Category Archives: Stories

Travel Personalities, pt. i


I’m probably going to HELL for this but…

The main thing I like about traveling is the people. That said I don’t necessarily like ALL of the people all of the time, but everybody’s got a story and I’m curious enough to want to hear it. The people that cause me to roll my eyes are not suffering personality flaws so much as they possess some unfortunate personal/physical/hygienic issue that I simply cannot overlook. Here are a few of the types of travelers that I try to keep an eye out for:

1. The Hackasaurus Rex: This is the person that sits next to or near you on a plane/train/bus that has some (probably contagious) unfortunate upper respiratory disease that causes them to hack non-stop from Albany to Zurich. Absent earphones or earplugs you will not get a moment of sleep because of their persistent cough. They have been coughing so long that they no longer bother (much) to cover their mouth, and you can feel their amoeba attacking your white blood cells before the plane hits the runway. This person is usually between 40 and 60 years old and NEVER has any ‘Tussin, Vicks or cough drops.

** Why I’m going to hell: I recently sat next to a Hackasaurus. She looked healthy and bright eyed when I sat down. 20 minutes later I realized my mistake. I offered her the half-eaten roll of cough drops from my daypack. She took ONE. I was like “oh Hell-to-the-naw, you can keep the whole roll” okay I was only thinking that. She takes the roll and says “they work a little, but not for long. I have lung cancer.” Yes, people I know. Bad Funchilde, I hopefully somewhat redeemed myself by sending up prayers and good vibes for her. We did giggle a bit about some things during the trip but I wanted so badly to reach out and touch her arm and just let her know I was there and I heard her and I was grateful for the health she did have. Unfortunately, we were laughing too much for me to inject that sentimental nonsense into the moment. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, I lost my ex father in-law (yeah I’m confused too) and my Aunt Gloria to cancer. I promise, next time I see one of those yellow Livestrong bracelets I’m all over it!

To Be Continued….

So, tell us about some of the whacky characters and charming people you’ve met on the road! 



Morelia Mexico: A Recap of Sorts

Current location: Guanajuato, MX 


Mulege to San Diego: 
Luxury coach: $80
Snacks for the 15 hour ride: $8
Random little girl passed out on my shoulder: priceless.

San Diego to Denver:
Pat’s Irish Bar for drinks with Scott and Erica. Freak snow storm and Shrimp Pad Thai. In the “It’s a small world” category: Scott and Erica were coming back from a week skiing in Vail. A friend they were with tore her ACL and was headed back to Virginia. The friend: one of my first year MBA students at UVA!

Denver to Chicago:
Giordano’s Pizza with Hazel and Rick. They had just come from getting hitched in Vegas! I wanted to treat them as a wedding gift, but they wouldn’t hear of it. They gave me the best “I just met you but this was so much fun please look us up when you are in town” hugs ever.

This dude (Thomas) was cute at first but then got too aggressive. Plus he gave a terrible shoulder rub, you know what they say, if the shoulder rub is bad then…er, nevermind.

Plus, another guy was arrested for carrying like a pound of weed in his carry-on bag! The Marshalls (is that what they are called? Po-Po?) were not playing around and carried him out of there crying like a baby in handcuffs. This dude had a block of marijuana wrapped in plastic, tucked into a backpack and then tucked into a rolling carry-on and you could STILL SMELL IT! I was questioned briefly, because I was coming from Mexico/CA (and possibly because I’m brown) but they quickly ascertained that I am a dork with no knowledge of the drug trade except for what I saw in those classic hood-in-training flicks: Traffic and New Jack City. 

Chicago to Michigan:
Conference/Training with client. Debauchery with new co-workers. Very long days. Jessica and Jocylen blew my hair out of its braided tangles and tamed it with some Pantene and a curling iron. My mom Fed Ex’d my business casuals to me and WA-LA! Instant Professional ™! Slight cold due to rapid change in temperature from Mexico to Michigan and shaking 250 hands in 3 days. But that didn’t stop me from putting a dent in the open bar at the Credit Suisse reception or from having drinks with M. Blake.

Michigan to Virginia:
My dirty-third birthday! Mom’s Potato Salad and Fried Chicken, Dad’s Apple Martinis with lil bro and Jamila, Sunday spent replacing a blown water heater in rental unit B ($350), Monday spent dropping $300 for repairs to Shorty Rock (my car) to pass inspection. Dinner with Stella (free, she paid).

Let me tell you what I got for my birthday: two airline sized bottles of liquor, a candle in gift wrap I had given my mom a gift in, and a slightly used box of valentine’s candy! I get the feeling they weren’t expecting to see me don’t you?

**UPDATE: I totally forgot to mention my birthday dinner at Outback with my ex-mother-in-law (yeah, i’m confused too). First of all we had a crazy waitress who spilled beer on a guy at the table next to us. Second, that was the best steak I’ve had in MONTHS. Ms. D is also a traveler so I loved seeing her pics from her most recent trip and the stories about her group of girlfriends and their antics. The conversation was uplifting as always. I feel like I have two phenomenal women (Mom and Momma D) who continue to shape my journey into womanhood.

Another funny story, while waiting for my car at the mechanics, this guy (who was with another male friend) actually thought I was going to a) buy him lunch b) go off with him and his friend to his house while waiting for my car (theirs was ready) and c) give him my phone number. Riiiiigggghhhtttt. The crazy thing is he was really cute, but dang, can’t a sistah get some flowers? A lunch invite where YOU pay? A first date? Plus he had spent 2 years in JAIL. QOTD (Quote of the day) “Not everyone in jail has tattoos”….uh, check please!

Best.Compliment.Ever: Young, Caucasian, spring-breaker kid to me while waiting in line at ATM in DC with his brother and a friend: “Your smile is gonna save this city.” 

Virginia to NY:
More training with client. More debauchery with new co-workers.
Why I’m going to love this client: They have Blue Moon AND Corona in the office fridge! PLUS, I got to wear jeans and tennis shoes to work! PLUS they have cable and TIVO in the office. To all my NY friends that are reading this: I didn’t call because I don’t have the money to hang out with yall like that! If I can’t go to Blue Fin or Plataforma or Virgil’s I’d rather stay home!

NY to Atlanta:
Stacey, Siddiq and their twins. Laundry. Atlanta Zoo and the very worth it: Chuck Close exhibit at the High Museum. Dinner at The Flying Biscuit. Ice Age 2 and being woken up by two three (and a ½)-year olds.

Atlanta to Houston:

Houston to Nuevo Laredo, MX:

Hoos Who?

I can’t even remember why I applied to UVA, aside from the fact that it was a large state school that sent me an application. Being fairly agreeable in nature, I obliged and applied to only two schools: UVA and Virginia Tech, our largest in-state rival. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had no idea of UVA’s stature in terms of national rankings, reputation for excellence etc. All I know is that I was admitted to both schools and UVA seduced me easily with the Spring Fling admitted student weekend and promises of late nights playing cards and eating dominos pizza. I imagined deep discussions about politics and race, surrounded by more black folks than I had ever shared a classroom with. We were fed and courted and entertained. Everywhere we went there were dozens and dozens of other black folks! And this taste of college life was over a weekend so there was no talk of classes, homework, alarm clocks or meetings…bah, whatever. I couldn’t be bothered with such details. Little did we know that this would be the best weekend of our young, black collegiate lives and that 80% of the black folks we saw that weekend…well, could you tell them we are STILL looking for them? Continue reading Hoos Who?

I’ve Been Called Worse

When I went to Kenya with NOLS in 1997 we spent alot of time hiking through rural areas. The country is stunning in ways that I dare not attempt to articulate. It is a land with a proud history of resilience and rebirth. The charm of Kenya extends to its people without a doubt, and their warmth and hospitality are rivaled only by their humor.

We were fortunate to have a maasai guide with us. I don’t remember his given name, but his English moniker was Robert. I lost my journal at the end of the trip and it still hurts my heart to this day that so many details are gone. I remember Robert very well though, he was of course very tall, easily 6’5, with skin that looked silky-smooth and the color of freshly melted milk chocolate. One day Robert took us to a boma (village) of some of his relatives. His family members poured out into the center happy to see him, and they welcomed us with such fanfare and goodwill that we all smiled and tried to communicate our gratitude despite the language barrier, and felt only slightly less ridiculous in our western style long pants and a rainbow of nylon backpacks. It was clear that though they were kind, Robert’s family were not only laughing with us, but capitalized on every opportunity to laugh at us. One male family member, who I assumed or intuited to be an uncle of sorts, continued to circle us and clap us on our shoulders in a good natured welcome. The whole time repeating a swahili phrase that had the rest of the family nearly in tears. Continue reading I’ve Been Called Worse