While visiting Chicago, I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren, the infamous travel blogger responsible for Ciao-Chicago.com. In addition to being beautiful and traveling the world, Lauren is also a Neuropsychology Technician, runs a popular YouTube channel, 38ktgold and creates beautiful works of art with her business 38ktgold Artistry. Enjoy!
Q: What destinations have you been to so far and what has been your favorite trip?
A: Many of the States, mostly in the South and Midwest. Also Mexico, Canada, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Morocco, Turkey, and...ummmmmmmmmm I think that's it. Idk lol. My favorite trip so far was to Rabat, Morocco and Istanbul, Turkey!
Q: Wow. You have been to a lot of destinations off the beaten path! Can you tell us what it was like being in those spaces as a Black Woman?
A: It's such a layered and varying experience. It honestly depends on the country, the customs, the population, etc. I've been treated like a celebrity in some places, I've been treated like dirt in some places. But mostly, I'm just trying to blend in with the natives as much as I can (culturally), and I am treated as such. I do make videos on my YouTube about significant experiences I have while traveling as a woman, or while black, or both. It really does my heart good to see so many people engaging in healthy conversation about the topic.
Q: That's a good perspective to have. We can learn so much from other people, whether they are accepting of us or not. Kudos to you! Tell me about one of your biggest travel wins A: I think living in Spain for a year was the ultimate travel win, because not only did I get to live in a really cool new country, but I also got access to travel far more than I would have if I had stayed in America. I went to 8 countries in the 8 months that I lived in Spain, and I know people who were in my same program who were able to visit 20+! The cost of travel is far cheaper in Europe, so round trip flights to Paris or Morocco for the weekend could be as low as 40-80 euros!
Q: Oh wow, you hit the jackpot! What would be your dream destination and why? A: I have so many! Right now I would really love to visit Bali, Indonesia. I would probably be trying to live there if I could speak the language! The people there seem so kind and humble, and the abundant nature and wildlife is just mind blowing! I'm a Earth sign (Virgo), so I love that type of stuff lol. I could just build myself a little air conditioned treehouse and be up there amongst the greenery for hours.
Q: Bali sounds amazing, I also have been hearing that the cost of living there is ideal for travelers. You are inspiring me to go book a flight! Tell me, what is inspiring you right now?
A: I find inspiration in almost anything. I have so many interests so I'm kind of all over the place. I like to make my Instagram feed a vision board, of sorts. I love watching other black and brown people traveling, so I follow those kinds of pages to keep me inspired. Same for art and painters, women in medical professions, people giving back to their community, etc.
Q: Can you share some of your upcoming travel plans?
A:So far it's Costa Rica in April, Phoenix, Arizona in June, Singapore in September, and
Bangkok and Reykjavik in October!
Q: One of my new favorite things to do is spend my black dollars with black artists and creators. Tell me more about 38ktgold Artistry. A: 38ktgold Artistry is my outlet for all of my painting ventures. I do commissions/custom requests, sell originals and prints, participate in art shows and exhibits, do body painting, and offer instruction for painting/art classes!
Q: Sounds dope, I might need to sign up for a class or two the next time I am in Chicago! What inspired you to begin exploring your creative side? A: Painting was a really crucial part of working my way out of depression in 2015. I remember telling my friend one day, "I don't love anything in my life". My job was dead end, my relationships were weak, I had no hobbies, my goals seemed unobtainable... I was just stalled in growth.
I was at a really low point in my life, and one of the few things I enjoyed were those paint and sip classes. I eventually decided to buy my own materials so I could paint anytime I wanted. Soon it became so ingrained in my life that I was painting every single day. It was therapeutic for me. Making more time to explore my interests was a step for my mental health. Even with my career change now, I make time to paint as much as I can. I've discovered that it's extremely important for me to have a balance between career and creativity.
Q: Wow, what an amazing journey! You truly are an inspiration. If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be?
A: I wouldn't tell me shit LMAO. Just because I believe everything happens for a reason and every lesson is important for the growth and character of a person. I wouldn't want to say anything that would sway my decisions or even outlook on life. Even the lowest points I've been through were worth it, because they have given me some of the best insight and (metaphorical) fertilizer for the person I am now.
If you told me I would have been the places I've been, done what I've done, know who I know...I would have probably cursed you out! Lmao. I wanted a completely different outcome back then, but I'm so glad life happened the way it did. Now I'm growing and flourishing spiritually, and I think the old me wouldn't have appreciated that enough.
Q: What advice would you give to someone scrolling your IG page and YouTube channel and they are inspired to be as fearless as you, but is scared to take that first step to making their dreams a reality? A: Just do that shit! LOL. No but really, you have to take risks. It's just important to try your best to align your timing and intentions with the universe (yes, I'm one of those people lol). Ultimately, what's meant to be, will be. And every experience, whether, pass or fail, has an important lesson with it.
Q: Those custom jackets are FIRE! Where can I get one- or TWO?!
A: Why thank you! The custom jackets, and other are services are available for purchase at my Etsy store, www.etsy.com/shop/38ktgoldartistry Followers of FlyyGirlAdventures may enjoy a 10% OFF discount using offer code: IMSOFLYY10.
I want to give a special shout out to Lauren for taking time of her BUSY schedule to talk with me. Keep up the good work girl! FlyyFam, keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming giveaway- make sure you are subscribed for all the details!