Finally, I would be totally remiss if I didn't mention the World of Possibilities event and Giselle Hudson, who made it possible for Alex and I have this beautiful trip to my tropical homeland. The truth is that without Giselle, we might have gone another year before making it back home (which is, I now see, a crying shame).
The story goes that Giselle was surfing the web, and came upon my friend Brené Brown's amazing TEDxHouston talk (seriously, if you haven't watched that yet, you should). Giselle followed the links to Brené's site, and at some point through her surfing, found a link to Chookooloonks.
With a name like Chookooloonks, that has to be a Trinidadian, she thought to herself.
(Incidentally, a lot of Trinis find my site by stumbling on the name, and knowing instinctively that I'm a Trini. I love this passionately.)
One thing led to another, and Giselle invited me to Trinidad to speak at her World of Possibilities conference. It was really an elegant evening: about 50 women attended a really great dinner at Joseph's Restaurant in Maraval, Trinidad (my old stomping grounds), including a few friends: brilliant journalist and writer Attillah Springer (a sweet friend from when I last lived in Trinidad, whose words always keeps me up to date with the country's political goings-on), and new friend Tracy, who has always been so supportive of me on Twitter. There was sisterhood (and even a bit of singing!), and it was a really lovely time.
As it happened and absolutely coincidentally, Giselle had already planned a trip to Tobago the same time we had, and the group she was traveling with had breakfast at our hotel the morning we were leaving, so I was able to get a few portraits. I tell you, this entire trip was about things just falling into place.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds, from Arizona, was the keynote speaker of the World of Possibilities event, and her talk was so insightful. Author of the book Wander Woman, she told tales about how she completely transformed her own life (and seriously, her story was riveting). It was really an honour to be speaking alongside her, and I sincerely hope we keep in touch.
Marcia traveled to Trinidad & Tobago with her best friend, Vickie Sullivan. Vickie is a speaker's coach and branding expert, and the word I think of when I think of her is "light." She sparkles. She's so warm and friendly, and it was a true pleasure to meet her.
And finally, Giselle's partner, Anastasia. Anastasia is actually an American who moved to Tobago many years ago and never returned. She's one of those people who, as soon as they're in your presence, you're inspired to take a deep, cleansing breath. The words that immediately come to mind when I think of her are "calm" and "peace." And so I wasn't shocked in the least to find out she's actually a massage therapist at the Kariwak. I bet she's great at her job.
With that, a thousand thank-yous to Giselle for making this trip happen -- I can't adequately express how grateful I am. And hopefully, after this week's posts, you're all inspired to visit my homeland. In fact, I'm so moved by how many of you expressed interest in a creative retreat in Tobago: I'm actually really energized by your response, and am already making plans. Stay tuned.