Thank you @Airbnb for helping sponsor our stay at this beautiful Brazilian penthouse!  

Hola Chicas,

You know that moment somewhere between the dream you were having and halfway opening your eyes, where you can’t tell if you’re asleep or awake and you don’t know what’s real and what’s lucid illusion? When you can’t tell if you’re in a dream that feels real, or if you’re living out your dreams? That feeling? Let me tell you about it.

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know that travelling isn’t new for me and the fam. We took our first international trip in 2008 and have left the country no less than twice a year, every year, since then. But one thing I haven’t done is shared the original inspiration that inspired us.

I’ve been with Gene for 16 years. Married for 9 years tomorrow. My mom and dad paid for our entire wedding, and for our wedding gift, Gene’s mother, Momma Walton, bought us an all-expense paid honeymoon cruise–7 nights, a balcony, excursions and room service. It was an absolutely life changing time in our lives and our first experience traveling outside of the continental United States. I vividly remember seeing South America come into view one night– the dim glow of city lights sparkling just beneath the stars. It was mesmerizing. In that moment, 9 years ago, on that balcony somewhere in the Atlantic, a few things happened:

1.  I realized that my parents (and their tremendous sacrifices) had set the stage for me to be where I was– college-educated, married, ready to take on the world.

2.  I realized that Momma Walton had planted a seed within me. I had gotten a taste of the world and that seed would grow into the jet-setting, white sandy beach loving, culturally immersed curly headed tree that you know and love today – not using that degree my parents paid for in #1 😀

3.  I decided that we would turn around one day and give the same experience to our parents. I wanted them to see what we were seeing. To feel what we were feeling.

His mom, who moved to St. Louis from Memphis and worked 12 hour days on top of raising Gene and his sister by herself, had never seen the ocean. Until today. And my mom had never left the country. Until today. And we saw them see it. From our 10,000 square foot @Airbnb penthouse, on the beach, with the maids and the butler and yeah…

So today, looking out at the water, in that ambiguous state of consciousness that I alluded to earlier trying to decide if I’m really here or not…I realized it didn’t matter. All I knew is that if I’m dreaming don’t wake me up, and if this is real life…I don’t ever want to go to sleep.

Oh yeah:

4. I realized that there’s a big difference between pulling a stunt, and inspiring others. Stunting is  about demonstrating your superiority over others by showing them what you think they can’t do. That’s whack. Inspiring others, is leading by example in order to show others what they in fact CAN DO.  It’s been 9 years since we started traveling, and I want you to know that low-key… I’ve seen your passport pics, vacation posts, and black travel t-shirts! I hope that I’ve played some small part in providing that inspiration, and want to encourage you to keep traveling and inspiring the people around you.

Peep the view–

We chose Brazil because of all the places we’ve visited, it feels like home.  We love the people, the food, the views and the culture.  This is our third time in Rio and each time we used Airbnb with great success.  This time, tho… ridiculously lavish. 
This is a beach front situation.  There are 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, 24 hour security, daily maid service, daily breakfast, a butler and views that will slay your life. 

I’ll check back in ASAP.  We just touched down and I must eat. 
Later Gators,