Black Love: From Flight Attendants To Married Travel Baes

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Desiree and Marquise’s love started with a shared passion for traveling. Both are flight attendants and decided to join a flight attendant group on social media for black crewmembers in search of motivation, positivity, and fun.

In 2015, the group set up its first meet-and-greet weekend in Miami. Before the festivities,  Desiree says Marquise randomly added her on Facebook.  When they walked into Wet Willies in Miami Beach,  she says Marquise knew exactly who she was and it was love at first sight. 

“The chemistry was so strong, so pure in such a short period,” Desiree said.  “We danced and talked the night away. We both believe in love at first sight but never thought we would experience it. I call him my Serendipity. Neither of us were looking for anything and it just kind of fell in our laps.”

Marquise agrees and said ever since they met – the butterflies never left. 

Instagram | @melanin_wanderlove

In November 2017, the couple took their dream vacation to Egypt where Marquise set up a dinner on the Nile River and proposed.

15 cities in various countries, including Greece, Indonesia, Thailand, Italy, and Ecuador, the couple revealed their favorite place and why:

Travel Noire: What’s your favorite country so far and why?

Desiree & Marquise: So as far as our favorite it’s tough because they are all so uniquely different and beautiful!

If we had to choose just one it would be Thailand because it was so rich in culture!

It is also extremely beautiful. The beaches and the mountains are so tropical and picturesque. The weather is very nice! The people are so amazing, friendly and humble. They literally make you feel like you are at home away from home.

Thailand is easy to maneuver, not a huge language barrier. Can’t forget about the food, it’s out of this world delicious and cheap. All of the flavors are like a little taste of heaven. There is definitely something for everyone in Thailand.

TN: What’s the best part about traveling together? 

Bali, Indonesia Instagram | @melanin_wanderlove

Desiree & Marquise: We would say the best part about traveling together is the surreal feeling it gives you and being able to share the adventure with your significant other. Waking up next to the one that you love in different parts of the world and preparing for the day’s adventures is an unexplainable feeling.

Knowing we are getting up to go ride camels in Egypt next to the pyramids, going on a bike rides across the Golden Gate Bridges in San Francisco to Sausalito Island for lunch or unexpectedly ending up running through the rain together trying to stay dry in Venice ( the city of water) and stumbling upon the only jazz club in the city. Sharing these travels with your soul mate is truly unmatched, it’s priceless.

TN: Tell us about one of the most challenging times you’ve experienced during your travels and how you got through it?

Desiree & Marquise: Our most challenging travel moment so far was our wedding trip. We got married in Santorini, Greece and had 35 family members and friends join us!

About 25 of the 35 had never left the United States. That being said there were misconnecting flights, lost luggage, bad weather, canceled ferry boats etc…you name it!! All unintentionally falling on us to help fix the problems at hand.

Chiang Mai, Thailand Instagram | @melanin_wanderlove

We literally had to roll through the punches, compromise and realize that nothing is perfect. It made for great memories and funny stories in the end. The wedding ended up being AMAZING despite the hiccups!! It was a great experience

TN: What countries are next for you together?

Desiree & Marquise: To be totally honest we want to go everywhere!! That’s our mission! So far on our 2020 agenda is Jamaica, and Africa ( Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa )

TN: Lastly, what advice would you give traveling couples?

Desiree & Marquise: Best advice we can give is live in the moment, adapt to the culture, get lost, stumble upon hidden gems, always be open to trying new things and do your best to just go with it. Don’t over plan! It is an adventure after all!! Anything new you can’t be ready for…it’s NEW!

I Found Love On Vacation, Then Moved To Thailand A Month Later

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Tee is from Philadelphia and currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She works at a private Catholic school, one of the top schools in Northern Thailand, in the school’s English program.

It was in Thailand where she found her love. We spoke with her about her move to Thailand and what life is like there for her.

Photo courtesy of Tee

 

Travel Noire: What inspired you to move abroad?

Tee: I planned to move to Thailand in April 2018 because I knew in my heart that I wasn’t meant to live out my life in the United States. After going on my first cultural exchange in Yokohama, Japan during my freshman year of college, I was hooked on seeing the world. I was astounded about how other people could live happily outside of the United States and even better, in some cases. I wanted to teach abroad because I knew it could bring in a sustainable income and support me while doing something I knew I had the power to do. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum and have been a wanderer, so it was really easy to realize that the American way of life wasn’t the only type of life out there.

Photo courtesy of Tee

TN: What is life like as a Black woman in Chiang Mai?

Tee: Life as a Black woman in Chiang Mai is easy. Chiang Mai has a huge Black expat/nomad/backpacker community that gets together for dinners, kickbacks, brunch, bowling parties and everything in between. Although Asian cultures are preferential to fairer skin, I’ve never been discriminated against like I have been in the United States. I get looks, but they’re more out of genuine curiosity than out of disgust or hate. At the end of the day, black or white, I’m just a foreigner to the Thais, so they treat me and deal with me as they see fit.

Photo courtesy of Tee

TN: Tell us about finding love abroad?

Tee: I know that so many others struggle to date while abroad, but it happened pretty easily for me. My girlfriend is Thai, and we met at one of the hostels I stayed in when I first visited Thailand in Dec. 2017. I was on a two week holiday and at the end of those two weeks, I just wasn’t ready to go home. I ended up going home for a month in March to tie up some loose ends, came back in April and haven’t been back home since. I know so many who have trouble dating and I think it’s a two-part issue: language barriers and Asian perceptions of darker skinned people. My girlfriend is fluent in English. She’s lived in the United States and her stepfather is American. Those three pieces definitely brought more clarity and understanding into our relationship than if I was dating someone less open-minded.

Photo courtesy of Tee

 

TN: Do you see yourself moving back home?

Tee: I’m not sure if I ever see myself moving back to the United States for good, but I would like to go back and get my Master’s degree in public policy or international education. I don’t see myself moving back because I don’t see the need to conform to a lifestyle that may not be the best for me. Plenty of people and cultures live in different ways and lead perfectly happy lives, so why can’t I do that as well? Also, have you ever tried to bring someone to the United States with you? It’s unnecessarily and ridiculously difficult. So, for now, I’m good here in Chiang Mai, but I do have stipulations. If my mother or father gets sick, I will go home. If someone in my immediate family dies, I will go home, and if someone buys me an alpaca, I will go home!

Photo courtesy of Tee

TN: Is life abroad really as great as it seems?

Tee: Yes, but there is a price to pay. I think living abroad is beautiful, but it can also be isolating if you’re unprepared. Humans are social creatures, and as much as some of us enjoy solitude, sometimes we crave companionship. Seasons, holidays and celebrations come and go. You watch your nieces and nephews grow up via Facebook, and sometimes you see a sight so beautiful that you can’t help but wish that your best friend was right by your side to see it too.

On the flip side, you motorbike up and down coastlines and through mountains, you visit world-class spas for dirt cheap, you eat the greatest authentic meals, and you create beautiful memories that will satisfy your soul for years to come. You’ll never stop and say, “I wish I…” because you’ll have done all that you dreamed of.

Photo courtesy of Tee

Related: From Divorced And Laid Off To Living Debt Free In Abu Dhabi

TN: Where can we find you online?

Tee: Check me out on Instagram at onecupoftee.

Check me out on my travel blog at https://onecupoftee.com

 

A Zen Retreat in the Heart of Chiang Mai

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Tucked away in the heart of Chiang Mai’s old city, Rachamankha Hotel is reminiscent of an eleventh century Chinese courtyard. Walking through the entrance, I was instantly transported to an older time period and enjoyed discovering secret paths and gardens. In fact, the architect intentionally modeled the property after historical Chinese dwellings to emulate the culture of Lanna Chiang Mai, the ancient Thai Kingdom. And after being surrounded by skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, this hotel sanctuary with deep Northern Thai elements was a welcomed change.

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With lush greenery surrounding every corner of the hotel, the design was true to Northern Thailand. I couldn’t help but feel at peace as I walked through the courtyard. The property even has a library, which houses over 2000 books. If I didn’t have so much to explore, the bookworm in me would have easily camped up there!

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DSC_0691The first morning, I tiptoed my way to the outdoor restaurant to dabble in Thai delicacies. However, after eating my weight in noodles in Bangkok, I found myself missing simple American classics like french toast (with Thai ice tea, of course).

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The staff and general manager, Paul, were incredibly kind and helped curate an itinerary for our time in Chiang Mai. After expressing an interest in spending time with Thailand’s infamous gentle giants, Paul helped us reserve a day at Patara Elephant Farm. Because there were so many different animal sanctuaries, I welcomed Paul’s recommendation. I learned that this particular farm specialized in the rehabilitation and repopulation of Thai elephants, and as an elephant caretaker for the day, I discovered that managing elephants is no small feat!

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When I wasn’t exploring the city & playing with baby elephants, I found myself retreating back to the hotel pool. A mini oasis within itself, with a massage parlor, it was easy to retreat back there.

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My favorite part about this hotel was the location and the level of intimacy. Because there are only 24 rooms, I never felt overwhelmed by the number of guests. If you treasure boutique hotels, like myself, and are looking for a relaxing, zen-like abode, for your stay in Northern Thailand, Rachamankha Hotel is an absolute must.

 

This experience was sponsored by Rachamankha Hotel.