The Year of the Travel Bug: Highlights of Ri's 2017 Adventures
THE TRAVEL BUG BIT ME HARD IN JANUARY 2017 & MY EXPLO-RI SENSES HAVE BEEN TINGLING EVER SINCE.
Take a trip with me DOWN memory lane as I detail my travels from February 2017, and look ahead with me as I get ready to embark on my next trips to dubai and beirut. Enjoy the highlights, riflections, and media to go along with each adventure!
- went on a mini-trip to d.c. with my work wife, tenisha
- starting my spree of traveling with other young women without feeling the need to go out at night
- met crystal, an young entrepreneur who walked away from her full time job to begin pursuing her true passion
- this trip planted the "why not?" seed in my head about my own journey and entrepreneurial aspirations
- attended my first GEAR UP conference, meeting other awesome educators and attending enlightening workshops
- tried sweet chick, a delicious and pretty soul food restaurant owned by Nas
- ate at the CN tower
- learned how much I truly enjoy my Ri-time by spending half a day shopping on my own
- Bought my first pairs of Lululemon leggings at a discounted rate
february taught me that i've matured a lot, that i find value in more meaningful interactions and experiences. these travels also taught me the value of my "ri-Time," or time spent with me, myself and i. February was when I realized I'm an ambivert, that i get energy from other people, but i also need my alone time to regain peace of mind.
my family and i buried my father in March. March’s travels were obviously unique in that they were far from planned. Despite the tragic series of events forcing me on a plane, Lebanon took such good care of me this year. I truly look back on this trip feeling peaceful and grateful. It was all just too tranquil for it to be anything less than divine.
- We took long walks every night across the Raouche and through zaitunay Bay
- stayed up late all sitting in the same bed, reminiscing and storytelling each night
- We enjoyed our time in Kleileh, where our village people invited us to home cooked meals, comforted us and mourned with us
- got to know my father for the global citizen that he was; the stories that people shared with us taught me that the depth of his impact spanned oceans and communities
- got to spend time with my mom's side of the family and enjoy better weather
- got my mother's and father's names tattooed in arabic on my backbone
march taught me that the emotional binary between happiness and sadness is faulty. on this trip, i simultaneously felt sadness and serenity; pain and peace. in march, i stood above baba's grave and promised him that the #roadtorima would continue. I learned that my father was a GLOBAL CITIZEN, AND THE DEPTH AND BREADTH OF HIS IMPACT INSPIRES ME TO BE BETTER EVERY DAY.
- I took an amazing and inspiring bus trip to Kalahari, Ohio to host a Self-Love Girls Retreat with 40 high school girls and 8 powerful women
- this was me and Tenisha's first big event as program coordinators; it was a huge success that set the standard for the rest of our event planning
- enjoyed workshops like yoga, self-love affirmations, painting with a purpose, self-defense, poetry, and dance
- wrote a love letter to myself
- facilitated my "despite everything, you are a rose" workshop; the first time I publicly shared my poem about grieving baba
- enjoyed the resort and the hot-tub
- reunited with my college mentor who delivered two workshops, and met two other wonderwomen who also facilitated workshops
- took a trip with gloria, a friend I made through instagram when I reached out and asked her to deliver the keynote for the girls' retreat
- the first vacation I took after baba passed and it couldn't have been more perfect
- ate at the sugar factory (my favorite) and miami finga licking (dj khaled's spot)
- enjoyed good vibes, healthy living and great company
- started watching "13 reasons why"
- made a promise to myself that I would travel every month for the rest of the year (hence this post)
- road trip with my cousin Farah to visit Cle nutrition after connecting with kaitlynn, the owner of Cle, through instagram
- spent the day at the shop and tried some seriously delicious protein shakes
- talked to other young entrepreneurs about their dreams and business aspirations, including Kaitlynn!
- sketched out my first #roadto_ apparel designs
April taught me that i am a beautiful, powerful rose. it taught me the value of sisterhood and the importance of creating empowering spaces for women. it also made me realize that revolutionary things can happen when we live in our purpose, and that my purpose would require me to leverage my creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. lastly, april taught me that social media could be used as an effective way to make genuine connections with others.
- visited a good friend in DC, a trip that was booked less than a week in advance
- ate at my favorite restaurant in dc, bus boys and poets
- attended Ali's graduation from Harvard's ed.l.d. program along with several members of my extended family, the first time this many of us traveled together
- had a blast walking around Boston and Cambridge with the family
- ali's advisor, professor jewell-Sherman, was generous enough to invite us to her house to celebrate the graduation of three of her students and their families
- listened to dean James ryan deliver a moving commencement speech titled "lead with grace," we all cried because his words sounded like they came straight out of baba's mouth
lazed around the beach (again) with Lashawn, our second trip to miami together
ate at miami finga licking (again)
ate at sugar factory (again)
went to Xtreme action park, skated, got delicious ice cream and won 3rd place on the racetracks
in may, i realized THAT SPONTANEOUS TRIPS ARE GOOD FOR THE SOUL. I LEARNED how important my family HAS ALWAYS BEEN to me, how much i need their love, support and presence. i realized that baba will be with us in every single thing we do, AND THAT EVERY SINGLE HAPPY MOMENT WILL HAVE A TINGE OF SADNESS, AND THAT'S OKAY. ali's graduation WEEKEND WAS A POWERFUL REMINDER to block out the noise and boldly pursue my life's purpose.
Dallas/Fort Worth, TexaS
attended the NCORE conference; enjoyed Francesca Ramsey's energizing presentation on building a personal brand
stayed in a really cool airbnb with a few of my coworkers
managed to workout every day and make my protein shakes every morning (I even packed my nutribullet with me)
tried velvet taco, first time I enjoy tacos that aren't home made
met up with a good friend from college who now lives in dallas
attended a sofar gig, a really cool concept where people host mini-concerts in their homes
spent some ri-time exploring downtown dallas and passion planning
in june, i learned that i have everything i need within me to make things happen, that when i set a goal, i will follow through. i learned that my grief would often catch me off guard throughout the day. also, texas was cool and all, but, aside from checking out houston, i'll probably never volunteer to visit again.
JULY & AUGUST
(these trips carried over into august)
- spent a day at vice city bean, where me and sese completed our first monthly reflection In our passion planners
- checked out wynwood art district
- spent quality time with my baby sister on our first vacation alone together
- ate at sugar factory and miami finga licking (again)
- went to xtreme action park (again)
San Francisco, California
- attended my first gear up national conference, "becoming futureproof"
- attended a "design thinking for educators" workshop, where I realized that my passion is to create impactful and inspirational experiences for other people
- Tenisha and I made friends with the cable car conductors and hopped on a few trolley rides around the hilly city (including the ghirardelli square)
- tried pressed juicery for the first time
- got my first "be rilentless" t-shirt printed, the first of many #roadto_ designs to come
Los Angeles, California
- spent quality time with Ali at his beautiful apartment in Hollywood
- ate the fattest, sweetest pancakes ever at the griddle, these pancakes ended up being my breakfast, lunch and dinner that day
- had a cookout and invited a bunch of our friends from college who are now living in Los Angeles
- first time attending the amazing onela church
- started my business school personal statements at verve coffee, my favorite coffee shop in la
Fargo, North Dakota
- got to watch ali deliver his groundbreaking ted talk "hit song science" and entertain the crowd a second time with a great spoken word performance
- the entire tedxfargo event was so inspirational and enlightening; I loved listening to the other speakers and watching them speak their truths
- walked around Fargo, North Dakota and interacted with such friendly locals
during my july and august adventures, i found the language to express a big portion of what i'm passionate about: creating impactful experiences, whether through a lesson plan, a blog post, an event i've planned, a vlog, etc. I want to impact others by engaging them in transformational experiences. i also learned that i need to be more intentional about my relationship with my family, especially my sister sese. I realized that i need to be open minded about my travels, that gems like fargo, North Dakota will take you by surprise. lastly, July and august made me realize that my whole life, my heart has made room for faith, spirituality and god, it was just waiting for me to give the green-light.
- lazed around the beach for the majority of the time
- ate at sugar factory. twice (again)
- visited DJ khaled's restaurant fingalickin (again)
- tried some authentic Miami fast food
- ate at tacology, one of the coolest restaurant concepts I've tried (I guess I do like tacos.)
- worked on my beauty sleep - went to bed every night at around 11pm
- did I say lazed around?
september taught me to recharge so that i can hit the ground running. i had such a relaxing and stress-free Labor Day, and i knew i would have to crank it up when i was back home with my gmat and other personal development goals. September taught me that i need to stop making excuses, that crutches would only weaken me in the long run. it was after Labor Day weekend that i decided to keep the promises i make to myself, especially when it came to any unhealthy relationships in my life. september showed me the art of closure.
- got to be a third wheel for the first trip (definitely not going to be the last trip) with my cousin/big sister dena and her husband moody
- went to a haunted house that used to be a funeral home and read up on some urban legends to feel the halloween spirit
- moody and dena took me out to r'evolution restaurant for an birthday dinner; the plates all had the letter r on them which made me happy; the waiters gave me a chef's hat that said happy birthday (lol)
- shopped around the French quarters, ate a lot of oysters, cornbread, lobster, bread pudding and of course beignets from cafe du monde
- escaped a hurricane and lazed around at a hotel by the airport
- I watched dena and moody watch the Michigan game as I studied for my gmat and planned
october taught me that good company is so important to me. it taught me that me, dena and moody make a good TRICYCLE. i had so much fun with them! after this trip, i added an extra criterion to my husband non-negotiables: that he and moody get along well. october reminded me that i need to continue to invest in the people i love most, even if i often value my independence. this trip gave me a glimpse into what my future could look like, as more amazing additions are added to my family.
- finished out my 21 day challenge with a healthy lifestyle in la
- spent quality time with mama and Ali for a full week
- attended onela church again and got pastor Sarah jakes Roberts to sign her book "don't settle for safe" for tenisha
- woke up early, worked out, studied and ate healthy every day
- took a full gmat practice exam
- attended my first red carpet event, where ali's roommate Ahmed's short film was being featured
- hiked Runyon canyon and woke up sore as ever
- got the best full body massage I've ever had
- I learned how to use my new dsl camera and started recording content for the #roadtoreel
- watched my brother and his partners record content for their "be free" show, dropping in January!
- spent ri-time exploring West Hollywood and going on morning walks
- ate the best acai bowls from backyard bowls
- shortest trip to Lebanon ever in the history of life (less than 4 days) for my best friend baraa's wedding
- sat by another Lebanese girl on the plane; Farah and I became besties by the time we landed in paris
- got my makeup done at the airport by Nelly, the CEO of paris' makemybeauty; nelly was such a sweetheart and I loved my makeup so much; it was awesome to learn about the things she is doing with her brand and I plan to visit her whenever I'm back in paris
- changed in the airport bathroom to be ready for an event I had to attend as soon as I arrived to beirut
- immediately after landing, went to baraa's and ali's surprise rehearsal dinner; met the other bridesmaids and groomsmen and had such a fun first night in beirut
- stayed at my lovely granny's house and spent quality time with my mom's whole family
- slept over my cousin Lynn's house and cruised around the city with her
- tried cookies and ice-cream at smushkies in beirut, an awesome cookie concept with equally sweet owners
- visited my dad's grave and our village home for the first time since baba transitioned; felt his calming presence everywhere in kleileh
- visited my little cousin's coffee shop cozy cafe in beirut and had an Oreo shake that was garnished like a plant in a pot
- spent the day with my close friend mysaa getting ready for the wedding
- got to be a bridesmaid at a truly magical and memorable wedding night
- vlogged most of my experience, getting ready for the #roadtoreel
I don't even know where to start with november. november taught me that i love going to new places and doing a lot of the same old thing; that my favorite getaways are often even more productive than my regular routine. i realized that i actually love Los Angeles and would not be surprised if i spent at least a year of my life there. november taught me that it's okay to jump into new experiences, even if i don't feel ready. it taught me that my grief will feel very raw for a very long time. november was about friends who feel like family and family who feel like friends. lastly, november taught me that i should continue to listen to even the faintest utterance spoken by my heart.
My “Year of the Travel Bug” will end with a bang. The Fadlallahs will take Dubai this December. 30 MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY WILL BE REUNITED IN DUBAI FOR OUR FIRST EVER fadlallah FAMILY REUNION. Most importantly, this will be the first time since my dad and grandma passed that this many of us will be in the same place. This trip is already so special to me because it truly symbolizes my family’s resilience and ability to turn such a tragic year into an opportunity for a new beginning.
I am seriously so excited for all of the craziness that will inevitably happen when you put all of us in one place. here are some things I'll be looking forward to:
- I will get to meet my second nephew for the first time in person
- I'll spend quality time with Zayn, my first ever nephew
- We’ll be doing all sorts of touristy things, including eating at Noire, a pitch-black dining experience, and going Dune Bashing in Wranglers
- I printed a bunch of #roadto_ merchandise so I can make my siblings and cousins model for me in scenic Dubai
- another opportunity to record cool footage for the #roadtoreel
- white elephant tradition with the family
- new Years with my favorite people
- seeing my best friend baraa again; her and her husband Ali just moved to Dubai
after visiting baba's grave and feeling more connected to lebanon than ever, I decided that I wanted to kick off 2018 feeling as peaceful and happy as I was during my recent trip.
here is what I look most forward to:
- spending more time with my mom's family
- visiting baba again with my brother ali by my side
- going to faraya and skiing in lebanon for the first time in my life (yes, there is snow in lebanon)
- trying new restaurants and coffee shops in beirut
- taking walks on the raouche
- starting my 2018 off the right way
as you can see, I will have traveled over 21 times in a 12 month period. I am so lucky to have these opportunities, and I hope you enjoyed the snippets of my experiences this year. I am convinced that the travel bug will continue to bite me; that I'll continue to find time to travel regardless what else is going on!