Nyk Picks: Home for the Holidays

There’s no place like home, really. Even when you haven’t been there before you know what it feels like. A wise man once told me that the first time he stepped onto African soil, physically he had never been there but his spirit had been there and was happy to be back. For the thousands of immigrants living away from home, the holidays present an opportunity to return for a few days.

I had been away from my home, Liberia, for 13 years when I returned in December 2009. It was an amazing trip that ultimately led me back to Liberia to live last year. For those that will be making the pilgrimage to Africa this holiday season, below is the list I wish I would have seen before my first trip.

Young Nyk at Kendejah Hotel in 2009.

Young Nyk at RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas in 2009.

Get To Sewing If you are a fashion lover like me, you’ll be wanting to get some African, one of a kind pieces done during your trip. Having something tailored is very affordable in most of Africa. You need to get a tailor, days, if not hours, after arriving to your destination. In Liberia for instance, there are many tailors so finding the right one might take a while. I suggest getting recommendations from locals. Be clear on what you want and communicate your vision with pictures. You will need a lot of patience to deal with the schedules of tailors and possible unforeseen alterations to your pieces. The key word here is time, use it wisely and you will be leaving with a suitcase full of fabulous pieces.

Diversify Your Experience Partying on a beach never really gets old, does it? However, you will be happy that you saw all that your destination had to offer if you get out of the party and into a waterfall or a museum during your trip. A diverse experience will leave you with an eclectic set of memories, including some sober ones.

Give Back During the holidays many organizations and individuals host events for local families, so there are many chances to do something great for someone in need. To leave any place knowing you did something positive is the ultimate souvenir.

Capture It There is no such thing as too many pictures on a trip. Beaches, old buildings, crowded markets; capture anything that moves you regardless of how silly you feel when you’re taking the picture. You can even find a local photographer for a great price to get those shots you couldn’t get and stimulate the artistic economy all at once. All year long you’ll be able to reminisce on the good times and those pictures could be great conversation starters on your desk at work.

Note to Self I acknowledge everyone does not love writing as much as I do but little notes to self are a great way to revisit a feeling and/or an experience for later analysis. Reading the notes I have taken on trips afterwards have has led to amazing self discoveries. So even if it’s a couple key words, jot down something from your trip. I promise it will make for a great read on the 10+ hour plane ride back.

Hope that helps. Enjoy and I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in Liberia for the holidays!

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