I’ve lived in Miami for all of 5 minutes and it’s time to evacuate. Ugh!
The first time I came to the city was for spring break, it was 2007. I was single, barely twenty, feeling like I had a point to prove and “I’m in Miami, Bih!” was still an underground hit. My best friend at the time had a lot of family in Coral Gables, Little Havana and South Beach. The two of us, beautiful single women, fell in love with the city and it’s beaches day after day, night after night, for several months that year (I need to go searching for those embarrassing pictures lol). Then in 2009, another beauty I became attached to moved into a North Miami Beach high rise with her precious newborn. And then another friend of mine who was a native, moved back as well. The city where I finally felt the cultural magnetism that I hadn’t had since I left LA, was pulling me in via my girlfriends. However, I was genuinely afraid of its constant overt sexiness as I hadn’t even grown into my own sexuality yet. Something told me then that that was a healthy fear to have at that age and that it was okay to come back later.
And later I did. So here I am, sitting in a Tallahassee airport at 3am writing about Miami instead of enjoying it. MIA airport was packed from gate to gate last night with passengers trying desperately to flee Hurricane Irma as the governor mandated the necessary evacuation of the southern coastline. Having just landed Monday, back into the city from a trip to Curaçao and now Tuesday, Hurricane Irma is readying itself to rip through my new home. This random flight to Tally was my only saving grace as I stood in front of the departure monitors searching for openings in every single city listed. Everything was oversold by the dozens, and was echoed by the obnoxiously loud speakers asking for volunteers to stay behind. My heart was racing. I was actually afraid. Afraid not for myself because I found a way out via Tally. I was afraid for my roommates waiting it out with the packs of water they managed to find at sold out markets, or my girlfriends unsure of when to leave due to work or my Love stuck in Tampa for another day or my best friend in Jacksonville inviting me to drink like a fish in honor of the hurricane’s arrival. I was afraid no one was taking it seriously except me and these frenzied people in the airport. And of course Mema too ❤️ because of course she called to check in. Thanks Mema!
Now I’m sitting here overnight in the panhandle, waiting for the first flight of the morning, worrying about my loved ones.
And of course I can’t think about Miami without thinking about my time in Cuba. I still haven’t taken the time to properly reflect on the incredible experienced it gave me and the memories I will never forget.
All the people that attached themselves to us while we were there gave their time genuinely and freely, not really asking for much except our conversation. Never in my life have I felt so welcomed and so free. Let me explain: Solo travel is not for everyone because everyone travels differently, vastly differently. You want to get to know someone…… you know the rest! My cousins and a good girlfriend thoroughly taught me that lesson. The benefit of traveling alone is that it exercises your freedom, your inner wanderer’s independence and teaches you what to do with it. It empowers you with choice rather than safety netted regimen and it enables you to say Yes more than you ever have in one day, more than you ever have in your life. Cuba is the perfect place to say “yes, yes, yes!” to any and everything. The people welcome you to say Yes and give you the peace of mind that it is safe to do so. And I definitely want to share more details… especially of the final 12 hours in Havana where it felt like I packed in another 24.
But for now, I’m just sitting here praying for FL, for Cuba, for the recovering flood victims in Houston, Nigeria, Nepal, and for the entire Caribbean battling this monster category 5 hurricane. The Americas, my favorite region of the world, so far, because of its vibrancy of people, I hope that you all can stay safe this weekend. And please if anyone knows of local charities that are donating 100% of what it receives, please share in the comments below! Any information is appreciated.
Thanks for joining me 😘!