Category Archives: So solo

Paramedics on the Plane

kissthesky

Not the picture you were expecting with the above title, huh? Well, after my plane ordeal (turbulence and…yeah), I had to pay respects to the sky with a big smooch.

Before I delve into details, I just want to shout out #Deltaairlines , flight DL 849 on November 15, 2014 from Atlanta to Tegucigalpa.  Your kindness and professionalism really helped ease my troubled mind (and body). Now on to the news…

I decided to take a quick weekend trip to the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, to meet a friend who currently lives and teaches there. It was so cool how we met (I will tell you all that later)! Anyway, after mucho planning I was finally able to get myself there. She told me that Tegucigalpa was totally different from my most visited area of Honduras, Roatan, and I was eager to check it out. She warned me about how short the landing strip was into Tegucigalpa and how the planes typically brake really hard. She mentioned that people literally clap when they land safely there, as it’s deemed one of the most dangerous landings in the world.  Add to that my recent apprehension of flying (yeah, after having flown tons of times before), I was NOT looking forward to this.

I was super nervous flying from my city to Atlanta , but surprisingly calm when flying from Atlanta to Tegucigalpa. I was no longer scared about the short landing strip at all. I even struck up a conversation with the lady who sat next to me who just so happened to be in the medical field as I am.  It seemed like the 3 hour flight took forever, so I watched the movie ‘Lucy’ before dozing off to sleep. Then I awoke to this fainting feeling during descent.

Next thing I remember, the nurse I sat next to quickly sprang into action as I had passed out, stretched across the three seats of our row.  I remember feeling her lifting up my legs in the air, her wiping under my nose with an alcohol swab, the flight attendants asking me if I had a history of seizures, them discussing how many minutes they had until landing, them telling the other passengers to not leave the plane once it landed because paramedics would be arriving for me…LIKE WHOA. I heard the attendants  asking each other ‘how many more minutes to landing?’ The answer went from five, to three, to one minute.

OH
EM
GEE.

Still woozy but able to comprehend what was about to happen, I urged them to get into a seat and not worry about me. I didn’t want them to face a harsh landing, but the flight attendants ignored me. They were so concerned about me. I recall the lady flight attendant telling me to press against the tray/seat in front of me so that I wouldn’t fall upon landing. I mustered up all of the strength in my body to do just that and what do you know…the landing wasn’t AS bad as how I felt, lol.

Everyone clapped, too!

Next thing I know, the paramedics arrived to tend to me. I was so embarrassed because all eyes were on me and what the hell was going on. Drenched , the paramedics took my blood pressure and my pulse. I was starting to feel a bit better when I noticed my pulse was improving and my O2 Saturation was normal.

After sitting up a bit, I told the flight attendant I was so sweaty, even under my pants.

She then told me, ‘honey, that’s not sweat…you wet yourself.’

OH
EM
GEE!!!

Embarrassment to the max! I just cried and cried and cried. They kept reassuring me that it was okay and that they were concerned about me and they truly were. This made me feel a ton better. She asked if I had a change of clothes and I did, but it’s crazy though. The one time I tried packing light was the time I needed more clothes!

I thought it was over once I started regaining my composure, but when I tell you the paramedics didn’t let me out of their sight, they didn’t let me out of their sight. They escorted me to the on site medical doctor in the airport near customs. After the doctor checked me out and was comfortable with my release, they escorted me in a wheelchair to the front of the customs line (major plus despite the circumstances). I told them I needed to use the restroom. Oh my gosh, ya’ll. When I got up to go to the restroom, I then saw how much I peed on myself.  I almost started crying again, but I didn’t.

The paramedics got my friend’s contact information as she was in route to the airport. They stayed by my side until she came and gave her orders to let me rest and to not eat anything greasy. She let me rest, but she couldn’t keep me from the grease. I had pizza with friends later that night. 😉

thegang
Yum Grub Time!
hecaughtme
Mr. Camera Man Playing with My Ipod

 

 

 

 

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SistaVoyage Vs The Caribbean Sea

staring

If you knew of a person who had 2 sets of private swim lessons PLUS a group swim lesson recently , wouldn’t you assume that person knew how to effectively swim? Probably so, right? Well, tell me what is MY problem, lol!  Apart from showering, brushing my teeth and taking baths, the water and I are not the best of friends. At the age of 25, I took my first set of private lessons (4 total) where I discovered if you give me a noodle and some fins, I could swim without stopping. On the flip side ,take away the noodle and the fins and it would be a DISASTUH.

The second set of lesson results (again 4 total) were a sad repeat of the first.  I was ready to practice my strokes, but I ended up nearly stroking due to the choking of water I seemed to always swallow. The only maneuver I could show off outside of the class was me pushing myself from the wall and swimming UNDER water. I couldn’t bring my head up for air to save my life!  While I didn’t give up, I left large quantities of la agua alone for a while. Then one day I got bold…kinda.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, it was just this year so it wasn’t much to remember, ha ha.

On Good Friday 2013 in Roatan, Honduras, me and two other ladies who were staying at the Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel decided to take a stroll to West End. We kept walking and walking and before we knew it, we were on West Bay Beach, where all of the action was happening. We noticed several people (mainly children and teens) jumping off of this wooden deck into the sea. ‘I want to jump in, but I can’t swim well,’ I announced to the ladies.  What did I do that for? ‘Well, I am going to dive in and I will help you out if you jump. I used to be a life guard,’ ‘J’ said to me.  I felt a mixture of nervous energy and curiosity throughout my body. She noticed my hesitance and started to mildly taunt me while mixing in a little encouragement. Nice.

So, did I suck up my sea fear or did I shrink back in it?  Well, I did a little bit of both, lol. See what actually happened in this short video clip below.

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The Extinction of My Volunteer Elitism

sandybay
Orphanage in Honduras

I have a confession to make that I am not very proud of.

You see, there was a time when I believed that volunteering my time and services to others in need ONLY extended within the United States and even then, there were stipulations of WHO should receive my help.

In short, I was a ‘volunteer elitist.’

Several years ago, I held tight to a mentality of ‘them over there vs. them over here,’ which developed over the course of time, sparked by debates with others on various subjects. One hot topic I remember discussing amongst my peers was Americans adopting children from other countries when there were children here in the United States who needed a home, too. ‘You shouldn’t take from one child and give to the other’ was a common retort that kind of shut others up who believed it was absolutely okay for those who decide to adopt to do so in other countries. I must admit, noticing this comment receive nods and ‘umm hums’ from the majority caused me to dismiss how I truly felt and I ended up believing the ‘shut em up’ group had it all right and I had it all wrong. Nevertheless, my mind still pondered ‘umm, isn’t this decision that of the those who adopted and them only?’

Fast forward to a few years later.

I got older (inevitably) and started to TRUST my own beliefs, opinions and instincts. I realized and accepted that my total allegiance in assisting others is NOT solely within the confines of the U.S. If time, money and effort exist in my life, I can donate it to whoever is in need or want, no futile debates necessary, no explanations to anyone on my part. Who cares if I am separated from others via miles of oceans, seas, jungles, mountains when I can hop on/in trains, planes, boats and automobiles to arrive at my destination! Despite there being several layers of cultural, race, religious and language differences, it has never discouraged me from giving/receiving and vice versa.

Thankfully, this mentality guided me to volunteer at the Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro Belize and later at Sandy Bay Lighthouse ministries and Clinica Esperanza in Roatan, Honduras. I meet several AWESOME people during these times, ranging from children to adults. Now, whenever I plan a voyage, I make SURE my itinerary includes volunteer work before I enter into a country. I try my best to lend my skills, time, experience and generosity to others who share my same geographic location and to those who don’t.

A beautiful, meaningful song (circa 1985, not the recent auto tuned remake, but I digress :) ) comes to my mind when I think about the impact, small or great, we ALL have the ability to make GLOBALLY:


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So, How Did I Spend My 34th Birthday? (Plus Contest Winner Announcement!!!)

 

We Are Family!
We Are Family!

I went to Virginia and Washington to spend time with family and friends, as most of those who participated in my giveaway suggested. I was only there for a short time, but I definitely made the most of it!!!
The plan was hit up King’s Dominion Amusement Park during my visit, but the weather, TRAFFIC on I-95 North and South, my family’s work schedule and my friend’s sickness ruled in favor of ‘No.’ Nevertheless, I still had a blast because:

The flight attendant surprised me with my FAVORITE treat on my way there!!!
P1040116I met a new family member, Miss Shay!
P1040119I went to free, jazz event in Washington, D.C. (and you all know I LOVE jazz!!!)

P1040152P1040147
I saw an impressive building and I had to take pictures of it…with me in the pictures, of course :)
P1040136P1040139P1040142I wanted to visit the Washington Monument, but the walk was far and the air was HUMID! I decided this picture would suffice, lol.
P1040155

It was great seeing my family and friends again. I hope to make it sooner than later in the future. Plus, I am now considering a relocation to the North Virginia and Washington, D.C. area :)

NOW ONTO THE GOODY GOOD STUFF!
The winner of $50 E-Visa or Paypal Cash from the ‘Help Sista Decide’ contest is…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to all who participated. There will definitely be more giveaways here in the future!!!

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Stay or Go Away? Help Sista Voyage Decide and Win $50!!!

questions

Hiya Good People! Sista Voyage is in a bit of a doozy. Her 34th birthday is closely approaching and while she knows she wants to travel, she’s not quite sure where to go. After her 32nd birthday blast in Honduras, she imagined the next increases in age would be spent the same way.

Unfortunately, year 33 didn’t yield what she imagined, but she knows her 34th birthday will!!! Her job approved her time off and she has the finances in place, thanks to her travel fund account.

Here are her options:

Option 1: Stay in the U.S. and visit family and friends in Virginia she hasn’t seen in about 4 years. Her stay will yield free room, board AND meals. Being a lover of all things insane and thrilling, she’ll get a chance to visit King’s Dominion to ride roller coasters!!! Her last amusement park experience was 4 years ago at her beloved Cedar Point.

Option 2: Return to Honduras to revisit friends made during her March 2013 trip. Her living arrangements would resemble the couch surfing phenomenon. She would pay for her use of a costly amenity ,i.e., electricity while in the home. The homeowner has agreed to only speak Spanish to her as she really wants to be fluent in the language. She will volunteer again at Sandy Bay Ministries orphanage.

Option 3: Venture into a totally different country- this time, Nicaragua!!! While there, she would attend a language school. Getting there will be a true adventure as she would catch a flight to Tegucigalpa, stay overnight at a friend’s home, then take a 7+ hour bus ride to Nicaragua.

Option 4: Choose a ‘staycation’ in her home city for yet another birthday, save more vacation time off/money and postpone her travel plans until later this year. With this option, she will have the opportunity to literally ‘country hop’ for almost a month!

She needs your suggestions/support and to show her gratitude, she and http://thefrugalexerciser.blogspot.com/ will send a lucky, random participant $50 in Paypal cash or an e-Visa!!! Simply enter to win below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Semana Santa in Roatan, Honduras

Semana Santa AKA Holy Week-  A week of religious celebration that leads up to Easter Sunday.

Two years had passed since my first solo trip to the island and in between that time, I went through what I label ‘Roatan Withdrawal.’ Maintaining contact with those that I met in 2011 during my stay and being asked the question ‘when are you coming back to see us?’ only intensified the withdrawal symptoms. While the desire was always in my heart to revisit, my debt to income ratio and getting approved time off from work kept me from returning sooner.

I heard about Semana Santa previously and decided this would be a great time to kick the hiatus in the nads and GO! I envisioned the week as being ‘one big island block party’ engulfed with tons of cultural festivities for all to enjoy. I daydreamed about people verbally and physically proclaiming their love for this week throughout the streets of Roatan. I could ‘see’ churches extending their hours to the public, welcoming all to come in, hear sermons and sing songs about the significance of Semana Santa.

So in December 2012, I purchased a flight specifically for the week of March 25 to March 31, 2013.

Super excited about what I was going to experience, I emailed a friend who has lived in Roatan for over 12 years to inquire about the cultural festivities that would be happening during that time. Her email reply had me scratching my chin:

‘There are not many cultural activities here during Semana Santa, people basically celebrate by drinking a lot on West Bay beach.’

Fa Real?? But wait, this is HOLY WEEK!!!!

She also explained that it is usually very crowded, businesses close early during the week, and many people spend time with their families.

Wha??? Are you sure? Say wha ‘na?

The fantasy bubble of the ‘huge block party celebration’ burst and turned into mental droplets of a bunch of people hanging around getting drunk, me pushing my way through rowdy crowds, traffic being backed up for miles, and grocery stores being closed for several days.

Oh and guess what else? I completely forgot that since this was a holiday week, hostels, resorts, and hotels charged almost DOUBLE what they normally request.

Dangit!

I wanted to cancel this trip, but I didn’t. I decided to extend my stay so that I could experience the wildness of that week then the calm once it’s over. I am so glad I did because…

Neither extreme I envisioned  about Semana Santa in Roatan was true.

Yes, West Bay Beach was crowded on Good Friday, but it wasn’t unbearable:
westbay
Yes, people were drinking and partying in West End and West Bay:
jumppartytime

But there were moments of peace, too:
baysittingYes, some businesses did close, but if you needed essentials, you could still purchase them somewhere else.

Remember!!! 20 Lempiras (L. 20) equals $1!!!
Remember!!! 20 Lempiras (L. 20) equals $1!!!

What was DEFINITELY true about this holiday week was the family aspect. While walking around, I saw a family singing hymns and reading from Bibles in front of their home in celebration of Semana Santa. I witnessed families enjoying each other on beaches. Several people went to other cities in Honduras and to other countries to spend quality time with their loved ones and vice versa.

For me, while I didn’t have family there before, I certainly do now! One family I’d NEVER MET BEFORE in my life treated me like their long, lost,  loved relative to the extent of welcoming me into their home for conversation and good home cooking!!!

This:

Fresh Queenfish!
Fresh Queenfish!

Plus This:

beansricebanana
Beans, Rice and a Boiled Banana

Resulted in This!

gone!

Semana Santa in Roatan, you are alright with Sista :) ¡Me gusta usted mucho y le veré en el futuro!

 

 

 

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How to Get over Your Fear of Traveling Solo

stood up lady
Image courtesy of [ambro] FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you:

  • find yourself jaded when plans with others go sour,  keep reading.
  • end up staying home if everyone else cancels because you just can’t fathom going out alone, keep on reading.
  • have been curious about traveling, but you don’t think you will be safe or have fun by yourself, keep on, keep on what? That’s right, keep reading.

Listen, I totally understand the natural apprehension surrounding solo travel, but the key is conquering it by not allowing the ‘yays’ or ‘nays’ of others to dictate your actions. So, are you ready to overcome your fears of solo travel, but you just don’t know exactly how to do it? Well, keep reading because I have a few ‘Sista Says’ tips for ya!

Start Going out with YOU!!!
First you must get over your LOCAL fear of going out alone. Tempted to dine at that new, sexy sushi restaurant in your city, but it seems it’s a couples only haven? So what? Go eat alone and  pick up a tempura roll for me, while you’re there, lol.

 

Me and Tempura
Me and Tempura

Travel alone within the US
While you’re there, revisit tip the first tip!!!

Go on a cruise
This may seem like a daunting step, but it really is not, I promise. Think about it-  you will be surrounded by hundreds or thousands of other people! You get to mingle on a large scale then retreat to the comforts of YOU. Win win!!!

Go abroad with specialized, touring groups
While you may arrive alone, touring groups provide you with mingling conditions similar to a cruise, only in a smaller capacity. To find out more information on these specialized tours, visit either  cosmos.com or timetravelplans.com .

The last tip: NOW GO SOLO!!!
You can do it, Bobbina/Bobbie Boucher, you can do it!!! Remember, you only get to live this one and only life to its highest extent…ONCE! Research your destination in advance and when you arrive there, leave Timid Tim/Tina at the baggage claim area and exude Fearless Frank/Farrah!

jump

 

 


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I Let My Hair Down When It Comes to Eating…

in other countries.

watermarkburgerking*I hope you all understand what I am going to say.*

Places I wouldn’t dare eat at here in the U.S. are somewhat a non-issue when I am overseas.

Living in America has spoiled me in that I have a variety of restaurant options to choose from at any time. The ‘hole in the wall’ establishments and the food trucks here in the U.S. don’t receive my support. Looks good? Yeah. Smells good? Hecka Yeah? Tempting? Nah. I like a certain aesthetic appeal in where I choose to dine, plus, it gives me the peace of mind that my food’s possibly being handled and prepared appropriately.

When I am in another country, that standard’s laid to rest, mainly because the food’s fresher and it tastes SO MUCH BETTER! On top of this, I know that some other countries don’t have the strict regulations that we are supposed to have in the U.S. due to politics and funding. Yay to eating overseas!!!

Street Food in San Pedro, Belize

 

Banana and Nutella Crepe in Paris, France from a Food Truck
Banana and Nutella Crepe in Paris, France from a Food Truck
Quesadilla in Honduras

 

Chicken baleada in Honduras
Chicken baleada in Honduras

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