walls Maybe even lick them too Your favorite treat from ceiling to floor Oh the things we can do Open your eyes to new heights While twirling in cotton candy In the room swinging with bananas and whipped cream is where you'll find me If you want to view paradise Take a look around and view it Finding the magic in MOIC There's nothing to it Fall into your childhood and relinquish any adult woes when entering the Museum of Ice Cream . When I first heard about the museum , yes before Beyonce went to visit, I was intrigued by the idea and the courage it took for someone to create a place of pure joy. No question their inner child never faded away because MOIC is a space where dreams are alive and even allow you to dream as well. I love Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as you can tell by my ode to the classic film in my poem above. When pictures surfaced of the magical rooms and playful decor , I instantly thought back to my childhood where I pretended to be Charlie exploring the factory every child would relish in and every fantasy of treats becoming a reality. As an adult , my greedy spirit never was outgrown and this museum gave me the permission to join a mystical world only few get to experience. The allure of the museum , firstly , is that it is promoted as a pop up venue. Only open for a limited time and even more limited tickets, the urge to quickly enjoy this experience before time runs out allows a certain sweet pressure and even more rewarding moment when you're able to purchase tickets and solidify your place in ice cream paradise. MOIC has lived in New York City ,Los Angeles and then sprinkles decided to trail into San Francisco, where I'm based. Already being on a waiting list for the L.A. location , I started my game plan to ensure I would not miss the day to buy tickets into the realm of sweets. First order of business was to stalk their Instagram (@museumoficecream) account by turning on their post notifications.That allowed me to be alerted every time they posted something. I then registered again for the email list via their website knowing that one of these portals would work out in my favor eventually. I Veruca my way into making sure "don't care how, I want it now " mode was turned on. The day came where they posted the dates the tickets would be on sell and I had to map out whether I would be flying or not and make my way in the virtual line. I waited for about an hour to get "through the line" to purchase tickets and view dates available. Luckily , my niece, whose birthday was approaching a few weeks later was available so I bought tickets for us and my wanderlust cousin to join. I'm not sure who was more excited, my 6 year old niece or the 29 year old writing this piece. Either way , the day arrived and I must say it was everything I could have dreamed of and more. The staff were outrageously nice and what felt best to me was how genuine each person was. They exuded their excitement for our group and made each moment filled with enjoyment. We had different people in our group as we entered and it was apparent they strategically only allow a certain allotment to ensure each persons pleasurable moment felt like their own. Each room is themed to focus on a particular treat and while the ice cream samples offered are amazing , the interior of each room is noteworthy as well. The vivid colors cause you to smile and something that stood out to me was the way each room was interactive. The room with the striking pink rocks enormously placed was accompanied with pop rock candy handed to each of us after climbing the kid friendly rock climbing wall. Another room got our creative phrases (perfect Instagram captions ) flowing with magnetic letters all the while enjoying various flavors of mochi! What better way to be greeted then by one of their teammates and instantly handed an ice cream treat or able to take Instagram worthy pics cementing the joyful memory for years to come ? I could describe the museum in the most extensive way but there is so much more to this enterprise (plus you need to see for yourself) ! MOIC could easily decide to be a business that is just that , a business. They could worry only about sales and profits. Instead, they have chosen to use their notoriety to be a voice of the community. Promoting ice cream is inevitable but to take the time to promote motivating words to set your Monday mood or address the many injustices which effect the same people walking into their doors daily, is a gift. MOIC goes beyond the norm and doesn't hide behind the glorious colorful walls. They step right out the sprinkle pool and the imaginary world into the realistic moments which impact my life and the lives of others. It is refreshing to connect with a company even after visiting and excited for each post they share. I've realized the Museum of Ice Cream is more than a place to escape into , it is a movement . They represent all the dreamers who may have once believed in a limitless life, only to hit a ceiling , to continue that journey and not allow hurdles in life to be a barrier for all that could be. I walked out of those double doors with my niece in the presence of an energy to encourage her to live with endless possibilities and to remind myself of those very possibilities. Possibilities which taste even better with ice cream in hand. Word on the street is that MOIC sprinkles will gain a new home soon . My vote goes to Miami since it's my home but wherever they may land, I'm certain it will create the very impact that infectiously was bestowed upon me. Take Carmey's word for it and enter a world of paradise and remember what happened to the person who suddenly got everything they wanted , they lived happily ever after....with sprinkles on top!
Red- Eye /ˈred ˌī/ is defined as an overnight or late-night flight on a commercial airline. Also defined as a morning person's worse nightmare. I don't know about you but the thought of working overnight just always seems like a form of torture. Before becoming a flight attendant I worked in the ER overnight for four years; 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. , three nights a week. For four years , everyone would tell me my body would get used to it and I would learn to love it. After four years guess what happened? I still hated it. For me, it's not normal and my body never adjusted. Even more exhausting was trying to catch up on the sleep I missed on my days off as well as trying to allow my body to adjust into a normal sleeping pattern only to have to do it all over again the next week. Working as a new flight attendant , with not much control , initially, on what kind of flights I fly ; I knew the probability of being assigned a red eye flight was extremely high. After a year and some change , and a tiny bit of seniority under my belt , I am able to avoid red eyes like the plague! That was until we were introduced to the new flight route , attached to a 24 hour layover into the city of Philadelphia ! The catch ? You guessed it . It is a trip that involves a red eye flight (Face Palm). Of course anything worth having has to be worked for so I had to thug it out. Every flight and crew are different but what makes the flight even more magical is working with someone you know and have a friendship with . Thankfully, my classmate from training decided to join this trip with me and agreed to be my exploring buddy. We both were determined to get through the night and make it to the other side of the rainbow into these Philly streets lol. I decided I would take advantage of my 24 hours and fill it with fly eats , fly views and of course some fly giving. Philabundance was the location that I had the pleasure of lending my hand to. Philabundance is an organization dedicated to minimizing ( hopefully one day end ) the epidemic of hunger which plagues the United States and countries around the world. Created in 1984 , Philabundance's mantra is " that no man , woman or child should go hungry". Ideally , it would be a belief important enough to our communities and government to come together to end such a global issue. Organizations such as Philabundance spearhead the war on hunger and present the words and action behind them . Amazingly , they serve 9 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey , including Philadelphia , Delaware , Western Burlington , Montgomery , Bucks , Camden , Gloucester and Salem. Members of Feeding America , they are a food bank providing food to 90,000 people per week. Philabundance has two locations , the main office and hunger relief center located on Galloway Street and one on Berks Street in Philadelphia. Philabundance.org allows a user friendly registration process where the different opportunities are listed per week providing information on the location , event details and number of volunteers needed per project. I registered for the Berks Warehouse Help in the afternoon , 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm . When I arrived there was one other woman waiting to begin. She opened up to me about her commitment to volunteering with Philabundance and she actually manages her time between the Berks Street location and the location in South Philadelphia. We we were welcomed into the warehouse where I was able to view the various rows of donated canned goods and perishable/nonperishable items. I was amazed by the amount of food they held and could envision the thousands of people who will benefit from this particular food bank. I was excited to find out what my tasks would be! In my mind , I would be knee deep in packaging food to distribute and even possibly be distributing some of the donated foods available. The thing about expectations , they are not always met. My expectations and reality couldn't have been further apart. My volunteer mind was used to a type of productivity that involves interaction with many people and being so busy with large groups that the time passes by without any awareness. My task of the day was simply to sweep around the warehouse and clean areas where the food was kept. I can't lie , I thought in my mind "that's it?" and then my mind answered, "that's it" lol. There wasn't much they needed from me mainly because the morning shift had covered a lot of the work required before I arrived. The woman I met earlier decided she wasn't going to "just sweep" and I definitely thought why should I stay as well. Yet I reminded myself there was a purpose for me to come and to be honest, there's no guideline as to what volunteer experience you would have each time. So I picked up my broom and found the dustiest corner and began going to work. Alone in my duty, I zoned into what needed to be done and had a soundtrack of motivating hits to keep me going and lip-sync to. I thought, " if I'm going to clean a warehouse by myself, I'm gonna make it look sexy" ( In my Kendrick Lamar voice) . This type of fly giving was new to me but it couldn't have been more appropriate. The day allowed me to focus on a small gesture (in my mind) that will benefit the bigger picture. This warehouse houses loads of food that will fill the homes of people who really need and appreciate the work and hearts of those involved with Philabundance. It reminded me that volunteering is truly not about instant gratification. The truth is any form of gratification from someone else may never come. The act of giving yourself is not about the pat on the back from someone else or the banner that reminds you how great you are for taking the time out. The act of giving is about fulfilling a part of you by giving yourself to someone else or to an organization that needs your assets , your presence and really your heart. For me , each selfless act provides insight into my own life and reminds me of the bigger world out there that doesn't revolve around just me ! The day with Philabundance allowed me to indulge in a service that cleaned up the warehouse but also allow me to reflect and feel grateful for all my blessings and the abundance in my own life. So all my Philly natives and visitors alike , head over to their website and find a day to give a piece of yourself and gain an abundant day for you and the community!