“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” 
~Lao Tzu

The best thing about traveling is not arriving at your destination; it is definitely about being on the journey.  The moment I realize I have a trip set, I get super-duper HYPE! Yes, I have every intention of arrivng at my final destination with zeal, but it’s going that really excites me.

In life, I have to be the most impatient person I know.  However, when I am going somewhere, although extremely excited, I have a calmness that embodies me and I’m not worried about the details of my arrival. The air that flows around me seems refreshing and my enthusiasm is like glass cutting skin for the first time, piercing. I give no thought to what’s going on around me. I see myself as gone. I take on the adventure of travel and even the process of preparing to travel ignites me. I love preparing for the trip. I like shopping for clothes, packing, and being at the airport waiting for takeoff. The whole experience moves me to pieces.

However, it’s funny that in life when a problem arises, I can’t wait to get to the solution. I have no patience for the process of figuring out a resolution, none whatsoever. I do not enjoy the journey when it comes to methodically moving through life processing an issue. I want results. I want to know what the issues is and have the ability to fix it, no matter what. However, that is not how life works. Life is about being able to accept that you may or may not have the answers. In addition, you have to be willing to take the necessary steps to find a suitable solution for the problem. Sometimes that takes patients; maybe a little time, reevaluation, and acceptance that you may need to make some modifications.    

Life, just like travel, requires you to prepare, and even when you assume that you are prepared for an outcome, here comes a delay. In life, you get delays and detours that change your whole destination. What you desire might not be what you end up with in many cases. What makes that interesting is most real travelers call that appreciating the unknown. The appreciation of the unknown is what makes the adventure adventurous. However, it is difficult for most people to look at their problems and accept them as an adventure on a journey moving towards their final destination.  Most people, like myself, want to enjoy the happy moments and get through the unpleasant upsets so they can get back to happy sooner than later.

The best trips are about having freedom and learning to be in the moment of whatever is happening.

There is something called allowing that as a traveler you learn to value. Sure, many people purchase a ticket and leave from point A with an intention to arrive at point B with everything going as planned. The departure is great and you arrive on time without any mishaps or delays. This is the perfect trip for a businessperson. However, if you are a real traveler, then you learn to allow things to happen. The best trips are about having freedom and learning to be in the moment of whatever is happening. You realize that a delayed flight gives you extra time to meet a new friend in the airport. You never know who you are sitting next to until you strike up a conversation, you will be surprised, some of the greatest business connections happen in the airport or on an airplane.  However, you have to be open to a new connection.

Those moments when you have no idea what is going to happen next and you walk vigorously into the window of opportunity accepting the surprise, those are the moments when you no longer exist, but rather live.

When you travel for the sheer enjoyment of being on a journey despite what happens you are able to experience so much more than completing details on a list of priorities. That is so manufactured to me, and the last thing I need while traveling is something that reminds me of work. I travel because I want to enjoy what I am doing, and the best way to enjoy traveling is to be in the moment. The same can be said about life. Some of the best experiences in life are when you stop trying to control the outcome and live.  When you wake up without an agenda and wing it, or when you see your problems as necessary components of living.  Those moments when you have no idea what is going to happen next and you walk vigorously into the window of opportunity accepting the surprise. Those are the moments when you no longer exist, but rather live.

You might be the person who plans a trip with every detail of what needs to happen for it to become the best vacation ever, but how boring. How exciting would it be to go on vacation and have all your dreams come true and never make one plan because you lived in the moment? Well, honestly in life when you release the rings of control on the outcome and stop anticipating what needs to happen next, that is when life gets interesting. When the things you never thought would happen, just happen. Yes, plans are great and in many cases needed, but your whole life does not need to be strategically planned. A great life is just like most great trips, when you walk off the beaten path, you realize that there are so many hidden treasures. Your problems are those treasures and they teach you how to appreciate the journey. So, enjoy each moment and you will find the adventure, even through your most difficult problems.

@chajones, the nomadic chick
A Life of Travel Can Be Easier Than You Think.
Reposted from Newsletter
Cha Jones

QIt’s too expensive

People can afford to do the things they want to do. If your excuse for not traveling and seeing the things you say you want to see because “It’s too expensive,” then maybe you are not as ready as you proclaim to be. Many black women purchase some costly luxury items just to keep up daily appearances. So, is your hair, clothes, shoes, purses, and makeup more important than your memories and experiences? One travel experience can change your life forever in an intangible way. Remember, those material items that you cling onto for dear life are only as valuable as the season and we all know seasons are constantly changing.

QIt’s not the right time

Time waits for no one. When exactly is the right time anyways? If today were your very last day to live on this earth, can you say that you did all the things that you truly wanted to do? If you long to see the Eiffel Tower, then what are you waiting for? All we have is the present moment and in a blink of an eye, the present moment soon becomes the past. Traveling allows you to live in the present and cherish the present moment now. You are not promised tomorrow, so take advantage of all you have today.

QI have other priorities

If you died who would take over those priorities? In most cases if what you need has to get done someone will pick up the slack and make things happen. Sure, there are things that you need to attend to, but when you plan and prepare you can make anything happen. Living your best life should be your priority, because when this life ends you will not be given the option to prioritize your bucket list. If it is not done, it just is not done. Planning and preparing can assist you with making your travel more manageable and achievable.

QI Don’t Know Anyone Who Has Done It

Just because you do not know anyone traveling the world living out a suitcase does not mean there isn’t anyone doing it. The internet is full of stories of people who quit their jobs, packed their bags, and went on an excursion. However, it does not have to be that abrupt at all. There are several people living, working, study and traveling and you can do the same thing. Do not let what you do not know prevent you from finding what lies beyond the boundaries of your dreams.  Research and find link-minded people who have the same interest, and in an instant you can say you now know someone who has done exactly what you want to do. You can also join groups like Expat Women of Color (www.expatwomenofcolor.com) and meet other women traveling the world and making a difference.

QMy Family Doesn’t Approve

Family is important, but your family cannot live your life for you. So many times people allow others to prevent them from experiencing greatness. Have you ever wanted to experience something, but your parents, spouse or friends did not agree or comprehend your desire? Well, sometimes you want to travel and experience different cultures and people, but you fear that others will not understand. How bad do you want it? You cannot allow the limitations of other people to prevent you from finding your own bliss. You can get hurt anywhere. You are never exempt from tragedy and the likelihood of something extraordinary happening to you is slim to none. Whatever is going to happen to you is most likely going to happen no matter where you are. Therefore, why not live your life to the fullest and enjoy every moment that you can! If your friends and family do not understand, send them a wonderful video, photo or postcard from your amazing adventures. Sure, they will be happy with envy!

You’re Moving Where?

April 16, 2014

GetImages by Photdisc

The conversation of globalization is like pollen in Spring, it’s floating everywhere. If you turn on any television station, you can hear any number of talking heads speaking about how global the world has become. There’s no secret we are in a global era and what once was done only in certain cities, states, or countries has evolved to a wider world platform.

Recently, I began thinking about how many people of color I interfaced with while living in South Korea. Most were young black Americans and straight out of college, but there were a few in their mid to late thirties and forties enjoying life abroad. I was fascinated by the number of black people I met who, despite ignoring naysayers, decided to move to a foreign country.  I even met one young women who told me that she had applied for a job in Korea and never told a soul, not even her parents, until she was being dropped off at the airport. Now, that was a little too extreme for me, but I certainly understood not allowing others to influence your decision to do something different, outside the margin of someone else’s definition of normal.

When I first arrived in Seoul, I never imagined that I would meet so many brown faces on my new adventure. However, it was just what I needed to make my home away from home manageable and sustainable. In many cases, my life in Korea was a mirror image of the life I lived in the United States. My social life encompassed the same array of colorful mahogany faces I spent time with at home. Although, I would say that my life in Korea overall was much more diverse in terms of the people, places, and things I involved myself in. However, being able to connect with other black people was a benefit that I never really anticipated.

Today, there is a growing number of young black people moving abroad for various reasons, but mainly for freedom to live life on their own terms. This movement is something I call the ‘Urban International Migration’. Although, there is nothing new about migration, people have been migrating since the beginning of time, there are new types of migration like ‘Lifestyle Migration.’ Lifestyle Migration describes affluent individuals who migrate to another place strictly for the purpose of lifestyle. These individuals are seeking a better means of life and are migrating for better living conditions, work conditions, freedom and flexibility, retirement, or a new outlook on their life as a whole.

According to Benson and O’Reilly the authors of Lifestyle Migration: Expectations, Aspirations and Experiences, “Lifestyle migration is about escape, escape from somewhere and something, while simultaneously an escape to self-fulfillment and a new life — a recreation, restoration or rediscovery of oneself, of the personal potential or of one’s true desire". Whereas the ‘Urban International Migration’ is more about young urbanites deciding to move abroad to see the world from a different perspective while creating a life that works for them. Many of these individuals are moving from urban cities in the United States, but are seeking a different life from that of their parents. They want to see and experience the world with their own eyes.

Getty Image by Adam Hester
The Urban International Migration is all about embracing life on your own terms and these migrants are often free spirited individuals who view the world through a unrestricted lens. They are not confined to normalcy. They are not heavily concerned with traditional careers and buying into the philosophy that ‘making it’ requires having a mortgage, car note, and dead-end nine to five job. Urban International Migrates are trendsetters who want the ability to freely move through life and define for themselves what purposeful living is. They are world travelers and seekers of truth, their own truth. They are the fearless friends that have jumped into an international matrix that isn't about choosing red or blue pills, but more about having choice. 

While living in Korea it was so inspiring to meet other people who had left the comforts of the land of milk and honey to venture into the world and create their own utopia embracing the adventure of living life instead of conforming to someone else’s contrived view of what life should be. I met travelers who were not interested in watching television to get someone else’s perspective of the world; they traveled the world to meet people from everywhere and formed their own perspectives.  I ate dinner and drank coffee with other black women who quit jobs and became English teachers because they wanted something different. Many of them had never taught a day in their lives, but moving abroad to teach was a way to embrace life. Quite often, many of these women had more freedom and flexibility as an English teachers in a foreign country with less pay, than they would ever have at home working a nine to five job bound to only two-weeks of vacation a year.

In my reflective phase, I see my life in Korea as the beginning of something great. Although, I am no longer living abroad, I do appreciate the three-year experience. Life abroad taught me so many things and introduced me to so many people who have influenced my life in various ways. When I left America I thought it was temporary, a year at most, but it turned into three years quickly. When asked am I over being international, I say, “Nope not at all.” I know that I’m like most other Urban international Migrants, I’m not interested in settling for a life, I’m interesting in living my life without boundaries.

Urban International Migrant ~ an urbanite who has migrated abroad to define life on their own terms; one freely migrating to another country for the purpose of integrating travel, intercultural engagement, spiritual and personal development into their life; one who desires to live rather than exist.


April 14, 2014
Empty tanks only go as far as the fumes lingering behind, but when they dissipate, one is stalled awaiting another means of transportation. My fuel has always been the ability to create my own means of transportation through my creative thoughts. However, it is my belief that anyone who desires to travel can do so from anywhere without leaving at all. If you want to go on one the best adventures in your pajamas all you need it is a book, books are the gateway to the world.

I happen to love traveling and when I meet people who are amazed by the number of places I have gone I’m always shocked when they say why they can’t travel. Although I have been traveling all my life, when I am not able to go away, I travel through books. Books, unlike movies, which only last for a couple of hours, gives me depth and the ability to experience the characters in my mind. I have the capability to give voice to the characters while visualizing them beyond the depictions illustrated through the pages. I can actually hear them as I read.

Books exemplify life beyond where one is and draws a picture of the places one hopes to go. I love travel
memoirs because they paint pictures of faraway places that I have dreamt about, but might not have had the opportunity to visit yet. Matter of fact, reading books has inspired me to go places and see for myself what the author was vividly describing. The air is fresher when you breathe it for yourself.

Yet, I know that we all have different desires and abilities, but if one wants to know what it is like to fall in love in Paris or redefine themselves in Italy they don’t need a passport at all. All they need is a book and a vivid imagination. One can travel anywhere and never leave the comforts of their home. I prefer being able to go and see for myself, but the next best thing is a book. Books open doors to people, places, and adventures that you might never have known about. Authors are like keys, they tell stories that open the doors to a reality that many might not ever experience without a book.  I saw Italy through reading Eat, Pray, Love and I have never touched the soil of Italy, but Elizabeth Gilbert gave me the opportunity to experience the food and the culture in a way that opened my curiosity of what it’s like to eat Pizza in Naples. I could literally taste the Margarita pizza as I read each line.   

So, are you one of those people who dreams of traveling to exotic places or experiencing foods and cultures in a specific country but you don’t have the finances? Fear not because if you have access to a book you have the vehicle to go any place you desire. You can even create the ambiance by allowing yourself to get lost in the pages painting your own reality with colorful pictures in your mind. You don’t have to be stalled by lack of finances, burdens or fear of the unknown, because picking up a book makes traveling accessible. Reading is just another means of transportation taking you anywhere you desire to go, even on an empty tank in the middle of the desert with nothing but time to kill.

Love. Travel. Purpose
Love. Travel. Purpose
Waking up living out your dreams gives you a new sense and understanding of what it really means to be on purpose.

Traveling allows me the opportunity to be fully alive. Without travel, I feel like I’m dying and losing a portion of who I am. I love being able to do something different and meet new people, and I have learned that my normal is not being confined to “stability” and what that means for many people. I use to think that it was unstable to be adventurous and constantly on the go, but I have come to understand for myself, that stability has a different connotation for everyone. Some people don’t conform well to permanency and rituals.  As a self-proclaimed Nomadic Chick, I know that my truth is not in being nailed down to a 30-year mortgage or inspiring to have a corn office career. I need the freedom to transform without notice.

Although, I tend to like having a nice place to lay my head and I desire to know some of the details about what happens next, I lean towards living in the now and allowing some things to be a little more abstract. I will admit I’m not a nine to five girl and I want the ability to dance to whatever beat my heart begins to sing. Yet, that is still very unorthodox to many people. Most people want and need structure and a plan for what is happing next. I use to be one of those people. However, I found that the more I planned the more things began falling apart. I realized that the more open I was to change and being able to go with the flow, even when that meant challenging my own beliefs, I was then able to live at my best.

Realizing this was transformational, but indeed scary. I once had a passion to be a corporate trailblazer with dreams of a corner office climbing the ladder of success.  In some respects, I still have those dreams, but they look different. Instead of a corner office, I would rather have a transit space that fluctuations with where I am and what I am doing. The ladder no longer exists; my platform is horizontal and looks more like an exchange of ideas amongst people who believe in transformation versus competition. I still have a desire to be a trailblazer, but my mission is to follow my passion and live on purpose by being a woman who is making a global impact for all women. In my opinion, that’s what living is — following what makes your heart beat.

Can you hear the song that your hear is playing?

So, today if you are still sleeping through life awaiting the day that you can finally dance to the song your heart is playing entitled Purpose, then I urge you to wake up. The funny thing about life is that time waits for no one, and tomorrow isn’t promised to you. Living your dreams needs to be done actively and not passively through thinking about future implementation. Today is the perfect day to dance. Can you hear the song your heart is playing?

~I have pumps, will travel.

Beware of the Gangster Monkey
March 8, 2014 reprint from Jan, 2011
Cha Jones

Cute, adorable, and curious are all adjectives that I think of when I envision a monkey. However, on my trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a friend and I found the use of another adjective — Gangster. Yes, I said gangster. The monkeys that are running freely near the Batu Caves are indeed what you can call gangster monkeys.

First, let me define gangster so that we are all on the same page; tough, rugged, bully, and criminal would be the words used to define the character of what I will now describe to you as gangster in this blog — so proceed with caution.

The Batu Caves

When visiting Malaysia, the Batu Caves are one of Kuala Lumpur (KL) must see attractions. Just outside of the entrance you will find a huge statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War. This gold plated statue is beautiful and is actually the largest statue of its kind in the world. Just to left of the statue there are 227 steps which lead you to the entrance of the cave. 

As you walk up the flight of stairs you will see many people, both tourist and Hindu’s who are going to worship. You will also most likely be joined by few monkeys who freely wander up and down the stairs. However, as friendly as they may seem, I would strongly caution you to  keep in mind that they are still considered wild animals and you should —beware.

To keep the Gatorade or not, that it’s the question?

After entering the Batu Caves and enjoying the smell of the beautiful aroma of many different incense and walking through one of the most serene and majestic atmospheres in the world my friend and I took a few steps out of the cave and met a nice looking male monkey, or at least what we thought to be a nice monkey.

My friend had just purchased a cold bottle of Gatorade from the souvenir shop at the entrance to the cave, and we were both exiting the cave when the monkey walks between the two of us and demands her Gatorade. “Excuse me,” he infers reaching for the Gatorade. However, after tracking up 272 flights of stairs and then walking through the cave she was tired, hot and not about to share, at least I’m thinking those are the thoughts swimming in her head. However, this monkey wasn't joking and definitely wasn't about any monkey business. In fact, he was very serious, he reached to snatch the drink from her hands and just as she pulled back he he let her know how serious he was. Next, all I saw were teeth, which was my clue to mind my own business and proceed down the stairs with tenacity, “We both shouldn't get bit, right?” Plus, who would live to tell the story?

This monkey was definitely not named “George” although he was very curious about why my friend had decided to pour her drink on the stairs in an attempt to share her libations with him, he was in no way the cute and cuddly type.  After, he kindly gave her a look that explained to her  he was indeed a monkey and not a cat, the Hindu God’s came to her assistance and kindly produced an empty Gatorade bottle on the stairs near her feet. She picked it up and poured the monkey a portion. He then reached up and without any words of gratitude, jumped up on the rail and over to the side steps taking the drink straight to the head— so GANGSTER! And without any exchange of words she took what was left of her drink and scurried down the stairs in an attempt to keep the remains to herself before he propositioned her for more.

So, for those of you who plan to take an adventure to Malaysia and want to go to the Batu Caves, I would suggest that you—beware of the monkeys. 

The Batu Cave monkeys look cute and for the most part they mind their own business, unless you have something that they may want and/or think they need. I would also caution you from taking pictures were the monkeys can see their own reflection, they reportedly don’t like the image that might be staring back at them. It has also been suggested that you don’t attempt to freely feed the monkeys as you may be attacked, and remember, even though you only see one monkey, they do travel in packs. The Batu Cave monkeys are cute and even seem to be cuddly, but beware they are Gangster and you have WARNED

As a little girl, I would stare out the window while sitting in my elementary classroom. I use to dream of places I wanted to go and things that were happening beyond the horizon. The clouds would dance with pictures of unknown places, and for just a moment, my heart would sing travel songs. However, the reality was I sat in a classroom in Omaha, Nebraska and just outside the city limits were cornfields and rolling flat lands of nothingness. Yet my imagination was constantly taking me on voyages where life was about living in the moment. I wanted to fearlessly live the life of a nomad, but no ones grows up to become a nomad. Or do they?

I have been traveling my entire life, but I never thought the day would actually come when I would venture beyond the United States. The experience that made me really want to travel was when I was eighteen, I had the pleasure of going to the island of Maui in Hawaii, and I knew that everything I once dreamt about was real. From the moment on, I have wanted to see more and do more. 

However, if you had told me that I would one day move to South Korea and teach English to Korean students I would have thought you were absolutely insane. Never in a million years would I have thought that at the ripe age of thirty-three I would answer a call that my heart was whispering to me to go dance with my dreams and fall in love with the world.
"I have pumps, will travel"
My name is Cha Jones and I ‘m a black girl who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. I have traveled to over 43 states here in America, been to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and lived in South Korea. I absolutely love to travel! I collect passport stamps like little boys collect baseball cards. I love meeting new people and learning about culture. However, I’m no backpack chick. I will sport a pair of Pumas and get dirty feeding elephants, but I love sitting by a salt-water infinity pool sipping cocktail drinks and planning my next adventure. In-style is my preference when traveling. So, my tag-line is “I have pumps, will travel.

I am The Nomadic Chick and this my blog. Please join me as I divulge more about myself, my travels, and tips on the best places to go and things to do all around the world with pumps in hand and still comfortable, sexy, and sassy. Again, tennis shoes are often warranted, but who said that adventures had to be grungy. I do not do grunge, but I climb mountains, hang with monkeys and adventure into caves, but still manage to be cute and relaxed. 


Cha Jones, The Nomadic Chick 

Love. Travel. Purpose