Travel Is My Therapy

Can I be honest with you for a second?! I have had to endure some tough moments during this pandemic, and I’m sure you can relate. I was experiencing some challenges in both my personal and professional life. I would describe myself as ambitious, driven, passionate, detail orientated, and a big dreamer. But if you asked me to describe myself a few months ago, the only words I could give you is burnt out. So, I made a hard choice to take a step back and an even wiser choice to put myself at the top of my to-do list. During this time, I embarked on a wellness journey. I needed some peace, quiet, and relaxation. I was also searching for direction, clarity, and inspiration.

First Stop: Self-Care & Healing

In my own research and Facebook ads following me, I stumbled upon Civana Wellness Resort & Spa, located in Carefree, Arizona, close to Phoenix and Scottsdale. Civana was voted one of the Top 10 Wellness Resorts (USA Today), #4 Spa in the U.S (Travel & Leisure), and #5 Spa Resort in the U.S. (Condé Nast). Civana has two restaurants that offer healthy food options: Terras and Seed. Civana also offers 10+ daily wellness classes each day. I loved that you could create a schedule that fits your personal wellness journey. My favorite classes were Sunset Sound Healing, Breathing for Life, Journaling for Transformation, Aqua Aerobics (we were getting down), and a mixology cocktail class. After each class, I left with tools to help me manage my stress, anxiety and every day life.

My favorite experience was the spa; it was so beautiful. I booked the Revive to Thrive treatment which included Ayurvedic techniques (Marma Point Therapy), a dry-glove exfoliation, and a massage with warm herb-infused oil that matched my current mood. According to Healthline, Marma Point Therapy is believed to release stagnant energy and stimulate your internal organs, hormones, and other chemicals to help meet your body’s needs. Towards the end of the treatment, the therapist focused on my Sthapani marma (center of the forehead believed to affect the mind, brain, & nerves), Nabhi marma (center of the navel believed to affect the small intestines), and Kurcha marma (center of the ball of each foot believed to affect the vision). She then stepped out of the room to give me a moment, and I began to pray and thank God for continuing to bless me, for allowing me to follow my passion, and to even be in this space. The experience was AMAZING.


Second Stop: Release & Let Go

During our last night in Arizona, we checked out nightclubs in Old Town located in Scottsdale. It was a fun filled night. We literally danced in the rain like no one was watching and just let it all go.

We decided to take a 5-hour road trip to Vegas and stay for a few days. The drive was so scenic and serene. We saw several rainbows on our drive. Rainbows signify hope, promise, transitions, new beginnings, and peace.  

As you can imagine Carefree, and Las Vegas are total opposites. But all my trips need a little bit of turn up. We stayed at the new Virgin Hotel Las Vegas.  I loved the decor of the hotel rooms, and the beds were extra comfy. We got a chance to check out After’s Ice Cream, Casa Calavera, The Kitchen at Commons Club, and the adults-only pool party at Elia’s Beach Club.

On our last day, we had dinner at Best Friend’s located in the Park MGM. If you ever searched for a restaurant that has excellent food, plays Hip Hop music, and has a makeshift L.A. bodega when you walk in, this is the place. It was a total vibe. I’m not sure if it was the Korean fried chicken or Stir Fry by The Migos that had us dancing in our seats.

Third Stop: Self-Acceptance & Self-Confidence    

Houston has been on my list for quite some time. We took a quick weekend trip to a body-positive swim event. We enjoyed being around men and women of all shapes and sizes who were comfortable in their own skin. It was a complete judge-free zone and a good time. Houston also came through with the southern hospitality. Check out Pappadeaux, Taste Bar & Kitchen, Bar 2200, and Chapman & Kirby if you are ever in Houston.

Fourth Stop: Transformation

After Civana, I began to make my mental health a priority. Remember the tools that I learned. I started a daily routine that included spending alone time with God, praying, meditating, completing breathing exercises, journaling, and changing my way of thinking. One day, I had an aha moment when I realized how peaceful and stress-free my life had been lately. As I was approaching another trip around the sun, I came into my own with a sound mind.

For my birthday, I decided to visit Curacao. I would describe Curacao as a relaxing and pretty chill place with beautiful blue water all around. The Afro-Curaçaoans were so happy to see us; they told us on numerous occasions, which made us feel very welcomed. We decided to stay at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort, an oceanfront property. We had an oceanfront room with a fantastic view. The food at the resort was good, and the drinks were strong. We tried out Papiamentu Marketplace and Salty Iguana Ocean Grill during our stay.

We chose a non-all-inclusive resort to give us a chance to explore the island more. We checked out Madero Ocean Club for brunch and Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant for dinner. Baoase Luxury Resort came highly recommended by fellow Travel Advisors, and the ambiance, decor, and dining experience did not disappoint. On another day, we got a chance to dine with the locals at De Visserij Piscadera and Noire Cocktail Bar.

While in Curacao, we decided to take a small group tour that included swimming with sea turtles at Playa Piscado, visiting Shete Boka National Park and Kenepa Beach. We also took a tour of Landhuis Chobolobo, the Curacao Liqueur Distillery. We got a chance to taste different liqueurs and cocktails. Our favorite flavors were Tamarind and Rum Raisin; we bought a few bottles of various flavors home.

Final Stop: Gratitude

During my different travel experiences, I found what I was looking for, or it found me. I know life can get crazy and busy, but we always need to make time for ourselves. I’m super excited to put the ideas that came to me during my journey into action. I’m ready to take on the world and see more of it.

I plan to return to one of the places on the list soon and want to bring more people along. If you’d like to be the first to know, make sure to sign up for my email list!

*We hope you like the places we listed. Just so you know, Destination E may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.*

A Drive-Able Vacation

Yes, I am that person who is excited about their birthday every year. My mother says as soon as the new year comes around, I start talking about my birthday plans. Most of the time I like to take a trip or keep it simple and do something fun close to home. This year I decided to do a drive-able vacation that was a mixture of rest, relaxation and quality time with loved ones.

While doing an online search for wellness resorts nearby, I stumbled upon a black-owned bed & breakfast, Wellspring Manor & Spa in Upper Marlboro, Maryland about 2 hours away from Philadelphia. It is owned by the lovely husband and wife Kevin Alexander and Lisa Brown Alexander, who we had a chance to meet while there. The guest amenities include daily made to order breakfast, complimentary toiletries, an outdoor pool, daily snack service, an art gallery, and concierge services. You can also hire a chef to cook your dinner! We took advantage of their Tranquility Tuesday package which comes with early check-in and a 60-minute Wellspring Manor Signature Massage for each guest at their Spa Sanctuary. 

When we first arrived, we were in awe of the landscape. Acres of beautiful trees and greenery getting ready to change colors for the Fall. We were met by the Guest Services Manager, Shelia Robinson. She was phenomenal. She helped us with our bags, and she let us know everything available to us while at Wellspring Manor & Spa. She gave us a tour of the property, offered us suggestions for dinner in the area, she escorted us to the spa on-site, and prepared our evening snack. Lisa and Sheila prepared and served us breakfast the next day.

While in Prince George County we decided to check out the local attractions. We visited the National Harbor which was quite nice. We checked out the MGM, Tanger Outlets, The Tasting Room Wine Bar & Shop and had lunch at the Crab Cake Café. We also rode The Capital Wheel (a ferris wheel), which is 180 feet above the Potomac River with 42 gondolas. The views from above were quite breathtaking. The next day on my actual birthday, I decided to take a yoga and meditation class with Zen With Wen at Running Hare Vineyard. It was a beautiful experience; the scenery was lovely and the class was easy to follow along. Later that evening we checked out Maryland Meadworks and had dinner at SoBe Restaurant & Lounge. They serve a fusion of Latin, Asian, American and Italian fare.

So, there you have it. You don’t always have to jump on an airplane to have a good time or experience something new. Your next great adventure can be right next door!