We did it! Two days. Too many miles to count. Caribbeans girls went hiking across the Haitian mountains. And it was everything
Im fortunate that I had two friends living in Haiti who knew how to navigate the country and organize the details of the trip. But it also wasn’t impossible to do this with little knowledge of Haiti. The three most important things: who will take you to the start location, where will you sleep overnight, who will pick you up in Jacmel?
 I arrived in Haiti the night before the hike and my friends and I had some dinner and drinks before heading out. None of us were experienced hikers. I purchased a bag off amazon HERE and some cheap comfy hiking sneakers HERE. In the morning we hired a car to take us to the starting point in Furcy which is a bit outside the city. The hike is so popular that if you tell most people, they will know where to drop you.
We had a ‘guide’ through Lakay Winnie who found us as we were walking from Furcy. Honestly the guide wasn’t 100% necessary. The path is pretty straight. He also seemed frustrated by our pace. He came in most handy the second day as the road get more populated as you get closer to Jacmel and it’s helpful to have a man looking out for you just in case. We stayed a Lackay Winnie overnight which was great. BRING WARM CLOTHES. Its cold one you get to the top of the mountains. If you have any food restrictions, bring a meal replacement shake or something. Lunch was lamb and veggies. Dinner was just a soup (no meat). Breakfast was eggs and toast.
The second day of the trip is all downhill. How this was hardest that going up I still don’t know. I didn’t feel pain in your quads like Day 1 but somehow I felt slow AF. Our guide frequently stopped to speak to friends, eat, etc and was still able to keep up with us. This hike was over Easter weekend and so ‘ra ra’ (Easter carnival celebrations) were in full effect. We were stopped by ra ra and had to pay $500 to pass. Do they demand the money? No. But when the parade dances in front of you, you know what they want. Make sure to budget instances like these into your budget. Also budget the fact that Haiti is not cheap. Hotel rooms etc are priced only a bit lower than the US.
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Once we got to the end of the trail, there was tons of ‘ra ra’. Here is where using your wits and instincts is important. I stood at the side and didn’t saw a word as my friends navigated through the crowd and found a tap tap. Sure, people can look at us and know we are Blan (literally: white but used for all foreigners) but I wasn’t going to confirm by opening my mouth. Once of the tap tap it was a 30 minute ride to the Hotel.
Hotel Florita was beautiful and everything I love about the Caribbean. We stayed in the overflow house which was nice and spacious but not as decorated as the main Hotel. It was super easy to walk out onto the broad walk and get food. Restaurants close a bit early–just a warning.
The next day was just perfection– beach day. The hotel staff drove us to the beach and picked us up. We ate fresh lobster by the beach. So relaxing for our tired muscles! Later that day we caught a bus back to PaP.
A few tips in terms of what to bring:
Packing light is BAE
If you are a woman, long running leggings work perfectly. I know others wear running shorts, but you will fit in better with pants. I just brought a pair of running leggings and loose shirt for each day.
You can’t really over pack water
As we got higher in the mountains, we saw fewer and fewer opportunities to purchase water. It’s kinda annoying (and heavy AF) to carry at first, but all the water will be gone by the end of the trip.
Trail mix is the perfect snack
Nuff said
 
Keep safe 
If you don’t have a person in your group who speaks Kreyol, be extra careful. And wherever you stay for the night, make sure to lock up your room and belongings tight. We heard rumors of robberies at Lakay Winnie. We also heard some guest sleep with the door open (WTF? Really? SMFH!). We didn’t play games: locked all doors and window and put or money and phone in our PJs. We didn’t have any problems and didn’t hear anyone during the night. Haiti is an amazing place to visit and I have been four times without problems. But you make things harder for yourself if you aren’t always aware of your surrounding and being extra cautious.
Have Fun
Haiti is such goals.

Whyyyy do the years move so quickly?

Let me backtrack and say Happy New Year! I am so grateful to see another year. This blog has been basically abandoned for awhile but blogging is one of my main goals for the new year. I have been very wishy-washy with blogging over the year, mainly because my ideas about what I wanted this blog to be about changed so much from month to month. I am pretty content with just using this site to post my “life progress”. I want to  share how I achieve my goals, my travel adventures, and my advice.

This month I am just working on being accountable to myself. The biggest excuses we make are in our own heads and we often let ourselves down by not completing what we set out to do. 2017 will be different. I have had soooo many ideas floating around over the years and I know if I just execute I can be successful at this. Confidence is another issue for me–I get embarrassed to share my true goals. I don’t even tell people about this blog (although the link is in my Instagram). Here are some more concrete goals for the month:

Ebay Purge, Establishing Side Hustle

I’ve had a pile of cute clothes that I have wanted to sell for awhile. I figure I might as well recoup some money back for some of these never-worn pieces.

One of the people I follow the most on social media is Gary Vaynerchuk. He is always talking about learning the market and creating a side hustle for yourself (on top of Entrepreneurship). He recently challenged everyone to make 20,170 this year through selling and flipping items online. While I am not interested in making that much (it sounds like a full-time job), I do want to make 2,017 this year from things that I know are lying around that I can sell.

This is also part of my larger goal of being a minimalist and really cutting down on some of the things I have. Sometimes I can become a slight hoarder if I’m not cognizant of my spending (my friends who saw my once-glorious nail polish stash know this). But in the last 3 years I have discovered how easy it is to get by with much less. Quantity over quality is key.

Create Process for Food Blog

I have a food blog but wont tell anyone about it until there are actual post there. My goal is to finish the webdesign and post 4 blog this month. The food blog will be my main blog focus for the year and I think the intent/focus of the blog will help a lot of people.

Stick to Monthly Budget

This post will be followed by a post outlining the things I use to get things done on a daily basis. Recently I realized that I wasn’t doing enough to stick to a budget in a way that would maximize my effectiveness at achieving goals (read: pay students loans off as quickly as possible). I always think I need to make more money, but if I just tighten my belt (i.e less splurging on brunch) I will get a lot done this year.

My budget is set (using You Need A Budget), so now I just need to stick to it, which means not moving around money like crazy once I overspend on food or some of my other favorite categories.

Daily Gratitude Journal 

I have had the 5 Minute Journal app on my phone for a year and each day I just swipe the reminder off my phone screen. The app is more innovative than the book and thus I want to make sure I use it and review it on a daily basis. One of the most important ways to bring more blessings into your life is to express gratitude for what you have already been given. A lot of time we accomplish one goal and immediately start thinking about other things we don’t have. The app makes it easy to write twice a day about what you are grateful for and how you hope the day unfolds.  You can also add a great picture. This is a habit I want to continue for the entire year.

 

I am Jamaican by heritage. The island has always held a special place in my heart desire by family’s immigration to the US and UK. I first went with my grandmother when I was in high school. I feel in love with the island and touring the places that were historically significant to my family. A few weeks ago, my mother and I made a quick trip for some rest and relaxation.

I am not a dint-ever-leave-the-resort type of person so before we had even arrive at the hotel we had already arranged with our driver to take us down to Kingston. My family is from a smaller city (Mandeville) so I have only had brief stints in the capital everytime we came.

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Port Royal was a bit out of the way but truly worth it. We were history buffs for all of 20 minutes. img_0707

Of course, we had to stop by the Bob Marley museum. I’m not a die-hard Marley fan, save a few songs. But I really appreciated the historical significance of the career after getting a very thorough tour of the museum.

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A trip to Kingston is not complete these days without something that is related to Usain Bolt. He stopped my Tracks and Records, his restaurant, for a quick lunch. I will say that the food was LEGIT which was surprising to me. I guess I’m used to the US where stars slap their name on a place and don’t bother to monitor the quality. I had jerk pork (my fav) and everything was top notch.

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All in all it was a great vacay. I enjoyed simple things like driving around neighborhoods, watching Jamaican news, and being as much of an average citizen as you can be when staying in a resort. I also spent a few days in Montego Bay before heading home. I plan of visiting Jamaica more often. Even though I have visited quite a few times, I always wanted to know the island as intimately as I know other places I’ve been (DR, Angola, etc). More importantly, I want to be connected enough to know how to give back.

Thats all for now. PS. Food was amazing but I didn’t have an oxtail (look it up if you have never heard of the dish) I actually order some from the Jamaican restaurant by my house the second I got back to New Jersey, which is a strange type of irony.

Hopefully I learn to take better pictures lol.

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101 goals

I’ve been focusing a bunch on goal-setting lately. Especially goal DOING. I want to make some blog moves in the next two years and I know I can do it. I want these all the be accomplished by December 24, 2018 (the clock has already started ticketing on this list). I will be updating my progress but I am excited to move forward with things, big and small. I used the 101 goals in 1001 days idea twice before and it helped me knock off a lot of goals and move towards bigger dreams I had for myself. Admittedly, some things are left over from previous list which never got done.

Travel

  1. Brazil
  2. Singapore
  3. Thailand
  4. South Korea
  5. NOLA
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Ghana
  8. Nigeria
  9. Toronto
  10. Lake Alberta, Canada
  11. South Africa
  12. Attend a Blogging Conference
  13. Attend SXSW
  14. Trinidad Carnival
  15. Australia

Finance

  1. Pay off Student loans
  2. Earn …….+/year
  3. 10,000 in savings
  4. Invest in stock market
  5. 401k plan
  6. 10% a year to charity
  7. All bills on autopay
  8. Lease a car
  9. Write monthly finance reports for self
  10. Rent own apartment

Learn to…

  1. Sew
  2. Speak Portuguese
  3. Photography
  4. Videography
  5. Make Kombucha/Kefir
  6. Advanced Excel
  7. Math (up to calculus)
  8. Adobe Photoshop
  9. Final Cut Pro
  10. Custom Herbal Tea
  11. Learn to type 85 WPM

Fitness

  1. ……
  2. Hot Yoga 60 days
  3. 5k run
  4. Morning run for 30 days
  5. Try SoulCycle

Materialistic

  1. hair steamer
  2. D-SLR
  3. Chloe bag
  4. develop Ankara fabric wardrobe
  5. develop fantastic wardrobe
  6. buy classic summer and winter sunglasses
  7. winter boots collection
  8. rose gold watch
  9. longchamp bag
  10. strong work wardrobe
  11. 20 pairs of comfortable heels
  12. improve jewelry collection
  13. bathing suit collection
  14. ………
  15. sneaker collection (5 pairs: keds, jordans, etc)
  16. adobe photoshop suite
  17. nneka saran bag
  18. true religion jeans
  19. New luggage

Education

  1. Master’s degree
  2. DELE certification C2 (Spanish)
  3. CAPLE certification (Portuguese)
  4. Gain 2,000 email subscribers
  5. Start a business
  6. Read 52 books in 52 weeks
  7. Earn 10,000+ from my blog/ year
  8. Publish an e-book

Social Life

  1. Go on 1 girls trip
  2. Gain two new strong friendships
  3. Go on 1 solo trip
  4. …….
  5. Clean out Fabecook friends
  6. Send at least 5 surprise packages to friends or family “just because.”
  7. Attend 5 concerts
  8. Treat both my parents to dinner to say “thank you”
  9. Try 20 new restaurants in NYC
  10. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  11. Go to a NBA game
  12. Go to a football game in England
  13. See Hamilton
  14. Walk the length of Manhattan

Habits

  1. drink 80 oz water
  2. Write in journal
  3. Meditate
  4. Make bed
  5. Stretch every morning
  6. Do nails weekly
  7. Strong oral care regimen
  8. ….. ……

*There are some goals which I have taken out and a section I deleted all together because they are more personal.

month x month February

I didn’t have my act together in January so I’ve been saying February is the start of the year for me. Oops. Oh well. So I’m jumping right into things:

Start Posting on Medium

Part of my goal to advance my career is to put myself out there more in terms of sharing my voice and my ideas. Medium has become the new place to share your articles and ideas. I am not even sure what will come out of writing on there but for now the outcome is not important to me. Writing on there on a regular basis is a way to be to gain confidence is expressing my ideas on Corporate Social Responsibility and current international development topics. I want to write at least 4 articles this month, and I plan on flexing my writing muscle daily just improve my ability to write quality content.

Clean Out My Email

Uggg. 1,025 unread emails. Let me go get my inhaler before I start this project.

Solidify AM/PM Routine and Make it Habit

I’ve been reading a lot about how important it is to bookend your day– make sure to wake up and perform certain task and have a routine at night as well. And not only that, trying to do something 3 times a week will not make it a routine. I want to wake up with meditation, journaling, and some attempt to plan out my day. In the evening I want to try a “Digital Sunset” (turn off electronics at a certain time) and reflect on my day.