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| #JUSTBLAST

#JUSTBLAST


¡Hola amigos!

I moved to México last Wednesday, Playa del Carmen to be exact. Why México? I’ve been wanting to move abroad to study Spanish for quite some time now and I was having difficulties deciding on a country. I had considered going back to the Dominican Republic and acting a fool with my friend Sheila but after chatting with her a few months ago, she informed me that her second choice when she was considering her move abroad was actually Merida, México. I was quite surprised! She shared with me a hostel that had affordable apartments and even a Spanish school that was only $180/wk for 20hrs, which is a steal! I told myself I’d keep it in the back of my mind but would still explore other options. I considered Spain, would have loved to go back to Cuba, almost decided to go back to Costa Rica (and stay with my aunt on the Pacific side), but finally decided to go with México and I’m glad I did. After doing some research on Merida I decided not to live there and chose Playa del Carmen (approx. 1 hr. from Cancun) for many reasons one of which is I already have a travel big brother who lives here. We won’t talk about the fact that I haven’t seen him yet though (side eye).

Rainbow Playa del Carmen

Playa is a decent mix of tourists, expats, and Mexican migrants. Almost everyone I’d met has asked me if I came to Playa to work. I learned that it’s not very hard to get a job here and many Mexican nationals move here from other parts of the country to find work as well as in people from other countries (esp. Argentina) can find work without having “papers” or official documentation to work in Mexico. The mix is interesting, and then there’s me.

PB+MX=FTW!

PB+MX=FTW!

First of all. Happy Black History Month! I’ll be celebrating with the other two Black people here in Playa since there’s only two of us. I’ve literally only seen two and a possible since I’ve been here. The possible had darker skin and extentions, one was a lost looking teen tourist,  the other is my new friend Guylene who is also from Brooklyn AND is a videographer AND photographer AND makes really awesome jewelry. Coincidence? I think NOT! The Universe knows exactly what it’s doing! Guylene is literally God sent and has been helping me out as if all the good karma I’ve put out into the Universe came back to me. We were introduced by her friend Arturdo, who ironically is also a videographer. I’m currently looking for an apartment which has been such a hassle and not as easy and everyone made it sound before I came down here. I was introduced to Arturdo through his friend Carlos who recommended me to him because he rents studios, but because I’m only looking to rent for one month, he wouldn’t rent to me. WAMP! BUT at least I got a super cool awesome friend out of the deal! Looking for an apartment has been a whole ordeal. Yesterday Guylene helped me to purchase my first international phone! Believe it or not out of all the countries I’ve been to, I’ve never gotten a phone and have always just used my iPhone. It’s super fancy and you can check it out on my Instagram page. :-) I actually like being disconnected to a certain degree and am anti Facebook zombie mode. I have a friend who posts EVERYTHING when she’s traveling. I’ve often wondered how present she is when abroad.

Back to the apartment search. It’s a whole adventure in itself but now that I have a phone it makes it way more easier to call places instead of depending on someone else or emailing their nonexistent-never-checked hotmail account. I went to look at an apartment last night and it was terrible! I thought to myself…you’re renting this for how much? Usually I go the low budget/comfortable/it’s iight route but this time is different. I’ve been moving around so much and I’m very adamant  about finding a very nice place that I’m really comfortable in. My max budget is around $8,000 pesos which is pretty high for Playa. It’s all good though, something will come through.

I like it here so far, the people are friendly…enough, the beach is a 10-minute walk from my hostel, and I can eat all the tacos I want, even though I need to chill out on them :-/

Tacos de pollo de El Nativo en Playa del Carmen

 

Today I talked to my aunt in Costa Rica (Titi) and she started Spanish school yesterday too. We exchanged stories about our first day and laughed at how much we’re struggling to stay awake. Yesterday my head was spinning. I felt like those 4-hours was the equivalent to a whole weeks worth of learn! Geeezzzz!!! That’s why I’m here though :-) While I lived in Brazil, I visited my friend in Morro de Sao Paulo and I met two sets of Europeans who told me they had studied Spanish in Argentina and did intensive courses; 4hrs a day, 5 days a week for a month. This sounded like a plan to me! Instead of enrolling full time at a local university and wasting months of my life, I decided to go the speedy route. Titi has embarked on the same journey too and it’s quite hilarious. It’s a good thing we’re not in the same class, let alone the same country! I can see it now we’d be cracking jokes all day and looking at each other with a big ¿Como? on our foreheads. Speaking of class, I have it bright and early in the morning and my Korean roomie just finished telling me about her day so it’s lights out!

Follow my adventures and wish me luck with finding a suitable apartment!

Tweet me @planetblaster

Love & Light,

The Planet Blaster

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By: Bayyina Black
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Have you ever had the feeling that a place was calling your name? There was something about it that you were attracted to but you couldn’t quite explain it. Cuba was that place for Aja Monet, the Brooklyn-bred poet who’s ancestral roots trace back to Cuba and Jamaica. Aja has traveled all over the world, living in several different countries studying and performing poetry.

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While in Europe this summer she received a chance of a lifetime to visit and perform her award winning poetry in her grandparents homeland of Cuba. Ecstatic by the opportunity to finally visit the place that had been calling her home since she was a small child, Aja a U.S. citizen, was unsure of how she would be able to pull off this trip. Cuba is still off limits to Americans unless they are granted an official license by the U.S. government and the approval process can take weeks and even months. Where there is a will there is certainly a way and a way was made for Aja to travel to Cuba accompanied by her best friend and new boyfriend for a journey that would change her life forever.

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I have been following Aja’s work for the past several years and was planning to visit Cuba around the same time. When I found out that she would be in Cuba I became so excited and reached out to her. We were both on similar paths to reunite with our families in the Castro ruled, communist country. I’ll never forget the day we met up in New York after we had both returned from Cuba. I presented her with a sunflower which just so happened to be her favorite flower, and mine too ironically. Not so ironic though since we were both Cubanas and sunflowers are the unofficial flowers of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba. 

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We met at one of her favorite restaurants in the Lower East Side and as she sipped her watermelon margarita I listened to her tell this story that will one day be in the pages of her New York Times Best-selling book.  I felt like she was telling my story! Those stories we shared were powerful and in a completely different language that cannot be taught in a classroom. That day Aja shared with me her desire to share her story of Cuba with a small and intimate crowd. Well on a cold and rainy day in December, Aja returned “home” to the Nuyorican Poets Café (where she holds the title as the youngest slam poetry champion) to host her first sold out solo show in New York City. I made sure that I returned back in time from my own journey to be front and center and listen as my friend told a very familiar story of sitting on the Malecón, eating endless mangos, long bus rides on Viazul, and being reunited, re-rooted, and rewarded for taking the brave journey home.

 

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I am elated to share a few videos from that night, even though they don’t do her performance justice. It was one of those, “you just had to be there” type of nights.

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Last night I was minding my own business when my favorite mentor decided to tag me to a post that she KNEW would make me holler and scream like I won a free trip out of the country.

The post? An article entitled 34 Signs You Are Addicted to Traveling written by Matthew Kepnes had my name written all over it and I couldn’t deny the facts. As I read a few of the signs out loud to my dear friend sitting next to me…I had to blush because I knew it was time to take the first step and admit to the Universe that yes, Bayyina “The Planet Blaster” Black is addicted to travel. THERE! I said it! Now who else to going to come out of the luggage department and admit it to?!

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Reposted from: www.thoughtcatalog.com

By: Matthew Kepnes info

Matt03Matthew Kepnes runs the award winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt. He got the travel bug after a trip to Costa …

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The first time I took a trip alone was to Costa Rica when I was 23. I had never really traveled before that. My family had only done a few trips to Disney World and a cruise when I was younger.

That trip changed my life.

And ever since then I’ve become a travel addict. I got the travel bug.

Once the travel bug infects you, there is no going back – you are a traveler for life. Everything you do will revolve around travel. I have the bug. I’m addicted.

Here are some signs you might be a travel addict too:

You start all your stories with “When I was in…”

You only TIVO the travel channel.

You read guidebooks for fun.

You plan trips you will never take.

You take toilet paper everywhere you go out of habit.

You have more than one currency in your wallet.

You keep a packed suitcase handy just in case.

Your iPod only has songs related to traveling.

You run a travel blog.

You speak in airport codes not city names.

You can tell where people have been by the cheesy logos and sayings on their shirts. (Same Same = Thailand, Yellow Star = Vietnam)

You don’t take sick days so you can use them for extra long vacations.

You have elite flier status on multiple airlines.

You attend travel conferences multiple times a year.

You always ask people “where are you from?” instead of “How are you?”

You don’t have paintings on the wall – you have maps.

If you haven’t been anywhere in a few months, you get the shakes.

You spend two hours each day reading travel blogs and websites.

You subscribe to multiple travel magazines.

When you think of prices, you value things in terms how many days in your next destination it costs. “That TV is ten days in Paris! Let’s get this one – it’s only five!”

Some people voted for Barack Obama, you voted for Anthony Bourdain.

When people ask you about your hobbies, all your answers contain the word “travel.”

Some people cry when they leave home. You cry when you have to go back.

When people ask you your profession, you say vagabond.

You filled your passport in the first year you had it.

Lonely Planet is your homepage.

You are a travel hacker – not because you travel a lot but because it’s fun.

You have trips planned for next decade.

Your tramp stamp is a globe.

You can identify planes just by looking at them.

You can name the airline by looking an airplane’s tale.

You can say “Cheers” in multiple languages.

Your bookshelf only has travel novels.

You write a post about being a travel addict.

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AHHHHH!!!!
It’s happening! It happened! TODAY I launched my new webseries TRAVEL TIPS TUESDAY! I’m elated! This has been in the works for over a year and because of one reason or another it’s just launching now and let me be the first to say that is a truly a dream come true. Now that I’ve gotten all the sappiness out of the way, here’s the breakdown. Every Tuesday I’ll be releasing a new travel tip or trick that will help YOU PLANET BLASTERS SAVE MONEY while traveling! I somehow make it around the world with my backpack and not a ton of money and I’m here to tell you that YOU can do it too! Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and tune in every TUESDAY! Thanks in advance for sharing my tips with the #world! #JUSTBLAST

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If there is one thing to know about me it is this: I LOVE BRASIL! Like….looovvvveeeee in every language spoken to man. From the sweet and sour sound of Portuguese spoken in the streets, favelas, and gated communities, to the magical spirit it possesses, samba, moqueca (!!!!!) and everything in between! Brasil will be hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 and I for one am THRILLED!
Coca-Cola has teamed up with FIFA to take the 2014 World Cup Trophy on a world tour of it’s own.
Check out this video below where they visited one of my favorite cities in the whole world, Rio de Janeiro!
Signal the SAMBA schools and grab a bowl of açai!

Check out this quick clip of me learning how to make moqueca!

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Last month on my way back home from LA I flew Virgin America for the first time. I had heard raving reviews from all of my traveler friends and even my mom, about how awesome it was. Virgin is typically not the cheapest flight option, but since this trip was someone else’s dime, hey! why not! Virgin flights are like no other I’ve ever experienced before. The atmosphere is somewhere in between a cool Miami lounge on South Beach and one of those spaceships as seen in the movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. Totally cool and perfect for those who are a little afraid of flying.
While on my 6 hour flight home, I flicked through the free movies and found Departure Date, a Virgin Produced film and the first of it’s kind. Departure Date was shot AND EDITED 35,000 in the sky by Scott Chestnut. Can we say #AMAZEBALLS! As a video editor those things excite me! The flick was only 30 minutes long but left a lasting impression on me because of their clever product placement and organic Branson brainchild Virgin branding. Pure genius!
Today when I finally watched this completely super awesome in flight safety video, I was nothing short of pleased again by the creative branding geniuses behind Virgin. I’d actually pay attention to this video before #JUSTBLASTing off!
Check it out for yourself and prepared to be entertained! #JUSTBLAST

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So this is exciting! I’ve been on a writing hiatus for a billion reasons but I’m finally sitting down and doing it! It’s so liberating! Welcome! Welcome BACK to ThePLANETBLASTER.com if you’ve been on this journey with me for awhile. It’s been a long time coming but I’m back in action. I’m so excited to share with you #PLANETBLASTERS what I’ve been up to the past few months and share my life beyond Instagram and #random Facebook posts. Here’s the quick rundown. In October 2011 I decided to set out on my very own #JUSTBLAST world tour/gap year. 12 countries in 2012 was the goal. I ended up visiting more than 12 countries which was super awesome and loads of fun! I endured many challenges but in  the end it was all worth it and I’m glad I took the leap and splash into the pond of life. {Smile} I finally went back to live in Brasil in April 2012, explored Central America and backpacked through Europe in the summer, ran with the bulls! and got in touch with my Latin Caribbean roots (VIVA CUBA!) This was INDEED a spiritual journey for me that was literally life changing.

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If you haven’t figured out by now TRAVEL is my NUMBER ONE FAVORITE THING TO DO IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! I LIVE for this stuff! I LOVE learning about new cultures, learning new languages, COOKING, and meditating by water. I’m really a hippie flower child at heart minus the contraband. So what can you expect from ThePLANETBLASTER.com you’re wondering? The first is a sneak peak into this wonderful world of mine, a special first class ticket sitting right next to me! I’ll be sharing all kinds of tips and tricks every Tuesday on my brand SPANKIN’ new Web Series TRAVEL TIPS TUESDAY scheduled to launch Tuesday, November 19! Make sure to subscribe to my *new* YouTube channel. I’ll also be interviewing my favorite #PLANETBLASTERS from all over the world and answering the age old question HOW DO YOU GET TO TRAVEL SO MUCH?! as well as covering some of my other passions related to travel such as culture, food, art, entertainment, history, and spirituality. AHHHHH!!! I get so excited just thinking about the fun we’re going to have!

So you’re down right? Cool. Check out this video Noir LeBlanc Films did on me and make sure to spread the word! ThePLANETBLASTER.com is BACK in action!

Have a travel question you want answered on Travel Tips Tuesday? Leave a comment or email me directly at bayyina@theplanetblaster.com!
5 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE PLANET BLASTER
Numero Uno: I speak a little of a lot of languages!
2. I’ve lived in BRASIL twice!
3. I am an only child (and yes I have OCS, only child syndrome)
4. I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Espana in July 2012
5. I am a ninja packing BACKPACKER

 Oh! And P.S. If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I love COLOR, smiley faces, and these -> !!!!!!!! so BRACE yourself!

 

 

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