I’m a first time guest on ODStorytime, long time reader who’s very excited and honored to be a guest blogger. Thank you to my friend Alyssa for the opportunity! Let’s get to it.
My name is Ebony and based on my social media feeds, it would look like just about all I do is travel. That’s a partial truth – my official daytime job is working as a paralegal at a law firm in New York City. I promise you I get the same 10 days of vacation and 3 days elective as everyone else AND I’ve never used a sick day for anything else but doctor’s appointments and actual sickness…but that’s not why we’re here.
At some point, I was struck by wanderlust and have been chasing the taste ever since. I mostly travel by myself and have visited approximately 14 countries (15 if you count Alaska separately), and I’m working my way to 30 by 30.
Ironically I just turned 23 a few days ago and have been reflecting on everything that I’ve been through. It may not have seemed like it, but these past two years have been an uphill battle that I have finally won.
Today I’d like to share with you all 12 of the locations that I have had the pleasure of visiting since December 2015, with a song that reminds me of each. I hope the fondness I feel towards these places encourages you all to take the chance and buy the ticket – it was worth it…every time.
*This list is in chronological order. It excludes multiple visits (i.e. I’ve been to Atlanta more times than I care to count). Unfortunately, the song for one city had to be embedded in the post because it’s not available on Spotify
“Espero que um dia você volte atrás…”
Home of my first ever solo trip, this country brings a smile to my face every time it’s mentioned. With great food, great people, and an amazing culture, Brazil has my heart. I’ll be back as many times as they let me. This song is from one of the more popular bands in the country, but really captures the relaxed essence of everything
Washington, District of Columbia
“Smoke in the air, binge drinking, they lose it when the DJ drops the needle…”
Howard: my former home away from home. I attended Howard University for 4 wonderful years, and periodically visit to see some of my closest friends when the occasion calls for it. On one of my visits I listened to this song first thing every morning to get the day started on the right foot. It was….legendary.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“I don’t know if I can help it, maybe I’m just being selfish…”
I traveled to Toronto on a whim, I think this was the first trip I just succumbed to the itch and fled the country with no explanation. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I don’t quite know how I pulled this trip off, but I ended up leaving Toronto with an amazing group of friends I keep in touch with to this day.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“Do you think about the things you say you don’t?”
Finally, I have stopped this reckless solo traveling….or so my dad thought.
I went to Dubai for one reason and one reason only – skydiving (read: stunting). One of my best friends from college was down for the cause and met me there for a week of nothing but top notch ubering and sand…lots of sand. I have one word to describe this city: opulent.
Yet…in the middle of opulence, I felt a little down and out. I had just finished taking the LSAT but I wasn’t feeling too great about applying to law school. I had a mountain of things to get done that I couldn’t avoid any longer and I more or less fled the country to avoid doing it. This song reflects me pushing those sad thoughts aside for a week of indulgence.
“range drop, drop top…”
Anyone who knows my relationship with this city will tell you that they don’t understand why I don’t just live here already. I have so much love in my heart for this place and the people who live here and support me every time I pull up.
This song is a mood for us. A concept. A lifestyle.
“We got the sauce man we drippin swagu”
For those of you who are wondering I am not enrolled at Harvard anything, but I do know a substantial amount of people who go there, thanks to my best friend. This song is for her, really. Because Beyoncé. And well, all I do when I come here is party.
(for the record the version with 3k is better)
Bermuda, United Kingdom
“I am claiming my own throne…”
I took this trip the weekend before I took the LSAT. Anyone who studied for this test will tell you I was out of my mind. But I just needed a break, honestly. Saw the flight deal and found myself doing the math and booking tickets for Thanksgiving weekend within minutes. I don’t regret it at all. I used my mornings to get some practice tests in and the afternoons to wander around the island. It gave me the exact amount of confidence and peace of mind I needed for the week ahead.
“I just wanna go there, I just want a beautiful escape”
My newest annual tradition of spending Christmas and New Years anywhere but home (sorry mom!) coming back around for a second go. I met so many amazing people during my time in Thailand and barely scraped the surface of what the country had to offer! Fresh out of the LSAT and almost done with the application process I decided to take a full two weeks off and do nothing but what I wanted to do….wander.
I got my LSAT score back at 5 am on a beautiful morning somewhere in the Andaman sea…
“And I promise we gon make it oh no no”
I only had the time to take a day trip here. I really wish I had the chance to explore this country more, but it was nothing short of breathtaking.
I was heading back home to face the last of my career-related responsibilities once and for all.
“This one’s for all the little dreamers…”
This city is so alive. There’s no other way to describe it. There was a party every day and always something to see/do. I visited Havana during spring break with one of my best friends and we had a wonderful time!
Despite the very very limited internet, I received my first acceptance to law school during this trip. I had officially made it.
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
“Even better than I was the last time baby…I’m good. So good!”
I know it’s ironic to choose Chance the Rapper for this city, but at the time, I had only just started listening to his music (I KNOW). I was in town for business but had the chance to catch up with old friends and new. I was in the middle of riding a life high and felt like I was finally starting a new chapter in my life, and not walking through molasses.
New York, New York, U.S.A.
“She see money all around me, I look like I’m the man”
Last but not least, the place I called home for the past 23 years. I came back to this city in 2015 as an adult to give “making it” a chance. For the most part, my time at home was limited to going to and coming home from work. I worked so much I wouldn’t see my parents for days at a time – and I lived with them (yes, rent free. How else did you think I managed to pay for this post?). For the record, Shy Glizzy FLOATED on this track, ok.
Recently, New York has been more about celebrations – from birthdays to we’re young, black, successful and deserve this moment.
Old friends, new friends, those who have come and gone…all of you have contributed to who I am today. And for that, I thank you. I could not have conquered this city, this world, without you.
Until the next time,
P.S. Starting the end of May I’ll be traveling for the entire summer, starting in the Philippines and ending in Malaysia. Part of which I’ll be writing a “to do” guide for my work-exchange. Follow me on Instagram (@eb.crystal) for the word, the story never ends!