How 6 months of traveling changed my life.

One year ago, I was preparing for my first solo international trip. I remember how joyful I was to finally step out of my country and fly. Meticulously, I packed my stuff in my suitcase taking care to wrap my favorite local snacks in a towel and putting them in a secure spot to protect them from getting crush, as I folded my clothes, I already imagined myself wearing them in a particular destination. On my way to the airport, my dream plans played like a movie in my head. I was elated, the happiest girl on the planet, until I boarded my plane. From the moment the plane took off, all my joy and excitement vanished. I realized I was leaving the comfort of my country to an unfamiliar land. I was anxious, scared and I wanted to go back home but I’m glad I conquered these feelings.

1.I was forced to get out of my comfort zone.

Before this trip, I was this shy and unconfident girl, who did not dare to even say Hi let alone ask a stranger for directions. I could not even cross the street on my own. And above all, I was not comfortable with the English Language even though, I’ve studied the language since Kindergarten, because in this country where I live, We speak French despite English being our official language(Only on paper I guess Haha). But upon, my arrival in Hong Kong, I had to push beyond my comfort zone to ask unknown people for directions in a language which is not my mother-tongue to get to a taxi stand and in Vietnam, I wanted to cry when I had to cross to the other side but eventually learned to cross a busy and dangerous road like a real Vietnamese. Now, I no longer stutter when I have to converse in English, I’m no longer afraid to speak to strangers and I also miss crossing busy and dangerous roads, the ones with traffic rules seem to easy to cross

2.My Taste Bud Changed and I learned to enjoy Food.

In my family, they always said that Asian cuisine is dirty and disgusting, but as a person working in the food industry I could not accept this statement, because doing so, would mean disrespecting a particular cuisine. That’s why I decided to have an authentic Asian seaweed beef soup in Hong Kong, the dish was heavenly and after that, I introduced Beef again in My diet plan(after dismissing it for nearly a decade). I also discovered and loved the taste of street foods and roadside snacks, Food tastes better when it is simple and cooked with love. I found the combination of sweet&tangy taste delicious and my french fries are never fried without Oregano(thanks to Thai and Greek Cuisine).
Additionally, I learned new ways of eating such as with Chopsticks and with my hands(The curry tastes more delicious when you eat with your hands, so ditch the spoon). But most importantly, I learned to appreciate food without caring what will people say about my weight or my eating habits(I now have a tiny potbelly and love handles haha)

3.Coffee Culture,Floral Teas and Savoury Milkshake.

For the whole 20 years of my life, I thought that Coffee has the same taste around the world, well..until I ordered a coffee in Vietnam, it was love at first sight and first sip. The coffee came dripping from a device called a ”Phin” and was accompanied by Condensed milk. I did not know that condensed milk could be used to sweeten coffee, for me it was an unusual combination but incredibly delicious. There’s one more unusual combination of coffee in Vietnam that I found Weird ”The egg coffee”.Raw egg sabayon like texture and hot coffee, I thought I was gonna get sick from it but it was heavenly delicious. Vietnam has a vibrant coffee culture, There’s no time for coffee in Vietnam, and every time I had coffee there, I thought God made it himself.
Still Talking about coffee, I’ve always hated the taste of an un-milked coffee that was before I visited Greece, The greek Coffee has such an Indisinct granule texture and I don’t how but I fell in love with bitter the taste and the texture. I came home with a big packet.
Moving on to Tea, I discovered that some flowers can be infused like tea, it was a surprise for me, I did not know that flowers were edible, since then, my day is incomplete without my Jasmine Green tea.
Lastly, I also discovered that refreshing beverages can be salty thanks to a Syrian restaurant in Muscat, Oman. The drink that I was served is Called Aryan, it is made with Yoghurt, Ginger and salt. It was so flavorful, one day I’ll go back to Muscat just to drink this again. I felt so stupid for thinking all drinks are sweet haha.

4.Enhanced Social Skills, Improved Social Circle, and A wider Knowledge of the World’s Culture.

Before traveling, I did not have good Social skills, I did not know how to start and maintain a conversation with having a sudden awkward silence. But through my traveling journey, I learned through observations, my mistakes, and sometimes by jumping into the deep end. I don’t regret it. Because I met people who taught me and offered me their friendship. I had 2 close friends before leaving for my trip but now I have Twenty-something friends around the world.
Additionally, through my Spanish friends, I learned that they kiss-greet on only on one side compared to the French Way, where you kiss both cheeks. Through my French Friends, I also learned that Some Regions in France, People kiss-greet thrice.

5. Racism is still an issue in the 21st Century.

In the peaceful country that I live in, Skin Color or Religion is not an issue, no one cares actually, everybody is friendly. However, this was not the case in Europe, I’ve been to countries where people looked at me with disgust in their eye(as I was the only black person around) or made mean comments about my skin color. Some of the people I met throughout my journey, labeled me as ”antichrist” because I come from a Muslim family. It saddens me that people still think this way even today.

6. I started investing in My Self-Care.

Traveling, with changes in time zones and climate, takes a great toll on our body. I always thought I was superwoman because I could get around with only 3-4 hours of sleep every night, well, that was before I started traveling. At some point during my travel, I was extremely fatigued and my speech became seriously slurred, I had to come up with a sleep schedule and stick to it. Nowadays, I sleep 8 hours every night. Also, I started investing in my skincare for I started breaking out badly, before, I thought skincare and sunscreen were useless. Now I can’t live without my face masks and Sun Protection.

7.News Channels and Media 

The content that news channels broadcast to us are not objective. For example, the media portrays the middle east as a Patriarchal Society where women have no respect and rights, however, what I experienced is quite the opposite, from the 22 countries that I traveled to, The middle east countries were the only ones that I felt safer. I remember, in Abu Dhabi, I went to the cinema alone for the midnight session and the movie ended at around 3 am. I asked a security agent for the direction to a taxi stand, he accompanied there and hailed a taxi for me.

8. Traveling made a spiritual Person.

Five Years ago, If You asked me to visit a temple and participate in a meditation session, I would have made a sarcastic atheist joke at you. But every time, I visited a Buddhist temple, A mosque, a Hindu Temple, or a church, I found a sense of inner peace, I felt my thoughts quiet down and it was liberating. Nowadays, I meditate twice per day and I have a gratitude journal. Sometimes I listen to Buddhist Prayer Chants and Gospel Songs.

When I returned home after 6 months, I felt like a different person. I had more knowledge than before. I became more open-minded, wiser, compassionate, and more humble. Traveling gave me a lot and I’m eager to travel again once this Corona situation is over

Al-Khazneh treasury Petra

Road Trip To The Lost City Of Petra, Jordan.

The company I used to work for seldom organizes Crew activities and this Crew tour to Petra was the first one I’d seen since my 3 months in this job. I was not interested to go either, mainly because as a galley employee it would slow down my productivity and accumulate the tasks I had. But thanks to my awesome pastry chef, he convinced me to go, telling me it was a trip of a lifetime. Never In my life, had I thought that one day, I would visit one of the wonders of the world. I don’t regret going and I’m extremely grateful to my Superiors for allowing me to go. Continue on reading, if you want to know what amazed me during this trip, the things I liked and the things I disliked.

The Valley before the lost city.

The weather on that day was quite windy and I started regretting my choice of a short and T-shirt, Luckily as we left the port, the weather started getting warmer. We were in for a 2hr30minutes trip.I’ve never traveled for this long on a bus, maybe because my country is small. There were astonishingly beautiful landscapes along the way and sand that was of an unreal red color. I thought I was traveling in heaven. Our World is indeed magnificent. After one hour something of traveling, We stopped at a shop which was located in the middle of a desert road, the people there were welcoming, If there’s one thing that I will always cherish about Petra, it is the warm smiles and gentle nature of the people especially the guide, the bus driver, the shop owners and the staff at the entrance desk in Petra. After a 30 minute break, we continued our way to Petra.

The Ticket in hands,let the adventure begin!

The Ticket In Hands,Let the adventure begin

We reached Petra at 10 am. The guide briefly explained to us how to get to the main attractions and handed us a map. As soon as this briefing was over, I realized that my so-called best friends at work left me, but that was okay with me as no friends is equal to more freedom. I went to buy some fast food because the lunch box that the company gave us, contained a pork sandwich and I don’t eat pork. I started my ascend to the lost city of Petra, everything was going great…

Until I met The horse-Man…

If there’s one thing that ruined my trip to Petra besides the pork sandwich, it is the Horseman. Okay so lemme explain here, In your Ticket, A short horse ride is included however you have to tip the horse-man, our guide told us that the minimal tip is $5.I was not interested to ride the horse because I’m scared but the horse guy was being forceful, so in order to stop wasting time and also in an attempt to overcome my fear of riding horses, I said why not?. We agreed on a $5 tip. During the ride, he tried to convince me to go to a ‘secret’ area with a better view, despite explaining to him I’m not interested, he kept insisting, this made me uncomfortable. We finally reached the end of the horse ride track, I ended up tipping him $10 because he took my photos..but still he was not satisfied, he was being greedy, he told me to give him more and he even told me he would exchange my money if I have bigger notes. Dude I already gave you more than we had agreed on, why can’t you be thankful?. A tip is not a selling price dude. So if you are going to Petra soon, be wary of the greedy horsemen and camel-men. And decline the ‘secret’ area tour because if they are not satisfied with your tip(plus you have to pay extra), they are either gonna insult you, leave you there, or both (these are horrors stories I’ve read on TripAdvisor and from excursion department.)

The Greedy horseman off my back ,I finally start exploring..

Regardless of the horseman’s attempts to extract more money from me, I ignored him and started my walk to the Al Khazneh Treasury. The route to all the attractions in the Lost City of Petra is straightforward and well labeled, so there’s no risk of getting lost unless you take some sketchy route. Moreover, there are Vendors and snack shops in every corner, you can ask them for direction, if you are not sure. On the way, I saw spectacular rock formations and splendid man-made sandstone carved structures(besides the Al Khazneh Treasury). I was flabbergasted by such creations. Truly, Nature is amazing and the human mind has incredible talents (at least those who built the Lost City).

The Al Khazneh Temple And My Phone Started Dying .

Al Khazneh

One hour of walking in the dense desert heat, I finally saw a glimpse of the Temple, my heart kinda skipped a beat, I thought it was a mirage. I continued walking until I could get a full picture. Finally, I was there standing in front of the Temple, I was elated, I could not believe what I was seeing, Al Khazneh looked so spectacular and glorious (unfortunately, you can’t go inside). It was as if I time-traveled back in time. My excitement was cut short by the vibration I felt in my pocket, My phone was at 9% battery, as always, my phone leaves me when I’m in the best places. This time it was not because I did not let it charge fully but rather because of the sudden heat it was subjected to.

Other Attractions After The Treasury

Don’t Come back after you reach the Al Khazneh Treasury, Keep on going forward, as there are many more attractions on the way. Make sure you go to the last attraction which is the Monastery where you get a spectacular view of the whole city. I made it up only to the Royal Tombs as I was short of time. To come back you can either ride a camel, a donkey, or walk back, but be careful with the camel/donkey owners as some of them are greedy and dishonest.

I Can’t Leave Petra Without A Souvenir


On my way back, I saw this nice jewelry vendor, he was selling beautiful gemstone bracelets. And My eyes could move away from a bluestone bracelet, I don’t remember which gemstone it is though. The stone is of great quality and the metal as well. And it’s cheap. Every time I look at the bracelet, I remember the beautiful moments I had in this wonderful country.

To sum up, despite a bad start, Petra was amazing and I plan to visit this country again in the near future. There are however some issues to be careful about notably regarding animal welfare, some of the horses, donkeys, and camels there seemed as if they were being over-worked, they looked tired, in a bad shape, and malnourished, I advise you to stay from riding these type of animal, I hope the situation has improved since then and that the animals are given better treatment.

Have you been to Petra?Share your experience in the comments

worst cruise destinations

Cruise ship life:The Ports I Hate And The Reasons Why.

Traveling to a new country is exhilarating. It ignites a sense of adventure, gives us an adrenaline rush, butterflies in our stomach as if we are in love for the first time again, makes our eyes sparkle with happiness and brings a huge smile on our face that shows our whole set of teeth, However, despite our optimism about our stay in a foreign land, our happiness can be cut short due to some unfortunate events. From getting scammed to rude port officials, below are the ports I disliked.

1.Sri Lanka.

I read many positive reviews on the internet about Colombo, Sri Lanka, and have seen the beauty of this country through documentaries. However, my excitement about exploring the beautiful city of Colombo was short-lived,the moment I stepped foot out of the ship. Pushy taxi drivers tried to force me to take their ride service and their price was based on my position on board. Somehow, my friends saw me outside and invited me to explore with them. Their taxi driver agreed for $7 for 5 persons including me. They were four guys but as soon as the driver saw the fifth person was a woman. He hiked up his price to $ 12(really, why do women still get discriminated in the 21st Century?). We did not pay heed to his greediness and paid him the price fixed before.
This was not the end of our misadventure, we approached a rickshaw driver to take to us to a Temple, which he agreed but he took us to a historical building instead and tried to fool us into believing it was a temple, big lol. We agreed for $ 15 for all 5 persons and tipped him $ 5.But he was still avaricious. He saw notes in my wallet, stopped me, and asked an extra $ 5 then $10 ”because the fare is extra for a woman”.My friends had their back turned at this point. I was about to lose these 10 bucks as the place he dropped us looked sketchy, it was far from the port. I was scared. But fortunately, my friends noticed him and chased him away. For me, Sri Lankans are narrow-minded, disrespectful to women, and extremely greedy, for these reasons I will never visit this country again. I know not everyone is the same but that’s the image I’ll always remember from this country.

2.India.


My Trip in India started well in the south, I had a great time in Kerala and Mangalore. But things started going downhill from Goa, a male police official made inappropriate tongue gestures at me and said something unprofessional. Another one made snide comments about my blue hair. I wanted to go to the nearby beach but made it only up to the gate and came back on the ship because I felt unsafe.
I also did not like Mumbai, I experienced a dishonest salesman who lured me into the shop he worked at, I thought he was a guide but it was only when we arrived there that he told me he’s a salesclerk in this shop, the shop owner was forceful, trying to get me to buy pashminas. It’s not over yet, taxi drivers dare to ask you ”why?” when you refuse to ride their cab. Also, they surround you and follow you like creeps, when you ask to go away, they either ignore you or yell at you. Also they will upcharge you and are dishonest. If they tell you you need to visit shops for them to get free parking, It’s a lie!! They get tips when you enter these shops, and they are expensive. It’s like this that I paid $ 5 for a shop tour instead of going to Gate of India. And he dared to ask for tips haha!. On top of that, shameless beggars grab and stick to you for more money even though you’ve donated to them already.

3.Cambodia.

dav

Okay so, I hate Cambodia for Two reasons. First reason is, it’s traffic, You can nearly make it to the other side of the road in a coffin when trying to cross the street. There are no traffic rules and regulations in this country, Thinking of using the pedestrian to cross the road? They are just for decoration purposes, Second reason, I hate this country is because I got scammed by a tuk-tuk driver, Dude charged me $45 for a dangerous ride to Wat Leun Temple. Initially he said $35 but then charged way more later on. Because I was in a hurry I paid him like a fool. Don’t fall for this scam, Don’t pay more than $ 20 for tuk-tuk ride.

4.Venice.

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I loved Venice and I still do, I had an amazing time there, but then the Port Officials ruined my trip. When I went through security, the port official told me to go forward, I told him there’s a queue and he told me to go anyway which I did, his colleague started yelling at me telling there’s a queue and when I explained to him, his colleague told me to pass through he kept yelling in front of people, so I went back, they both started making comments in their language while looking at me laughing. I think they were stupid racists Italian who played a nasty joke on me because I was the only black person there. I don’t hate Italy because of some stupid port officers, I’ve experienced amazing Italian Hospitality in many Italian Ports.

5.Saint Tropeze.

I don’t hate Saint Tropez, I was simply disappointed. Firstly, because the media portrays Saint Tropez as a hyped destination and there’s nothing as such, at least around the Port where the ship was anchored. Secondly, I expected warm sandy beaches just like in Mauritius and I was served with pebble beaches and ice-cold water. However, there’s a nice hill with pretty nice views in the upper areas of Saint Tropez.


Mishaps and disappointing events are all part of the adventure. This article is not to persuade you to stay from these countries, I shared my bad experiences with you so that you are warned beforehand and hopefully don’t be victims to these kinds of situation. Happy and safe travel

SkinCare products You should pack for your Cruise ship Contract.

When I was about to embark on my first contract, My sailor- friends warned me about the water quality on board, but I didn’t pay much attention then, I was more excited about my future adventures than the condition of my skin. After 2 weeks, I regretted my decision, the water on board is loaded with tons of chemicals and they dry the skin badly, and if you have acne-prone skin, you certainly start breaking out like a teenager. On top of that, the constant and sudden change in temperature does not help either, One day, you are at a beach in Vietnam and two days after, you are in the freezing cold temperature of Hong Kong .Don’t panic! Here’s a list of skincare products you should pack to avoid all the skin drama.

My Basic beauty Products

1.Body Lotion

Body Lotion is definitely a must .Pack at least two bottles of hydrating body Lotion or Cream ,whichever the brand,it should hydrating!.This is going soothe your skin and prevent from drying .Apply it generously after any shower you take and before going to bed.

2.Gentle Face Wash


Whatever your skin type, never use soap on your face especially on the ship. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the water on board is highly concentrated in chemicals, so is a bar of soap. Using soap on your face will result in open pores,dry-scaly skin and pimples breakout. Therefore, buy a gentle face wash suited for your skin type. Two normal-sized bottles should be enough for a 6-8months contract.

3.Toner and Moisturizer

Never neglect to tone and Moisturize your skin especially on a ship. Always tone and moisturize whenever you wash your face. Even if you have oily skin, you definitely need a moisturizer, buy a gel one.

4.Sunscreen

Bring a big bottle or spray of Sunscreen with you, the higher the SPF the better. You are going to travel to plenty of exotic locations during your contract. So don’t forget to apply sunscreen even if you are going ashore for only 2 hours. It helps greatly to minimize skin damage from UV and unwanted excessive tanning.

5.Face Scrub and Masks.

A gentle face scrub, clay mask and sheet masks are your skin savior during your contract. I suggest you scrub your face and put on a mask once or twice a week. This helps keep your skin fresh, soft and clean. Pack plenty of sheet mask in your suitcase, not only do they smell nice, they do wonders to the skin as well.

6.Face Serum

Face serum provides a deeper moisturization than regular moisturizers. You can mix the two together or apply it separately. They are helpful in keeping the skin soft and healthy-looking.

7.Lip Balm.

Pack a lip balm to maintain your soft and kissable lips.

8.Eye Cream.

You don’t get to sleep much on cruise ship. So, you are probably going to wake up with dark under eyes and bags. Hence, an eye cream is helpful in this situation.

9.Pimple Patches.

They are extremely helpful to speed up the healing process of a pimple. So, if you have acne-prone skin, pack plenty.

10.Green Tea.

Green tea is useful for both your skin and digestion. It is an antioxidant with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Have a cup sometimes! Instead of binge drinking in the crew bar every night.

Working on cruise ships is really fun. Don’t neglect your skin in the pursuit of adventure!.

Do you have any products to add to the list?Share your suggestions in the comments below


3 Easy Mountains To Hike In Mauritius.

Mauritius is known for its sandy beaches, warm weather, catamaran trips and delicious street food. However, Mauritius is not only heavenly beaches, but it is also home to a plethora of lush green Mountains, waiting for you to hike them. You may have noticed our dazzling mountain ranges while traveling around the island. Here’s a list of mountains that you should hike in this Paradise Island.

Signal Mountain.

Located in Port Louis,Montagne des Signaux (in French) is one of the easiest mountain to climb in Mauritius.The way to the top is tarred and well maintained.When you reach the top ,you will the enjoy a 360 degree view of Port Louis,adjacent mountain ranges ,you can even catch a glimpse of Gunner’s quoin in the North of Island.It’s quick hike up ,around 90 minutes.

2.Le Pouce Mountain.

View of Le Pouce from Letard Mountain.

Le Pouce is the third highest mountain of Mauritius .It’s a relatively easy hike with only the top requiring a bit of climbing.There are two ways to reach the top,You can take the trail situated in St Pierre,which is the most of common route or You can hire an experienced guide and start hiking from Le Dauguet,Port Louis.Either way is fine.What I like to do when I hike this mountain is I start the hike in St Pierre and then end in Port Louis .This Mountain is ideal for a half day hike or if you are experienced ,you will complete the hike in 2 hours 30 minutes .

3.Le Morne Brabant.

My favorite Mountain in Mauritius .It is located in the extreme southwest of the Island .This mountain is an important location in the history of the Island ,it was used as a shelter for runaway slaves when slavery was still a thing ,many of the fellow runaway slaves committed suicide on this mountain .The mountain is divided into two parts.The first hike route is flat and easy.The second route is for experienced hikers as the way up is steep and technical,you will need to sign a form to continue your way up to the second hike route.The mountain is open from 7 am- 4 pm everyday.The hike can be completed in 4 hours and the views are heavenly.

The Mountains mentioned here,are mountains that you can hike easily,solo and without a guide.However,there are also other amazing mountains in the island which are a bit technical and require an experienced guide and hiker to climb ,be sure to check them out too.