Why. How. What.

World peace. Liberty. Happiness. There are forces in this world that advocate our demise. For our every action there is a reaction; for all positive there is negative. We are advocates of light who seek to spread that light to everyone we encounter. We help people connect with their higher calling using the tools we have; food, tarot, numerology and astrology.

Food heals the soul when its prepared by healing hands. We are healers and we desire to heal through our gifts. Our experiences with diseases like Diabetes and Lupus gave us the blueprint we still use. We’ve used peppermint oil to break a baby’s fever when doctors where failing to do so. We’ve saved parents from putting their kids in special education using research based methods and techniques that can literally change the brain. Our past life readings change lives and help men and women break lifelong patterns. We speak things out loud that our customers have never said aloud before. Our natal chart readings help daughters heal broken relationships with their mothers by helping them to understand the challenges that they picked for themselves as a soul coming to this world. Our passion and connection to the spirit realm is what inspires our gifts, whether we’re cooking and healing through food or digging ino deep emotional spaces with astrology and tarot. Communicating with our souls is a complicated process and is difficult to get through unsupported.

We are your support system. It’s been said that the issue with saying that ‘energy doesn’t lie’ or ‘follow your instincts’ is that saying that doesn’t account for social conditioning, learned biases and behavior, trauma and PTSD, and anxiety. It can be hard to find and focus on your center. Exploring how to find and follow your discernmet is clutch. We help you find and explore. -Eb and Chele

Jewels for July

Have you ever heard the term “the crisis of civilization”?  I used to think that the development of civilization in and of itself was the problem; that by humans deciding to implement laws and hierarchies, we had somehow ruined our connection with the divine. Our ancestors experienced direct contact with God but nothing is sacred now.  How do we experience God? What can we do to reconnect with the divine?     

Every action should be attached to a consciousness of purpose.  We are not a part of an indifferent universe and we are all creating this joint experience on Earth. Somehow, we have discarded the notion that spirituality and physical matter connects our collective soul.  I used to experience actual physical pain when I thought about where we are as a culture, empath problems.  But I know I wasn’t alone. I know that we all look at our society and tend to be more saddened by what we see.   When we hear people reject what is good for them and we have to know that it’s due to conditioning and fear clouding their conscious minds.  A huge part of what perpetuates this is our total dependence on technology, materialism and gadgets. There is no doubt that these three things have had a powerfully negative effect on us because many people choose to act irresponsibly with these gifts.  It is easy to recognize the burnt rubber marks left behind by fashion, media, and social media’s joyride through the world. The algorithm is life.  And while it seems surreal to equate this cultural renaissance with mind control, this is where we’re at.  So what do we do to not become mindless? We practice the opposite, self-awareness.

It takes daily effort to become self-aware; to integrate your mental, spiritual and physical selves.  Research yourself. Not into chakras and such? No problem, try anatomy and epigenetics. Find what interests you so you can flourish.  If you encounter depression, anger, or apathy on your journey, embrace it and see where it comes from.  Learn to chase negativity away with knowledge and inner vision, not television, food, and gadgets.  If you had absolutely nothing, what would be important to you?  

We tend to overvalue the conveniences we have.  Our spiritual work as humankind is not proportionate to the amount of ease that we require to live. We are simply destroying ourselves by living these imbalanced lives.  At some point we have to wonder why our most constructive efforts to alleviate injustice haven’t worked.  The truth is, that despite millions of dollars and effort devoted to making our world “better”, we are not succeeding merely because we are determined  to be self absorbed without being self aware. Our society is full of innovation and very little introspection.  We’re all co-creators.  It is up to each individual to enliven themselves.

2021… We came to Fxk it Up!

Hey Hey fam! Does this count as our first post of the year?? Does it matter?

Anyway… Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter, The Trap Queen’s Teacup

Here’s a look at January’s newsletter to get you started! https://mailchi.mp/d12ed89d619e/thevegantrapqueens

As We always say,

“Enjoy That!”

The Vegan Trap Queens, Eboni & Michele


Meet Eboni Washington and Michele Simmons, creators of Vegan Traphouse. We grew into becoming the Vegan Trap Queens. If someone had told us when we first started traveling that we were going to be psychic vegan chefs we wouldn’t have believed them. It was truly an organic process. After starting our catering company, Vegan Traphouse, we wrote The Traphouse Vegan Lifestyle Guide, a vegan cookbook with over 100 soy and gluten-free recipes. We moved to Thailand in 2016 and volunteered to cook Sunday dinners for Black ex-pats. We started calling our house the ‘Trap’ as kind of a joke and it just grew. We are brutally honest, self motivated, multi-talented risk takers. Long story short, we hustle.

We knew we had to go vegan after we saw our family members dying from diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, Heart failure, and other preventable foodborne illnesses caused by unhealthy food. We felt helpless as we watched the harsh effects of poverty both directly and indirectly at different points in our lives and were always determined to contribute positively to our communities.

The Traphouse Vegan is a book of over 100 easy and simple recipes designed to make veganism accessible to anyone, especially people who live on a budget or in food deserts. The entire book is filled with easy vegan, oil-free, dairy-free, tofu-free recipes. 

After two years in SE Asia, we wanted to get closer to home. We went to Medellin and started digging and practicing our spiritual gifts and added Tarot and Astrology to Vegan Traphouse. We had no idea that Medellin was going to be another magical city for the Queens. Instead of hosting and catering food events, we ended up giving away our services for free. Here’s how…

We were invited to serve our food at a Monthly farmer’s market. This event was soooo slow for us that we only sold like 4 plates. As we are serving our clients, Eb gets a tap on her shoulder, so she turns around and a homeless man is asking her for food! So of course we immeditely hand him a plate. For one, we hate seeing people starve, and two we HATEEEE wasting food! 5 minutes later, the same man returns to our booth with like 3 other people, so of course we give them all plates as well. Eb then leaves our table, walks around the corner to find a whole block of homeless men, women, and childen! It broke our hearts. We ended up giving away ALL our food to the hungry and left the event satisfied knowing that we were able to ease a person’s hunger pains just for the night.

When we got home we did some research on Medellin and learned that there was an extensively large population of homeless Venezuelan refugees all throughout the country. The next few days we begin to really pay attention and SEE all the Venezuelan refugees in our neighborhood and surround areas. Most of the refugees were teenage boys. One day one of them stopped us asking for some food or money on our walk home from our favorite bakery, Saludapan. We had two huge slices of cake in our hands, and had the munchies! We couldn’t lie and say sure you can have some of our cake! So We promised them that we would bring them food the next evening. So the next morning, we got up, walked to the grocery store and made about 20 servings of rice, beans, and plaintains, to the kids and a few adults that stayed in our area. We cooked for the same group of kids every weekend for 3 months until we left Medellin. From burritto bowls, to spaghetti, and typical soul food plates, we were honored to feed those kids we saw working hard every day just to survive. Life can be tough, the least we can do is make sure everybody eats. It costs us only 20usd to feed 20 people! And when we weren’t kickin it with the kids on the block, we were in the house studying Tarot, Astrology, and of course whippin work in the kitchen! We stumbled upon a Wiccan Faceboook group, joined it and just started offering free tarot questions answered on the live. The feedback we received was beyond amazing and a bit overwhelming at times! Our buzz got so big, we got blocked from the group! hi haters! lol. But naw, s/o to a lil birdie that slid in our DMs and hinted us to start going live on our own business page. Now we know, that was Spirit’s way of telling us we were ready to share our new found gifts with the world!

We now offer a variety of Tarot services in addition to our catering and meal prep and planning services. Catch us in a city near you. Follow us on Facebook: Vegan Traphouse and Instagram @thevegantrapqueens for a lot of vegan food and all the TEA!

Vegan For Spiritual Reasons

Our vegan journey didn’t start as an intentionally spiritual one. It began, like most people’s, so that we could meet personal health and weight loss goals.  It wasn’t until we started learning and researching veganism in depth that we began to truly understand all of the environmental benefits it has as well as the socio-economic health related issues that it can help address along the way.  In the beginning, we were just determined to live as long as possible without our bodies breaking down the way our older relatives had. Who wants to be 65 with a cane and swollen ankles or worse? We don’t.  

Anyway, becoming vegan was the catalyst for our spiritual growth.  At its root, veganism is about empathy; understanding that animals are feeling, aware beings that don’t choose to die for human appetites. Empathy is an expression of divinity and when you start to express it in your diet, it begins to inform the rest of your life.  We’re definitely not saying that we’re saints, although minus a few cuss words we’re pretty close, or that every vegan undergoes the process of spiritual enlightenment. However, can we have true enlightenment without going plant based first? Nah fam. Our bodies are some of the most sophisticated technological advancements that this planet has ever known and yet, we treat them as if they’re discardable objects built to self-destruct.  If Eboni and I had a dollar for every time we heard some poor unfortunate soul say, “Well I’m gonna die anyway…”, we would be shopping instead of writing lol. The premise that sickness and decay are the outcome that life is pushing us inevitably towards is bogus and existentialist at best and just plain stupid at worst. If you knew, we mean truly believed, that you were going to live forever, would you make better choices? Our bodies are vehicles for a soul, a consciousness that lives eternally. Every bite of any dead animal product is a clear statement to your consciousness that longevity is not what you want.  

You are what you eat and what you eat is either dead or alive. Energetically speaking, every bite of flesh is a karmic debt that you now owe and while there’s ample time for repayment, karma is still a b@#$h.  Eating dead animal flesh entangles us in a vicious cycle of death and pain on this earth and even after. In our first human incarnation, we were unified with nature in both body and spirit. In this first form, we could never imagine eating another feeling, thinking being.  We understood that we are all expressions of the All Mighty; each of us but a small and important piece of the grand cosmic design. All life is precious. All life is energy. All energy is vital and has karmic value attached to it. At the end of the day, we get what we pay for.  Eat well. We love you. #vegan for #spiritual reasons



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TRIGGER WARNING! This post may offend someone. My apologies in advance. Love & Light to all.

As a member of the LGBTQ lmnop xyz community, its only right that I speak on this.  Its been in my head for almost a year now…. TRANSGENDER.

Quick recap, I’ve ALWAYS known I have been attracted to women since I was 4 years old.  Had my first same sex experience at the age of 6, loss my virginity at 14, and by 17, I was pussy poppin for a real nigga (aka my first girlfriend).  She’s what you would call a “Stud” or the “man” in the relationship. Oh what a beautiful learning experience! Shorty bought me my first vibrator and until that point, I had never had a real orgasm until I used my toy for the first time. Hahahahaaa!

She used her strap on me and alllat and yes, I STILL saw her as 100% FEMALE no matter how low she sagged her pants, or how big her “dick” was.  She was the perfect gentleman and fuck boy all at the same time. She was the beginning to my “Say it loud, I’m Out and I’m Proud” journey. I loved how she wore men clothing but was still so feminine in the face.  The bish swag was impeccable. And because I’ve always been a low key tom boy and huge Aaliyah fan, meeting her was like “yup, I’m switchin my style up”. I couldn’t wait to go away to college!!! I ain’t “come out” to my mom until I was 19.

Here’s how THAT story went…

I’m 19, still living at home in Richmond, VA, working at Abercrombie & Fitch out Short Pump and enrolled at the community college, right before I transferred to HU (the real one of course).  I’m just getting back in the house from dropping my home girl off at the Greyhound. Lying in the bed, minding my own business, tryna get some rest before I head to work.

Moms bust in my room like, “Who you be hanging with now?

Me: “Huh? My friends…”

Her: “Well why you be around so many girls now?”

Me: “Um, I always have been…”

Her: “Well aint {blank} gay?”

Me: “Ma, I don’t know”

Her: “What happened to your boyfriend?”

Me: “We been broke up”

Her: “Well why do you have a penis {referring to my strap} in your closet?”


NOSEY HEFFA! UGH! Black mothers… Gotta love them! LOL

Me: “Why you go thru my things?”

Her: “I was looking for your sister Ugg boots…”

Now in my head, I’m like, “That’s the best lie you can think of lady”.  So I don’t say nothing. And as black mothers do, she continues with the questioning. So finally I just blurt out….

“I’M GAY MOM!” (whole white girl style, it was liberating.LOL)…She gasps and walks out. I get up and go to work.  I come back extra late thinking she sleep… of course not! Lady calls me right in her room…

“How you know you gay?”

“I’ve always liked girls since I was little just never told you”

“Well I feel like its my fault since you never had a father in your life”

“Nah fam, I just really like vagina” LOL…But thinking back, having a father wouldn’t have “ungayed” me, but I would have learned a different perspective about men instead of “If you think you need a man in this life to survive, you gotta nother thang comin’!”

Nonetheless, I’ve grown and learned to love and appreciate men. (heyyyy Zaddyyyy 😉

Fast forward.  I transfer to Howard, where I finally get to live my best life! I got a new job, no roommate (praying I aint get one so I could masturbate in private. I was real live ADDICTED to my lil vibrator), plus work study. So boom! New wardrobe ASAP! I buy my first pair of men’s jeans, loc up my hair…and it was a wrap from there on! Couldn’t tell the kid N O T H I N G! When I started meeting other people and dating in the community, they would often ask “So what are you?” I’m like huh? A female, the fxk?! But naw, us gays wanna have 9867473893987976 different damn names within our own community! We are SO EXTRA!

So, I’m like “no really, I’m me. I don’t do labels”.  Here’s the thing:

I wore men’s clothes. I had a dick (store bought of course). I opened doors for women (still do). I loved strippers.  I referred to myself as a “grown ass man” and loved to play the male role in relationships (even though the only positive male-female relationships I saw were on TV).  And I only dated feminine women, the more feminine, the better. At the same time, I still wore women’s clothes on special occasion, I still shave, get my eyebrows done, and all the other feminine hygiene care women do.  And I never lost full attraction to men, I just put them to the side until I understood them better (The only advice I got when it came to men and sex was “you better not come home pregnant”).

Oh and my walk is Too mean in pumps;)

 On top of… I was already a female, a Black female, a Black Lesbian female, a Black Lesbian female from a single parent home, raised on food stamps, adopted, dark skinned,  AND wore thick ass glasses… Another label for whaaaaa?

So on a regular day in DC, you could’ve caught Eb lookin, dressin, and actin like ah whole nigga even though my soul knew I was all female still.  But I felt SO masculine. I began to question if my Creator made a mistake and I was supposed to be born male. I took it as far as considering getting a sex change for YEARS.  I even talked it over with Bae and of course my High Priestess supported whatever decision I chose to make… #TEAMVAGINA as you can see lol.

But it took for me talking it out with my spouse and A LOT of SELF REFLECTION before I made the choice NOT to get a sex change.  Within that time, I learned about the difference between Masculine and Feminine energies, and how ALL human beings posses both. Its all in a matter of how that individual chooses how he/she will exert that energy in the 3D realm.  So now I understand that regardless of what physical alterations I make to my body, I’ll always be FEMALE. No matter what I choose to call myself, no matter how many hormones/steroids I take, NOTHING will actually change the way in which I procreate.  Therefore, what in the wholly fuck is the point of getting a dick if I CANT actually get my wife pregnant? WASTE OF TIME, MONEY, AND PAIN! (again, this is MY opinion ya’ll) At the same time, I TOTALLY understand why others still want the surgery. You are uncomfortable in your own skin. EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE.

But if you were anorexic, no one would encourage you to continue to starve yourself. The creator makes no mistakes. Learn to really LOVE YOURSELF AS YOU ARE. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THANG. Seek outside help. Its OK. We were literally put on this Earth to Heal ourselves.

I’ll keep what my creator gave me and continue to role play with my Queen and our King.  To her, she feels like she has two boyfriends. I get my girl AND my guy. And he has his TWO Queens… Which one is the most lucky?

So boom, Eb’s not a tranny.  I like to consider myself half amazing, half amazing LOL.  Of course I have a few transgender friends. AMAZING PEOPLE, cuz well… THEY’RE FUCKING PEOPLE! But y’all…. Just lemme get this off my chest and if you no longer fxk w/ the kid then well… go vegan…

Ya’ll annoy me sometimes… Of course you don’t have to announce to the world what you are off break but demanding that you be identified as an all natural woman when you don’t bleed, or even have the organs to do so, is disrespect to the ENTIRE female population.  Wanting to be called a man when you not carrying any seeds is also just as DISPRESPECTFUL to our men. We need to draw the line somewhere.

According to a few Google searches, transgender simply means that you transitioned from one gender to something other than what you were born as.  However, your organs do not fully work like a natural born male or female which is another reason why the “trans” is still used to identify what type of gender you are.  Imagine me waking up tomorrow saying I’m a blue eyed, white blonde lady with a 750 credit score and a boyfriend on the Minnesota Vikings. Be Trans. Be Proud. All I’m Saying.

I kissed a Girl… and I liked it

Miami Sweet Heat. 2015

There’s two sides to every story…ours is no different.  So, here’s a few details I never told Eb. First, I definitely knew that she was putting her number in my phone on the train that day.  I was like, “Sheesh, finally. I knew she wanted a G since Day one”. Second, I definitely checked out her booty. It was phat back then before she lost weight and I have always been a fan of the ass.  It wasn’t that though. Bae is smart, hard working and always willing to learn and it’s all of those things that helped me say, “Yes” to that first date. Plus, women are beautiful and once I allowed myself to acknowledge that, I got past the idea of another woman desiring me so openly, easily. I just had to wait for her to make her move and I was curious. Now that I know more, I know that our souls were connected already and all we had to do was meet each other.  Twin flames.

I too was kinda involved when we met but it wasn’t official so I was a free agent and since I’ve always been one to let my freak flag fly, I decided to try out this whole lesbian situation. I’ve always looked at sex like a treasure chest; so many shiny, valuable things to explore.  Eb is my first Girl Bae aka “My Hersband” and the boy she kinda stole me from was our first Boy Bae together but that’s for later. Our relationship was kind of a whirlwind. One minute we were riding the train home and the next minute we were living under the same roof. Months felt like minutes.  We were in such a bubble between weed, food and work, we barely had time for anything else. We talked and talked about our dreams and goals. We traveled every chance we got. We argued. We cried. We agreed never to go to sleep angry. We agreed that I would never walk out during an argument (a frustrating habit of mine).  Eb agreed not to yell (she gets loud y’all). We talked…ALOT!

Communication is the key to any good relationship and when I say we had to work at it baabyyy, we definitely did that. We traveled. More. We ate, alot, and even though I had been in relationships before, good ones, Eboni and I developed a partnership in that first year that has become the foundation that our relationship is built on.

Now… boys (insert dramatic dun dun dun music here).  As a polyamorous couple we decided that the first thing to do was to set some ground rules.  The most important one being if you see something, say something. In other words, if you feel jealous at any point, speak tf up!  The second one was no one is taking one for the team. Either all parties involved are feeling each other or its a no can do for the Vegan Trap Queens.  When we were ready, I called old boy back. It went something like this:

Me:  Wyd. I got a girlfriend now.  You gon come be our boyfriend?

Him:  What’s up.  So u gay now?

Me:  Obviously not and neither is she.  

Him:  Ard. (Alright for anyone unfamiliar with DC slang spelling)

Years later, he told us that he had felt a way; unsure how to please us both.  Men often aren’t comfortable expressing when they feel inadequate or confused. Hell, neither are some women.  Anyway, he came over. I introduced him to Eb. She was mean. He won her over. I’ll spare you the deets cuz we wanna keep it PG but let’s just say for a while, he was Bae. We left for Thailand.  He went to jail. And the remainder is definitely a tale for another blog post. We started Vegan Traphouse while we were overseas and the rest is as they say, history or more appropriately, Herstory.  I guess the point is kinda that we found love in a hopeless place and we wanted to share our love with you.

Southeast, a Love Story…

Sup y’all! Vegan Trap Queen Eb here, aka Mr. Steal Yo Girl, bka Ebby Eb! Spirit told me to blog…. So a bish is blogging. I’ll probably jump from topic to topic but fxk it. Keep up w/ the kid!  I have A LOT on my mind, like most people I assume. I be tryna vent on Facebook but them heaux so sensitive (in my Kanye voice). So I figure I can fully express myself on this blog without the backlash of peoples’ projections.  From living with Lupus, to #VeganDickOnly, to my personal childhood trauma and random stories like “that one time in band camp”, get the tea on your Favorite Vegan couple from yours truly.

(I never actually went to band camp btw, didn’t play any instruments either. Y’all know how that ish go when you raised in a single parent home with 2 other siblings but no worries, we always had everything we needed)

Anyway though, this first post is dedicated to my Queen, Chele. Y’all, I love her SOUL.  Literally. Anybody know exactly what I mean by that? To really be in love with a person’s soul?  Its like waking up every morning knowing you can have your favorite ice cream for breakfast if you wanted to.  It’s like having your favorite love song on repeat in your head 24/7. I burst out in love songs constantly (she hates my singing, but fxk it!).  She has helped me grow in more ways than one. From educating me on how eating meat was the leading cause in my lupus flare ups to helping me find my birth family, I thank the universe daily for sending me her.  

So here’s how we met…

picture it; January 2014, Southeast DC…

I had just moved back to DC from Richmond, working as a teacher’s aide for a self-contained classroom. (s/o to Ms. O!) So I’m sitting at the round table with one of my students and in walks the High Priestess herself, looking astounding!  No really, the Bish was glowing y’all! Melanin on all types of fleek! (do the kids still say that these days?) At the time I was single, but I did have a lil bait on my line, nothing too serious. No joint compared to what was standing in front of me right then and there.


Deadass. I was like “I need it in my life… come put it in my life”. (s/o to Juvi!) So boom, she comes in the classroom and starts to take off her NorthFace and as she turns around to put her coat on the back of her chair, I noticed her big ass tattoo on her lower back, then all her hand tattoos.  I thought to myself, “a woman with tattoos on her hands like she does has a story to tell and I want to hear ALL of it”.

In a matter of 37 seconds my soul knew that SHE was in fact the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  Then it hit me, this Bish is nobody’s lesbian. It’s cool though, neither were any of my other joints forreal! So my conceited self like, fxk it, she’s so amazing I’ll settle with being her friend if she ain’t with the sh*ts.  So I do what I do best when I like a female, make em laugh! Easy enough right? Yep! So boom, we working w/ the lil bebes teaching them how to read n sh*t and getting to know each other (as coworkers of course). I find out she from DC. I’m like bet, a city girl!  No shade to the southern beauties but y’all just a lil too slow for the Kid. One day we were on the train after work heading home (we later on found out we lived dumb close to each other), I was like “gimme ya phone”. I sent myself a text message without her knowing and handed her back her phone.  I sent her a text that night, forgot exactly what I said but it was something along the lines of “aye girl”. Real smooth right?…

Fast forward to the month of April, not realizing we both had just finished celebrating our birthdays #MermaidGang. Y’all I flirted with her SO HARD at work, like on some OD inappropriate ish…. Remember, we in a classroom full of non-reading 5 year olds. One time while we were working with a student I wrote on a small white board “will you sit on my face?” Obviously it worked 😉 LOL

Weeks later I finally get the courage to invite her over to the crib (well at the time, I was sleeping on an air mattress in my best friend’s apartment).  In my head I’m like “Man I hope she’s not turned off by my living arrangements. I’m just out here tryna be on the come up, I hope she understand”. And thankfully, she ain’t trip cuz she a real one.  Aint nothing worse than a fake bougie bish that don’t understand the hustle.

So boom, she come over looking and smelling real heaven sent.  I cooked my specialty, rasta pasta. Shorty was still vegetarian at the time and that was the only meal I knew that was kosher enough for my soon to be wife to consume.  And guess what? SHE BODIED MY SH*T!!!! (thoroughly enjoyed the food for the people in the back) That meal was the start of something magical. Our shared love for food has helped us bond tremendously. 5 years later and we still NEVER not eat together.  So… first date was a success and we went back to work the next Monday like nothing happened. And yes, that same night we had our first kiss. I felt like a teenage girl with her first crush all over again. Her lips and skin was so soft, in my head I’m like “damn I need to ask this bish what’s her skin regimen”.  

So Spring is upon us and we are officially dating.  I got my lil Summer love affair going on, new job on the horizon, locs swangin, and skin glowin! Life’s great! I move in my new house with my bestie and another roomie the beginning of July and asked Bae to be my girlfriend on July 26th, 2014.

Here’s how the convo went:

We laid up in my new sh*t, real lesbian like. And I’m like “Aye boo will you be my girlfriend?”

Her: “Yea but can we get a boyfriend?”

Me: “Yea, I want kids the natural way anyway”.

Her: “Aite, bet.”

Y’all prolly like “So where’s the boyfriend?”….. STAY TUNED!

Trap Queens Travel Stories

Leaving America was scary and liberating.  We planned for about a year to leave the country.  We used one travel, a popular site at the time to book one way tickets to Bangkok, Thailand.  We’d both spent almost our whole lives watching the travel channel and dreaming of going far far away.  After Sandra Bland’s tragic murder, we got on travel sites immediately. We wanted to leave. We did our research on teach abroad programs, chose the cheapest option and booked a flight.  In retrospect, this was a great decision and saved us the additional legwork of having to find a job on our own in a foreign country. All that was required was a bachelor’s degree and to be a native English speaker.   We were too hype! Thailand! Here we come!

It was both Me and Eb’s first time out of the country and our first time on a ten hour plus flight.  Things we learned from that first long flight: 1. Always take Sudafed first. It keeps your ears from popping at high altitudes.  2. If you’re vegan, bring snacks. Most airports will NOT have anything that you even remotely want to eat. 3. Drink all the free wine.  Once we landed in Thailand, we walked out of Suvarbhumni International Airport and out into the city of Bangkok with clear goals and expectations.  We were not your typical go with the flow, down for whatever tourists. We had a plan; this was more than a visit for us, this was the start of a new life.  Our plan was simple and direct: Live abroad and be our own bosses. Our expectations were that Thailand would be a place where we would be able to connect with spirit and nature and the universe that surrounds us.  It was that and more.

We were in Thailand for months before we visited Chiang Mai, Thailand, a UNESCO site.   We’d heard lots of stories from our traveling and teaching friends but nothing really prepares you for the people you’ll meet and the experiences you’ll have once you get there.  We moved to Thailand to teach ESL and lived in a small town in Northern Thailand called Phrae (sounds like Pear) that is much harder to pronounce than it looks. After about two months, four bouts of food poisoning, and one very good hostel recommendation, we finally made it to Chiang Mai.  Our first night ended on a rooftop rapping about everything from quantum physics to international hip hop artists with new people from about five different countries. Chiang Mai is filled with global citizens; international travelers who are aware of their ability to impact the world in positive ways and apply themselves to doing that wherever they go.  There are artists, poets, musicians, yogis, chefs, activists, shamans, mediums, life coaches and locals who are understanding and supportive and welcome us into their communities.

Thai people are a rare jewel in the world and that kind of cultural niceness is something to see! It’s not something you hear a lot about but Thai people are lowkey amazing.   Granted, nobody’s perfect and every experience with a Thai citizen isn’t roses but as black Americans, we’d never experienced the type of hospitality that we’ve received in Thailand.  It’s difficult to put into words but this sums it up. In Thailand, a common greeting is, “Gin Khao?”, which means essentially, “Have you eaten?”. It’s a short phrase but it shows concern and a willingness to share that is typical of Thai people.

Food is a huge part of Thai culture and it’s no different in Chiang Mai.  We love food, more than average. It’s how we became chefs, traveling for food and following our tastebuds.  We’ve based entire vacations around food. We’ve gone to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia just for dosas. Kampot, Cambodia for world certified pepper and even Norway for vegan pizza.  We invest in spices and quality ingredients. Food’s our thing. We even cooked for our first date. Nothing prepared us for the food in Chiang Mai and Southeast Asian cuisine in general.  Chiang Mai is a foodie haven; amazing food, creative presentation, adequate service and extremely low prices. Want Chinese? Want American? Want street Thai? Want fancy Thai? How about Mexican food made by a Burmese chef? ( You definitely want that last one, trust me.)  Vegan? No problem? Raw vegan? No problem! Do you love good naan? Pick a Royal India, they’re about 5 of them and they’re all delicious. The number of cultures taking up residence in Chiang Mai is amazingly beautiful. Chiang Mai organically merges Thai culture with other global cultures.

Being in Chiang Mai, affectionately known as CM, has also helped to increase my awareness of global issues.  Living in Southeast Asia taught us about the multitude of violent conflicts happening in Burma, political corruption in Cambodia as well as Thailand’s own problem with plastic waste and its notorious penchant for human trafficking.  Lightworkers never want for a cause here. There are various NGOs operating and changing lives. Organizations like Urban Light, which is one of the only organizations that focuses on specifically empowering boys who have been involved in illicit sex work; or Wildflower Home, that houses children and mothers who have escaped domestic violence, forced marriages, prostitution and various other abuses.  The unspoken imperative in Chiang Mai is to serve.  

Following your path and shining your light takes on a deeper more concrete meaning in CM.    The lofty ideals of the perpetual altruist manifest here. From Suan Sati, a meditation retreat that practices a zero waste policy, citywide trash clean-up events, and tantric sex workshops to lunar steam nights at Mala Dhara, an eco-resort about twenty minutes outside of the city, singing bowl meditations, and laughter yoga, CM makes pilgrims out of all of us.  The energy here is infectious and empowering and while the official religion of the country is Buddhism, you can strengthen any spiritual practice from Christianity to Shamanism in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai speaks to our inner children; to desires never fulfilled and passions never invested in.  It’s probably one of the few places in the world where you can watch the sunrise atop a golden temple, go ziplining afterwards, get your aura read then have a good meal, read a book at a cat café and get a massage all in one day without breaking the bank.  It’s an amazing spot for both the well seasoned and first time world traveler.