T-28 Days!

This is getting real! We have entered the 30 day countdown and it’s time to get the pieces together.

The first and most important part of this trip is Christina. Without her, Insert(VERB)Here would not have a mission to fulfill. She has accepted the offer and we have officially set the date of the trip: May 25-June 1! Exactly 4 weeks from today, she will be boarding her very first international flight. During these next 4 weeks, you will get to read about her emotions in anticipation of this trip.

The second part of this trip is YOU! Your support has been humbling and amazing throughout this process. There are still 3 days left in the official FundRazr to donate money specifically for this project. Past this deadline, general donations will be accepted at http://www.insertverbhere.com. All money donated to Insert(VERB)Here will continue to receive a reward.

The third part of this trip is travel arrangements! The internet makes flight searches fairly effortless. Most travel search engines offer fare alerts and price trackers that will watch ticket prices for you and alert you when deals are available. My top 3 favorite travel search engines are:

  1. Google Flights – This search engine takes the cake for 1 reason: I can search several departure airports AND several arrival airports in a single search and Google searches all the combinations #atthesamedamntime. *cue heavenly chorus* Another pro is the stats info about cheaper travel days for you flexible travelers. The cons of Google Flights include lack of a mobile app for those impulsive urges, lack of flight alerts for the less flexible travelers, and lack of other travel conveniences such as hotels and rental cars (although in their defense this is Google Flights. . .)
  2. Kayak.com – This search engine scans all the other search engines to find the best price. It offers flexible travel, hotels, and rental car searches. It also offers comparison of other sites and fare alerts. The feature that stole my heart is their Price Trend stats. This feature advises you to wait or buy and includes a confidence percentage explaining that it predicts prices to drop or rise soon. The only con is that the prices are not very different from any other site.
  3. Tripadvisor.com – This search engine is great for all the same reasons as  the standard search engine. The unique feature I love about this site is that it doesn’t stop at flight, hotel, and car searches. It allows vacation rental, restaurant, and destination searches too for the non-tourist traveler! Additionally, it offers a personal touch if you log in using Facebook. It shows places your friends (and friends of friends) have stayed and/or reviewed and offers reviews of other travelers as well.

Honorable mention goes to Cheapoair.com for having additional booking deals and instant savings promos off the lowest prices. Who doesn’t love additional discounts?! These search engines have also made apartment hunting in DR a breeze as well. I think I found our home away from home for this trip courtesy of TripAdvisor 🙂 Details coming soon.

The fourth part of this trip is health and safety. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers health information to travelers such as disease outbreaks, safety concerns, and advice on packing smart to stay safe while traveling. They offer a list of useful items to pack in a travel first aid kit.

Now that we are 4 weeks away, action time is now. Starting today, I will getting our ducks in a row to pull this trip off. So while the internet searches for the best flight prices in the last 3 days of the FundRazr, I will put together the travel first aid kit. Wish me luck!

©2013 by Ayana Martin

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Strength in numbers!

How many believe that? It only takes $1 to make a difference. If everyone gives just $1, how much do you think we can raise?!

I believe we can do this! Please take a little time to check out the fundraiser. If you have it to give, I thank you tremendously in advance. If not, give a word of encouragement! Christina is nervous, as this is her first trip abroad (read about her here); I’m balancing travel planning with thesis writing; the universe is testing the strength of the Insert(VERB)Here team. . .encouragement would be DEEPLY appreciated 🙂

All gifts in any form are a blessing to me that I will pass on to others through Insert(VERB)Here! If you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to voice them! The open invitation still stands (see previous post)!

©2013 by Ayana Martin

Meet our Rookie Traveler!!

We have reached our $300 mark!!!! As promised, I would like to introduce you to our Rookie Traveler!

Meet Christina!

Christina
John Witherspoon was on one of my first flights! This MUST be a sign!

“My name is Christina S. I am 25 years old, the youngest of 4, and new to travel. Growing up, I was terrified to fly because my dad would always say that he hated flying and it installed so many fears in me. My family took many vacations, but no matter how far we went, we ALWAYS drove. I was 22 years old when I got on my first flight and that opened my eyes up to a new world! It made me realize that my parents choice to not fly didn’t have to influence my choice to fly. However, I still have a slight fear of flying out of the country for the first time. But I am excited for this opportunity. I bought my passport JUST FOR THIS TRIP!

This opportunity means so much to me for a couple reasons.

Reason #1: I am a young mom. I was 17, fresh out of high school, and having a baby. This caused me to drop out of college after only one semester in order to find a job to support my daughter. I love being a mom, but single motherhood has brought on many challenges that have caused me to sacrifice many opportunities.

Reason #2: I am out of touch with my heritage. My father is African American and my mother is Honduran. My mother has never taken me to visit Honduras, probably because she has not gone back herself. But she had no desire, so I had no desire. But, it’s worse than that. . .My mom, her extended family, even my two oldest siblings speak fluent Spanish. I have tried for many years and taken many classes, and yet I still am unable to speak the language. Although this trip is to the Dominican Republic and not to Honduras, it is a culture that will make me feel that much closer to my own.

To all of the current backers and future backers of this trip, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! You’re truly changing my life.”

We still need your support to make this trip happen. Every dollar helps and will be rewarded with a gift from Insert(VERB)Here! Check out the video and details in the donation site to learn more. To donate to this project, click here.

©2013 by Ayana Martin

You Are Cordially Invited

You are cordially invited to an open conversation with me, Ayana Noel Martin – Founder of Insert(VERB)Here. I received a lot of positive feedback 2 weeks ago when I announced the first project “Verb: HELP me give a trip away!“. I am deeply grateful for the help I have received thus far. But the action behind the positivity seems to have waned a little bit, and I would like to address that.

You may see the project and think “It’s a great idea. A cause wanting to help other people, trying to change the world. Noble, but cliché noble.” I get it. I’m one more pawn in the game…except I’m not. I’m the little engine that could. I believe in this more than anyone else, as I should. And when I get to the Bridge of Deliverance, I will cross it and deliver the exact message I wanted to make in the first place. I am dedicated to this mission and will be as creative as possible to make these ends meet.

You may also see the project and think, “I really want to help, but my contribution wouldn’t be anything significant so it won’t matter” or “Other people will help, so what difference will one person like me make?” I know those thoughts all too well. But I have learned that one person can make a difference. If research science has taught me anything, it’s that even a small difference can be statistically significant! (Shout out to the math, stats, and science majors who can appreciate that p<0.05!)

BARELY SIGNIFICANT

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credit: whatshouldwecallgradschool.tumblr.com

Since we are not dealing with the objective numbers, but rather subjective feelings, EVERY one makes a HUGE impact. So when I say, “I need YOUR help“, I mean that personally.

So let’s start an open conversation. Ask me any questions you’d like! I am willing to be an open book to prove to you that you can bet on me! Whatever it takes to assure you that this is a great (not just good, but great) investment. So ask away! You can post questions here on the blog, on Facebook, or Twitter (@_insertverbhere). I look forward to your questions!

©2013 by Ayana Martin

Verb: WRITE a thesis

Writing has become more of a state of being for me these days. When people ask me how I’ve been, I respond “-__- I’ve been writing.” When they ask me where I’ve been, I respond, “>.< I’ve been writing.” No matter the time of day or night, if you ask me what I’m doing, the answer is “x_x writing “

I am so over writing! So to explain my state of being for the past 2 weeks, I will keep the writing short and use visual cues 🙂

Writing has completely absorbed me. The only people that see me on a regular basis are my writing buddy Kim (@realkimtillman) and the librarians that check us into our suite at Hotel Librarie (in my french accent. . .*oui oui*).

This is where the magic happens. We play word games like “Guess the Title”, where we write any and all words relevant to our thesis topic and try to form the best title. . .

We feng shui the room for the best writing or typing energies. . .

We are so focused that the librarians check in on us and remind us to eat. . .

We still forget and resume writing utnil an announcement over the PA system says “The library will be closing in 3 minutes. . .at midnight. . .Kim and Ayana”.

That really happened last night.

We go home, sleep it off (translation: have nightmares that the library will no longer allow us to reserve a study room), and repeat.

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*le sigh* It’s a necessary evil in achieving the highest degree in the United States – PhD! Stay tuned for this explanation 🙂

clip credits: http://whatshouldwecallgradschool.tumblr.com/

©2013 by Ayana Martin

Verb: HELP me give a trip away!

The goal of Insert(VERB)Here is to challenge personal limits and fears. And I really want to give a great experience to someone who may not have had access to opportunities before.

I have designed the very first travel project of Insert(VERB)Here and selected one young lady who has barely left her own backyard! – Check out the video here – I am taking the challenge to the extreme: OVERSEAS! (What’s more out of the box than foreign soil?!) This project encompasses 3 goals for personal transformation.

1) Empathy Training (understanding the states of other people)
2) Eliminating stereotypes and stigmas (Black women do it too)
3) Public Service (passing on the blessings)

The entire trip will be documented with blogs, photos, and videos for all of you – my family, friends, and friends-to-come – to use as a blueprint to getting out to explore the world. And if you can’t get out and explore the world just yet, you can live vicariously through us until you can!

I need YOUR help to make this happen. You can donate any dollar amount because every little bit helps! Every dollar will receive a reward from Insert(VERB)Here. The tiers are as follows:

Bronze Level: $1-25 Insert(VERB)Here Magnet
Silver Level: $26-75 Postcards (7) from each day of the trip + Bronze Level benefit
Gold Level: $76-100 Insert(VERB)Here T-shirt + Silver Level benefit
Platinum Level: $101-250 Authentic personalized souvenir (TBA) + Bronze Level benefit
Diamond Level: $251-500 Skype date + Insert(VERB)Here T-shirt

Donate at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dT9A8 !! Live updates will also be posted on the Fundrazr campaign page!

©2013 by Ayana Martin