REAL ONES.

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They say that making friends is harder as you get older but I don't buy into that theory.

I say that the more you grow into YOURSELF--and commit to pursuing activities/groups/places you really love--the more you attract similar people who genuinely love the same things you do. 

I think it only gets hard when, somewhere along the way,you stop going after the things that set your soul on fire. 

Now I will say this: I definitely see a difference in the QUANTITY of friends I have now, versus when I was younger. Back then there were more people to club with, gossip with, shop with, hang out with. I was young(er) & on my own for the first time--clear across the country--so all I really wanted to be was "grown". I wasn't looking for anything except to finally fit in somewhere and to know that I belonged...and I'm sure you can guess how that story goes....

But there was also a difference in the QUALITY of people I had back then, too. These days, everyone I'm close to is someone I met effortlessly while being 100% myself--the Dayka with the witty, sarcastic sense of humor, who asks a bunch of questions, loves curse words & has a naughty habit of interrupting people when she gets excited about a good conversation.We are held together by a strong core belief that God is always conspiring in our favor, even--and especially--when it doesn't look like it, and we constantly affirm this for one another.

We speak of crystals...and energy fields...and oracle cards...and possibility...and Grace (and we hit on the ratchet stuff, too!). The width of the crew may be smaller these days but the depth is the deepest I've had yet. I know I've got some amazing friends but the truth is....they are all just reflections of me.Because you can only attract who you are. 

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to create a kindred tribe of friends because your success, however you define that word, is absolutely tied to it. I'm not talking about the "good time" people who are always down to turn up at a moment's notice--instead I'm talking about the kinda friends who will gladly "hold space" for you when you can't do it for yourself. The kind of friends who really, really like you just as you are right now. The ones you can send a text saying "Do you have a minute to encourage me?" and your message will barely hit their inbox before they're dialing your number seconds later (I know 'cause I just sent this text last week!).

And you know how you meet these kinda people? By telling the truth about who you are.Because when you lead with the truth about who you are it becomes a lot easier for your life follow suit. You start going to events that truly interest you, whether that's a quilting conference (hey Ari!), a private gemstone sale or a night at the symphony.You're more likely to get on a site like Meetup.com to find interesting new social groups or to buy a ticket to hear your favorite author speak out of state...even if that means you have to go alone.You start intentionally doing the shit that interests you for no reason other than the fact that you like it. And because that kind of behavior is energetically attractive (you know,the whole taking responsibility for you own happiness thing), other people will see you and say, "You know, I have this friend I think you should meet..." and you start getting connected to other amazing people with little to no effort on your part.

All because you're honest about who are. 

Don't fall into the hype that creating genuine relationships is hard. Don't hang around people who want you to join them in complaining about how awful life is, how fucked up men/women are or who folks who love to lament how things are "never gonna change". Don't hang around people who always talk about how "broke" they are, who never take personal responsibility for their behavior or people who can't be grateful for the good stuff even when it's right in front of their face. I could give you a laundry list of reasons why you shouldn't hang around these people but here's the most important one: what they're saying simply isn't true. 

You're only as good as the people you allow to share & speak into your life. Get you some friends (yes, "get you") who will lift you up, encourage you, support you...fill your squad with people whom you ADMIRE. If you don't have friends who will speak LIFE into you...make that a priority in 2017. The people you attract in life are just a reflection of YOU. If you don't like the company you keep, well then...the first place to start is in the mirror.

ALL YOU NEED IS 1%.

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In Numerology it's said that 2017 is the year of New Beginnings (2+0+1+7=10=1+0=1), but new beginnings aren't always as simple as just walking into a new life. Big, new beginnings are actually just a bunch of tiny endings in disguise--and never has this been more apparent than now, as I prepare for a new life in a new place. I know I'm not the only one experiencing this itch...everyone I know who's undertaking something fresh and new is feeling a bit uncomfortable & scared, while simultaneously being 1000% certain that they must do the thing that is calling them. Welcome to Vulnerability 101...

This weekend, while spending my 38th birthday relaxing in bed, the scripture about "faith the size of a mustard seed" randomly popped into my mind & I started thinking about just how TINY a mustard seed is. I thought about how doubt, confusion & discomfort are intimately tied to the process of change and it made me remember that the amount of faith required to do amazing things is actually really, really small.

You only need a little bit more faith than fear to get you through uncertain times. Like, 1% more. You don't have to immediately know who's gonna help you or how things are gonna line up--you just need to have faith that the help WILL be there when you need it. And thinking about it this way makes embarking on those "impossible" things a bit easier 'cause 1% feels like a no-risk kinda investment. It feels like something I can happily sign myself up for.

So I pulled myself out of bed & went off to buy some mustard seeds--I needed to feel what that kinda faith felt like in my hands. And then I went to a dollar store & bought some tiny gift bags. I searched online for my favorite version of that scripture, typed up a few copies, hit "print" & then rolled them up like scrolls and placed one in each bag along with a little mustard seed. I knew I wanted to give my friends a gift at my dinner later that night & I'd just stumbled on the perfect thing--a "portable faith kit". (lol)

In the restaurant a few hours later, I gave the bags out to my friends & explained that my gift was to be a tangible reminder of the fact that embarking on all of the amazing things in our "new lives" also meant that much of our "old lives" had to die.Which of course feels scary.And not a lot of fun. But that if we can just remember to tap into that 1% more every day, it will be enough to carry us through the uncomfortable places.All we need is 1%.

Holding this bag in my hands & rolling this seed between my fingers helps me to really FEEL what this means.  I carry mine in my purse so I can touch it often & every time I do I'm reminded that I don't have to move mountains, I just need to believe that mountains can be moved.And that alone is good enough. 

I shared this message on social media & got a lot of messages/comments from people who shared that they were going through much of the same thing, and because I know that I'm not alone--that we're not alone--I wanted to send out an email to share this you all, too.

Never forget that the big things in life are just a bunch of little things in disguise. No matter what anyone says, you actually don't have to know the entire game plan before you start--you just have to start.And you start by deciding you want something different than what you have & by choosing to believe that something new is possible. From there anything can happen...and it will.

All you need is some faith the size of a mustard seed. All you need is 1%. 

And if you feel like you could use one of my "portable faith kits", just let me know by commenting with your email address & I'll contact you directly to send one in the mail!

JOIN ME!! LOST & FOUND MARRAKECH 2017!!

I LOVE to experience the world. To not just see it, but to feel it, live it & collide with it. To go to new places and be surprised & amazed by things I didn't even know existed. To feel the freedom that comes with walking away from everything that anchors me to my daily life.

And that's exactly what happened during my trip to Marrakech. From the moment I stepped off the plane I was in love...so much so that I decided the whole thing again and bring you along with me. To help you experience my unique method of Slow Travel that encourages you to dive in not solely as a tourist & consumer in a foreign land but as a traveler & storyteller engaged in the next chapter of your own life. I'm here to help you create an authentic experience all your own.

Hands down, my best international trip to date--quite healing. Dayka definitely knows how to create an experience and it's worth every penny. I loved that each day wasn't jam packed with activities, that there was a good balance between relaxation time & things that required my energy.

I was blessed to have an amazing group of women from a cross-section of experiences join me for my inaugural trip! We connected in ways & across boundaries that don't always happen when you start "adulting" & get so immersed in everyday life that you don't feel you have the luxury to just drop everything & connect. But when you're overseas & in a totally new environment?? It's what this kind of trip is made for. There were married women & single women. Women with kids & women without. High level entrepreneurs & home schoolers. A professor & a Personal Chef. I couldn't have asked for a better group!

My biggest concern about investing in the Lost & Found Marrakech experience was traveling by myself to a destination where I wasn't really close to anyone. I wasn't sure if my personality would fit and if I'd feel alone and bored throughout my stay. Instead, the moment I met the other individuals who were on the trip, we connected as if we've known each other for years! I honestly made life long friends on this trip and we shared and connected like family. Totally unexpected bonus.

This year I've made a few changes to the trip as a means of designing an experience that really gets to the heart of what I want to create: Connection & Community. It's about more than just seeing a new country/continent & great photo ops--it's an opportunity to reconnect to yourself & what really matters by unplugging from the world and remembering who you were before you started to accumulate so much extra stuff in your life. To form a new community with a few women you can't even imagine meeting just yet.

What I've designed is a creative & culturally immersive travel experience for: Rest. Adventure. Conversation. Food. Reflection. Solitude. Flow. Perspective Shifts. Art. And an opportunity to remember who you were before you became everything they (family, friends, job, kids, partner) wanted you to be. To get back to her.

I'd highly recommend any travel experience curated by Dayka! It was evident that she was in her element and left no stone unturned for the comfort and exposure of her guests. The added surprises and mementos were the icing on the cake!

You know those mind blowing conversations you stumble upon where everyone just vibes off one another & people are being vulnerable and honest and theres's so much magic in the air that you can feel it??

Well that's exactly what this is--a magical opportunity for you to become more of yourself.

So if you want to come to Marrakech to create magic--to unplug, shed your skin, reconnect with yourself, put your hands to work & create the kind of memories that leave a mark on your soul--then I want you to come with me. Yes, I want to help you "grow" your passport stamps but more importantly, I'm here to help you, "grow" you.

I've extended this year's trip by a few days & also added in some really cool activities to help you experience Morocco in ways that can only happen on the continent, like private, hands-on cooking lessons, a riad tour and seeing Marrakech from 2,000 feet in the air. We'll spend time together talking as a group about how to create the life you really want to live, how to identify your core values & we'll explore what it means to live in personal integrity & alignment, both at home & at work. I'm even going to teach you my sacred method for creating a personal piece of art that will allow you to visually document the most important experiences of your life (and if you follow me on IG you know what I mean!).

But don't worry--there will still be ample time for you to explore on your own, at your own pace. We'll also laugh a lot. Sleep a lot. Develop our own little private jokes. Shop the souks & explore the city. If you've never been to Marrakech let me warn you now--it's everything the pictures show it to be....& more.

This is designed to be an intimate experience and as such, space is limited to 6 interesting, quirky & engaging women. Last year I sold out in less than 48 hours. So if you know this is the right thing for you, don't delay. 

Here's how to know if this is right for you! If you are an: adventurous woman who loves to explore new cultures & welcomes the opportunity to learn about new lands, languages & ways of life. Someone who enjoys trying new foods. A woman who enjoys pushing the boundaries of her own comfort zone & values EXPERIENCES above THINGS. A woman who doesn't need to depend on a travel guide & who enjoys being by herself...but also enjoys the community that's forged by deeper connections. Someone who doesn't take herself too seriously, loves to laugh & enjoys meeting new people, then you will love this trip.

This trip is not right for: High maintenance women. Picky eaters. Women who can't bare to be unplugged from WIFI. Those who expect to be hand-held, are afraid to be alone, don't like to walk, or get annoyed around non-English speakers. If you have a Type-A personality, are overly dramatic (and you KNOW if you are!!), or expect a very Western experience akin to staying in a traditional hotel, please don't come with me...you won't have a good time on this kind of trip.

So if this sounds like something you want to be a part of, join me for Lost & Found Marrakech 2017. It's like nothing you've ever experienced before. 

October 10-17, 2017

  • 8 days/7 nights accommodation in a beautiful traditional Moroccan riad with modern styling (double occupancy & private bath)
  • Daily breakfast featuring tea, fresh breads, eggs, honey, jams, yoghurt & specialty Moroccan dishes
  • From-scratch Welcome Dinner upon arrival made from fresh, local & seasonal ingredients
  • Sunrise hot air balloon ride over Marrakech highlighting desert landscapes & traditional Berber villages
  • Private, hands-on cooking class with Moroccan women where we'll learn the secrets to preparing traditional Moroccan dishes. Lunch included. 
  • Half day ATV tour of Lake Takerkoust, Agafay desert + traditional tea in a Berber village
  • Guided, sit-down gourmet food & riad tour showcasing regional specialties, traditional spices, & beautiful riads you'd never see on your own 
  • Round trip transfer to & from RAK (Marrakech airport)
  •  Welcome gift bag filled with goodies! 

Total Investment= $2715 (not including airfare)

The Details

Your $2715 investment can be paid up front, in one payment, or divided into 7 payments:

March 7, 2017: $515 deposit due

 Second payment due April 7th 2017: $366.67 

Third payment due May 7th 2017: $366.67

Fourth payment due June 7th 2017: $366.67

Fifth payment due July 7th 2017: $366.67

Sixth payment due August 7th 2017: $366.67

Seventh payment due September 7th 2017: $366.67

**Please note that due to the logistics involved with planning a trip like this, all deposits & installment payments are NON-REFUNDABLE. It is highly encouraged that you get travel insurance which will protect your investment in the unlikely event you need to cancel.**

Lost & Found Marrakech 2017 FULL PAYMENT $2715.00
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Lost & Found Marrakech 2017 DEPOSIT PAYMENT $515.00
[wpecpp name="Lost & Found Marrakech DEPOSIT PAYMENT" price="515.00" align="center"]

 

As the trip gets closer you’ll receive a guide each month detailing helpful hints, airfare hacks, and FAQs on what to expect while in Marrakech including weather, dress code, safety, Islamic customs/traditions, etc. Have questions?? Feel free to send me an email at dayka@daykarobinsondesigns.com. Hope to see you in Marrakech!!! 

3 WEEKS IN MARRAKECH, LISBON & MADRID.

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2 different continents. 3 different countries. 3.5 weeks.

That's a lot mind blowing experiences to process in a relatively short amount of time.

It's taken me awhile to really put this trip into words (well, words long enough for a blogpost) because there are layers & layers & layers of magical experiences & a-ha moments that happened during my time abroad. The Cliff Notes version?This was one of the best trips of my life. 

When you take a trip like this it's never just about what happens once you arrive--at least not for me. It's not about how many great things there were to buy in the Medina of Marrakech or scoping the famous paintings at the Prado museum in Madrid (I didn't go!), or seeing the ancient Moorish castles outside of Lisbon. Instead, the memories that endure are marked by unexpected moments....like what it feels like to be on an airplane where the flight crew addresses the cabin in multiple languages--none of which are your native tongue--so you never quite have a handle on exactly what's going on.Or the traditional Moroccan Gnawa troupehired for a private performance that ended their set by playing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song"....in Arabic. Or your first night in Madrid when you learned that in Spanish you say "Queremos la cuenta" meaning "We want the check" instead of "Can we have the check?", which is what you'd say in English.  And then there's what happens when you get back home and realize that while everything is technically the same....nothing FEELS the same anymore. Somewhere between navigating the souks in Marrakech & going on dates in Madrid, you had your entire life recalibrated. It's not until you get back home that it really hits you....you're not the same person who left.

2 different continents. 3 different countries. 3.5 weeks.You'd be surprised at how much can change in that time. 

This trip is getting it's own dedicated podcast episode next week but in the meantime, here's the basics of what you should know:

#1:Lost & Found Marrakech, the trip I curated & launched back in April of this year, was AWESOME. The group of women who booked this trip was the perfect fit and I said more than a few times on Instagram that I thought we fit together like puzzle pieces, each with our own personalities & experiences--curves & edges--that integrated well. We were able to learn from one another, there were connections made in ways that I couldn't have anticipated, and there was a cross-section of perspectives, experiences, and geographical locations represented which meant that each woman brought something unique to the table.

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Some were married and/or had kids, some weren't. Some women were frequent international travelers and others weren't. Every one seemed genuinely interested in each other & in making connections which was one of my main goals for this trip...and it made me proud to know that I'd attracted such a group. There were some who didn't want to spend all of their time in the old city (Medina) so they went to spas, new restaurants in Gueliz (new city), booked day trips to waterfalls and took advantage of the stunning Marrakech hotels by spending afternoons relaxing by the pool. Then there were others (like myself) who were content to explore the vastness of the Medina, eat/drink their weight in tea & local cuisine, visit ancient historical sites and scour the souks for the best textiles & spices that Morocco had to offer.And you know what?It was all good.

There was no ONE right way to do this trip, because my goal was for each woman to create what she wanted.I don't believe in setting strict itineraries prior to arrival. As I love to say, making plans is fine but I've found it much more gratifying to be open to what each destination is WANTING to show you about itself....and it never tells you its secrets until you get there.  My only "requirements" were to be open to the experience and to always remember that we were Americans in Morocco....and not the other way around (<<--this is SUPER important). In preparation for our trip, each month I created a 6-8 page guide with travel advice & tips on what to expect in Marrakech & one of the things I kept reiterating was that, as the curator, I am here to provide the vehicle but it is up to YOU to create the experience that you wish to have in Marrakech. I'm here to hold space for you as you create YOUR OWN story. And create their own stories, they did.

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One of the most extraordinary experiences was when we went ATV'ing for half a day in the desert surrounding Marrakech. OMG. Absolutely perfect temperature.Not a single cloud in the sky.Navigating through wide open spaces & not a spec of civilization around for miles and miles.Saying that it was spectacular, breathtaking, and/or magnificent wouldn't be an overexaggeration. Something special happened that day, and it was one of those things you don't even know you NEED to experience...until you experience it. Riding that bike I kept thinkingto myself,

Remember this moment: You are in Africa. With 7 other women. Riding a 4 wheeler. In the middle of the desert. On a SCHOOL DAY. THIS is what it means to be FREE.  

Collecting these moments is what I live for.

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Marrakech itself is an INCREDIBLE city and it's a place to which I'll absolutely return again & again...to the point that I'd love to spend an extended amount of time there. The culture, the food, the people, the history, the language, the lifestyle--it was literally like experiencing another world. And traveling there as a member of several demographics--a solo female traveler, a single Black woman, and even with a group of single American women--I felt INCREDIBLY safe. And this is from someone who is VERY mindful about her safety, both stateside AND abroad. I'm so glad that all of my internet research didn't deter me from designing this trip because if I'd believed what I read on several blogs & YouTube videos--that men were aggressive, that it was unsafe and/or unwelcoming to solo women--I would've missed out on the trip of a lifetime.Here's the truth:I didn't have one single negative interaction while in Morocco...but I imagine that's also because I made myself VERY aware of the culture before I left. I knew how to dress respectfully. I learned a few Arabic words (like, a FEW). I knew not to stare (without sunglasses on) or be chatty with men I didn't know (as we're accustomed to doing in the US). So I found the men to be curious....but charming and mostly respectful. We got called "Obama" a few times (which happened to me before in Turkey), or "Fish & Chips" and "Rasta" (always directed towards specific women in the group) but there was never a time when any of us felt unsafe. Ever. And as they love to point out, according to the Global Peace Index you're actually safer in Morocco (#91) than you are in the US (#103) so that puts things in perspective, too. ;-)

So if you're wondering if you should go to Marrakech?My advice is to GO. Do your research & respect the culture, but by all means GO.  If you love to experience different cultures & traditions, don't mind a LOT of walking, aren't a picky eater, want to experience a different way of life and don't expect every country you visit to be like the US, then you'll have a fabulous time.

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#2: Lisbon is breathtaking. You'll need to bring your walking shoes & probably humble your ego a bit--before those steep streets & hilly neighborhoods do it FOR you--but it's a beautiful city RIGHT on the Atlantic Ocean with a wonderfully interesting language, the freshest fish you'll ever eat, and stunning architecture. There's something about that city that I still can't quite put my finger on (in a good way!), but I loved wandering the neighborhoods & squares alone as a solo traveler, hopping off & on the historical #28 tram, stopping by for daily chats with my favorite shopkeeper, visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sintra, finding my favorite local places to eat and just making my way throughout this city for 5 days. It's the perfect weekend trip from Madrid (1 hour flight!) and is definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods. Also, Portugal is #5 on the GPI. FIVE. 

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#3: Madrid.Ohhh Madrid. This city is so beautiful and is (thankfully!) home to some of the finest men God has ever created! (Don't believe me? Gloria even ranked them #6 on her list of 10 countries with the hottest men in the world.) I must've said it about 40 times during my 2 visits there (my route: Marrakech, Madrid, Lisbon, then back to Madrid), but Madrid reminds me so much of NYC, just a much cleaner, much more relaxed version. Energetically, the people are much more easy going--no one feels like they're grinding or hustling their way through life, which I love. They live by a totally different lifestyle than what we're accustomed to here....all about enjoying life & taking your time for meals and conversations. Spain has it's own culture & language (both Catalan, which is NOT Spanish, and Castillian Spainish are spoken) and while it's more Western than Morocco (duh), you'll get an instant wake up call when you open your mouth to have a convo & find that no one around you speaks English. Or you run to the grocery store to grab some juice & snacks for the house and find that they're closed from 1pm-4pm every day for siesta. Or when you learn the hard way that dinner doesn't start until 9pm. ¡Bienvienidos a España!

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Of every country I visited,I probably learned the most about myself in Madrid. That city made me think A LOT about the importance of language and the meaning/socialization of culture and patriotic elitism.I thought about my Blackness (hard not to the way people, particularly older folks, will STARE at you) and what it means to have your identity rooted in being Black in America.I thought a lot about where I am in my life, what I want moving forward and what I need to continue to expand. Being there made me realize that I'm supposed to be bilingual--almost like somewhere deep down, there's a genetic memory of me knowing Spanish fluently.My mouth surely wanted to say things that my brain doesn't yet know, so I took that as a sign. I loved the fact that having my language stripped away meant a heightened sense of awareness about what was going on around me....but that it also gave me the ability to totally zone out and focus on my thoughts (easy to do when you don't understand 70% of what's happening around you). I loved texting men in Spanish (thanks, Tinder!). And I found myself paying attention to so many things I'd typically overlook back home, which made me realize just HOW MUCH the familiarity with my daily routine causes me to miss out on the little things. 

Trying to navigate a country in a language with which you're not fluent is the most uncomfortable, vulnerable feeling ever.

And even with that being said...I fell in love with Spain.

I loved it so much that even before I made it back to the States, I'd already made the decision to move to Spain next year. I loved it so much that 2 days after getting back to Atlanta I started in a 6 week Spanish intensive to improve my competency (using the Graded Reader method, which I LOVE). And I loved it so much that 3 weeks after getting homefrom this whirlwind trip I booked my ticket back to Spain for April 2017. Because when you know, you just know. And because time waits for no woman. Not even me.

So off to Spain I go! 

And there you have it--a snippet of my experiences from 3.5 weeks in Marrakech, Lisbon & Madrid. I'll cover the rest in my next podcast but hopefully this starts to answer the question I hear so often these days, "Tell me about your trip!!". If you have a specific question you'd like to answer in the podcast just leave a comment below or drop me an email.

Adiós amigos!

WHAT TO DO...WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

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I thought my first post back would be a recap of the incredible experiences I had during my trip to Morocco, Spain & Portugal but I want to talk about something else first. Something that's probably been on your mind as much as mine.

 I didn't watch any of the 2016 election coverage.

I didn't up wait for all of the votes to come in and didn't check in with all of the networks to hear the pundit analysis. When I woke up on Wednesday morning I was on Instagram for about 2.5 seconds before I noticed that the energy seemed....off.

I decided then & there to protect my spirit and my energy by staying away from social media so I immediately deleted Facebook & Instagram off of my phone--I didn't want to get caught up in the sea of negative emotions that I KNEW was overflowing online.

Was I sad? Yes. Confused. Yes. Hurt? Definitely.

So yesterday I took some quiet time away to focus on finding my peace. On remembering that peace is something that I create for myself--not something the world creates for me. I needed a break so that I didn't get caught up in the fear, the helplessness, the despair, and everything else that so many are feeling right now. I needed silence to connect back to my core beliefs: that God is ALWAYS working in my favor.That feeling powerless means that I can ask to be shown whatever it is that I'm not seeing about this situation.And that my destiny has never been--and never will be--in the hands of the President of the United States...no matter who is in office. I needed to remember that being empowered is a choice I can make every single day, regardless of any outside circumstances. 

So what do you do in times like this when you may not know what to do??You go INSIDE and find your center by reconnecting back to the core beliefs that govern your life--positive ideals that make you feel empowered & inspired to act thoughtfully. And when I did that I remembered a few things that I wanted to share with you:

Unprecedented times mean unprecedented things can happen...but this is also the process by which incredible discoveries take place.We are more socially & spiritually aware than ever.We are more connected to each other than ever.We are FREE.We have the luxury of CHOOSING how to feel, where to live, how to spend our time, who to love, who to marry & what to think. We get to CHOOSE what we want to create for ourselves in this life.

And this is a radical statement but hear me out: I think it's pretty awesome that someone with no qualifications can be the leader of the free world. Because that means that if it's possible for him....it's possible for me, too. I'm always thinking about whether I'm "qualified enough" to embark on some of the deepest desires of my heart and you know what I realized yesterday?? That worrying about whether or not I'm qualified is just self-limiting bullshit that I've been carrying around in my bag. There's so much more that I can do to live the deepest dreams of my own life and the mere fact that I'm seeking those things means I'm qualified enough to have them--period.And I wouldn't have really tapped into that beautiful thought without this crazy, emotional & unexpected election process.

Good or bad, I understand that everyone may not feel the way that I do and that's absolutely okay. But this is my truth, and I wanted to share it with the hopes that it might help those of you who may be feeling discouraged.

Take care of yourself, and take care of each other. We're all going to be just fine--this I know for sure. Things are always working out in your favor. 

xo,

d.

I'M CANCELING CUBA. HERE'S WHY.

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Sometimes you don't realize you've done the wrong thing until after you've already done it. When that happens you're essentially left with 2 choices: try to make the "wrong thing" be the "right thing", or just acknowledge the misstep, pivot and get back going in the right direction.

I think you already know which camp I fall into, so here's the thing:

I'm canceling the trip to Cuba.

Yes, the very trip that I diligently worked to curate for weeks & weeks (and weeks)...the one I launched JUST 3 days ago.

Saturday night I was lying across the sofa reading this fantastic book when I came across a sentence that made me pause for a moment and I realized:

I don't actually WANT to take a group to Cuba (at least not right now). 

Here's why:

It deviates from what I really love most about seeing the world: having the freedom to figure the plan out as I go. THAT is really one of my strengths and it's the thing that always impacts me the most when I travel--finding joy in the unexpected quiet spaces. The best moments have always come when Ijust let the trip dictate the plan instead of trying to plan the trip.  

I read that short sentence on Saturday & then I heard my God-voice ask, "Are you taking these people to Cuba because you really WANT to have this experience with them or because you're trying to BENEFIT from them going?"And in an instant I knew the honest answer was more about the benefits than my wants. Yikes.

I've had my heart set on Cuba for so long that I totally plowed through the fact that having to keep a tight schedule with 10 people actually does NOT sound like EASE to me. Or enjoyment. Or excitement. It sounds like work, force and "efforting" which is totally antithetical to how I believe my work should feel in this world.

I momentarily got caught up in making this new opportunity happen instead of allowing it to happen. And even though it occurred to me afffffffter all of the months of planning and afffffter I announced it (ugh).....I knew I needed to recalibrate.

So I'm going to Cuba...but I'm gonna go alone. At least this time. There will be other trips for sure--India, Vietnam, Greece, Thailand & Egypt are all on the list--but they will be more like what I've planned for Marrakech: a curated group of women traveling together based around engagement, relaxation, community, empowerment & finding oneself in the world. And those trips will feel easy, exciting and enjoyable. They'll be in the flow. 

There's been a ton of interest in this trip so I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. I believe that when you know better you do better and the best way I can honor you in designing these one-of-a-kind experiences....is to first honor myself.So that's what I'm gonna do. 

I'm not gonna lie--I wish I'd realized this before I invested so much time putting it all together, but I know this will all serve me in someway down the line. I'd rather tell the truth than ignore my intuition that has clearly whispered, "Girl, you know this ain't right."

Thanks for understanding.

START 2017 OFF WITH A BANG--LET'S GO TO CUBA!

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I'm doing it again, this time in CUBA.

After selling out of my first trip so quickly, I started thinking about other places I'd really like to explore and of course, Cuba was first on the list. With President Obama's historic visit opening up Cuba in a way that Americans haven't seen in over 50 years, it was one of the first places I wanted to explore in the new year and....I'm inviting you to come along.

Cuba is going to be an adventure. Because of the embargo--and the fact that so much of the country isn't connected to the world wide web--going to Cuba is literally like stepping back into time....and you can't begin to imagine the amount of planning that's gone into this trip for that very reason! Travel to Cuba has been approved under any one of 12 reasons established by the US government and while tourism hasn't been approved, People to People visits are. What exactly does this mean??It means that we'll be there meeting Cuban people and learning about the history, culture and spirit of Cuba, not just lounging on the beach and drinking mojitos all day. This (lounging all day) is actually prohibited by US law but even if it weren't you wouldn't find that kind of itinerary on one of my trips because that's not how I PERSONALLY travel. I believe in immersing oneself in foreign lands, so that's exactly what this trip is designed to do!

Here's the plan: We'll spend 5 nights & 6 days in a private villa in Havana with a pool, gym & even on-site massages! We'll spend 2 days learning about the history of old & new Havana with one of Cuba's best kept secrets and you'll participate in a private, one-on-one salsa class to learn about movement with a few of Havana's best dancers. Want to know where the idea for those old school Las Vegas shows originated?? We're gonna see it first hand. We'll follow that up by exploring the traditions of the African spiritual experience in Cuba and will wrap up our trip by venturing out of the city to explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site on horseback with local farmers. Oh--and did I mention we'll have a photographer on-hand to document it all?? Yup, there's that part, too. Music, food, spirit & more, we'll be experiencing Cuba the only way I know how--authentically. 

Here's what's included:

  • 5 nights/6 days accommodations
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Daily Breakfast + 1 dinner
  • In-depth historic & cultural tours of both Old Havana & New Havana
  • Private lessons exploring the traditions of Afro-Cuban spirituality
  • One-on-one salsa dancing class exploring the movement of Cuba
  • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Viñales with local farmers
  • Ticket to a world renown cabaret & music club in the heart of Havana
  • Travel photographer to document our days & nights
  • Conversation & connection with a group of like-minded & adventurous women
  • Total cost: $2780

What's NOT included:

  • Airfare
  • Cuban visa
  • Spending money

How to know if this adventure is right for you:

This trip is for women who crave exotic adventure & new world experiences. This is a chance to see a new part of the world, but more importantly, it's a chance to see YOURSELF through the eyes of the world. I call these experiences "Lost & Found" because it speaks to the heart of my beliefs around the purpose of travel--I believe we should intentionally travel to get lost (emotionally, spiritually, and even physically) so we can find/uncover new parts of ourselves in different & meaningful ways. Hence, Lost & Found Experiences. 

This trip is for women who value collecting experiences–meeting new people, trying new foods, being unplugged from wifi–over collectingthings. Because here's the real deal--Cuba is a place where you HAVE to be unplugged. There's no infrastructure for you to watch the latest episode of Queen Sugar from your smartphone or Snapchat every part of your experience...that technology just doesn't exist there quite yet. So this means you'll need to be focused on being right where you are, with the women who are investing in this trip right along with you. If you want to see new lands AND forge meaningful new connections with women who may otherwise never cross your path, this trip for you.

If you:Don't mind spending time alone. Are comfortable around people who might not always speak your same language. Fancy yourself an explorer. Love to try new foods. Appreciate an opportunity to fully unplug from the world. Have a fun personality. Enjoy making deep connections with like-minded women. Are looking for a way to experience more of the good life in 2017.

Then I wanna see you in Cuba.

If you:Know that you're a high maintenance traveler. Don't take well to being in a foreign country. Are focused on making every day a fashion show. Don't feel comfortable connecting with women whom you don't already know. Expect every country you visit to be JUST like the United States. Need to know the specifics about the kind of cars you'll ride in. Want every single hour of every single day to be meticulously planned out. Expect people you encounter to speak English and want to experience every country as you would in America then.....this trip isn't for you. Being honest about your needs is the best way to get EXACTLY what you want and while there's nothing particularly wrong with these things, I will be honest and say that you this just isn't the trip for you. You won't enjoy my style of travel and that wouldn't make me (or you) happy!

There are only 8 spaces available, so when you know that it's right....act quickly. The last trip I curated sold out in only 48 hours. 

The Details:

Your $2780 investment is divided into 4 payments:

September 29: 1st payment due $695

October 29: 2nd payment due $695

November 29: 3rd payment due $695

December 22: 4th payment due $695

PAY IN FULL: $2780

PAY DEPOSIT: $695

As the trip gets closer you’ll receive customguides detailing helpful hints and FAQs on what to expect while in Cuba as well as access to a private Facebook Page where all of the travelers can connect prior to the trip. Have questions? Feel free to send me an email at: dayka@daykarobinsondesigns.com.

Hope to see you in Cuba! 

*Due to the nature & scheduling of this trip, payments are nonrefundable though purchasing travel insurance should cover your investment in the unexpected event of a cancellation*

THIS IS MY WHY.

Dayka Robinson This Is Why 2016

When I was 22 I was in a relationship with someone who told me my hands looked like "slave hands".

It was said as a "joke" but he didn't mean this as a term of endearment...and I certainly didn't receive it as one. It was many years later before I was able to call it what it really was--a comment meant to be funny at the expense of my self esteem. Keep in mind this was someone I'd known for a very long time. Someone who said he loved me. Someone I shared a bed & my body with. Someone who wanted to be my husband. Can you imagine what it's like to be in relationship with someone who helps you dislike parts of your body that you didn't even know were up for critique?? I pray to God you never have to find out.

It was easy to walk away pointing the finger at all of his faults but many years later it hit me--he was never my real issue. It was me all along. My issue was that I wasn't appalled enough to leave at the first signs of bad behavior. That I didn't throw him the deuces when he casually mentioned that an ex-girlfriend (whom we both had restraining orders against) was prettier than me. And that I didn't bounce when he squeezed his hands around my neck in a fit of rage one summer afternoon. Did he have his own issues? Absolutely. But they were his to uncover & heal--his and his alone. But what makes still makes me cry for that young woman is that she didn't KNOW BETTER. That no one specifically taught her about the depth of her worth but instead, like most young women, assumed she knew because she fit a few superficial social markers: she came from an educated family with "good jobs". She went to GATE schools and took AP classes. She was exposed to different cultures and experienced the luxury of traveling to new horizons. But those things didn't automatically translate into knowledge of self because, as I can now confirm with all certainty, job titles, social classifications & educational degrees don't mean shit when it comes to  recognizing your own worth. So she made up her own rules as she went along. She thought holding onto her virginity, getting a Spelman degree & having the courage to speak her mind made her someone special...someone of value. She didn't understand that we don't BECOME special--that there is nothing we can do to BE special because every single one of us is special by sheer virtue of being alive. The only thing "specialness" requires is breath in your body. It would take her many, many years to understand that...and to learn to let go of the things she'd been holding onto that were never hers to carry in the first place.

When I talk about Personal Empowerment, it comes a deeply personal place. It's not just a rallying cry for me--it's how I've made sense of my life experiences and it's the gift that's enabled me to take painful stories & transform them into teachable lessons...both for myself and for others. It's helped me heal and tell a different story about so many situations I've experienced. But do not be fooled--the Dayka you see now is someone I've had to intentionally GROW INTO over the years. I was the girl who never really felt like she fit in with the other kids. I was the girl who was never "chosen" by the popular guys. I wasn't having sex, didn't cut class (mama did NOT play that) and didn't drink or smoke weed. I was just there, in plain sight, desperately wanting to be seen. So I spent the early part of my life trying to be different than who I naturally was because I didn't feel like I was good enough with my brown skin, "weird" name, "broken" family, assertive personality and borderline "acceptable" address (being one of only a few black girls in my classes throughout elementary, middle & high school didn't help, either). And because I didn't feel like I fit in, I tried to find ways to make myself smaller than I was because...well, that's just what we do when we think there's something wrong with who we are--we try to find ways to blend in & disappear. Why? Because I didn't know my own worth. I thought my success lie in trying to shave down my edges & round off my corners instead of uncovering new ways to accentuate those unique features. Eventually--and luckily--I found my way though.

And here's why I'm sharing all of this with you:

The early part of my life had to be exactly what it was so that it could prepare me to become who I am today (and who I'm yet growing into). Yes, I'm a designer but I'm also a woman who's incredibly passionate about personal responsibility and self empowerment, especially as it pertains to women.  Why? Because we are often taught--and even encouraged--to shrink. Don't be too confident. Don't talk too much. Don't curse. Pull your skirt down. Be nice. Keep the kids well dressed. Make a fresh meal every night. Look like you did at 17. Polish your nails. Be agreeable. Don't intimidate a man. Don't talk too much about your accomplishments. Put some earrings on. Keep the house clean. Take pride in "keeping your man". Be sweet. Don't ask for too much. Be a freak in bed. Make sure your pedicure is on point. Keep a Brazilian. Be humble. Wait your turn. Don't sleep with too many men. Get along with the group. Don't be so assertive. Be grateful you have a man. Look pretty. Don't be a know-it-all. And be quiet. OMG, it's straight up exhausting! And when we grow up being bombarded with these messages, it dulls our ability to trust in ourselves & our natural instincts. And let me tell you, a lack of trust never, ever turns out well. In any situation.

We learn to shrink at home, we learn it in school, we learn it from our fathers, brothers & boyfriends, we learn it from our mothers, colleagues at work & women in our social circles. But it's time to start unlearning some of that stuff if you truly intend on embodying your highest vision of yourself. And here's the catch: only you can do this unlearning for yourself. It is not your parent's job, your best friend's job or your spouse's responsibility to make you feel good about who you really are. That is purely an inside job, my little sugar muffin. Making someone responsible for your wholeness is too much power to give any one person (or group of people) over your life. And once I really understood this--realizing that I didn't have to wait for other people to change because I could change MYSELF, a whole new world opened up to me. There may have been certain things I feel like I didn't learn in childhood but those very things have become my platform NOW (Looka Gawd!). To remember that at ALL times, it is not only my right but my responsibility to EMPOWER MYSELF. To make choices that are soul affirming. To stand in my power at all times and not hand it over to someone else. To fill in my own gaps and not expect someone else to do it for me. And to remember that the only things I really need are the things that come from within.

So back to him. If I had truly known my worth from the beginning, we wouldn't have been together in the first place. And that's the real truth--it's the responsibility that I OWN about my involvement in that relationship. And once I had the courage to be honest with myself & acknowledge that I simply PUT UP with too much for too long because I didn't know better, something just shifted. I was able to release him from the story I'd been telling (his fault! his fault! his fault!) and start to do the work that really mattered--my own. Is it easier--and more socially acceptable--to blame him for the negative parts of our experience? Of course--because society tends to love a "he done me wrong" narrative. But taking responsibility does not look like me regurgitating all of the ways I thought he fell short or pointing out all of the ways I thought he should have shown up better. Instead, it means asking one simple question:

What was it about you that made you decide that kind of behavior was okay in the first place??

And answering that question, my friends, is where the real work starts.

There was a time many years ago when I didn't know better but now I do. And I want you to know better, too.

This is my Why.