Blessed in Bali: 6 Memorable Things to Do in Tropical Paradise


Last month, I spent 2 weeks in Indonesia, with most of my time based on the island of Bali.

For the first few days, I slept off my jet lag in style in Jakarta at the Hermitage Menteng.

From Jakarta, I flew to Bali on Air Asia for about $50 and 2 hours later I was in a tropical paradise

I had booked a weeklong vacation package at Melia Bali, an all-inclusive resort.

I had a spacious suite, daily yoga classes, Balinese mojitos (made with arak instead of rum) by the pool and naps on a low-tide beach where the water receded by 4:00pm each day.

I love me some Airbnb but nothing beats being spoiled at an all-inclusive resort like Melia Bali!

I went to Bali to relax and recharge right before hosting my 3-day event in DC, the Blogging School LIVE 3-Day Intensive. I felt the need to fill myself up so I could pour my best into all the ladies who flew in from all over the country to attend!

It was the best decision EVER. I didn’t feel stressed about my event at all. There was a sense of calm that I hadn’t had before.

Here are just a few activities I experienced while I was in Bali that I highly recommend!

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Happy Black Woman in Indonesia: 5-Star Living on a 2-Star Budget!


I arrived in Jakarta on Saturday evening. It’s warm and humid as I step out of the airport and into the black air-conditioned van waiting for me outside.

Since Jakarta is 11 hours ahead of east coast time, I am quite jet-lagged after flying 14 hours from Buenos Aires to LAX on American, then 2 more days from LAX to Jakarta on a crazy $391 discount fare on Delta, including an overnight layover in Tokyo.

(Now the question is – would I do it again? Hmm, probably…LOL)

My Indonesia trip has been months in the making ever since I booked that unbelievable flight deal. But since my original fare was so low, Delta wouldn’t allow me to upgrade :(

It may have even been a “glitch fare” – where the airline posts a super-low price by mistake, but honors it anyway. I don’t remember exactly, I just saw it and booked right away!

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What I Learned About Self-Worth From Upgrading to Business Class

Beautiful view of silhouette of airplane.

I’m writing this from my laptop on my flight from Miami to Los Angeles.

Last night, I left Argentina on the first leg of my journey to the next stop on my travel bucket list – Indonesia!

I’ll begin my trip in Jakarta and then head to Bali from there.

At the last minute, I decided to upgrade my seat from Economy to Business Class.

I called American Airlines (my favorite airline) to walk me through the process since I had never done it before.

I’d done First Class upgrades on short flights within the U.S., but never for an international flight.

That was before I learned the art of maximizing my frequent flyer miles!

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My “Closed Door” Asado Dinner Experience in Buenos Aires


With Luis, the asado grillmaster of Buenos Aires!

You may know that Argentina is known for its meat – especially beef – and boy have I been eating a lot of it since I’ve been here!

I absolutely loved my “closed door” asado dinner with Luis this past weekend in Buenos Aires. An asado is essentially the Argentine version of a barbecue.

This particular event was called “Steaks By Luis” and you have to book and pay in advance on the website.  Once your reservation is confirmed, you receive the address via email and you join about a dozen others for a fun dinner with different people from around the world!

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4 Years a Nomad: A Photo Timeline of My Location-Independent Journey


Body-painted and crazy-eyed at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand – April 2013

I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I gave up my apartment in Washington, DC.

In August 2011, I ended my apartment lease.

In the process, I had to get rid of most of my stuff by selling, giving away and donating my belongings, including clothes, shoes and furniture.

My initial goal was to simply reduce my living expenses so I could save money to travel.

This is what I wrote back then:

“…most people who say they want to travel the world NEVER get past the wishful thinking phase because of their limiting beliefs around money. Many people still think traveling is just for rich people or celebrities! Of course, this negative mindset prevents us from seeing ALL the possibilities available to us. There are so many steps we can take that will get us closer to any goal we have for our lives, if we only take action.”

Even so, I thought I would just “experiment” with not having an apartment for a year or two to see how I liked it and how much it could really help me achieve my travel goals.

But what ACTUALLY happened during that time is that I learned so much about myself – who I really am, what I really want and who I really want to be.

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2 Weeks in San Diego: New Photo Shoot, Wine Country and Love on the Road


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…

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How to Spend a Week in Israel – Part 1


On the rooftop in Jerusalem! Photo by Gaya S. Turtle courtesy of Vibe Israel

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel around Israel as one of four participants for the 2015 Vibe Israel Women Entrepreneurs Tour! Vibe Israel is a non-governmental organization that hosts themed cultural tours for online opinion leaders to connect with Israel’s creative energy and share it with their followers. (Here is a snapshot of our itinerary from the week.)

One of our tour leaders described Israel as “small and complex” and upon doing some initial research, I found out that was definitely true.

The limited information I had about Israel was related to the political and religious conflict in the region, so I had no clue about the positive cultural aspects of the country, not to mention how regular Israelis live their everyday lives. For that reason, it was hard to know what to expect when I stepped off the plane in Tel Aviv.

What I learned was that Israel is a country in Western Asia with a population of about 8 million. It’s the world’s ONLY Jewish-majority state with about 75% of Israelis identifying as Jewish.

Despite the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, it has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and one of the highest life expectancies in the world. The area is considered to be Holy Land, being significant for many religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith.

That said, as a non-religious tourist who has little interest in political issues, if you were to ask me about my impression of Israel from those perspectives, what I would say is that overall, “it’s complicated.”

What *was* interesting for me to learn about on the tour was the unique culture in Israel and what women entrepreneurs are doing there to create happiness, success and freedom in their lives and the lives of their families.

And as usual, the best way to know about a place is to go there, talk to the locals and see for yourself.

So without further ado, here are some of the things I saw, did and experienced on my week-long trip to Israel – part 1!

1. Take a Day Trip Through Old Jerusalem


At the marketplace in Old Jerusalem! Photo by Gaya S. Turtle courtesy of Vibe Israel

After an introductory presentation about Israel, we headed to Old Jerusalem – an official World Heritage site –  and walked through the ancient streets, visited the various religious sites and explored the huge marketplaces.

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Travel Diary: My First Day in Israel – Tel Aviv and Jerusalem


My first night in Israel! Enjoying delicious vegan food in Tel Aviv, photo courtesy Vibe Israel

My international journey continues…

I’m excited to announce that I was selected as one of four participants for the 2015 Vibe Israel Women Entrepreneurs Tour!

Vibe Israel is a nonprofit organization based in Tel Aviv that hosts week-long, all-expenses paid tours of Israel for online influencers and bloggers to meet the people who make up the local scene in the fields they write about. In return, they share their experiences with their millions of followers.

Israel has actually never been on my list of places where I wanted to travel, but when I received the invitation to apply for the tour, I became instantly curious about this small country that I only knew for its religious significance among Jewish people.

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4 Spiritual Truths I Re-Learned After Having Surgery in Paris

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“Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.” ― Tony Robbins

I’ve been in Paris for over a week now.

But instead of enjoying the sights in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, I’ve been mostly visiting the inside of the Georges Pompidou Hospital.

My plan was to hit the ground running here in the “City of Light” with tours and cooking classes and everything else but instead…

I got hit with a serious nail infection that resulted from a salon manicure I had in Atlanta a few weeks ago. The medical term for the infection is a paronychia and excuse my French, but that shit hurts!

Combine that with the worst jet lag ever and you have a pretty rocky beginning to what was supposed to be a wonderful trip.

It all started with swelling and gradually became worse over the next few days. Of course, my first instinct was to look up my symptoms on the internet and sure enough, it looked and sounded like I had a severe paronychia.

I got an appointment with the nearest “general” doctor, who instructed me to soak my finger in alcohol. That didn’t work AT ALL.

Then, I looked up some home remedies and started soaking my finger in lemon juice and hot water, which helped with the pain but didn’t do anything for the infection that was growing under my skin. I’ll spare you the actual visual but basically, the skin around my nail was starting to look like I had gangrene!

It was time to get myself to the nearest emergency room.

Once I got to the hospital, it took some patience and a divine sense of calm to communicate the care I needed when maybe 1 out of 10 medical personnel spoke any English whatsoever. Using my remedial French and lots of gestures, I finally got in to see a specialist.

The doctor confirmed my biggest fear – the only way to fix the issue was to have surgery on my finger to remove the infection.


The night before surgery, I go to dinner at Le Poincaré, an open air bistro/cafe on the corner near my hotel.

The wind is cool as the sun sets on the city like a blanket.

I order steak and frites and eat slowly, savoring every bite like it’s my last meal.

I relish my glass of vin rouge and fall in love with the restaurant’s famous Nutella & Speculoos tiramisu for dessert.

I sip my espresso, annoyed at the situation that’s messing up my travel plans, but I also notice a strange sense of relief.

It’s the feeling of letting go of my need for control. It’s giving myself permission to slow down and listen to what my body needs right now – rest and healing.

Needless to say, being stuck in a hospital in a foreign country gave me a chance to reflect on some important spiritual reminders.

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Happy Black Woman Goes to Paris!

Bonjour de Paris!

Yep, that’s me cheesin’ for a selfie during my walk around the city today.

I had a wonderful time speaking and connecting with amazing women at Dr. Venus Opal Reese’ Black Women Millionaires live event in Atlanta and now it’s time to enjoy summer in France!

Earlier this year, when I created my travel vision board, I didn’t have ANY flights booked yet.

What I DID have was an aggressive 2015 strategic growth plan for Happy Black Woman as a company with a ton of action steps to implement!  ,

But what I wanted to do this year, along with all the work I’m doing to grow my business, was to also make sure I carve out dedicated time for travel and self-care.

So two months ago, I sat down with my travel bucket list, opened up my Google calendar and began planning out my trips for the year. Paris is my first stop with more adventures to come this summer and fall!

I’ll be sharing more on the blog about my experiences here in Paris, but so far, here’s what I can tell you:

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