For me, traveling is a window. The mere joy of being able to see all God had created and how others live in that creation fascinates me. It’s one of the few times in life that I’m willing to assimilate for an experience. I’ll never forget being in Nice and thinking, “I’m looking at the Mediterranean”—and NOT on Nat Geo. In this new age traveling is no longer a luxury as it is a necessity. We can not subscribe to every idea and opinion via television and social media. Become a Peeping Tom into the window of the world. Have your own first-hand account.
When on vacation are you a planner or a free spirit? Explain
On vacation I’m certainly a planner in the beginning of the process, but free spirited in how the experience will progress. I love to plan/book/research flights, hotels, and activities. I actually think it’s important to do the “tourist” thing initially because there is a benefit to that. However, the quality of the experience is to dig further. Seek out an authentic experience while there. Asking questions and skipping the taxi rides are far better than relying on the itinerary the entire vacation.
How would you describe your experience traveling with your mother?
Traveling with my mother has been a phenomenal experience. I’ve traveled with many best friends, but she’s my ultimate. To be with her in real-time as she experiences joy is second to none. When you have a young parent it’s easy to forget that they actually grew up WITH you! A lot of who I am is because of her. She planted the idea that the world has no boundaries for a strong Black man. I wanted to show her that’s an equal idea for a strong Black mother. So far, I’ve had her trek The Great Wall, sun bathe in Phuket, tour the Mayan ruins, and become a coffee-nut, like me, in Montreal.
What about Thailand keeps you going back?
To truly know me is to know I love Thailand. Yes, it’s affordable, beautiful, full of excitement and mystery. But what keeps me going back are the Thai people. Not sure if it’s the humility of Buddhist ways or the innate kindness they possess, but I’ve always felt welcome. It’s easy to equate the curiosity of a people with offense. You have to have an open heart and absorb the Thai experience. Over the past 9 years I’ve made over 15 visits. My tattoo artist lives there, but he and his wife are far more than service providers. They are family; from day one.
What country forced you to step the most out of your comfort zone? Explain how
If I’m truly honest I’d say Guatemala forced me out of my comfort zone. It’s a hard truth, but we all have prejudice in us. I prematurely judged that I’d be visiting a place that select politicians tell us people are fleeing. I expected to hear/see the desire to be an American. It was nothing further from the truth. I saw happiness, health-consciousness, peace, cleanliness, and pride. I was forced to look beyond my notions and accept my experience. I am better and wiser for it.