There's nothing like a good ol' chocolate, caramel, or vanilla-wafer brotha who is not only open to adventures in business, love, and the bedroom but who is always down for the extraordinary trip of a lifetime. And sis, we as a community are doing more and more traveling---especially to international locales---these days. According to research, black travelers contribute a whopping $63 billion to the tourism industry, and 17% of us take one or more trips outside of the U.S.
It's fun to enjoy a solo trip every now and again, but sometimes it's good to get a little companionship from a guy who knows how to let it all hang out and make new memories.
These 10 men are changing the game in the travel world---venturing off the beaten path and letting us in on how royally our kings roll around the world:
Agoro, a Nigerian-American entrepreneur from Chi-town, offers premium content via his travel platform, Passport Heavy, which features vlogs from his experiences in places like Mexico City, London, Accra (Ghana), Lagos (Nigeria), and Medellin (Colombia). His videos always invoke feelings of yearning, possibility, and aspiration, and he's always super-motivational. He also gives so many details about how you can replicate the experiences. (Added bonus: His Website says he's "looking for romance", so ladies, go ahead and hit up thet DMs. Let's hope that by the time this is published, that's still true.)
This guy's Instagram is packed with black boy joy and photos that look like they came from a modeling portfolio. The consultant who proudly proclaims his Howard University alumni status, has shared experiences from Budapest to the Philippines to Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and relishes in more than his share of luxe. We can dig it.
A self-proclaimed "travel engineer", Brian proves that we can all get past travel stereotypes (and throw away the phrase, "Black folks don't go there.") He's taken trips to Cambodia, Finland, and Haiti, and offers a glimpse into luxury experiences in places some of us might not have previously considered a must-see. He also candidly shares the highs---and lows---of TWB (aka traveling while black). Brian keeps it moving, around the world, surpassing 90 countries visited.
As founder of a travel community and content platform that has grown to more than 77,000 followers, Rondel proudly travels with his wifey---sorry, ladies---and advocates for black travelers going beyond the usual. He's had journeys from Africa to the Caribbean to Europe, and with more than 60 countries visited, gives us a view not only into the sweetness of black love but the euphoric feeling of getting one more passport stamp.
This Jamaican vlogger is known to take a baecation or two to explore nontraditional venues within the country of his birth. He also creates memorable experiences like "Catch & Cook" lobster and jungle treks in Mexico. Stephen-Philip reminds us all that though we might have a favorite go-to vacay spot, we must still be open-minded to going beyond the typical resorts and Airbnbs. I mean, our travel and love lives get stale otherwise.
Curry is a chef who has made amazing strides with his platform that showcases healthy living. The creative entrepreneur also takes readers along on his travels, some of which include food adventures in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Morocco. As if his dishes aren't swoon-worthy enough, Curry shares his fitness and gym routines that might have you sneaking to the other room to binge watch. (Sorry, bae.)
A Southern-bred professional with a doctoral degree who plays the organ and travels? Chile, go ahead and faint. The clinical pharmacist shares reviews and experiences from his trips via his Website and gives us a sneak peek of global adventures on his IG. Japan, Croatia, Kenya, and Switzerland are just a few spots he's landed on, and the list continues to grow. Can't vouch for his relationship status, but hey, don't let that keep you from fantasizing or even doing a bit of Web stalking---I mean, research---to find clues.
OK single ladies, you might want to steer clear of knocking over that wine glass or coffee cup near your laptop while checking out his IG page. When this photographer is not traveling with his Omega Psi Phi bruhs to locales like Louisiana's French Quarter and the Louvre in Paris, he's luxuriating on Bali's Kelinking Beach or at Croatia's Palmizana. What better way to up your (Instagram) travel profile than having a bae who knows his way around the world and behind a camera lens?
A photographer and engineer, Andrew travels with his wife, an entrepreneur in her own right, on global explorations. The two give us all the tripspiration feels via IG. You'll find ideas for plans with your current boo (I'm taking notes) or future hubby you've been prayed about---from honeymooning in Bali, to anniversary revelry in Kenya, to yacht lounging in Italy.
He touts himself as "The Jetsetter", and the name is quite fitting since he's been to more than 50 countries. You'll find photos and back-stories for some of his most inspiring trips, from playing soccer with local kids in the West African nation of Togo, to enjoying coffee outside Poland's infamous Crooked House. Throw in a beard, muscles and mention of Hebrews 11:6, and he might be the formula for a travel-bae match made in heaven. (But don't quote me on his marital status, as that is unknown based on his IG. Guess you'll have to shoot your shot and see.)
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Sometimes, you don't realize you need a baecation until you've finished a hectic week at work, which has left little to no time to spend with your love.
If you've find yourself needing some rest and relaxation with your significant other on short notice, have no fear. Below, there are plenty of last-minute romantic destinations that you and your partner can plan and book at a whim, just in time to celebrate the month of love:
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Originally published on February 12, 2019
A few weeks ago, one of my clients asked me if I had watched a movie that has racked up about a billion (give or take) Oscar nods this year—A Marriage Story. I think because, as a marriage life coach, I feel like I see the movie, on repeat, every week, it didn't "move me" quite as much as it probably did a lot of other people. Still, I totally get why my divorced client—along with a friend of mine who said she cried while watching it—was a bit shook. The writing is extremely realistic. It also helps to prove a particular belief on marriage that I have. It's the belief that "big things" are not what typically rock a marriage to its core. No, it's usually very small things that go ignored or resentfully unaddressed that end up snowballing way out of control.
That is why I'm a huge fan of recommending marriage hacks to couples. Aside from seasonal therapy (which I also highly recommend; it's like a routine oil change for your relationship), it's one of the best ways to keep little issues from eventually becoming gigantic problems. It's also one way to hopefully avoid becoming the real-life version of one of this year's most popular films.
1. Write a Marriage Mission Statement
If you go to Wikipedia to see how it defines a mission statement, this is a part of what it will say—"A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists, what its overall goal is, identifying the goal of its operations…" And yes, while a lot of mission statements are penned for businesses, I personally am a huge fan of them also being written for personal reasons. Ask any married couple who's passed the newlywed phase and they will vouch for the fact that it's the kind of union that also needs clarity on why the relationship exists, what the overall goals are and what needs to be done in order to reach those ambitions. If right now, it feels like, although you and your spouse are "in it to win it", you're not really sure what that means or how to get where you want to go, take out a couple of hours one weekend to write a mission statement together. Then post it somewhere where you both can see it. This very simple marriage hack could be what brings clarity to the purpose of and desires for your relationship.
2. Go on a Positivity Fast
If someone were to ask you right now to mention seven things that totally irk you about your partner, I'm willing to bet the money that I will get from writing this article that you can rattle those things right off. Yet isn't it interesting that, if someone were to also ask you to share 10 things that you adore about your spouse, chances are, it would probably take a lot more time? A part of the reason why a lot of us roll that way is due to something known as a "negativity bias". It basically means that our brains have a tendency to not only take in negative stimuli more easily but we oftentimes dwell on it too.
One way to "reprogram" yourself is to be intentional about focusing on the positive. One way to do this in your marriage is to tell yourself (and your partner) that you are going to go three, five or seven days without saying anything negative. Instead, you are only going to state positive words towards and about them.
The affirmations will make your spouse feel loved, respected and appreciated. Plus, putting good energy into your relationship will help you to see your marriage from a "glass half full" rather than a "glass half empty" perspective. And that always will work in your favor.
3. DIY a Hotel Bed
People who know me know that I am good for hooking a married couple up with a hotel room, free of charge. Although it's been a minute since I've had hotel sex (le sigh), I still have my memories and there is something about a hotel bed that makes coitus extra bomb! But man, when I went to book a Valentine's Day reservation recently, the rooms in Nashville were averaging between $350-400 a night. Geeze. That has given me the idea to also start doing DIY hotel room gift baskets. Basically, they're baskets with high thread-count sheets, new pillows, some essential oils and possibly a pillow mattress cover, if needed.
Listen, while incorporating a sex jar can help you to save money so that you can engage in a lil' bit of hotel copulation, if times are tight right now, one way to make sex extra hot is to DIY your own hotel bed. A change of bedding and a few candles can do miracles. You'd betta believe it.
4. Do a Project Together
One of my closest male friends calls me a "king maker". Out of all of the affirmations that I've received, that one definitely ranks up in the top three because he told me that it means that I like to do my part to help men to win. He's right. That's why I consider myself to be a complementarian which basically means that I believe that men and women were created equally yet differently, in part, in order to complement one another and bring balance to each other's lives. So, if you're a single woman who desires to be married someday, please make sure that the man you choose shows clear signs of being a "queen maker"—that you both are invested in building each other up in as many ways as possible.
If you're already married, one way to do this kind of building is for you and your spouse to pick a project that you can do together. It can be something around the house. It can be taking a class or course together. Or, it could be putting together an annual bucket list and seeing how many things you can check off of it come Christmas. Sometimes, life is so crazy, that couples forget that they are there to help to share the load, dream together, and use each other's resources to accomplish certain goals and aspirations. The more two people function as a team, the more bonded they tend to be.
5. Forgive. ASAP.
Something that I tell single and engaged people often is, if you're not good at forgiving someone (including yourself), you are going to suck at marriage. Keeping this in mind, while it might be an "ouch" moment for some, when you think about the root cause of a lot of divorces out here, many of them stem from unforgivingness. In fact, I believe that one of the reasons why a lot of people struggle so much with marriage is because they have too much pride, fear and/or ego to accept that someone else is just as human and flawed as they are. The reason why I say that is because, it's real interesting how much we want to be forgiven for what we do (or don't do), but the moment someone else desires the same empathy, compassion and pardon, we emotionally shut down.
Forgiveness isn't easy. Whew, not at all. But some of the healthiest people with the longest-running marriages will tell you that if you want your marriage to thrive, accepting the humanness of your partner, not holding grudges and learning to let stuff go are some of the best ways to do that.
The Bible even co-signs—"When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down." (Ephesians 4:26—AMPC) Another way to look at this is, "Forgive others as quickly as you expect God to forgive you." (A writer named Sylvia Grace once said that.) If the Word ain't your thing, a great quote by author Bryan H. McGill says, "There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love." Show your partner how much you love them by forgiving them. It really is one of marriage's superpowers and the key to not only saying "until death parts us" but actually meaning it.
6. Recreate Your First Date
Romance is important to the health and well-being of a relationship; especially a marriage. This definition of the word is a big reason why—"to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness". No one wants to feel like their spouse isn't "wooing them" anymore, simply because they are "officially" together. If it's been a while since you and your partner have done something to make you blush or him grin, a simple way to bring the romance back is to recreate your first date. No matter how elaborate or simple it was, there is always something super sweet about revisiting the moments when you both first saw a spark (or a potential one) between the two of you.
7. Participate in a 7-Day Climax Mission
There are a lot of married people who've told me that the longer they are with their spouse, the better their sex life becomes. To me, that makes total sense because even the King James Version of the Bible uses the word "know" to define sexual intimacy (the New King James Version of Genesis 4:1 is a good example of this). The more you get to know someone and they get to know you, the more pleasurable the relationship can be. And, the more two people get to know one another, the better they become at figuring out what turns their partner on and what doesn't; what will make them climax and what won't.
That's why, whenever I'm dealing with a sexually frustrated spouse who tells me that it's been a while since they've had an orgasm, one eyebrow—if not both—goes up. "Have they ever made you cum?" is usually my first question. If the answer is "yes", then I tell them that if it happened before, it can happen again. Next, I suggest that they go on a 7-day climax mission—and yep, it's just what you think it is. The reason why I've penned articles like "10 Simple Ways Married Couples Can Make More Time For Sex" is because, while it would be cool if all sex sessions could be like 90s R&B songs, not everyone has time for all night long sex, all of the time. But you know what you can make time for? Getting your partner off. And if you've been paying even 50 percent of attention to their body, that is something that you can make time to pull off every day, for a week straight—easily. If doing this doesn't make the two of you happier and ultimately bring the two of you closer together, I promise you that I don't know what will!
8. Go on a Road Trip
There are some couples I know who've been married for years and can count on one hand how many times they've taken a romantic trip together (including their honeymoon). That's sad, y'all. Spending quality time away with your boo should not be seen as a luxury; it should definitely be treated as a necessity, especially since there are studies to support the fact that traveling together causes couples to feel closer to one another. Not only that but one article I read stated that couples who go on vacations feel like they have similar goals and desires, that they are able to handle their differences better and that they have more fun together too.
Even if you're not ballin' and you can't get away on a cruise or even catch a flight to another state any time soon, at least try and fit a road trip in a couple of times a year. The time alone in the car, coupled with spending a few days being totally off of life's grid can be just what you need to breathe new life and romance into your union.
9. Pray and/or Meditate Together
I recently read an article that stated some of the health benefits that come from praying. Some of them include the fact that praying makes you more positive, reduces stress, gives you stronger coping mechanisms, increases your ability to forgive, and even adds years to your life. The reason why I'm bringing this up is because, whenever I deal with a couple that's in trouble, there are usually two things that they are not doing—praying and having sex. When you see all of the good things that come out of doing both (for the sex point, check out "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important"), why wouldn't you want to incorporate them into your relationship as much as possible?
On the prayer tip, it can be having prayer together in the morning or before turning in at night. Or, if prayer isn't your thing, consider taking out 10-15 minutes to meditate together instead. I once read an article that provided 100 physiological benefits of meditation. If you take it a step further and turn it into an orgasmic meditation exercise, you might find that prayer and/or meditation are the hacks that could be totally life-saving when it comes to your relationship.
One more hack, y'all and it's an easy one. When's the last time that you and yours cuddled? I don't mean getting close as a lead into foreplay. I mean just sitting on the couch while being draped over one another or curling up in each other's arms while engaging in some pillow talk? Yeah, don't sleep on cuddling. It's proven to lower inflammation, ease chronic pain, boost immunity, relieve anxiety and improve one's quality of sleep. Also, since cuddling is a surefire way to boost the "love hormone" known as oxytocin (which can instantly make you feel closer to your partner), it's the kind of activity that can cause your mind, body and spirit to feel connected to your partner in a very sweet, sentimental and intimate kind of way. Try it tonight. Watch how it benefits your union—how a simple thing like experiencing a long hug from your life partner can totally get your marriage back on track.
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A little more than a year after announcing the beginning of their romantic relationship, Jesse Williams and Taylour Paige are still going strong and earlier this week, the couple slid through the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah looking booked and boo'd up.
Returning to the scene where they first made their relationship public, Jesse showed his support for Taylour's highly-anticipated film, Zola, by joining the 29-year-old star on the red carpet and the normally tight-lipped couple was all smiles.
Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil
While their recent trip to the southwest may have been business-focused, it turns out that this scenic state just might be the baecation destination of your dreams. Between ziplining in the mountains and horseriding in the desert, Utah has something special to cater to every couple and we have all the details.
Scroll below for a list of lowkey, lover-friendly getaway spots in Utah that will help you and bae get your romantic life all the way together.
Homestead Crater Soak and Swim
I didn't know I needed to do yoga with my man on a surfboard in a 10,000-year-old geothermal spring until today and now I can't unsee it. Known as the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S., The Homestead Crater at The Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah, is the perfect lowkey getaway if you and your boo are looking for relaxation with a splash of adventure.
The Cresent Moon Inn
Located in Utah's Red Rock Country, this quiet inn is perfect for the couple who can appreciate an amazing view. If you muster the energy to leave your room, you and bae can do some sightseeing in the town of Kayenta, which promises an array of art galleries, food options, and spas.
Sundance Mountain Resort
For the bougie baecation of your dreams, look no further than the Sundance Mountain Resort. Whether you decide to curl up with your man and a good book or hit the hiking trail and try ziplining for the first time, this resort has you covered. Named the #1 Ski Resort in the U.S. and Canada by Conde Nast Traveler, this luxury travel destination is a perfect baecation destination choice at any time of year.
The Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa
For the bougie baecation of your dreams, look no further than the Sundance Mountain Resort. Whether you decide to curl up with your man and a good book or hit the hiking trail and try ziplining for the first time, this resort has you covered.
Featured image by Instagram/@taylour.
Between your increasingly thriving career, familial obligations, and making time for self-care, romance may be the last thing on mind. While you've been focused on living your best life, it's possible that you've been putting bae on the back burner, but according to Steph and Ayesha Curry, your partner should be the most important thing on your to-do list, and their recent trip to Iceland was proof of this fact.
The Currys constantly have their schedules jam-packed with everything from hosting PGA golf tournaments to raising three children, but somehow despite the chaos of both their personal and professional lives, these two always seem to make time for one another. The couple, who spent their weekend in the land of volcanoes, geysers, and lava fields, celebrated 8 years of marriage in July and are a vision of melanin matrimony that is frame-worthy.
While a 7-hour flight to Viking country may not be on your bucket list, this celebrity couple just proved that one of the coolest things you can do is have a hot date on a glacier. Steph and Ayesha spent their baecation at The Retreat Blue Lagoon at Iceland, a luxury resort with floor-to-ceiling windows and lagoon views that starts at $1,300 a night; but there are also Volcano Huts and Cottages available that you can snag at a bargain for an alternatively dope experience.
Although booking a place to stay is a great place to start, Iceland has a lot more to offer than a quaint love nest when it comes to romance. If you and your boo are thinking of booking a trip, here are a few places you should check out while you're there:
Known as one of the Top 25 wonders of the world, Iceland's man-made geothermic spa has been graced by the likes of Beyonce, Jay-Z, Ayesha and Steph Curry, and now, you and your boo! The lagoon's waters stay around 102 degrees Fahrenheit and is open year-round, but due to its popularity, it's recommended that you book well before your trip.
Climbing into a dormant volcanic crater may not be the ideal date night, but judging from Steph and Ayesha's photos, it sure makes for a fun one. One of the country's top attractions and the only volcano in the world that you can actually go inside, visitors can delve down up to 400 feet down into the volcano's magma chamber for a one of a kind experience.
Experience The Northern Lights At Seltjarnarnes
Aurora Borealis or Northern lights, Iceland
This quaint, mountain-view city is the perfect place for you and your partner to fall in love all over again. From late September until late March, you can experience the Northern Lights, a beautiful display of colors and stars that will set the mood for the date night of your dreams.
Featured image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
When you're closing in on the big 3-0, you naturally want to celebrate in a grand way. For my husband's birthday, choosing the destination was easy. Deciding if we would bring our toddler with us was another story.
I have no problem admitting that I am an overprotective mama bear. My daughter is damn near two years old, and she has only been babysat by three family members for no more than a few hours at a time. Daycare you ask? Nope, shorty is with mommy 24/7. So, when hubby started throwing around the idea of a baby-free vacation, I wanted to be cool and give this hard-working man everything he wanted for his birthday, but internally I was in a panic.
Ultimately, he wasn't comfortable with spending so much time away from his little girl either. After all, we vowed to be that black couple that traveled the world with our kids in tow. So, off we went on our first family trip to Cuba. And you know what? We discovered that Baecation-ing with a tot is totally doable. If you're down to make a few adjustments, you can definitely sneak in sexy time with bae while traveling with small children. Here's how:
Writer Alisa in Cuba with her little one in tow
Stick to a Schedule
If your child is anything like mine, she functions better on a schedule. A missed nap or snack will transform your little angel into the Tasmanian devil and ruin everybody's good time. Stick to your usual nap routine. It's been proven that children who nap during the day sleep better at night. Don't fret about losing precious daylight. This presents the perfect opportunity for you two to squeeze in some alone time. If you've planned a full day excursion and cannot get your kid back to a room for a nap, a baby carrier will be your best friend. The Ergobaby is our favorite, but there are plenty of other that also hold up to 44 pounds.
Ditch the Hotel and Opt for an Airbnb
It's hard to pretend that you're on a romantic getaway for two when there's a toddler snoring a few feet away from you. Try to rent a two-bedroom apartment instead of a hotel. When the baby is down for the night, you get what you really flew thousands of miles for, vacation sex.
Alisa's husband and daughter wandering the streets of Cuba
Take the Party Outside
After a long day, your baby may be ready for bed, but that doesn't mean you have to call it a night. In the famous words of Lil Jon, "Turn Down for What?" Give your munchkin a goodnight smooch and move your party outdoors. A rental with a private rooftop or a large balcony with a sea view, will make you feel like you never left the beach.
Traveling with your kid will look and feel differently than it used to. Sure, you lose out on the romantic hotel stays where you two have the option of turning a king size bed into a private island. But exposing your little one to the great big world will give you other types of feels. A sleeping child will allow for plenty of alone time. After all, nothing helps a child sleep better than a day full of exciting new adventures.
When the coast is clear, get creative and make it work, even if that means getting it poppin' on a nearby bathroom floor. Just remember not to wake the baby. ;)
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org