One Man Conquers The World

How often do you come in contact with people who have had the opportunity to travel the entire world? There aren’t very many people in my social circle who can say they’ve accomplished this feat. Brian Joubert proudly posted the word “Done” next to his completed travel goals in a Facebook group. I saw the post and immediately asked for an interview. He said yes. I knew this would be a great meeting when I called Joubert and reached his voicemail, which reminded callers that “collaboration is better than competition”.

I met up with Joubert in Miami’s Wynwood Walls area for a late night snack and conversation about his journey around the globe, just before he sailed off on a cruise to Cuba.

Joubert has traveled to all 50 states in North America, 7 continents and 7 ancient wonders of the world. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and began his career as the owner of a shoe shine stand in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the CEO and Founder of L & B Tax Services in Atlanta, Georgia. His mission is to show others that a life of ownership and travel is possible. As a self-made entrepreneur, he often hosts community events and seminars educating others on the benefits of entrepreneurship.

As a travel blogger, there were a few things I just had to know.

Q. How long did it take to complete this goal?

A. “A little over 20 years in total, although most of my trips were taken in the last 10 years”.

Q. What is your favorite city?

A. “Chicago, Illinois and Salt Lake City, Utah. I loved how fresh the air was in Salt Lake City. I always enjoy going to Chicago, it has so much to offer as a city.”

Q. What would you deem your best trip?

A. “I would have to say Antartica and Ecuador. It was cool experiencing 2 different extremes. I was up close and personal with glaciers in Antartica, and encountering life near the equator in Ecuador.”

Q. What was the first passport stamp you collected?

A. Jamaica

Q: What’s next for you?

A. “I would love to visit African-American monuments and museums. I also have an interest in visiting all NBA arenas and NFL stadiums.”

Q. What inspired your journey around the world?

A. “My inspiration for traveling the world was not only so that I could create my own experiences but so that others would know that they too can acheive this goal.”

The last 3 states on Joubert’s checklist were Montana, North Dakota and Idaho.

Meeting Brian Joubert has inspired me. I recently set a goal called 50 x 40, the plan is to visit all 50 states by the time I turn 40. Wish me luck!

Entrepreneur, Brian Joubert and Travel Blogger, LaKesha Carter at Coyo Taco in Miami, Florida

Until the next adventure,

LaKesha Renee

9 Items to Consider When Packing For a Trip

As a minimalist, whether I’m traveling for 3 days or 3 weeks I only bring carry on luggage. It’s easier to maneuver and I don’t prefer waiting around for baggage claim or running the risk of the airline losing my luggage. Face it, when you overpack someone has to carry your luggage and you typically don’t wear or use 50% of the items you’ve packed in more than 1 bag in my experience.

A friend, Christine Delemos who recently prepared for a 2 week trip to Europe asked me what she should pack for her trip. I was happy to share. Here’s what I told her:

#1 House Shoes- My feet touching the floor of a shared establishment! Absolutely not! I keep them in the front pocket of my luggage every time I take a trip. This thought doesn’t cross peoples’ minds often. I encourage you to bring house shoes, footies, slippers, socks or any item that will keep your feet from touching the dirty floor.

#2 Wash Cloths-If you are a fellow washcloth user, like myself, you will not find them in European countries. Before heading out to international destinations, you may want to consider bringing your own. When asking for a face towel or washcloth in Europe, you will be given a hand towel. Since they’re inexpensive, you can discard them at your convenience and not feel so guilty.

#3 Reading Material- After I’ve prayed silently or with my travel squad, I enjoy chatting with my seatmate. This is especially fun for me if there is a language barrier. You’ve got 8-10+ hours to figure out translation tactics. Often times on long flights, people may want to sleep which leaves me with the option of entertaining myself. I typically bring the latest Ebony or Essence magazine or a short novel to catch up on some reading.

#4 Lotion-My skin is extremely dry so I can’t use just any ol’ lotion or my skin may just resist. I typically use Nivea or natural shea butter. If I’m left to use the hotel or AirBnb lotion, who knows how my skin will react.

#5 Phone Adapter-When traveling outside of the US, it’s a good idea to bring a phone adapter along with you. Not all sockets are the same. You can find them at many local retailers or online. I suggest getting one before you go so that you don’t run the risk of paying a mint and running low on battery.

#6 Selfie Stick-If you don’t prefer to pester locals or tourists to take loads of photos for you while on vacation, it’s a good idea to bring along a selfie stick. You also run the risk of someone liking your phone much more than you and walking off with it. Make sure you’re not in a selfie-free zone when snapping your memories.

#7 Bluetooth Speakers-I usually like to listen to local music when I’m in a different country or have a soundtrack created just for my trip. In that case, you know the volume on your phone will not cut it. Connect the blue tooth speakers for all to enjoy.

#8 Copy of Passport-When traveling internationally, after you’ve registered with the Embassy at https://step.state.gov/ it’s a good idea to print a few copies of your passport, in case it is lost or stolen. This way, you’ll have all of the information at your fingertips when going through the reporting process.

#9 Personal Care Items-If you are particular about personal care items like toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, etc. please bring them with you. All countries are not the same and the brands you are accustomed to may not be sold everywhere.

“Focus less on what’s in your luggage and more on enjoying the sites. See the world!” LaKesha Renee

I hope this list helps! I’d love to hear what items you can’t leave home without.

Leave your answers in the comments section below.

Until next time,

LaKesha Renee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Badly Burned

After deciding to leave my corporate real estate career in January of 2017. I headed to South Florida. Trying out a series of AirBnB style apartments to see what area would be most suitable for me. I decided that Miami Beach was much too congested, offering limited parking options and apartment prices that far exceeded my newly created budget. Hollywood, Florida seemed to lack personality, variety in its nightlife options and diversity. North Miami Beach was in close proximity to Miami, which is where I thought I wanted to be but after having spent a few days in Fort Lauderdale, I was hooked.

Before leaving Houston, TX I contacted a moving company to hold my items in storage until I was ready to have them transported to Florida. The company had pretty good ratings and no unsatisfactory reviews on the BBB website so they had to be reputable, right? Wrong! After signing the lease, I contacted the moving company to transport my items from Houston to Fort Lauderdale. I was assured that my items would arrive in the next few days.

The following week I received a call from the moving company advising that the truck’s axle had broken, causing it to catch on fire. Huh? The truck driver attempted to put the fire out but failed to do so. The fire department was dispatched to the scene and hosed the truck down. I later learned that the truck not only carried my personal belongings but also the belongings of 5 other families.

While listening to the less than detailed account of the incident from the moving company’s customer service representative, I was in complete and utter shock. I could not believe this had happened. I paused and said to the representative, “How do you know for certain that the items on the truck belonged to me.” He put me on hold and came back to the line, only to say “Is your last name Carter? And your first name is LaKesha, right? With this confirmation, I burst into tears knowing that I would never see the things I deemed as special and important again.

When I share this story, the first thing most people say is “The moving moving company has insurance, you will be okay.” or “Don’t worry you’re about to get paid!” These statements are far from the truth. As a matter of fact, I am still fighting with the moving company to recoup the money I paid them.

Make sure you know your options when signing a moving contract. Ask scenario-based questions so that you are fully aware of your rights in the event of an accident. Valuation is the amount of liability a moving company will accept for the value of your goods if damaged or lost while in their possession. This is not insurance. In many cases, if you do not purchase insurance coverage for your move you will only be paid $.60 per pound if the items are lost or damaged. My items weighed 3000 pounds. I’ll let you do the math.

While I’m enjoying life in South Florida, the moving battle has been completely exhausting. I now have to take the moving company to small claims court and file complaints against them with the transportation department and BBB. Oh and of course furnish my new apartment. Did I mention that I quit my corporate job to follow my dreams!?

Maybe the lesson here is, never get too attached to things. Either way, this process has not been easy. Alpha Movers will be held accountable for their actions during this entire process. Trust!

Why I Went From Corporate to Carefree

In the summer of 1996, I began working for a general practice law firm as a File Clerk, in my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I learned the importance of systems and organization. Attorneys and Paralegals would rely on my file creation skills when referring to cases and meeting with clients. How humbling! The Principal of my high school knew the firms’ Administrator and hand selected me as the person she thought would be best for the position. I was elated because I had been discussing with my Dad and anyone who would listen that I wanted to begin working. I loved the taste of independence and not having to ask for money for small things likes clothing and gas for the Pontiac 6000 I had inherited from my grandfather.

Over the course of the next 4 years, I would work my way up to Legal Assistant after having held various positions within the firm. Although I enjoyed learning the many aspects of what it took to run a business, I wasn’t necessarily in love with any of it. I assisted with cases involving housing repossessions, collections, wills and estates, and family law. Most of it was interesting but not very fun! In general, when people have to hire an attorney they are not very happy about the idea of doling out money to have their disputes resolved.

In 2000, I decided to leave my role as Legal Assistant and try my hand at something new. I landed a position as an Administrative Assistant at one of the world’s largest publicly traded staffing agencies. To this very day, I regard this experience as one of the most enlighting and enriching. I spent the next 7 years soaking in all the training this company had to offer. I worked my way up to the Staffing Manager role and was looked to for additional leadership opportunities. It felt good to have candidates acknowledge the fact that you placed them in their dream career.

After much prayer, reflection, research, financial savings and a visit to the Caribbean. It was decided that I no longer enjoyed high-pressure sales in the staffing industry. I needed a sabbatical. I needed to get away. After my decision was made to move to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, I hosted the most memorable going away party. A live band, poetry readings, a cake designed after the Virgin Islands and handmade coasters for each guest with quotes reflecting the way I felt about life.

I was away for 11 months regrouping and figuring out what I envisioned for my life and career. I returned to the States renewed and refreshed. When I think about what makes me happiest, several things come to mind; traveling, writing, reading and sharing my life experiences. My spirit prefers to be free of repetition, politics, unaligned interests, unexplained agendas, and gossip. I haven’t quite experienced Andy’s “The Devil Wears Prada” lifestyle but I’ve worked alongside professionals who’ve endured constant disrespect, cruelty, and rage for the sake of supporting a high profile executive. It’s no fun watching your adult co-worker be humiliated in front of everyone.

I am extremely grateful for the 21 years I spent in Corporate America because I’ve learned a great deal. The experience gave me the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about people, personalities business, and what matters most to me.

Life as a Travel Blogger has been very interesting. It is not as glamorous as one may think but I love it! You can find me touring the world, creating fun and inclusive challenges to encourage people to explore the big, beautiful world we live in.

My next challenge is called 50*40. I’m planning to visit all 50 states by the time I turn 40 years old. I’m currently 36, with 29 states left to visit. Wish me luck!

I’ll be working on some fun international challenges in the near future. Stay tuned!

 

The Expected Surprise

My thirst for travel broadened throughout my teenage years after taking several domestic road trips with family. I wanted to travel every time an opportunity presented itself. I loved the idea of my eyes touching fresh, new places. It was exhilarating meeting new people and trying new things.

For my 16th birthday, my Dad surprised me by taking me on a 7-day cruise. Unbeknownst to him, my high school principal had spilled the beans by asking where I would be going on my cruise. Huh? My mind jolted with excitement and curiousity.  I finally formulated the words “I’m not really sure, but I’m excited”. He didn’t realize that he had completely ruined my Dad’s surprise.

The days before the cruise seemed to linger as I held onto the secret for weeks. My Dad and I boarded a 2.5-hour flight from Indianapolis, Indiana to Miami, Florida. Once we landed in Miami, I was anxious to board the ship. Dad could detect that I didn’t seem as surprised as someone who was about to head off to the Caribbean for the very first time. All I kept saying was thank you, Dad! He responded with a furrowed brow, “You already knew didn’t you”? I smirked and confessed that I had known we’d be going on a cruise.

In true detective fashion, the interrogation began. “So you knew”? “Who told you”? “How long have you known”? I tried to avoid the questions by smiling and attempting to change the subject. Dad, who doesn’t deal well with avoidance kept firing questions at me. The surprise he had worked on for months was ruined and he wasn’t happy. I tried to explain that although I had known about the cruise, I was still surprised. I had never been to the Caribbean. My mind couldn’t fathom all of the amazing experiences we would have onboard a cruise ship. As far as I was concerned this was a perfect surprise!

Having grown up in Indiana, I had never been exposed to so many different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. On board the ship, I was immersed in a sea of foreign languages and I loved it! One thing I knew for sure was that I loved the variety of food being served on the cruise ship and the way the accents seemed to eloquently flow from people’s tongues. Once we stopped at a few of the islands, the natives were speaking patois, which I learned was an abbreviated version of English mixed with the native language. Although I wasn’t always clear on what was being said, I was extremely comfortable in this environment.

Once at the port, I was completely distracted by the ship’s enormity that I didn’t hear my Dad say that I would have to carry all of my bags. What! Didn’t he realize that I had packed 4 bags? Eventually, he tipped a porter to take care of the luggage for us because I was struggling to carry my bags. I senselessly overpacked because if I’m going to the Caribbean, I must be fly, right? Needless to say, I didn’t wear half of the items I had packed.

I was fascinated with the constant hustle and bustle. There was something to do on every deck, it seemed. You could indulge in shopping, shows, art exhibits, live music, dancing, competitons and water activities. Carnival slipped a new itineary under the door every night. Wow, no planning involved at all! All we had to do was wake up and enjoy. The housekeepers who were responsible for cleaning our rooms had interesting stories to tell about their lives back home in various countries. After returning to the room each evening, we were greeted with a new story along with a new towel animal.

Thank you, Dad, for an amazing cultural experience! Carnival, you exceeded my expectations! I am forever grateful for this experience.

Yes, I’ll gladly go with you

My family often tells stories about my love for people and new experiences as a child. They say that I welcomed all outstretched arms. In my tiny mind, it meant that I would be given the opportunity to go somewhere different. My earliest memories of travel take me back to rural Uniontown, Alabama where most of my family is from. I can remember leaving Indiana late at night to take the 10-hour journey by car to visit relatives. I found everything about rural Alabama interesting at the time. From the red clay that covered my shoes to the garments hanging on the clothesline. The farm animals even seemed to roam freely in the distance. What seemed normal here was drastically different than what I considered ordinary back home in Indiana.

I listened closely to the way things were being pronounced in an effort not to keep saying, huh. Certain words had a drawl that I wasn’t familiar with. My cousin and I teased each other about the distinct ways in which we pronounced words. I would ask to use the bathroom, she would take me to the commode.

The best part about going down south was sitting on my cousin’s porch and waving to every car that drove down Hamburg Road. For me, it offered such a sense of familiarity. It seemed to me that in the south, everyone knew each other and even if they didn’t know you, they made it their business to wave hello to you. My mother, brother and I would visit Alabama every other summer until my teenage years.

If life was this different in rural Alabama, what was it like in other places?

“Happy, Dressed and Ready to go”!

Follow me on Instagram @lakesha_renee_ to see where my travels have taken me!