A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking and we can't take much more of this quarantine. Even though governors are opting to open some states, we are staying at home for a little longer because outside doesn't seem quite clear yet. In the meantime, we are sitting in the comfort of our homes dreaming up our next getaway. My dream includes me sipping a spicy margarita with somebody's son in a private cabana as the waves hitting the shore.
Since we have been fantasizing over a few of our favorite frequent flyers and travel storytellers photos on the 'gram, we wanted to know how this pandemic is effecting them and what their travel plan looks like post-quarantine. Ahead, find a little relief for your burning wanderlust, as well as a dose of inspiration.
Photo Courtesy of Devorah Walker
"My dream trip after self-isolation would be exploring Indonesia. I had plans to visit Bali for three weeks as the pandemic was declared. I can't wait to see the views of the rice fields, hike up the mountains, beach-hop and of course go on one of Bali's famous high swings. I would then make my way East Java which doesn't have as many tourists as Bali. East Java has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Asia, starting with Tumpak Sewu, which is breathtaking in photos. From here I would head to Komodo Island to visit the pink sand beach and of course to see a real life Komodo dragon. Indonesia was on my list for quite some time so I cannot wait to make this happen.
"I had a one month Asia trip planned to leave March 22nd. (The pandemic was declared by WHO on March 11th). I was planning to visit Singapore, Australia and Indonesia. This month-long trip was supposed to be the first step of planning an international relocation.
"The biggest lesson I've learned from this time is to enjoy being still. Previously, I barely made time for myself in terms of mentally unplugging. I was always focused on writing, editing, planning the next adventure and managing my every day life. There was never any time for a 'pause'. The pandemic brought my and everyone else's life to halt and made me realize how important it is to just be still as well as appreciate what I already have as opposed to obsessing over what's next."
Photo Courtesy of Global Carnivalist
"My dream getaway will be euro-beach-chic, where I can tan in the sun and never have to think about putting on a sweater in the evening. I will have spa amenities available to me and while the town I decide to stay in will be posh, I will feel like I am a local. I want to submerge myself in the culture and local customs of where I am, but also enjoy the luxury of being there. I've narrowed it down to two places that would fit my ideal trip so far: Sorrento, Italy or Nice, France. I want everything that I was unable to consume while I was at home during COVID-19. Endless sunbathing, beaches, sailing, boutique shops and more importantly, true relaxation.
"COVID-19 has tremendously impacted my travel schedule. I had scheduled trips for Italy, Jamaica, Bahamas, Portugal, Toronto, Bermuda, St. Lucia and Antigua and I have had to cancel or reschedule each of them. I was able to shift some of them to later in the year. Hopefully things will be better by then, but it truly looks like I'll be spending the bulk of 2020 at home.
"The one thing this pandemic has taught me is how important it is to be at peace with yourself. I have had to self-entertain and find creative ways to just be and truly enjoy my own company and I am loving it. I've also realized how much human connection is vital to people, I have had so many friends and family reaching out for support or just someone to talk to, it truly reminds you of what is important."
"The one thing this pandemic has taught me is how important it is to be at peace with yourself. I have had to self-entertain and find creative ways to just be and truly enjoy my own company and I am loving it."
Photo Courtesy of Samantha Everette
"My dream getaway would be an all out Kiki in December in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you've ever been to the continent in December... then you know why. The energy and the vibes are unmatched! I can envision the afternoon braai's (South African word for BBQ's), popping bottles of champagne and dancing to Afrobeats until the sun comes up. After South Africa, I would take a three-month reset in Bali. Yes, I said three months. This would be a necessary respite for my body and my liver! Of course I would want all of my close friends and my IG travel community there with me. I envision a revolving door of friends and family dropping by my villa. There will be lots of days on the beach, mounds of freshly grilled fish and curry everything!
"I was planning on attending two ladies retreats this spring. I planned to spend the month of April in Egypt soaking up the vibes and kemetic energy by the Red Sea with @sarahwes and @returntokemet. We were going to tap into our divine feminine power and live our best lives traveling all throughout the country. I also had to cancel my trip with @theinncrowd.co to Cancun, Mexico. I always have such a wonderful time with the ladies on the Inn Crowd trips, so I'm devastated that I won't be enjoying their company.
"This pandemic has taught me just how much I value my friends and family. I've spent the better part of my adult life halfway across the world. I'm accustomed to a lot of alone time while abroad, but I always knew that I would see everyone once the journey was over. Now those trips, along with the homecomings, have been taken away. We don't know when we will be able to see all of our favorite people again. Physical distance really does make the heart grow fonder but metaphorical distance is even crazier. Everyone is so close but yet so far away and I miss them terribly."
Photo Courtesy of Skylar Marshai
"Times like these have made me wish I lived on the beach, where I could self-isolate on the sand, in the sun! Living in New York is rough because there's so many people and so little nature. By the end of this, I'll have had enough with cityscapes and being inside, so ideally I'd be on the first flight to somewhere warm with lots of lush plant life, overwhelming amounts of decadent food, and enough sun to last me a lifetime. I've been missing Barbados, Tulum, and Costa Rica so if I closed my eyes and picked one, I'd be happy with whichever I ended up in. I'm talking fresh coconuts, waking up before the sun, actually seeing the stars, and fresh air. It's always nice to visit new places but after being in quarantine, I'd like to go somewhere that I know is a sure thing. Pure bliss. Pura Vida. The goal, though, would be to GTF, ASAP. My partner and I have been itching to create new content and I'm just tired of wearing sweatpants. I miss wandering, there's only so much of it that can be done at home.
"So many of our travel plans were changed (I can't say cancelled, gotta keep it positive!). We'd planned a trip just about every month this year so we had to rebook Bali (April), Barbados (May), St. Lucia (June), and France (end of June/July). We're now having to push all of our other travel plans further into 2021 because of it. It's been amazing that some airlines are allowing free flight changes, otherwise we'd have lost hundreds of dollars. The only other downside (other than the obvious) has been reworking collaborations with the companies we planned to work with, abroad. The brighter side is that we've been able to do more research on the places we planned to travel to that we haven't been before. So once we get to travel again, we'll hit the ground running (or rather, sprinting because whew I can't wait to be booked and busy again!)
"I recently learned this and shared it on Instagram, but the idea is that you don't have to escape to soul search. That your soul is wherever you are. I planned 7 trips last year, and another 8 this year–my head was always in the clouds, literally. Since being home, I realized I'd been so busy with wandering physically that mentally I hadn't checked in. To allow yourself to be still and present is just as important as allowing yourself space to escape. It's about balance. I saw this post on Instagram that posed the question, 'Who are you, really?' And I felt attacked! I realized I had a lot of work to do, a lot of myself left to unravel, and that this stillness would serve as the perfect opportunity to do so. You find yourself where you meet yourself, and that can be anywhere."
"To allow yourself to be still and present is just as important as allowing yourself space to escape. It's about balance... You find yourself where you meet yourself, and that can be anywhere."
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Ufoama
"I'd love to go to Belize after self-isolation. I desperately want a classic Caribbean getaway - nothing beats one especially after such unprecedented times. Caribbean holidays are predictable - you know you're going to get some sun, sand and great cocktails and after such a period of uncertainty, I want to know what I'm getting into. I've always wanted to go to Belize - Caye Caulker specifically. Get some much-needed outdoor time, snorkel along the barrier reef, and feel alive again.
"I usually have a calendar full of travel plans every year but I've had to cancel them because we have to beat this virus. My trip to Afronation Puerto Rico had to be cancelled, as well as a trip to Tulum, Mexico in April. My trip to Italy in May looks very unlikely. Summer trips are looking somewhat bleak. I'm just taking life one [day] at a time now.
"The pandemic has taught me to keep being grateful for life and enjoy it to the fullest. It's taught me never to take even the seemingly mundane things for granted and every single day we get to spend on earth is a blessing. I'm looking forward to more opportunities to live life, impact my communities positively, and enjoy the gift of travel."
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our weekly newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.
Featured image courtesy of Skylar Marshai
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood