Travel “Before Corona” seems like a world away. Travel, that is, to other countries- at least for me, and Siargao was the last place I’d visited outside of China. A beautiful, unspoiled Philippine island that I’d dreamed of visiting, and then in February 2020 finally did so with my sister and friend.
It was the first in a very long time that I’d traveled with company other than my boyfriend. And us girls had a fantastic time on the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao (even though the coronavirus outbreak had begun in China). Early on in our trip, we underestimated COVID’s impending worldwide catastrophe, but as the days went by, and we frolicked on the beach, hopped the waves, and basked in the surfer vibes that Siargao so generously bestows upon its visitors, it became evident that something big in the world was happening. And our sunny days gradually became overshadowed by concern and confusion. When I think of our trip to Siargao, it seems somewhat of a blur until I look at pictures from our time there. They bring back pleasant memories of our vacation almost lost.
Sighs, a moment of silence for the times when we freely traversed our Earth.
As much as I had tried to stay positive, 2020 sucked! But I will continue to count my small blessings of being "stuck" in China that I have gratefully counted along the way. One being that we have had the opportunity to visit places within this vast country, never considered before.
Vibrant, fun-loving, driven and tasteful, words that describe my friend and this month’s BagLady of Style, Helena Brunetti Domingues. A lady, whose vigor for life has been an ever-present reminder of the joy that comes from living life in the moment.
Helena, just like me has spent this year, 2020 in Shanghai- a land that’s not her own, but a city that she considers home. She has held on to hope and positivity this year and despite all of the chaos and uncertainty around us, has thrived through challenges, ultimately experiencing personal growth as well as growth in her career.
So, here she is to spread love and good vibes from her home in Shanghai...
2020- "A chance to be still", I said to myself. I had been wanting this for some time and up until this year, it had been difficult to make it happen. Why you may ask? Because outside travel is essential to survival inside. Living in a city like Shanghai has its upsides, but there are also many hard factors that we have to “deal” with, so quick escapes to neighboring countries usually act as quick fixes to our woes. But this year- post COVID-19, life, has, like many, hardly allowed us to venture out.
On January 23rd, 2020, I excitedly boarded a flight with my friend, as we were about to embark on a 'girls trip' from Shanghai to the Philippines. A few weeks before that, the Taal Volcano had erupted in a town south of Manila, and the Manila airport shut down for safety precautions. We were a bit anxious about flying into that airport, but a few days before our flight, something more concerning happened. The announcement of the Coronavirus outbreak in China.
Somewhere in Indonesia, is a place called Sumba.
Called the forgotten island by some.
…And a Frenchman ;)
But, let's skip to the talk about the trip to France itself!
As a child growing up in Trinidad, I'd always get excited whenever we went to a beach that had a small cove or that involved a small hike and adventure in getting there.
My sisters, friends, and I were always in desperate search of adventure by the water, and my time in the Algarve region of Portugal reminded me of that never-ending and somewhat unfulfilled quest during my childhood. Filled with coves, caves, hikes, and surprises around every corner, I felt a great sense of accomplishment for my younger self as I explored the South of Portugal.
How do you know where to go?
Maybe it starts with a recommendation from a friend, or a post you see on Instagram. A cheap flight that you randomly found online, a long layover or a crazy close your eyes, spin the globe and go where your finger lands? Whichever way it may be, I’m sure that somewhere soon after you’d Google.
“You know the saying, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere? Well, there’s a saying in Berlin, if you can’t make it here, you can’t make it anywhere.” – My Berliner roommate.
*So I guess I can’t make it anywhere…