Solo Adventures in Barcelona

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It is no secret that I am yet to travel by myself, so you could only imagine the shock that I felt in Barcelona when Tiffany got food poisoning. I had no other choice but to go out and face the streets on my own. If I never got that extra push from Tiff I probably would have settled for chilling up on the rooftop bar upstairs in our hotel, but she insisted that I challenge myself. For my first ever solo adventure I chose to go and see the Barcelona Cathedral, it was close by and the journey seemed pretty simple.

All I had to do was get the train from outside my hotel and take it a few stops into Catalunya station. How hard could this task really be? I had been using the train system for the last couple days, so I was pretty sure I would be OK on my own. I said goodbye to my cousin and set off on my first ever solo adventure abroad. As I walked through the train station, all I could think about was my route to the Cathedral. I repeatedly kept going over it in my head just to make sure it stuck.

I emerged onto the platform with confidence and was welcomed with the usual smiles and stares. I was nervous but I kept telling myself that I could do this. If I gave off scared energy then I am pretty sure others would easily pick it up, so I just had to keep my cool. As I boarded the train with other eager passengers , I noticed a random guy smile at me. It caught me off guard but I politely smiled back and quickly put my head down. As I waited for my stop I could feel his eyes. Now you know I was thinking what in the world have I got myself into now?

I just remember thinking about all of the things I had read up online about not drawing attention to yourself when you are alone abroad. It was certainly going to be a hard task for me one because as a dark skinned woman on a train in Barcelona there is no way I would get overlooked. For the rest of that train journey I kept my eyes to myself.

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I came off the train at the right stop, thank God but I could not work out which was the best exit to take to the Cathedral. Frazzled with a confused look on my face I heard a voice from behind me say “are you lost”? to which I eagerly replied, “kinda, I am trying to work out which exit to the cathedral”. To my surprise It just so happened to be the guy who I exchanged a random smile with me lol.

Immediately he told me that he could tell that I was not from Barcelona, went he stopped me on the platform. I did not know if this was a compliment or was he targeting me to be his next kidnap victim. I gave him an awkward smile and quickly changed the subject back to the directions.

I soon came to realise this guy was cool so together we walked and talked as we made our way out of Catalunya station. Turns out he is not a local either, he was born in Germany and currently lives in Barcelona for his studies. I told him that I am a blogger from London with only a few hours left in the city.

I made sure to let him know that I was not in Barcelona alone. To which he offered to to take me out for a drink later on but I reminded him that I was on borrowed time so instead he walked me all the way to the cathedral

Michael had bright blue eyes that glistened in the sun with off blonde hair to match. Cute, but not my cup of tea, he said he would love to check out my blog, so we exchanged socials-and then said our goodbyes. Once he accepted me on Instagram it did not take me long to figure out that he liked hot chocolate and no I am not talking about the drink, lol

Outside of Barcelona Cathedral was busy and of course, the queue was long. I decided that I was not going to get fried in the sun waiting to gain entry. I sat under a tree in the shade read up about the history online. The back story behind the cathedral is rather intriguing. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia was established in the 15th century.

Apparently, it is dedicated to Eulia a young Virgin who refused to dismiss Jesus as the son of God. Baby-girl got done dirty and it has been said that her body lies entombed in the Cathedrals crypt. Kinda creepy right? but there you have it. I must say the Cathedral freaked me out a little from the outside, so I am kind of glad that I did not go inside.

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As I sat back on the wall, a local guitarist played a soothing tune in my ears. I had a moment to sit back and really take in my surroundings. I looked at the faces of the people walking by in the square. I caught glimpses of conversations as they passed me by.

I no longer felt nervous but at ease. I do not know this feeling of comfortably suddenly came from but you would have never believed it was my first time going out on my own. This bubble soon burst when I asked a stranger to take some pictures of me. All of which came out terrible, as I reviewed my lop sided pictures it reminded me why I love having a travel buddy.

God was definitely looking out for me because J met a second person. A young lady named Jian from South Korea who just so happened to be doing some solo travelling herself . Jian morphed into my creative director and gave me a quick photoshoot of a lifetime outside the cathedral, lol. I loved her enthusiasm she was so friendly and bubbly, I can vividly remember the warmth of her smile even today.

Jian added me on whats app and told me anytime I was ready to come to South Korea give her a shout.WOW, can you believe a whole me was out in Barcelona making international connections? It did not stop there though, I even met a guy Mr Mews who is an Author of self help books from South London. It gets even more random because he just so happened to live up the road from me. You can check out his gratitude journal by clicking here.

I moved on from the Cathedral and found myself going deeper into Gothic Quarter. The placed is full of rich history and amazing architecture that dates back over 2000 years. It was great to see some of those medieval buildings still standing in 2018.

I stumbled across a dope art gallery  ‘Villa del Arte Galleries’ check out the pics below. If you didn’t know I am a lover of art, so fir me to come across this gallery really made my day, I was truly in my element.

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I somehow even managed to find myself in another Gelato shop and you already know that I had to have a taste. It was definitely much better than the place I visited with Tiff earlier in my trip but it could never beat what I tasted in Rome. If you are heading to Barcelona soon, do check it Gelarto Rosa.img_6748-1

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With every new street that I turned down, I found myself discovering something different and learning something new. Gothic Quarter just felt like one big mystery, I was drawn in by the authenticity of every building. I also popped into the Historical Archive of the City of Barcelona, the centenary archivist and cultural institution dating back to the 13th century.

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I had spent nearly three hours exploring the Gothic Quarters by myself. I engaged in random conversations, I browsed the shelves of unusual shops, I exchanged smiles with strangers but most importantly I was doing it on my own. The fear that I felt about going out by myself had become a thing of the past.

This one time made me feel like I had done this a thousand times before. For a short moment, I convinced myself I was alone in Barcelona on this solo adventure. It was not until Tiffany called to check up on me that I remembered that I was not alone. It felt surreal having this little piece of independence in another country. I knew that I certainly wanted to experience this again. For the entire day I kept roaming through the streets and turned down as many alleys as my heart desired.

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It really baffled me how reluctant I was to go out by myself in Barcelona without Tiffany. I eventually accepted the challenge, but I had to dig a little deeper to understand why I felt that way. To my surprise, the answer was to be found in an idd place.

My upbringing was very much responsible and had a major role to play. I realised that ever since I was a little kid I have always been very independent, but someone was always close by watching out for me from afar. When I first learned how to ride a bike my dad would hold firmly onto the saddle as I worked the peddles.

One day my dad finally let go but he trailed so close behind me that I was convinced he was still holding on. But he was not, he just stood close enough just in case I needed him. This has been the case for most of my life, my independence comes with a cushion of comfort.

I know that if I hit a rock in a hard place, someone will surely be there for. God has sent me help in the form of family, trusted friends and sometimes even strangers. But this solo adventure was dependent on me and me alone. I had to rely on myself to get around and find the way because there was no one standing close by ‘just in case.

It might sound Ludacris but in those few hours I spent alone exploring the streets of Barcelona, I tapped into a new level of independence that I did not know I had. This caught me off guard but that is one thing I do love about life it is far from predictable.

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I am so proud of myself and I loved that I got to experience that in such a fruitful city. Barcelona 2018 was absolutely amazing with so many unexpected twists and turns to make the trip even more memorable. I was pushed right out of my comfort zone but like a true champ, I arose to the occasion and did the damn thing. I do hope to visit Barcelona again in the near future and get a chance to experience the nightlife and the rest of what this great city has to offer.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this mini spin-off of Free flow in Barcelona.24c23826-ac8c-4cfa-807d-800c060a1cc3-1

Stay Blessed

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo

Free flow in Barcelona

img_8741Travel Partner: @TheLovely_Tiff

Departed: Sunday 29th July 2018 @ 7.15pm

Airport: Heathrow (my favourite airport) terminal 3

Airline: British Airways with access to the first class lounge

Hotel: Catalonia Barcelona Plaza booked through booking.com

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Connecting the dots in Costa Rica

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During the months leading up to my trip to Costa Rica, I stumbled across a powerful message from Pastor TD Jakes. The words “Nothing just happens” jumped out to me, and grabbed my attention. I pondered on it and began to reflect on my own situation. As a result, my perspective on the break-up did a complete 360. The message went on to say “nothing just happens and anything that does happen happens for a reason”. The funny thing is, I heard this message months ago, I was just not in the best place to receive it. Like Drake, I too spent a lot of time being in my feelings and was unable to see the bigger picture.

Time really does heal all, because I no longer saw the break-up as something negative, but necessary. In a weird way, I found closure and comfort in Pastor TDJakes message. It silenced all of those ‘what if’ questions that had taken up residence in my head. I now found myself at a true place of acceptance. Acceptance of what was, what remained and what was to be.

If I had not been so resistant, I would have been able to check out of Heartbreak hotel a lot sooner. But in life, nothing ever happens before the appointed time. By changing the way I looked at the break-up, it allowed me to give birth to a new me. I was no longer the victim that I had allowed myself to become. The best feeling in the world is when you arise from the dust that once consumed you.

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Things quickly turned around for me as I went on to enjoy one of the best summers of my life to date. I truly lived my best life making the most of my summer days. I was on a roll and did not want to slow down. My trip to Costa Rica was at the end of the summer and I promised myself that I would recharge once I got out there. But not before I ran two last laps at the London Notting Hill Carnival. It was a great way to kiss goodbye to summer. Especially since my brother and I unexpectedly landed a live TV interview on Sky news during the parade. O M G – I never imagined something like that would happen to us, lol. Check out the interview below.

Catch flights, not feelings

Running on 3 hours sleep the day after carnival, I set off on an 11-hour flight to Costa Rica with my cousin Aaliyah. I was so excited because I had never been to that part of the world before and it was our first ever trip together. Spending two whole weeks in Costa Rica does not come around often, so we were both determined to make the most of it.

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After surviving my first 11-hour flight, Aaliyah and I checked into Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica in Guanacaste. As we arrived, we were welcomed with a champagne/cocktail reception. You know I have a slice of Boujee in me, so this type of welcome was right up my street. I was all smiles because, within a few months, I went from passing out at work due to the stress of the break-up to sipping champagne in Costa Rica. What a way those tables turned and my oh my it sure did feel good. Our hotel had all the trimmings, 24-hour service, spa facilities, Wi-Fi, 4 restaurants, entertainment, two pools and an on-site photographer. We even had access to the sister hotel across the street.

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There is no such thing as a coincidence

During our first few days, we wasted no time getting comfortable. We spent most of our mornings by the pool, chilling, snapping and sipping on our favourite cocktails. Aaliyah and I had become very popular at our hotel because of our distinctive British accents. The staff loved us and always went above and beyond to ensure that we were well looked after. Things were only about to get better once we discovered a Black Travel group had checked into our hotel.

We were super hyped to see a group of Black travellers and wasted no time finding out who they were. I love meeting new people on holiday, so I was happy to go mingle with the new guests. Aaliyah and I walked right over to the tallest person in the group, Ricky he was as tall and brown as the bear from Bear in the big blue house. Ricky who was the group’s leader, was cool, calm, loved our British accents and invited us to hang out later to meet the full crew. img_5913

Every year for labour day weekend, the crew who are based in America travel to a new country to explore and party. SAY WHAT NOW? this blew my mind because out of all of the places in the world, we all ended up together in Costa Rica. What was even crazier was that Aaliyah and I were supposed to go to Aruba but somehow ended up booking Costa Rica instead. Now if you have followed this post break up travel series you already know, that there is no such thing as a coincidence when it comes to me, lol. With the arrival of our new guests, it was clear that our time in Costa Rica was about to be lit.

Within 24 hours it was as if the hotel had been hijacked. Everywhere you turned, all you could see were our melanin faces. One thing I love about being Black is we always tend to flock together come rain or shine. It was such a beautiful sight to see and felt even better to be a part of. We truly brightened up the place and it caused other hotel guests to want to be down with the clique, lol. I had never experienced something like this before. I loved it, plus everyone in the group treated Aaliyah and I like their little sisters since we were the only two people in their 20s.

Our day parties by the pool were literally some next level shit. Just think of the pool party scenes in the ‘Juicy‘ music video by Notorious BIG. It was such a vibe and every day our laughs got louder. The atmosphere was just filled with good vibes only, nothing more and nothing less. I remember getting messages from people back home on snapchat asking me who these people were lol. Overnight Aaliyah and I had been sworn into this new travel family and they never left us out of any of the fun. We hung out during the days, had dinner in the evenings and partied throughout the night. It seemed like my plan to recharge was taking a detour. But that is the funny thing about life, it always turns out better than the way we plan.

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Chase the adventures 

Our hotel was literally in the middle of nowhere, so we made plans to do things off the hotel complex. We hopped on a local bus into one of the oldest beach communities in Costa Rica, Playas de coco. When I ran out onto the beach and saw how beautiful the scenery was, I became very emotional. I realised that in order for me to be where I stood, I had to go through all that I did. I had come such a long way and even though I did not understand why the break up happened the way it did. I knew that it served a greater purpose.

This just reiterated the Nothing just happens message that I heard a few months earlier. Sometimes in life things may happen to you and you may never know why. You just have to trust and believe that things all things will work together for your good. I don’t know why but in Costa Rica, everything just seemed to make a lot more sense to me.

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Costa Rica is known for its tropical beaches, wonders of nature and Caribbean influenced culture. Aaliyah and I wanted to make sure we got to experience it, so we spent about $300 each for three days of excursions. One of my Jenna’s Travel philosophies that I truly live by is there is no price tag on experience, so spend whatever is necessary‘.

The first excursion we did was the open Catamaran Ocean tour. I love ocean water because it has so much healing benefits and I always feel a sense of peace whenever I am around it. Sailing along the gold coast was refreshing. It is not something you get to do on a regular basis, so I took the time out to really enjoy it. I channelled my energy and took in the natural views of the ocean. It was peaceful, but very short-lived because I was eager to get my body into the water and go snorkelling. You already know that your girl is unable to swim, so I had to be accompanied by an instructor. There is no shame in my game though, I put on my protective gear and went out into the water like a G.

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Feel the fear and do it anyway

The next stop on the list for Aaliyah and I was a day tour at the Vandara Hot springs and adventure. This included a 10 lap Zip-line tour, horseback riding, waterslide and the Vandara Hot Springs. Unknown to Aaliyah I secretly planned to skip the ziplining. The truth was, I did not think I was capable of doing it. But I did not want to tell my little cousin that I was feeling inadequate because of self-doubt. The break-up had bruised my confidence and as a result, I had been questioning myself and my capabilities. I somehow convinced myself that the failure of the relationship was a reflection of me. Now I do not know how I came up with that bullshit, but there I was, lol. I had internalised the break-up in such a way, that it made me forget who the fuck I was.

There I stood tweedling my thumbs, feeling petrified and contemplating whether or not to go through with it. Aaliyah took one look at me and said: “Jen, you have come too far to turn back now boo. You have nothing to be afraid of, you can do this”. There were no lies told because she was right, I was capable of doing anything that I put my mind to. The break-up did not define me and I had to stop letting what happened in my past, stop me from moving forward. I had to start undoing the damage and this moment was the perfect opportunity to make a start.

I thought to myself it is what it is at this point, let do this. So I strapped myself up and completed 10 full zip line laps. It gave me an instant adrenaline rush, that boosted my energy as well as my confidence. I was so proud of myself for going through with it. I proved my self-doubt wrong and I felt like a Baddie. People can encourage you, uplift you and tell you that you are capable of doing great things, but if you do not believe it for yourself, it means nothing.

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God makes no mistakes

I spent the rest of my time in Costa Rica reflecting. I thought about the girl that I once was and I thought about the woman that I was becoming. I felt inspired more than ever to get my blogging journey off the ground. I told myself that I when I got home, I would create a website for #Jenna’sWorldView. Costa Rica spoke to me in many ways and I really wanted to share more about my travel journeys. I also felt very eager to go out into the world to seek new experiences. Travelling has opened me up in such a way that has changed my perspective on myself, life, love and the world.

I never thought that I would ever end up visiting Costa Rica. I never imagined that I would be single at this age either, but hey life comes at you fast. My post-break-up travel journeys were filled with many highs and of course some lows. I travelled to escape my reality. Yet, with every country that I visited, I had no choice but to face it head-on. Most people say that after a break-up you must take time out to go find yourself. But the truth was, I was never lost, I just needed to be broken in order to uncover the hidden layers within me.

Anything that happens to us in life will never be wasted. Everything and everyone serves a divine purpose that only pushes you further into your destiny. I have no regrets, hate or anger in my heart because I now understand that in order for new things to come together, old things must fall apart.

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Thank you to my vocal and silent readers for keeping up with my Post-break-up travel series. When it all started, I had no clue about how it would all play out. Giving you a glimpse into my past challenged me in ways that I never imagined. Although the wounds have healed, the scars still remain. I no longer hide them because I wear every scar with pride and gratitude.

Many times, I questioned whether I made the right decision bringing this series to light. I have now come to know that although it was painful, it needed to be endured, in order to be shared. Use my experience as an example, take from it what you will remember God knows best and life GOES on.

To follow the full journey from the beginning, click below:

1. Intuition: A blessing in disguise!

2. The Aftermath

3. The wall that came down in Berlin

4. Dancing to the sound of a new beat in Santorini

Stay blessed

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

The Aftermath…

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I am a 90s baby, so I grew up on Toni Braxton, Monica and of course my Aunty Mary J Blige. I was singing about heartbreak and infidelity before I knew what it meant to really go through it. I could recite lyrics and belch every high note with raw emotion as if the heartbreak was my own. In my mind I was no stranger to it, I had read countless books about cheating couples (shout out to Brenda Hampton & Omar Tyree). I watched Tv shows and films over the years. I even knew all the words of the iconic heartbreak film Waiting to Exhale. It was all fun and games when it was make-belief but nothing could prepare me for the pain I felt when heartbreak became my reality.

Now I know that I dropped a bomb on you in my last blog post Intuition: A blessing in disguise. I was really touched by your response and I now feel braver than ever telling my story. Before I crack open my post break up travel series I need to take you a bit further behind the scenes. From the break up until my trip to Berlin, a lot had taken place in my life. I turned 25. I developed an elaborate and impulsive spending habit and I experienced everything from hair loss to depression. Dealing with a break up on top of trying to navigate my way through life was crippling and I couldn’t manage it. The break up was the straw that broke the Camels back and sadly for me it knocked me right off my feet. There was so much to process. My family were in my ears, my friends were in my ears. Everyone including me was trying to make sense of the madness.

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I was embarrassed, ashamed and I felt dirty. To make matters even worse, the word had started to spread and the people were talking. An old acquaintance of mine was so desperate for an exclusive, she texted my phone with fake concern in hopes to catch the tea. But this wasn’t tea or breaking news via the #shaderoom this was my real life. All eyes were now on me. Every move that I made was being scrutinised, so I wasn’t going to give the spectators, my ex or cousinbae the satisfaction of seeing me crumble. Even though I was half dead behind the scenes, lol. The show had to go on, so I kept up the appearances and made sure my Instagram uploads stayed popping.

The more I acted as though life was grand like a thousand pounds to the outside world, things were taking a turn for the worse. It got so bad that my mum sat me down and gave me some home truths. Mummy was blunt and told me that I am not the first girl in the world to get cheated on and I won’t be the last. I need to walk with my head held high. One day it will all make sense why I had to go through this. I can’t stop or give up, I just have to keep going. My mum tried the nice approach at first but in true Aunty Lorna form, she likes to leave an impact with her words. Mum made sure to remind me that I came from a long line of strong Black Women, who have been through ‘this’ before, so I have to pick myself up. Mum then went on to say and I quote “if you feel like you are going to mash up yourself over this Jancro boy & his dutty family, you have another thing coming”. In translation, this was a warning to get my shit together.

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You see, I heard what my mum said, but her words were not hitting home. Nothing anyone was saying to me at the time was. I felt like a victim and found comfort revelling in the pain of the breakup. I truly lost my strength and was I embarrassed to tell my mum that I was struggling to push through. My confidence was bruised. Ever since I was a child, It has been drilled into me that I have to grow up to be a strong Black woman. Life was going to throw some horrible things my way and no matter what happens, I have to keep it moving. Even if it hurts. Even if it’s painful. Even if I don’t understand it. I was raised and trained to be resilient. If I fall, I must get up and if I cry it shouldn’t be for too long, but I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t look or feel like the strong Black woman my mum raised me to be and this had a major impact on my confidence. I was unable to demonstrate all that my mum had taught me because I was crumbling.

Over the years I have been able to live up to this reputation as a ‘strong  Black woman’. I  have served as the friend, who many have called on. At one point in time, I even held a PHD in solving man problems for my girls, lol. Sadly, the tables had turned and the strong Jenna that everybody once knew, was now unrecognisable. The stress completely took over, I started isolating myself from others, my hair started to fall out and I wasn’t able to sleep at night. I remember feeling like someone cast an evil spell on me because everything that was happening to me just seemed unreal. I was declining, but I couldn’t do anything about it. The break up was an eye-opener and it made me realise that my ex-wasn’t who he portrayed himself to be. I thought that I knew him, but I didn’t. It made me feel as though everything that we had shared together was a lie. This was the worse part for me because, in my heart, I truly felt like we had shared something real.

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My ex- was the first guy I ever exchanged I love you with. The first guy who knew all of my hopes and dreams. From the age of 17, he watched me blossom into the early stages of womanhood. How could I just forget him? How was I supposed to erase the last 7 years of my life? I felt like I didn’t have anything to show for the relationship. I wasted my years and my time being his lover and the damn secretary too. I couldnt bear the thought of letting go of the relationship and to make matters worse, I was still attached to him(please don’t cuss me). It was so overwhelming for me to the point where I couldn’t even think straight. There was too much noise going in my head and I just needed to tune everything out. The break up was already taking its toll on my mental health and I knew it. As a first-class psychology graduate, who at that time wanted to get into Clinical Psychology Doctoral training. I knew the signs and tried my best to disguise it from my family and friends.

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It wasn’t only until an incident took place at work, that would soon reveal the true impact of the break-up. I collapsed at work and was unresponsive on my office floor for 5 minutes. As I regained consciousness, I noticed my wig was halfway across the office floor. My colleagues were standing around in complete and utter shock. When I realised my wig was gone, I just screamed out in embarrassment, lol.  I know they probably thought I was having a panic attack but unfortunately it was the shame of my wig abandoning my head at such a crucial time. Everyone believed I had suffered a silent heart attack until the tests came back normal. My iron levels were fine and no I didn’t have a stroke. Numerous tests were carried out on me but nothing could explain why I collapsed. The only thing the doctors could conclude was that stress had a major part to play. I spent two nights in the hospital and was advised to take it easy because next time I might not be so lucky.

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It was obvious from that incident I needed to get a grip on things but I just didn’t have the strength to get myself together. So I did what I do best and blocked out the problems by slipping away into isolation. I didn’t want to hear what my family or friends had to say anymore. I didn’t want to think about my ex anymore. I just wanted to soothe my wounds. I needed to make myself feel better and I was desperate to fill the pain with something other than the voices of my family and friends. So I kept spending money and boy did it feel good.

My aim was to get away from London and even further away from everyone’s voices. I was so desperate for a change of scenery. So when my girl Lola hit me up about Drakes Boy meets world tour in Berlin, I was all over it. Something about this concert just made sense to me. If you read JWV’s Top 10 things to do in Miami, you would know that we missed out on seeing him the previous year. I strongly sensed this was a rare moment of fate presenting itself and I needed to pay close attention. Without any additional thought, I booked those Drake tickets and Lola & I made plans to set off to Berlin. Little did I know, that this trip was going to be the starting point for my restoration & healing.

Click here for part 1 of my #PostBreakUp Travel series

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo

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#TravelDiary: 2015 On a high in Dubai

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Call me weird, but I seem to believe that odd years have been the most fruitful for me oppose to even years. Since I entered the world in 1991, your girl has thrived in every odd year since lol. Aunty Lorna (my mum) says that it is down to the seasons of life but I just believe it is down to the year. To have a better understanding of my trip to Dubai, I need to give you insight into where I was in my life during that time.

It was the year 2015 and my mindset was so focused on experiencing a turnaround. After a turbulent end to 2014, I was keen to see things do a swift 360 and they did. I landed my first graduate job as a Research Assistant at Kings College London University. Following a sudden illness, I made some lifestyle changes that resulted in me overcoming some major health challenges. Blessings were flowing and everyone was receiving something. I played in the Notting Hill carnival that year and I was so high on life. Things were finally looking up after being upside down for so long.  So a trip to Dubai at the end of the summer (September 2015) was literally the cherry on top of all the goodness that I was experiencing.

I had been fascinated with Dubai for many years and I always wanted to go. I am not sure why, but Dubai was the place on everybody’s lips. If you had been to Dubai, you were saying a lot. When I uploaded my first batch of Dubai pics, I was sure to drop my location and let everybody know that your girl was in town. However, going to Dubai for me was much more than just showing off on the socials with bigger than life captions.

A year before my trip to Dubai, I was in a place of turmoil. I was drowning in Postgraduate depression, something that is so common but sadly not spoken about enough. In addition to this I recovering from an unexpected illness and questioning whether God was real or fake. Now those are just some of the things that I was going through that I am now willing to open up and talk about. To the outsiders looking in, me flying to Dubai and posting all over the gram, I just looked like an over the top show off.  However, that was far from the case. If you have ever been through a storm in life and you make it out on the other side, alive, you just shine differently.

My trip to Dubai will always remind me of how God miraculously made a way for me. I don’t know how but he did it. My Dubai trip felt like a gift that I received after passing all of those obstacles and challenges. Have you ever had so many doors close in your face, that when the right door finally opens it makes sense why the others didn’t? Yeah, that’s just how I feel about that whole experience.

Dubai was so long ago, so with what I can remember I broke my trip down in different categories, enjoy.

The Hotel

I stayed in the 5-star hotel chain the Sofitelon Jumeirah beach on a half board basis. One thing I didn’t know prior to checking in was the 20 dirham a day tourist tax. I was young in the travel game back then, so things like that didn’t even cross my mind to check before travelling. If you plan to visit Dubai, spend some time doing some travel planning and research, visitdubai.com is a great place to start, so do check it out.

The Sofitel did not disappoint, as you know I am such a sucker for a luxurious, nice, clean hotel with all of the trimmings and it served me just that. The location of my hotel was so ideal and I couldn’t have been happier. It had absolutely everything within walking distance. I would highly recommend staying by Jumeirah Beach as it closely connected to most things.

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The food

I ate a lot of junk food in Dubai, it wasn’t intentional but fast food was very convenient. On my first night, I had KFC and it was nothing to write home about because we all know that Jamaica has the best KFC in the world. People have told me that Trinidad KFC could give Jamaica a run for its money, but I am yet to try it, so Jamaica still stands at number one, lol.

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Panda Express was my go-to for lunch because the food was tasty and cheap lol. Chinese food is always a good idea and I rinsed this place out on a daily basis. However, for me, The Cheesecake Factory was hands down the best food that I had in Dubai on my trip. From the main meals right down to the desserts, The Cheesecake Factory was truly about that life. Please, please please it is not possible to visit Dubai without giving this place a try.

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The Mall

The Dubai mall felt like an adventure playground, with lots to see and even much more to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any major shopping. I was more focused on booking activities and making sure that I had money to eat and pay my share for taxi trips. I loved the mall, but I was super conscious about what I wore and how I conducted myself. I was not interested in getting arrested abroad for my family to be making sad appeals on Good morning Britain. I was on my best behaviour because I really didn’t want any problems. I am not sure how much things have changed now, but whenever I go away I make it my duty to adhere to the customs of that particular culture.

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The Transport

Dubai is not an easy place to travel around like London. It is filled with too many highways and one way systems that make short journeys 10 x longer. The taxi system was a bump back then. I disliked using the taxis because most drivers were rude and obnoxious. Especially to us Black women. It was just a complete nightmare. Hopefully, they now have Uber, but I wouldn’t even trust that either. The trains ran a much better service. It was efficient, clean and very easy to use. Although men, women and children were required to go into separate carriages or be at risk of getting a fine. I always recommend for travellers to use the local transport systems, as it allows you to get a real feel of the country that you are visiting.

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The Nightlife 

The Nightlife in Dubai was pretty decent. Most of the clubs were situated in fancy hotels. Everything was plush, boujee and proper, just how I like it. Raving in Dubai never gave me that trashy feeling, everything felt expensive, lol. The clubs were strict, Ladies don’t think you can take your heels off and leave them in one corner, security will put you in check.

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I found that there were more men than women in the clubs, but I kind of expected that. Men of all ages who made sure their money did all the talking, without any introductions. I received a few offers in Dubai, all of which I nicely declined. I didn’t fancy being pumped out for a few labels as it has never really been my thing, lol. The only downside to the Dubai nightlife is that ravers were allowed to smoke in the clubs. It was the worst thing ever, we had to wash our bundles daily just to get rid of the stench. YUCK.

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My best clubbing experience in Dubai was at Cirque Le Soir. A boujee, circus theme nightclub, filled with burlesque dancers, fire eaters, an indoor funfair and multiple DJs. I had never experienced anything like it prior, but I would definitely recommend it if you want an unusual raving experience. The Dubai nightlife was pure fun, I even unexpectedly bumped into my sis @Mybreakingviews. We both went to secondary school together and it is amazing to now see where God is taking us on this Travel & Lifestyle blogging journey. Check out my sis, she has some great content out and even much more to come.

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How did I forget to mention that I had a dance-clash with one of the local dancer girls at one Dancehall/Reggae party? I couldn’t believe she actually challenged me, lol the poor thing didn’t stand a chance. I wiped the floor with her but I felt so bad after so we ended up hugging it out. If you have ever seen the film Dancehall queen you will know exactly what I am talking about. If not, click here lol

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The Activities

I did the Dubai Bus tour and I hated it. I felt like we wasted a day driving around getting fried in the sun. It is a great way to learn about the history of Dubai and do some sightseeing, but it just wasn’t for me.

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One activity I did enjoy was the Desert safari  it was so sick and I am pissed that I lost most of my Dubai footage. The Desert safari package was definitely worth it, I did so many activities in one go. I got a chance to ride a camel again, see belly dancers, try on a burka and hijab and have dinner in the middle of the Desert. This activity comes highly recommended as it was great value for money, which I would like to experience do again.

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I am not sure if I had mentioned this before, but I do not know how to swim. The time that I have been worried about being 26 & never been on a Bae-cation… I need to learn how to swim, lol. I will eventually, but whilst I was in Dubai your girl was clueless about swimming. It didn’t stop me from going on the Jet skis though. Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway and I did just that.

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On my last night in town, I went to visit The Burj Khalifa and it was nothing short of amazing. How can you visit Dubai and not go to see one of the world’s largest skyscrapers? Once I got to the top, I watched a lovely firework display and it truly was a sight to remember. What a good way to end such an amazing trip. I felt so proud that I was able to take myself to Dubai and be able to see such a major landmark. Below is my favourite picture from this trip, I was sitting inside of the Burj Khalifa admiring the view. I uploaded this on Instagram with a caption saying “Hello Burj Khalifa, I am just a little black girl coming from Myatt’s field estate, now as a Young Woman, I am exploring different parts of the world”.

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One thing for sure, I have stayed true to that statement and I won’t stop travelling. I pray that God will spare my life to allow me to go out into the world and see much more of it.

DUBAI is an amazing place and if you haven’t already book a trip and get out there ASAP.  I can’t wait to go back to explore and see all of the new developments since my last visit. Dubai will always be a yes for me and it is one of those places that I will always be up for going back to again and again.

My Next Travel blog post will be about my 2016 trip to Miami and you really don’t want to miss that.

Anyways my Loves, you can find me on all the socials @Jennasworldview

Please keep reading, liking and sharing.

Stay Blessed

Lots of love

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Jenna

xoxo

When in Rome, do Shows

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I am no stranger to Italy it is an amazing place with lots to see and even much more to explore. I once visited the beautiful city of Florence the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region on a school trip. Even back then I wrote a vivid travel diary about my time in Florence and I was only 14. I randomly stumbled across it a few years ago and let’s just say reading it to myself as an adult was ridiculously awkward. The kind of awkwardness you feel reading your Facebook statuses from 2009, lol.

Looking back my time in Florence was enjoyable as I did so many great things. I climbed the Leaning Tower of paisa all the way to the top and even ventured out on a mini day trip to Rome. Where I got the chance to toss coins into Trevi Fountain and make a wish. I can’t recall what I wished for, but I do remember making a bold promise to return to the city and as the saying goes “so said, so done.”

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The opportunity to retrace my steps was presented to me by my cousin, who wanted to celebrate her upcoming graduation from her Maters (yasss Girl) with a quick trip. Without any reluctance, I accepted the invitation to return to Rome after 12 years and this is how it all went down.

Destination: Rome for 5 days
Travel Partner: The Lovely_Tiff♥
Mission: To sight see,fine dine,make memories & SLAY

British Airways had the pleasure of flying us to Rome from London Heathrow Airport. As we were booked on a midday flight, we had a chance to grab some pre-flight breakfast. BA is a ‘Boujee’ airline that feeds their passengers on both short & long haul flights. As good as this sounds, I never take such risks with plane food. I always eat before I fly just in case the food doesn’t tickle my fancy. Being as this was my first flight of 2018, I felt hella presidential paying £8.95 for my vegan breakfast (I am not a real Vegan, so please don’t judge me lol).

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The flight was 2 hours 30 mins and it was easy like Sunday morning. We kept busy with a Netflix film (The man in 3B) and slept for the duration of the flight. We arrived at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in no time and I must say it is one of the nicest airports that I have been to. The airport was super clean, modern and easy to navigate around. In saying that, the weirdest thing happened to me in the airport on our way out to grab a taxi. For the FIRST time in my life, I was stopped by airport security and it is safe to say that your girl was shooketh.

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The only words that I can say in Italian are Ciao bella so I wasn’t too keen on getting detained before even stepping out the airport. I frantically started showing them my passport and it was obvious that I wasn’t fluent in Italian, so they let me go with no further questions, whew. We slid right up out of there just in case they changed their minds. Luckily we manged to secure a group taxi for 20 euros and made our way to the hotel.

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After a multitude of drop offs we finally arrived and was able to check in to our new home for the next 5 days. The building hotel is a Chic 4 star establishment located in the central part of Rome in Via Montebello. Fully equipped with all the essential travel amenities:

  1. Welcome drinks
  2. Wi-Fi
  3. 24 hour Gym
  4. Spa facilities
  5. Breakfast  package
  6. Pay as you go restaurant access
  7. Easy travel links

I must say that the hotel was intact and filled with well-mannered attentive staffs, who were willing to be our on sight camera crew. There were a few annoying things that we didn’t enjoy, but with the good always comes the bad. For example, the poor lighting in our room had us struggling to beat our faces. The limited supply of toilet tissue and bath towels required us to call reception daily just to request a re-up*Side-eye*. In saying that though, they were minor issues that didn’t overshadow the hotel’s great qualities. I give this hotel is a strong 7 out of 10.

Check us two out below looking all Christmas gift wrapped. 

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Time to hit these Rome streets

On our first full day in the city there was no time to waste, so we grabbed a map and headed out to do some sightseeing. The first stop was the Colosseum as it was the closest to the hotel. The trains in Rome run on a proper system, nothing like the shenanigans that I see back home in London. We decided to head to the local train station Termini and get a train as it was only a few steps away. Termini station is humongous and is filled with great retail and food shops, similar to Grand Central in New York or Kings Cross in London.

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There were some things significantly noticeable and not so easy to ignore at Termini station. It was the large groups of black males trying to sell us things. Men young and old, from the shores of Senegal right through to Nigeria. Many have their own reasons for coming but for the majority, it is the chance of having a better life.

I admired their determination so I couldn’t knock their hustle or turn up my nose when they called out to us. We were approached many times and some even had the courage to strike up witty conversations. Often referring to us as “my sisters” and even though we didn’t buy anything from them, they were so kind enough to gift us with handmade bracelets. Those small acts of kindness were a gentle reminder to me that I must strive to do good by others without expecting anything in return.

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 I always try to blend in with the locals when I travel, but somehow I end up sticking out like a sore thumb. I get noticed and especially by tour guides it is as if they can smell my blood in walking distance. Within seconds of being in view we were approached by tour guides and had all sorts of offers being thrown our way but we didn’t cave in. The bottom line is this, tour guides have one job and one job only and that is to finesse you by any means necessary so stay woke.

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We arrived at the Colosseum, in no less than 15 minutes, the atmosphere was electrifying and the streets were filled with people. From buzzing tourist trying to capture the best pictures or the local street vendors trying to haggle chargers for 25 euros that I secured for only 5 lol.

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 I truly felt the buzz of the people and became overwhelmed with excitement. Only to then realize that the Colosseum was closed to visitors for the day. To think that we got dressed up, told everyone on Snap-chat only to arrive and find out it was closed after 3.30pm. Two very important lessons were learned here, always do research about a place before you go and never speak on things prematurely. At this point all we could do was laugh and of course take a few pictures just in case we didn’t come back before the end of our trip.

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Since the Colosseum was closed, we weren’t going to let the day or our outfits go to waste. So we flagged down an open people carrier, jumped in and got strolled all the way down to Trevi Fountain. Riding through the town had us feeling like the women from The Real housewives of Atlanta when they take a girls trip during the season. I felt like we were filming scenes for our own reality show, we honestly couldn’t stop grinning the entire time. The ride through the town gave us the chance to really admire the great architecture of the city, untouched and authentic in every way, shape and form.

Look at us two below Doing it for the culture.

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Trevi Fountain gave me heavy nostalgic vibes and I couldn’t contain my attitude of gratitude. In the 12 year gap since my first visit so much has taken in place in my life. Despite everything that I have been through, I knew right there and then in that moment, I was exactly where I needed to be.

So for that reason Trevi fountain will always be a special place to me. If you ever get a chance to check it out, go early in the morning to avoid hundreds of people trying to snap a bomb ass Celfie. Just so you know it is free to visit at any time and the surrounding area have some great shops where you can purchase some authentic Italian goods.

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This is what we served up on our second night in the city. Be sure to stay tuned and look out for #JennasWorldView’s Travel glam look book.

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As we were running on limited time we had to keep the ball rolling to ensure we did all of the things, that we set out to do. Setting out early on a Sunday, we purchased a travel ticket (7 euros only) and headed straight to Vatican City. The day was beautiful and as the sun shone you could feel the peace of a Sunday morning, lingering through the streets.

I ran into some of the Gal-dem on the square and had time to pose for a quick pic. Check out my girls serving major looks, I couldn’t keep up lol.

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We had to choose between visitingSistine chapeland hearing the pope speak. It really was a no brainer, so with only 5 minutes left to get in we rushed to queue up. The pope was scheduled to recite the Angelus prayerat 12pm overlooking the beaming crowd of visitors and this moment couldn’t miss us. Once granted access, we sprinted out into the square, eager to get an unobstructed view. When I finally heard the voice of the pope, I lifted my head in total amazement. The uproar of the crowd echoed in my ears and all I could do was saturate myself in the atmosphere to fully take it all in.

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The WOW factor didn’t stop there, as soon as we stepped foot into St Peters Basilica church it was safe to say that our edges got snatched, AGAIN. Being one of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples and an important pilgrimage site, it was nothing short of amazing. I can only commend the creativity of the genius’s behind the masterpieces that stood before our eyes. I was truly blown away and my excitement nearly got me kicked out, because I was going to extreme lengths to take pictures.

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Be sure to follow us on our official Instagram page @JennasWorldView to check out rest of the pics. Follow us, like, comment and share.

Vatican city was better than we expected and it was FREE so what better way to celebrate then to break out into praise and worship, African style.

Look out for the cameo appearance at 41 seconds 🙂

We gave the Colosseum another spin, after Vatican City. This time around though it was a success that only cost us 12 euros for entry without a tour guide. We used the internet and had our own history lesson, thank God for Wikipedia lol. I even snapped a decent panoramic picture using my iPhone 7Plus

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The transition from our day to night looks was everything and more. Take a quick peak at our evening wear from the penultimate evening of our trip.

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We finally used the spa facilities on the day before we went home and yes we payed extra for it *sigh*. My spirit was sensitively receptive to the calm energy in the spa. There was a sense of peace that was so undeniably soothing. It is a really bad habit of mine but I always book hotels with spa facilities. I am such a sucker for luxury and these types of hotels are far from cheap lol. I truly wish that we could have spent more time at the spa but time was of the essence.

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We didn’t plan to shop in Rome we just accidentally ended up shopping, lol. If you ever plan to shop on holiday, you have to ensure that your coins are right. If you’re a sucker for a good bargain like me, you will never let a good deal pass you buy. We grabbed some exclusive pieces and of course some good ole key rings for family and friends. Ask yourself this, if you don’t buy key rings or fridge magnets on holiday did you really go on holiday? lol

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Our trip was drawing to a close when it suddenly hit us that we haven’t even tried any authentic Italian dishes.  In saying that Tiff and I mutually agreed it would be outrageous to come all the way to Rome and not taste a real Italian Lasagne.

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Please believe I asked for garlic bread to accompany our Lasagne and the waitress at Caffe Pasticceria U. Giuliani looked at us as if we were crazy, LOL. I don’t exactly know where the garlic bread combination came from, but the Italians don’t get down like that.

I thoroughly enjoyed it but did feel like it needed a touch of scotch bonnet pepper. I guess you just can’t take the Caribbean out of me lol. I do now have an even higher level of respect for the way other cultures prepare their food. I guess we can learn how to do something, but no one can slay it like the people it originated from.

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Our love for Italian food didn’t stop there because we were on a quest to fine dine. With our heels on, elaborate dresses and no dinner reservation we made our way to the exquisiteHosteria La Stazione.

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We were welcomed into the restaurant with a smile by the owner who offered to give us full access to dine privately. With no negations or prior words exchanged he gifted us with an act of kindness at no extra cost. Inside the décor was chic, moderately lighted, with bottles of vintage wines placed perfectly in the surrounding cabinets. It looked like a romantic scene in a movie, but in the reality there was not one Bae in sight, just the lovely Tiff and I. Our food was definitely 10 out of 10, from the starter’s right back down to the serving of our drinks.

Gelateria La Romana, was an unexpected gem that we randomly came across thanks to the help of  google maps on our first night. It is a fresh ice cream and dessert place that will have regular dessert places back home in London looking like a Novice. I have never encountered such sweet flavors in all my days and by this point our edges were holding on by mere strands.

You other ice cream and dessert places whats good?

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The Last Lap

#Travel Tip: On the last night of your trip, it is your duty to go out with a bang. You must put on your  best and bring forth your SLAY.

Here at #JennasWorldView  we call that closing the show: the Last Lap.

For our last night in Rome we spent our evening at the popular European hotel chain the NH Collection Roma. The dining experience was 100% but our outfits were the most important element of the night.

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The lead up to our final dinner required efficient team work and of course strategic preparation. Everything was done according to precision, right down to the amount of highlight we applied to ensure that our faces stayed popping.

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It was a long gown affair because we aimed to showcase elegance, class & sophistication. Red was our theme colour as it is bold and it spoke on our behalf without needing any introductions. Of course to seal the night we did what we do best and thats take some bomb ass pictures, lol.

Please believe that we hijacked the piano bar at our hotel and conducted a mini photo shoot courtesy of the hotel staff. Not to mention the live performance with the pianist to accompany our live show.

and tonight Ladies & gentleman Jenna & Tiff will close the show. Lights, camera, action!

Our trip to Rome ended on a high, we laughed, we smiled, we explored and we came through with the SLAY. We managed to do so many things in Rome without spending lots of money.

This trip has set the tone for my travel trips that are yet to come in 2018.  I am more than ready to embark on my next travel adventures and of course I look forward to sharing them with you here are @JennasWorldView.

Who knows I might get a chance to return to Rome in the near future. You know what they say, the third time is always a charm.

Thank you ever so much for reading my FIRST ever blog post, I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Please follow @JennasWorldView, comment, like & share.

Lots of Love

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Jenna

xoxo