Last month when I was in San Diego, I scheduled a photo shoot with the amazing Stacey Canfield!
I spent a couple hours in her studio and came away with brand new images that reflect my evolving Happy Black Woman brand, focused on helping women all over the world create lives of happiness, success and freedom through personal development and entrepreneurship.
Here are some of my favorites!
I brought in my actual carry-on bag of choice – the black Tumi Super Leger (from their Voyageur line) to use as a prop! It was so fitting for my brand, because along with my passport, these are the basic tools of my life as a minimalist traveler.
And I couldn’t forget my black Tumi Calais backpack that serves as my “mobile office” – where I store my laptop, wallet, Moleskine notebooks and everything else I use to run my online business!
Not surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions I get about my location-independent lifestyle is:
How do you date when you’re always on the road?
My short answer is:
I love men. I love to date. And I love dating men while I’m on the road!
Here’s a sneak peek into what that looks like for me…
In San Diego, I connect with a beautiful chocolate man who just happens to have the deepest voice I’ve ever heard.
It’s actually a long-delayed second date, following our first date four months prior through the online dating site Plenty of Fish, the last time I was in the city.
A second date turns into a third, which becomes the most romantic two weeks I’ve had in a long time.
From a lovely winery tour in Temecula…to movie night…to exploring some of the best restaurants in San Diego.
But on one of my last nights in town, I discover that the #1 restaurant In San Diego is actually located in this man’s house.
It all starts with a trip to the grocery store.
We walk in, he grabs a cart and we spend the next hour discussing our love of food and wine.
We talk about our dream places to live around the world.
His is Japan. Mine is Hawaii.
We get two T-bone steaks, a bag of fresh brussels sprouts, french rolls and a few heads of garlic.
Back at his place, he starts cooking, standing at the stove clad in a white t-shirt and light blue jeans.
But not before he opens up a bottle of Malbec – my favorite wine – and pours me a glass.
Alicia Keys is singing softly in the background.
“Everything means nothin’ if I ain’t got you…”
We talk about our families.
We’re both from Ohio and naturally, we bond over crazy uncle stories.
This is how it happens, I think.
This is how you fall in love.
Here in the warmth of his kitchen, he’s fixing my plate – a huge steak, roasted brussels sprouts, a neat pile of risotto.
I cut into my steak and it’s cooked perfectly.
Medium with a thin line of red in the center, just how I like it.
It might just be the best steak I’ve ever had.
For a moment, I feel like I want to live right here in this kitchen for the rest of my life.
We finish off the Malbec and I take a look at the bottle.
It’s a 2011 from Argentina.
“This is a really good wine,” I say, impressed.
“I know,” he replies, grinning.
“The odd years are always the best years.”
A few days later, he volunteers to take me to the airport.
My flight leaves at 6:00 in the morning and there’s still a chill in the California air.
I’m headed to New Orleans and I want to pack this man up into my Tumi and take him with me.
Here, curbside at the San Diego Airport, I’m reminded of how easy it is to attract love into your life when you allow yourself to open your heart with no expectations.
I smile, knowing that this may very well be the last time we see each other.
Yet, there are no awkward questions about where we stand or when I’m coming back.
Instead, there is only the promise of a brand new day and deep gratitude for the time we were able to share.