That Time I Went Quiet Clubbing in NYC

I’ve never been as fond of clubs as most of my peers seem to be. After half an hour, the music selection gets annoying, the crowds are overwhelming, and it’s hot. I’m normally ready to go before the hour mark. … Continue reading

Halloween Series #1: The Tower of London

wall of masks tower of london

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. In fact, scary movie marathons,bite-sized chocolates,and pumpkin drinks are the only things that stop me from mourning the end of summer. Because of this, I decided to enjoy this month by visiting some … Continue reading

Snapshots: Things You See in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park

What you’ll see on a fall day in Philly’s famous Fairmount Park Area. Architecture Stately boathouses lines the trail of Fairmount Park . There’s even a nice view of the Art Museum from the parking lot. The Waterfront & the … Continue reading

How a Smile Changed My Trip to Amsterdam

After being caught in countless rainstorms, dealing with the rude staff in Gatwick airport, and being yelled at and called “crazy” for brushing against a woman’s backpack in a boarding line, my time in Amsterdam was not off to a … Continue reading

Meeting Corrie Ten Boom & Anne Frank in the Netherlands

During my last visit to Europe, I checked another country off my bucket list: The Netherlands.  Amsterdam–with its liberal,party atmosphere– is a must-see for most backpackers and I imagine Haarlem– a small,quiet town just minutes away–also attracts visitors in search … Continue reading

7 Steps to an Epic Vegas Vacation

I spent the week of Memorial Day in sunny, beautiful Las Vegas. I’ve been planning this trip , on and off , for five years so when I finally touched down at McCarran International , I felt like I knew … Continue reading

Traveling with Afro: Tips, Tricks , and Avoiding Awkward Moments

My afro is my favorite part of my body and , no matter where I go, it always causes heads to turn. If I’m in certain places abroad, it’ll also cause a lot of unsolicited stares,questions, and even touching. And don’t even get me started on the trying to find the right products to keep the ‘fro presentable and healthy.

The Afro

The Afro

Luckily, I’ve developed an arsenal of tips and tricks  to care for my hair and deal with the awkward moments abroad.

First , the tips:

Tip #5: If you can’t find it in the supermarket, pack it.

Many of my must-have hair products double as cooking ingredients. Because I know I’ll be able to find them in most markets I never worry about packing things like olive oil or mayonnaise for long trips.

Things that are a bit harder to find and always go in my luggage are Shea butter, castor oil, and shampoo and conditioner specifically made for my hair type.

Tip #4: Utilize travel size containers for short trips

If I’ll only be away for a short amount of time, I don’t worry about finding all of my usual products. I’ll pick out two or three that I can’t live without  and  squeeze them into a travel-sized container.

Tip #3: Wear Protective Styles

I always wear my hair in twists or braids because it’s easier to manage. Instead of waking up early every  morning to detangle the inevitable night-time knots, moisturize, and style I just fluff out the twists, spray a bit of moisturizer, and I’m out the door.

Tip #2:  Wear “flat”styles to avoid TSA searches 

For whatever reason, the TSA is very unforgiving when it comes to puffy,big hair like mine. Even when I braided it or scooped into a bun , I was still ended up with a pair of gloves shifting through my curls. However, on my last trip through an airport, I pulled my twists into a low pony tail and then gathered all the loose hair into one braid. I went through security uninterrupted. I think the key to avoiding awkward hair pat downs is to style it in as flat a way as possible. Think french braids,corn rolls, etc.

And speaking of awkward hair moments…

I’ve definitely experienced a few.

*Near Cordoba,Spain I was encircled by a group of women who took turns tugging at my twists.

*In a checkout line in Korea, I handed the cashier money and she responded by reaching up and , again, pulling my hair. ( as a side note, why must everyone pull?)

*While waiting in line for the bathroom on a flight, I felt someone massaging my scalp from behind. I turned around and asked the tiny Asian woman doing the massaging to stop but she only gave me a thumbs up before continuing as soon as I turned back around.

When traveling , I’m so focused on experiencing different cultures and people that I forget that I’m just as new and interesting to others. This was probably the biggest shock for me when I moved to Asia;people would gasp, follow me, and pull their cars over to take pictures at red lights .It took me a while to realize that in certain places, people who look like me – with dark skin and kinky,big hair – aren’t an everyday sight.I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the staring but one thing I have become quite comfortable with is saying “No” when people touch my hair.

The first few times the hair-touching accidents happened, I was afraid to do more than walk away. I didn’t want to come off as the “Rude American” or “Angry Black Woman”. Then I realized that if I was going to do the solo travel thing, I would have to get used to protecting my property. And that includes my body, and by extension, the hair.

So my #1 tip to anyone traveling with afro is to never be afraid to say STOP or NO if someone if touching you without permission. It may only be hair but it’s still yours.

 

Have you had any awkward hair moments while traveling? Share them in the comments!

 

 

 

 

5 Thoughts You’ll Only Have at the Grand Canyon

I spent Memorial Day weekend in Vegas ( more to come in a separate post) but the highlight of the week-long trip was the day spent at the Grand Canyon. After a long night of doing Vegas things, my friend and I took a shower and a nap before meeting our tour bus at 5 am. Even so , after a morning that included a quick walk around the Hoover Dam and an energetic bus driver who laughed like a hyena and threatened to sell  left behind items on eBay, I arrived at the canyon renewed and ready to explore.

A quick drive by the Grand Canyon | photo credit:thepinkexpat

A quick drive by the Hoover Dam | photo credit:thepinkexpat

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photo credit: the pinkexpat

And finally a successful travel selfie...this is four years in the making , guys

And finally a successful travel selfie…this is four years in the making , guys

When I walked to the edge of Mather’s Point and saw the valleys and peaks , the random greenery growing from steep ledges , and  the vibrant reds and oranges of the canyon’s interior I could only think Wow.  Here are a few more thoughts – and photos -from my visit to the Grand Canyon.

Thought #1: How does nature make so much beauty ?

The Grand Canyon |photo credit: @thepinkexpat

The Grand Canyon |photo credit: @thepinkexpat

All the different colors and textures of the canyon | photo credit @thepinkexpat

All the different colors and textures of the canyon | photo credit @thepinkexpat

Thought # 2: It must go on forever and ever and ever…

It's called grand for a reason |photo credit: thepinkexpat

It’s called grand for a reason |photo credit: thepinkexpat

photo credit @thepinkexpat

photo credit @thepinkexpat

Thought # 3: Do not fall…Do not fall

I was very brave and leaned over a rail for this photo |photo credit:thepinkexpat

I was very brave and leaned over a rail for this photo |photo credit:thepinkexpat

Do it for the photo! |photo credit: thepinkexpat.com

Do it for the photo! |photo credit: thepinkexpat.com

My fear is evident in this photo. I'm not afraid of heights, but I really,really didn't didn't want to go splat  |photocredit:thepinkexpat

My fear is evident in this photo. I’m not afraid of heights, but I really,really didn’t didn’t want to go splat |photocredit:thepinkexpat

Thought #4: I really hope those people don’t fall

But I wasn't nearly this brave | thepinkexpat.com

But I wasn’t nearly this brave | thepinkexpat.com

photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

Thought #5: If I do fall to my death ,it’ll be fine because I saw this with my own eyes.

photo credit : thepinkexpat

photo credit : thepinkexpat

My favorite photo of the bunch |photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

My favorite photo of the bunch |photo credit:thepinkexpat.com

 

Do you remember the first time you saw the Grand Canyon, either in person or through a photo? What was your first thought?