You guys know I absolutely LOVE to travel. Not just because I want to get away, want instagram pictures to show, or even to relax. I love immersion in other cultures. Feeling their rhythm of life gives me joy. Experiencing the love of the culture. It’s a vibration I don’t know how to get other than putting myself in another person’s world.
I started A Travel Culture (@atravelculture) to share this feeling with other people. I think it’s so important in order to live a fulfilled life. You don’t always have to go far but feeling the lives of others changes you, not only because you realize how different you are, but also how much you are the same. Recently I went to Cartagena, Colombia and it did not disappoint.
We got to experience a village where a king of Angola, Benkos Biohó, who was sold into slavery, escaped his captors and built an army and conquered the area which is now know as Palenque! A black thriving community, that you are not allowed in (without a specific Palenque guide) unless you are direct descendant(black, lighter skinned Colombians have to live on the outskirts of the village), and every visitor, including us, must leave by 6pm, NO EXCEPTIONS. This became motivation for me in its own right, the strength of Biohó. They have immortalized him in their village square.
They introduced us to their food, way of life, dancing, AND drumming. I’ll write further about the experience but this is about being scared and doing it anyway in Palenque!
We arrived at a building where we met beautiful, smiling, high energy young men and women. They performed meaningful dances for us with bright smiles, made my heart smile.
Then they wanted group participation, this automatically makes me clam up but it’s cool when everybody is doing it. So when the first set of people from my group went I was relieved I wasn’t pulled up and they killed it. Look at our photographer Z from @sienteproductions, she was feeling it! In my head I’m like, “Yes the group killed it, what’s next?”
Next was @chris_0113 from @experiencerealcartagena saying nah Naeemah it’s your turn. In my head I’m like “Just me? By myself? My friends can’t come?” I try to give a polite no thank you. He’s like, “Nah. Get up there.” One of the drummers came and put drum sticks in my hand. Thank God no one can ever see my nerves outside of me ‘cause it felt like I was visibly shaking and teeth chattering…
And this is where being scared but doing it anyway began! When he put the sticks in my hand this is what I did….
1. Commit. I thought I’m here now, go for it Naeemah, don’t get up here and bullshit. Learn from your teacher, which was a real drummer at the time teaching me the beats and kill it Naeemah. You better not half ass your way through these dope people’s performance. Scared? Once you jump? Commit!
2. Smile. It’s scientifically known that smiling releases chemicals (dopamine and serotonin) to make you feel better. You don’t want to be scared for the entire experience you want to feel good at some point, smiling helps!
3. You will mess up, shrug it off and keep going. Failing is NOT the end of the world. What if when you were a toddler starting to walk, every time you fell you were like fuck it I ain’t doing this anymore… ha! Every time I missed a beat I’d just catch the next one.
At the end you can see how everyone was hype about me on these drums, cause all eyes were on me! Lol!!
I loveeeee how if you pay attention to your adventures, it will show you lessons you can use throughout your life! YSWTFGO!!!
I’ve heard from a lot of you, the things you’re starting I want to hear more! Comment here. What y’all got going on? What are you being scared of, doing it anyway and gonna kill? Let’s hold each other accountable.