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How I Afford to Travel More Often (And How You Can, Too)

I always knew I wanted to live out my best life. The best life possible for me meant combining being an accomplished actress and traveling the world. And not just backpacking for the hell of it. Traveling more often is just what the doctor ordered. It helps with exposure; I get to connect with people of a different culture, new environments, and diverse influences. I get to experience the joys, hurts, pains, inspirations, aspirations of other people. And that helps a bunch to fine tune my persona as a growing actress. Travel continues to fire up my bubbling career. Traveling feeds whichever character I take on and helps me fit in with the role. So I can switch to character easily, swiftly and naturally. I find nothing beats first-hand experience.

But I wasn’t always sure of what I wanted to do.

When I graduated from high school at 17 years, I felt like a polar bear in the Sahara, like a fish out of water. You know the feeling when you want to be doing you, but can’t because you are pretty much clueless about what to take on next to help you accomplish an exemplary living. It feels overwhelming. All the ideas you have, incessantly buzzing in your mind. But you still feel held back by some cloud, somewhat unsure about what you truly want to do with the rest of your life. Darn right, it can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. I reached an uninspired decision to take off and find a haven to settle my mind and figure the way forward—it was the best decision I had made. Instead of escaping my thoughts, I had the guts to change and become the person I wanted. I wanted to cultivate and grow an exemplary acting career and afford to travel the world to engage with diverse people and cultures. It was an inspired decision, after all.

My first stop was Canada

Canada was eye-popping and empowering in equal measure. I recall visiting sites where ancient federal schools stood, young girls of color had been traumatized to kill their identity and assimilate into ‘white minds’. The cultural genocide. Being a Kenyan and a woman of color it was eye-popping because that was the first time I had felt self-aware. It is the kind of feeling that can make you feel like a foreigner in a foreign land, where you might not belong. But, again, only if you let yourself feel like so. After a month touring different Canadian towns and having a good time with open-minded Canadians, I realized this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to deliberately carve out time to see, hear, touch, feel, and taste this endlessly exotic world. Let’s face it. Many of us do not travel as much as we would like. Perhaps we make excuses about how little time we have off? Maybe we pile up excuses about not having enough money to plan out an invigorating vacation or weekend getaway? Hell yes, we do. I makes me darn proud to recall how I traveled to Canada with remarkably little money to spare. I realized it is not really about having a pile of class lying around, but about a mentality shift to treat myself to the world. And everyone can willingly make that mental shift and enjoy more experiences outside of their ‘comfort zone’.

Next up was New York City and Chicago, Illinois

The thing I remember best while here is the huge impact the empowered black women I met had on my life. The experience has been a most powerful influence on me. And I couldn’t be happier and more comfortable in my own skin—literally and figuratively, both. Sometimes it is true that ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. For these women of power, the struggle was real. They trudged through blatant racial slurs, open discrimination and outright othering. They played big and won inclusivity. And it has empowered a generation of millions of young women, no matter their political, religious, financial and racial background to be themselves and aspire for greatness without a sense of glass ceilings. At least, this is how I feel about their contribution. I identify with and respect their self-less fight for others. Also, the two American cities were my first real encounter with feminism, positive feminism. It was also around this time when Cate Blanchett’s irreverent stand on sexism in Hollywood, feminism and everything social equality endeared her to me. She earned my adoration. She is a huge inspiration to my acting career and a solid personal inspiration.

Cate Blanchett Inspires me a ton

Cate self-identifies as a feminist, and the heck I love that. Her huge success as a woman is a mammoth win for all women. And her raising the issue of a wave of conservatism trying to erode the gains “we have made over the years” is a powerful call to action. I feel empowering women does not equal automatically “disempowering” men. Feminism is not about “men vs women”. It is about becoming aware as a woman that you have the power, potential and support you need to achieve and tore through your highest aspirations. It is about men rising up to empower their daughters to aspire for greatness too. That she can and will. Not to prove to anyone that a woman (more so a woman of color) can do it, but because I have goals and the guts to achieve them. That right there my friends is true empowerment. When I travel I’m incredibly inspired by others stories of trumping incredibly hefty circumstances to live out to their song, their true aspirations. Real-life stories of real-life people who lived through significant odds but still powered through. It all works to stir my personality up, work up and switch up my acting skillset, and remind me of the power of the human spirit. All the while enjoying the connections, engagement and phenomena that accompanies embracing others, change and progress.

My Challenge to You

While some of my roles or shooting locations present the opportunities to travel (hell, they are a good match, traveling and acting), I deliberately make time to travel. We all have to work. I’m not endlessly on the road or jet setting to Germany or Malaysia, no. But I make the deliberate resolve to travel while flourishing the actress in me. Hence my challenge to you, now. Will you show yourself some self-love and get with it? I’m inspired to help others who’d like to travel more and wish it less. That is why I started my travel blog.

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