LOT Moments

France🇫🇷Italy🇮🇹Spain🇪🇸 Vaca Recap🛳

Hey beautiful people, I know it’s been a couple of months since my last post and I’m not here to apologize for it. If you’re unaware of how my blog functions, as I’ve stated in previous posts, this is an inspiration blog based on events that occur throughout my life. Therefore meaning, I write when I’m inspired, that’s when some of my best posts come to life. Maybe the frequency of my inspiration will be sparked more frequently in days to come but as of lately, my attention has solely been wrapped around school and work so my inspiration to write has been a bit displaced. Recently, I was able to break away from work and school for a week and a half and embark on my second family cruise. If you fancy, you can take a read of the recap post of my last family cruise and trip to Vegas to visit my sister and best friend: My Vaca Takeaways

Now let’s dig into the whole reason that you’re reading this post, my most recent family vaca and traveling escapade recap. Figured I’d change up the game a bit and give you more of a visual rather than wordy post. Enjoy scrolling through my recent vacation lookbook! I hope I can inspire you all to get up, get out, and travel! There’s so much beauty in this world so why not be a part of it and live, learn, and grow along the way✈️🛳

— By the way, all photos and videos were taken with an iPhone 7 by myself or my family. Extra special shout out to my mother and brother for being my around the clock, on site photographers and making me feel like a model for a week or so. Most videos will be short 10 second or more snippets due to my love for Snap Chat. And if you’re thinking about asking me for my Snap Chat handle, the answer is no. Hope you like what you see!

May 8, 2018: Traveling from IAH✈️Paris, France🇫🇷✈️Rome, Italy🇮🇹🛳

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May 9, 2018: Arriving @ the Norweigan Epic cruise port in Rome, Italy🇮🇹🛳

May 10, 2018: Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy🇮🇹

We do it for each other, because I love her like no other! Can ya tell how much my mom and I love being in front of the camera?

May 11, 2018: Cannes/Nice, France🇫🇷

Nice, France was one of my absolute favorite places to visit on our daily excursions. Reason being that they have such an active lifestyle and environment. People are either running, walking, or working out next to the breath-taking beach backdrop or cruising through the busy city streets on their mopeds and bikes. As an added bonus the weather is beautiful and for the most part, you don’t have to travel too far to get to where you want or need to be, everything is a walk or moped ride away. Nice has been added to my list of places I want to live, I can see myself working out on the daily, cruising on my moped, bike, or blades and lounging around on their white, sandy beaches getting melinated.

I’m really starting to break out of my dark side when it comes to the color clothes I wear, and I must say I’m beginning to love the way yellow and mustard compliment my complexion. What do ya’ll think, stick to darker colors like blacks or go bright?

When your mom gets overly excited (transitioned beyond tipsy if you know what I mean) about all the beer she downed by herself…can ya tell how enthused I am by the look on my face?

May 12, 2018: Palma Majorca, Spain🇪🇸

Definitely not the best weather day for a tour, it started out drizzling and cold and the weather didn’t warm up much later on either, but it was feasible enough to complete the walking tour. This tour was not one of our favorites nor were we quite impressed. We mainly visited a beautiful cathedral, saw a couple of historical sites, and had time to wander around for food and shopping.

Every time I ask my brother to take photos of me, there always ends up being that one, “Paparazzi, please stop!” photo, I love em. It’s becoming a thing for us.

There’s a fine line between the beer drinkers and the wine connoisseurs in my family. Which do you prefer?

May 13, 2018: Barcelona, Spain🇪🇸 (Mothers Day💐)

We didn’t get to visit the beautiful Barcelona on the best weather day, where the sun was shining and the birds were chirping, it was actually a bit wet and chilly,  but it definitely didn’t detract from all the beauty still lingering around.

The outside and inside of THE Sagradá Familia. Spain was jam-packed with many glorious cathedrals but my most favorite of all was this one. It was such a magnificent sight from the outside and getting to go inside was absolutely breathtaking! These pictures don’t even do it justice. Its still under construction as you can see in the first pic and won’t be complete until 2020 I believe. Talk about an architectural masterpiece!

I don’t know why my dad and I were so fascinated with this orange juice machine, but hey,  it’s the little things in life, right?

May 14, 2018: Cruisin🛳🌊

I believe I speak for my family and myself when I say this was one of our absolute favorite days and nights on the cruise. During the day we got active, got to get my daily work out in, did a bit of rock climbing (my fellow employees would be proud), and just spent time out on deck, enjoying the weather and time with one another. When the sun set we got all dolled up and decked out (I did this just about every day lol), enjoyed dinner, then danced the night away with some good friends we met aboard. One memorable moment from this night alongside many is pictured below with me indulging in this lovely plate of pasta (I typically hate pics of me eating, but there’s something artistic about this one). Brief backstory: I was patiently waiting in line for my turn to get my pasta made, when it was my turn the chef gently smiled, asked me what I wanted and proceeded to make it. As I watched him prepare my pasta he asked me where I was from and for my name, I answered and in return asked him the same questions. He proceeded to tell me that I looked absolutely beautiful tonight. When he was through, I was sure to get his name (ya know for positive evaluation purposes, duh!) and strutted away to rejoin my family for dinner. Now I know that little anecdote may not be a big deal for most, but for me it was. My loveless generation has led me to believe that chivalry and good guys don’t exist, almost to the point of extinction. They’ve furthermore led me to believe that compliments are just a means to get in your pants. That sweet chef Calvin, a complete stranger, gave me hope again. Especially considering that throughout the entire duration of the cruise, guys would resort to staring me down than approaching me (annoying). Or I would get stares and compliments from the older perverts who must have thought I was searching for a sugar daddy or some type of rescue (even more annoying).

For those of you who are unaware, dance has and always will be my first love, and like writing it comes easy. Let a good song come on, regardless of whether I’ve had some liquid courage or not, best believe I’ll be out on the floor getting all my life!

May 15, 2018: Naples/ Pompeii/ Sorrento/ Amalfi, Italy🇮🇹

This was by far one of our favorite excursions! Although the constant rain tried to put a damper on things it most definitely didn’t detract from the beauty all of these cites had to offer. We got to see so much and even enjoyed a scrumptious all-inclusive, three-course lunch at what resembled a greenhouse style restaurant. The setting was even more beautiful once the sun came out and began to shine through the surrounding glass windows and panels. I can def see myself spending summers here either cooped up in a house near the beach or outdoors enjoying the sites and all of mother natures whims.

May 16, 2018: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy🇮🇹 (Last day of vaca 😦 )

Can ya tell how much he rehearsed his sphiel or how much he loves to be a spokesperson? That’s my dad for ya, can’t help but to laugh and love him!

Absolutely love flowers, especially since I’ve recently ventured into a bit of gardening myself. Being able to take in the scents of all these fragrant flowers and be at peace among their beauty was definitely a treat for me!

Final Thoughts

Overall this cruise was one for the books! I’ve been on a few cruises before with Royal Caribbean and although this one was not the best due to the cruise line, it definitely didn’t take away from the overall traveling experience I had. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, making the most out of what can sometimes be a crappy situation and living in the moment. I don’t want to waste my time ragging on how horrible Norweigan Cruise Line is (especially with it being our first time cruising with them) because I already did enough of that in their review I just want to reflect on all the positive things I was able to take away from this cruise.

  • As I’ve stated in many blog post prior to this one, self-care is vital to your overall well-being. Meaning that although life can get hectic sometimes, make sure that you are taking time out to take care of yourself. Self-care comes in many forms such as participating in a hobby that you enjoy, catching up on your shows, taking a spa day, taking a vacation like I did, or so much more. Think about what makes you feel most at peace and do it from time to time to avoid burnout in all aspects of your life
  • Make time for friends and family. We all have lives of our own and are moving fast or slow in different directions, that’s life. For those of you who still have individuals that you hold near and dear to your heart such as friends, family, and associates, make sure you find time for them because the next second isn’t promised to us. I like to think of my family in relation to this quote, “Family is like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.” This quote exemplifies exactly what I just stated, making time for one another and coming back to the place where we are all rooted from time to time. It makes all the difference to be able to spend time with your loved ones, have experiences, and make memories. Those are the times and things that we will always appreciate and value the most in our hearts
  • I’ve stated this before on an Instagram post, but I struggle with getting out of my head and just living in the moment. There were plenty of moments on this vacation where I had to stop myself from trying to get that perfect picture angle or capture that snap chat video and just leave my phone in my purse or pocket and be in the moment. This is such an important lesson that I am still learning as I grow because these are the moments where I remember to breathe and use my senses to capture everything
  • Having a sense of pure gratitude is something that’s also been developing within in me like a wildfire lately. I’m learning to be grateful for everything big or small because there are individuals out there who would love to be in the place that you are or have the things that you have, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a materialistic manner. It’s a blessing to say I’ve been on x amount of cruises with my family and friends. It’s a blessing to say that I’ve traveled to more countries and states in and out of the U.S. from a very young age up until now at the age of 25. There are people who have never left their own backyard or even taken a road trip. I’m blessed to have such a youthful, adventurous, and supportive family dynamic, who just want the best for one another, want to spend time together, and live life without limits
  • Priorities are everything. I am big on organization and planning. Everything either has to be written down on a sticky note, the ‘notes’ or ‘reminders’ section of my phone because I’m super anal about having everything in order. So when it comes down to planning my daily schedule it always starts with my work schedule (full-time), then I am able to schedule in my workouts (three times a week), school assignments to be completed for the week (yay for being a full-time, online graduate student), and any extracurricular or social activities (rare). This family vacation was planned since the beginning of the year in January and didn’t take place until May.
    • The one thing I already pre-calculated was the fact that I was still going to be in my 8th out of 9 weeks for my courses when we were supposed to embark on this vacation. Which means, I had to do a bit of planning on my end to ensure I completed all of my two final weeks worth of assignments before I embarked on a cruise with no internet connection (unless paid for, which I was not about that life). I spent week 8 doubling up on discussion posts, journals, writing, and final assignments for my courses and informed my professors in advance that I would be turning in two weeks of work early so I didn’t miss my last week of class during the cruise. Did I lose a ton of sleep? Yes! Did I also still have to wake up early and be on time and on task at work? Yes! Did I get everything complete and turned in before I left for my cruise? Yes! Were the sacrifices worth it? Yes, because I returned from my cruise with straight As in both of my classes!
      • I say all that to say, that nothing is impossible. Sometimes we mentally block ourselves from doing things because we are so wrapped up in the “I can’t” or “I don’t have time” excuses. When in reality we have the same 24 hours as Beyonce and there is nothing we can’ t accomplish if we don’t put our minds to it and just do it! For me, this was big because the past me would have put vacation off due to school and work commitments but the present me came to realize that we only have so much time so why not make fewer excuses and start doing more! I have this one life to live and before I get burnt out with work and school, I want to ensure that I’m having as much fun as possible during the sometimes dueling process of being a full-time worker and student. I have as much flexibility as I allow myself to have. Being a full-time, online student has its perks but it can also be hard to manage, that’s why I always have to keep my priorities in line and remain focused and self-disciplined or the flexibility aspect of it all would not work.
  • My final take away, get up, get out, and travel! Why not? Traveling doesn’t mean you necessarily have to buy an expensive plane ticket and fly half-way across the world, baby steps friends. Fill up your tank, load up on goodies, and take a car-full of friends and road trip out of your state, go on a cruise (they always have deals and you can hit a few destinations in one trip), just do any and everything in your means to venture out and see all that there is to see. I have a hot foot and I can guarantee there will be more vaca recap post like this one in the near future. I hope to hear from all of you, share with me some of your recent or future traveling escapades!

Continue to experience the Life of Tai in my next post…

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