During the height of Middle Eastern winters, temps dip to a comfortable 70 degrees. This signals a time to step outside into more comfortable weather and get active! To many, this often means participating in recreational sports, camping activities, picnics, and so much more. That said, with the welcomed change in weather, I was so glad to have received an invite from a friend to head into the northern region of Qatar to enjoy a bit of 4-wheeling / quad biking in the desert!
In keeping with getting a little more personal on the Q.A.C blog space, this week, I’m diving into another topic close to my heart and chatting about the recent shift I’ve noticed in a few of my relationships. Thinking back to my college years, one of the realist pieces of advice my dad has ever given was:
“Be careful who you share your good news with …
Not everyone who hears will be happy for you.”
At the time, it sat with me like a tired old cliché. The kind parents often use to convey some grand life lesson. However, in time? Particularly over the last year, I’ve come to realize no truer words could have been spoken. This time last year. I’d just received a job offer to live / work abroad and like any good millennial, I immediately announced my middle East move online.
Doing one last check in for 2018. Can you believe the end of the year is already here? While the masses prep their newfound resolutions and make solemn vows of what they won’t bring into the new year? My thoughts lately have been focused more on remembering what’s truly important, caring for myself … This includes my mental health.
Hey Royal Fam!
Angela here checking in another beautiful corner of the world .. The Maldives! If you’re following my journey on Instagram (and you totally should, LOL) .. Then you might have already seen the breathtaking behind the scenes photos and videos that have gone up so far from my current adventure .. If not? No worries. Tap the button below to visit my profile. Follow me there to keep up with this adventure. Also, check out the “Maldives” highlight tab just under my bio.
Happy August Loves,
It's the end of summer and as friends, families, solo travelers, and boo'd up couples alike make a last dash to soak up some much needed sun, I wanted to check in with my extended family and share one of my best travel finds to date ... A tropical jungle escape in Bali, Indonesia!
Hey Royal Fam!
Angela here with another travel adventure! In this weeks journey, I had the incredible opportunity to experience an traditional "Royal Moroccan Hammam” here in Qatar. Long time readers know, I've been a practicing nudist for some time. Yet, finding naked friendly spaces in the Middle East has been nearly impossible ... Until? I discovered traditional hammams.
For new expats or travelers like myself living abroad in (or visiting) Muslim countries during Ramadan, not only does this mean a dramatic shift in the slowing down of all business activities and social functions (check new hours of business before heading out), it also means learning a list of new rules when navigating the your host country. Below are just a few "do's and don'ts" for Ramadan newbies.
Fresh off a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia (location post coming soon), I wanted to share some of the online hiding places I use to find flight deals when traveling. Despite the obvious growth and popularity of travel, there is still the perception that booking flights has to be be expensive. It really doesn't. Travel can and should be accessible to everyone!
Back again with another installment from the "Expat Series" and this time, today's topic came to me via email. Desi, part of our online fam asked, how did I know my recent job offer was the real thing and not some form of pyramid scheme, identity theft, or worse?! It was a great question and one I really wanted to be sure I followed up with here, as I might imagine many of you might be wondering the same. Of course everyone will say "do your research." But what does that really entail? What exactly did I look for when vetting my new company? ... Below I give a few short specifics:
That said, what better time than now to share what I've learned so far. Check out these easy tips, that can make you more marketable and help you in your search!
Again, it's been a long while since I've had the chance to chat up with you guys. Since my last post, SO much has changed! ... I moved out of NYC ... I've started a new job .. And moved into new apartment ... All in a NEW country! I'm beyond excited to share my journey of living and exploring the Middle East and I hope you are too!
As an on and off again yogi since college, I'm not new to the idea of “mindfulness” or popping into a random yoga class. That said? I’ve been looking for a challenge … Something that would push me out my comfort zone and elevate my mind - body connection to next level. Cue? Naked yoga! Now I know what you're thinking ..."Wait, that’s a thing?” ... “How naked are we talking here?” ... “Is this a real yoga class?" … Or? As my mom asked, "So yall just gonna be bent over completely naked the whole time huh?” Moms. What can I say LOL! The answer to all of these questions, is YES, naked yoga is an actual practice. I discovered it not long ago and was so excited when my nudist / naturist colony peeps decided to rent a space and host a private class with a certified instructor, Whitney ...
I love nudity. The male and female form in its natural state is considered art to me. The physical act of disrobing? I consider freeing. The ability to fully undress, take an unflinching look at ourselves, and still find beauty in our bodies is a gift many unfortunately do not enjoy. That said, it's one thing to dress in your skivvies or walk nude around the house. It's a completely different thing to get naked ... For an entire week ... Around a group of fellow nomads I'd only just connected with online via a private close knit group. Even for the most seasoned traveler, this might seem a bit much ... So having butterflies? Only natural.
As I prepare for my upcoming trip a nudist colony, I've been doing so much reflection on what it means to actually express myself in this way. Hang ups surrounding nudism seem to be SO prominent within the American psyche. While some have embraced nudity, in many ways as another facet of life (with prominent nude beaches and even restaurants taking shape) .. Here in America, it seems that we are still wrestling with old "fire and brimstone" Puritan beliefs. The idea that nakedness is bad or or reserved for very limited situations ... and almost always only for private consumption.
As the summer begins to wind down, I've decided to take a brief vacation from running the Q.A.C webstore to get a bit of rest and relaxation before the busy fall season arrives. However, if you know me, you know I do nothing boring of ordinary, LOL. That said, in just over two weeks from now, I'll be doing what some might consider unthinkable ... Random ... Or highly debatable .... I'm going to St. Maarten & St. Barths to a nudist colony! That's right, a woman who absolutely loves clothes and fashion is actually going to a place where garments will be completely unnecessary! Don't get me wrong, dressing up and finding creative ways to adorn my body in unique pieces will always feel special to me ... And yet ... There's something equally rewarding about traveling and letting all the trappings go for a while.
Like most, I like to ease into my week, but this Monday? I'm all excitement! By now you've probably seen my weekly posts highlighting various indigenous global tribes in my Cultural Beauties" series. This week? I am so proud the share with everyone a part of my Ghanaian heritage and tribe that I rarely (if ever) discuss.
It was during that time, that I began another fun hobby ... collecting jewelry pieces from my (or friends) various places of travels. While a bit small now, my collection is slowly growing! What I really love about my personal travel jewels is the story they each tell. Never fail, whenever I wear them out, I'm undoubtedly complimented and asked about them. Stories of my journey in that respective country and the people I met along the way begin to spill out. In a sense, these jewelry pieces are more than just cute bobbles on a neck or wrist ... they're people connectors. Cultural ambassadors inviting conversation and a chance for learning. Love it. Below are a few pieces from my personal collection so far!
The journey of this trip began almost exactly one year ago. Disgruntled that I had to work my 9-5 over the Christmas holiday, I woke up Christmas morning and started the day the way I usually would ... grouchily scratching my left boob and checking my social media feeds. What I didn't know was that this morning routine would end much differently than the norm. As I'm scrolling through my Instagram feed, I notice hype around flights and some apparent travel deal. The details, I had yet to really look into through my sleepy eyes. I'm slow to react to the growing online chatter and the number of people posting, because if you follow the standard travel blogs, then you know, there's always a travel deal. Except ... this was the deal of all deals.
Almost 3 years ago I began traveling. The free-spirit within me has always wanted to see the world, but the way my wallet was set up because of student loans and a crazy expensive apartment in NYC, saving was always so difficult. Then? There was my over protective parents who hated (still do) the idea of their only child traveling anywhere outside the house ... if you have African / Caribbean parents, you know the struggle! lol. Finally, there was the issue of my friends, many of which said they wanted to travel, yet, had no real interest in making concrete plans. What I did get? Lots of talk surrounding going to dream places, but no actual steps made ** loud sigh ** .. It was at this point that I decided to travel on my own.