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The Journey to Owning

Follow my IGTV @aeljee as I share my story on how I got to my first investment property. Peep the first video below (I did this late night, so yes I look tired, but pay attention to the message 😉 …

I Did It On The Cheap Too!

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Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ was a MUST see for me!

Recently an article was shared about affordable travel to 16 places around the world. I checked it out and saw I’d visited 8 of them…and on the chizzeap! So here’s my $0.02 on what I remember-use what speaks to you. There are lots of great resources out there, so I’ll try to err on the side of brevity.

1. Where you at?! Admittedly, I had the financial advantage of being on the Eastern Hemisphere when I planned both of my backpacking journeys, so the places I wanted to visit were close. But if that’s not your story, this might help…

2. Where you tryna go?! My 2nd backpacking trip was a lil more strategic compared to my first (ask later lol). I looked at a map (upon a good friend’s suggestion) and made a list of all the places I wanted to visit from where I was currently, and planned from East to West (or farthest location to home).

3. How much you willing to spend?! I envisioned what I wanted to spend in total (transport, accomodations, food, tours, etc) and tried to stay within +/-$200 of that. Do what works for you tho!! This was about 2 yrs ago. Research and ask ppl about the costs in those places and put a dollar amount in your head of what you’re realistically willing to spend overall.

4. Can I Afford the Flight Tho?! If you’re coming from the states and plan to go to somewhere like Thailand-the initial flight could be costly (I mean Thailand is far and gas ain’t free) but now you have these sites with glitch fares and stuff! Back in my day, that was rare! lol skyscanner.net helped me out tho…and @racheltravels on IG http://www.racheltravels.com is a great resource, and for the FAMU folk, she’s an alumna!

5. Dope experiences, dope accomodations or both?! That depends on you, know yourself! But if you wanna travel fancy, then stop reading here.  I just wasn’t that person, so I can’t speak to that, but I had some hella fly experiences! Y’all saw the pics 😉

6. Can’t knock the hostel! Before 2014, I knew nothing about hostels (think mostly shared resting space w/o some hotel luxuries), but thankfully I didn’t let my ignorance stop me from trying a new thing!  As a solo woman traveler, meeting new people and getting helpful suggestions was major in me seeing some world-hostels, provided that for me! Hostelworld.com was a great resource at the time! Super honest, useful reviews, with options and prices that work for most! I’ve stayed in over 10 hostels, home stays, etc. and never had a bad experience…okay except for that one insect bite but hey, it healed 😂!

7. Got a friend where you’ve never been?! Hit em up! Ask if you can stay for a few, help out with groceries or something, be a great house guest, and keep it moving! (I’ve never done couch surfing but I know folk who have and it worked for them).

8. Conserve here, splurge there! If you save on accomodations, you can splurge on the good stuff! Like a great meal, massage, overnight tour, or whatever else speaks to you! But go online (think groupon-esque) in the places you visit, ya might find some deals!

9.  Be strategic wit yours! If you’re a solo traveler like I was, try to link up with people (hostels are great for this) to do a group tour or ride share or anything that cuts your costs!! Memba that time I spent the night with a stranger in Chiangmai?! Slept with one eye open 😛, but saved money!

10.  Don’t hold it in!! Bathrooms look different in different parts of the world, especially the free ones (yes, some cost minimal amounts, but holding it costs more!) just remember their function, bring your own wipes, sanitizer, and handle ya biz.

11. Life happens. Don’t overplan. Have a plan, but be flexible.  Sometimes you gotta get there and navigate as you go, which were some of my best moments.

12. Don’t let the internet scare you!! …So those major attractions like Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and all that?! Well some you need to book in advance, but for the ones I just mentioned-I made it happen when I got there! Going online beforehand can be pricier and some advice might have you like 😑. So don’t be afraid to make the journey your own!! If I did it solo with no blueprint, you dang sure can make it hap!! Utilize your hostel too!

13. Thailand to Cambodia to Vietnam on the bus?! For the low?! That’s what I did! Bangkok is a major hub! Don’t think about it right now, get there and then do it…’everything you did has already been done!’ And people will help you!!! Humanity exists!

14. Barter much?! I ever tell y’all bout the time when I stayed at this hostel for free in exchange for an English lesson?! And I didn’t seek that out!

15. Be insured! My second go round, I purchased travel insurance. I know how to stay safe, but life…and I wanted to make sure my fam had peace of mind. Costly, but worth it for me.

16. Try not to take cabs! Yes, get on the tuk tuk, motorbike or a unique ride experience but after that, get a map, use ya feet and navigate!

17. Eat local! I mean yes, KFC’s chicken in other countries is real and the menu is different, but have one of those moments, then eat with the people! Authentic and cheap! After all, what are you really there for?!

18. Pack light or it’ll cost ya! You tryna be cute or see some world?! Cuz you can buy cute stuff when ya leave the states😉. Backpacks (tho not a fan) are quite resourceful!

19. Debit or Credit?! Handle bank stuff before you go! You’re grown, you know what to do! But make sure you have cash to exchange when you get to the respective spots! Sometimes the rates outside the airport are better, sometimes.

20. Again, do what speaks to you!! I went to Antelope Canyon with my homegirl instead of Grand Canyon, cuz that’s what spoke to me! My first Navajo reservation (s/o Ken’s tours) and it was probably cheaper!

21.*Bonus-check out reputable volunteer opportunities-a great way to embrace the culture and in exchange, you could get free lodging-I did!

 

 

 

August 2016- Home Schooled!

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I look tired and a mess! Sometimes the victory story ain’t cute, but it’s still a win!

I wrote this post in late April, almost a year since I came home, with the intent of sharing when I passed my road test in June…yet here it is August! lol…but Glory to God, on 8/26/16, it finally happened…Home is certainly schooling me! Some lessons below, maybe they’re for you too…

1. Pray it, speak it, write it, fight to believe it, go forth in it (all things positive, that is). Whatever your IT is, live like it’s happening. Romans 4:17…reminds us to believe in the ‘God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.’

2.  Sometimes I gotta just do and work it out as I go! Planning and preparedness are great, but it’s not always the best way to get a thing moving. Don’t overthink the process too much A! (thanks for the reminder, Diane)

3. Know your strengths and know when you don’t got it…then ask for help daggone it! I mean we’re made for community and not asking (the right folk) doesn’t make you strong, it can actually make you less efficient.

4. People will be disappointed with you (or me ;-)…and I, with them. Happens. Trying to be a better human, but thankful for Jesus.

5. Who said “there is an upside to a down season”?!? Well, thanks for that word-I experienced it!

6. Joyce Meyer (who I don’t really rock with-nothing personal, just me pre-judging lol) came into my living room one day and said ‘Be careful about flirting with sin…don’t just live for this one emotional moment, later on is gonna come.’ Well dang Joyce! No one invited you tho.

7. God’s calendar really does trump mine…it’s that patience part tho. Yes, James 1:2-4, I got it, dang!

8. Joyce also said (the same day she wasn’t invited)…’Sin will always cost more than you intended to pay.’ Sigh…I know about it.

9. Don’t hide or be ashamed of your truth! I been through 2, maybe 3 thangs in life 😉, you prob have too…I’m learning that someone needs that testimony in a way that only you or I can share.

10. We really don’t know when it’s our time. Handle family affairs! Who’s the POA? Who’s on the proxy? Life insurance, anyone? I got work to do in these areas, so this is a serious reminder for me.

11. You def can’t win if you haven’t sent out an application. Rejections/losses happen, stay in the game!

12. I failed my road test so many times that my final examiner (God bless you for witnessing my ugly cry, Ms.Natalie) tested me before and I didn’t even remember! lol! Not giving up means a lot more to me today.

13. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense…maybe on the other side?

14. Who said women are great multitaskers? Cuz not all of us, *raises hand in hopes of forgiveness ✋🏿

15. If you’re ( sorry, I’m 😉) waiting on someone’s approval/acknowledgment, etc., I might as well throw in the towel….but since that’s not an option, lemme encourage myself!! Easier said right?…but still pressing.

16. I gotta participate in worship despite how I feel. Otherwise, why do it, right?

17. When people see me, they don’t necessarily see strength, and God has shown me, that, THAT (caps to avoid confusion lol) is a strength!

18. Happiness, like trouble don’t last always, so enjoy those happy MOMENTS, cuz they are just that (sorry to disappoint lol), but I’m learning to ride along, as long as I remember God in it.

19. Working to be sincerely grateful for the “not yets” that I think are “no’s”.

20. Being back home has been a blessing and overall I think I’ve adjusted well. I still miss it tho…

 

May-Month 9-Special Delivery, I’m Home!!

Peace, BKNY! *kuuproductions.com helped me warm up to the cam!

Peace, BKNY! (kuuproductions.com helped me warm up to the cam!)

Grateful to be home safe and especially grateful for all of your prayers and encouragement-thank you! This post is dedicated to HOME! BKNY!

1. People still angry on the B54! I def got a chuckle out of it this time.

2. After a 14 month fast from alcohol, it tastes extra strong now, so far I’m ehh on it.

3. God reminded me not to get too comfortable, change is constant.

4. I won when the homeless gentleman told me “Hey soul sista, you rockin it girl, makes my eyes very happy!” Home.

5. A cabbie spoke to me in Arabic, never happened before…is it that obvious?!

6. Brooklyn-I love you, but watching you change like this hurts my heart.

7. NY is tryna take all my money!! Gotta be strategic about this spending.

8. Things change and stay the same. Home.

9. I binge watched Empire when I got back, I get it y’all!

10. Thankful for family that will hook up your grooming needs! Mommy, Judy, and Diane-I appreciate that y’all love me and wanna keep me fresh!

11. I’m trying to eat better-it’s not cheap, but I trust it will be worth it.

12. Thankful for the reminder of Psalm 51:10-I need that, especially here!

13. How come I’m the only one wearing my winter jacket??! It’s cold y’all! lol

14. They posting rules and pictures of how to act on the train now??!! I guess it has to be explicit :-/

15. Pacing myself here-y’all be doing too much-okay okay, that was me 14 months ago! 😛

16. Thankful for difficult, but honest conversations-I must be growing up a bit!

17. NY rats are way too healthy!! What gives??!!

18. Transitioning back to home MY way, helped ease the process!

19. Had a convo with the elders my first Sunday back in church. That’s wisdom that we need and won’t be here forever-let’s take time to listen.

20. I also won when someone told me “you look like a baby” after checking my ID, shout out to the ancestors for that Good Black!

21. There is still no place like home and something so sincere and inexplicable about that hometown love-thank you for the warm homecoming!

 

April-Month 8-Almost Due!

1. No camel kicks or desert bbqs, but a beautifully, simple birthday was had! 4/4 Baby!

2. There was an eclipse on my birthday and a stranger sang to me-the little things!

3. You get what you pay for, like the $8 facial I got in Thailand-Johnson& Johnson products tho?! At least there was no skin whitening ingredients! I know how Asia do!

4. The last week of my CELTA course was tough for me; something about seeing the finish line but not yet touching it.

5. I always get nervous about leaving a familiar place and figuring out how to navigate the next, but I’ve been doing it for a few min now, so Ima keep going.

6. People want to be heard, I need to take time to listen.

7. The only thing I knew for certain last February was I’d be in Saudi Arabia. A lot can happen in 365.

8. Streaming my home church on Resurrection Sunday-comfort food!

9. Still pressing toward the mark of completing the Old Testament by the time I come home (let’s see where I am by the time I release this…*Isaiah, still encouraged!)

10. I’m clear, God is always with me! Physically doing it all solo gets frustrating at times tho.

11. Grateful for consistency in friendships! The people I expected to hear from-I did, and even people I didn’t expect to hear from, checked on me-thank y’all!

12. Met a man from Alaska who killed a grizzly bear, a woman who lives on a boat, and an undertaker!!!!!! My life??!! Did you know they’re allowed to kill 2 grizzlies/year in Alaska??! And there’s more Grizzlies than people in certain areas-no and thank you.

13. Machu Picchu-I said I would and did, praise and glory to God!

14. My interactions with white/European people stand out as some of the worst parts of my overall experience. Honest.

15. There’s something I love, yet is very uncomfortable about a place that speaks no English and you’re forced to speak the native language-Gracias Peru!

16. Madrid was cool, but I realized in my travels I’m not moved by big cities-hek, I’m from the best big city there is 😉

17. When people ask you for directions in Spanish and you front like you know what you’re talking about ✋🏿

18. In need of a makeover when I get home (the backpacker, nature lover look ain’t cute, plus I’m older) but Damali said “rustic” is cool so take it easy on me y’all! 🙂

19. While I’m in Cusco, Peru complaining cuz I’m freezing, a friend shared some challenging responsibilities she was met with back home. Perspective. Don’t know what’s waiting for me on the other side, but trusting God will prepare and equip.

20. Turbulence on a plane will remind you who controls your destiny! Psalm 56:3

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