Baggage Claim

The Baggage I Carried and Had To Check

So far, I’ve traveled to Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Naples, Capri Islands, Zurich (Switzerland), and now I’m in Amsterdam! Here are a few bags I’ve had to check along the way!

1. Dreams: “… Each life unravels differently.” Shane Koycza

  • “Everyone should travel!!!” I shout! Says who, exactly? Who died and told me I get to tell everyone what they “should” do. This is my dream and my road and my path… And for whatever the  reason may be, it may not belong to EVERYONE. I’m responsible for letting my life and light shine and not for requesting that other paths look like mine.Yes, traveling has its perks, e.g the way I’m expanding and getting to know myself and my little quirks, meeting the world and letting the world meet me… But the truth is there are many ways to do this… And everyone doesn’t even have those “lessons” to learn on their journey.” So there! If others dream of doing it, great! :-) If not, also great! I challenge us all to honor whatever our path is.

“I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another’s differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. Not this “In order to love you, I must make you something else”. That’s what domination is all about, that in order to be close to you, I must possess you, remake and recast you.” Bell Hooks

2. Spiritually: “Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.” C. Joybell C.

  • God is a man.  If you know me, you know that referring to God as “He” makes me cringe. But it’s true! In fact, I couldn’t be more sure that God is a white Italian man who wears grey khaki pants and a short sleeve dress shirt with dark brown loafers. A man of short stature and medium sized frame. An old man of 65 or 70 years with white hair both on head and face. Yes, God is a white man!  He was on the platform in Naples in early September. There were a lot of people on the platform that afternoon, but I was drawn to God who was separate and a part. Near the end of the platform. Pacing. Planning. Waiting. “Hi, excuse me, can you help me?” “Ciao………” Oh no, God didn’t speak English! And I needed help! I was lost! But not to worry, God didn’t let language creat a barrier. I had an address that I showed him…. And he led me to my destination with an overflow of love and delight. He asked for absolutely nothing in return. When we parted ways, I cried. I didnt want God to go… Not sure if it was because I was scared to be by myself or because of the peace and the light and the love that felt like Heaven when he was walking with me. I’ll never again pretend that I don’t know God is a white man…. And on this journey, I met God in the form of a 34 year old Chilean woman, a 20 year old Swiss girl, a 60 year old Italian woman, two 16 year old boys, one Indian and one Swiss, an Asian man, and as flight attendants who came to my rescue during what I now know as a pant attack upon landing in Switzerland. So God is HE.. And She… And That… And It.. And you… And ME…. And ME. And you.

3. Relationships: “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • I kept thinking that I did something wrong to my friends that didn’t offer contributions on my journey. Maybe they’re mad at me for something I didn’t support of theirs. Maybe I sent too many “friendly reminder” texts. Maybe I didn’t answer their texts or calls one too many times. Up until this very day, I’ve mulled over this. What could I have done so wrong that some of my closest friends didn’t have my back. And maybe I asked for too much… $16… was the eventual request…Three/four/five months in advance… I can’t pretend I’m not hurt by this. And that it may have something to do with me.. And it may not. But whatever the reason, I get to have my feelings about it.. And then let the feelings pass, as they always do. Three months of “friendly reminders” was humiliating to me. I feel sad and angry. Especially to only get silence or “I will tonight” in return. Now, did they owe me a donation? Hell no! Does it mean they aren’t my friends or don’t love me? Of course not! Does the lack of action send a loud message to me about support and expectations. Absolutely. I can’t help but think if we don’t lift each other… Who will? And this message is vice versa, too. When my community calls, do I answer… Be it a dollar, a share, a listening ear, a resource…. We get to be a stand for each other. And know that there is room at the table for us all, if we’re willing to make space.

4. Race: “You are responsible for the energy you bring -Jill Taylor

  • Friend: “Mia, have you experienced racism in travels? And is the same across the world as it is in America– ?”
  •  Me: “I can’t say that I have, but I’ve been hyper conscious of my difference. And I see people staring. And I know it means they don’t think I belong. They think I’m a lower class citizen.”                                                                                                               Now how in the hell do I know what they’re thinking? I didn’t even speak to them let alone engage them in discourse. I brought that energy to the room not knowing if it was already present. This does not mean it is NOT present, but I brought my assumptions to a space rather than my being and allowing myself to encounter other beings.

5. Emotionally: “Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off.” Chris Brogan

  • I am so afraid of admitting that I want to go home… Like NOW! My belief is  that admitting would mean I’m a failure, I’m ungrateful, and that I gave up! “You’re supposed to be happy! And excited to have this much access to life. Stay!” I would say to myself in an attempt to motivate me to get out of that bed on the 4th floor of the Residence Living Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland where I’d laid for two days straight. Screaming (in my pillow), sad, angry, and torn! “This is the time of your life! Don’t miss it. Everyone doesn’t get to have this experience, baby girl! You owe it to the world to complete it.” I wept. I wept because maybe.. Just maybe I wasn’t doing my travel correctly. I wept because I actually felt sad and felt so fu**** guilty for being sad when so many people would love to trade places with me. Then I checked myself, “I don’t owe anyone anything.” I get to honor my life and my body. And if I’ve reached my limit, go home. And if I want to return, do. And if I don’t, don’t. Period.

6. Enough: “…Though she be but small, she is fierce!” Helena of MidSummmer’s Night Dream.

  •  This trip is not luck. I planned. I stepped outside my comfort zone and did things I wouldn’t have done like downsize– I moved in with my partner for three months! Quit my nearly 6 figure career with the best benefits for a “single” woman. I “borrowed” from my personal savings. And when I save, I save from a place of abundance rather than a place of “I can’t buy this, I can’t eat this…” Etc. I THEN reached out to my community for support. I don’t ever as anyone to do for me what I won’t do for myself. What I’m saying is, I’m amazing! I keep acting like traveling the globe is some small feat… But it’s not. And neither am I. As quiet as its kept, I’m A BIG DEAL, a legacy leader, A Force. When I said “I GOT NEXT!” I meant it. I might  as well dance and celebrate! Abd as a celebration, the first six people to comment or share, I want send you a handwritten post card. Let’s continue to hold each other up! Each of our lights  gets to burn!
  • The Audacity to live a life that is our own and in that moment it changes, so can we! There are no mistakes or wrong paths! Let’s rise together… As a nation. As a people!
  • #TheAudacity #ToFly #AYA


  • Chatequa Says

    You are truly an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing all that you are feeling as you embark on your journey! Rooting for you! Always listen to your intuition and do what you need to do for your well being! My experience of you is powerful, authentic, vulnerable, and courageous!! Sending you love on top of love on top of love!!! ❤️✨

    • Mia Dunlap Says

      Girl, you are absolutely an angel to me! Since I’ve announced this journey, you have been rooting and supporting and liking and loving and it means more to me than you know! I feel the love on top of love! My experience of you is gracious and powerful! Please send me your address!

  • Kathryn Says


    I am extremely proud of you. I’m proud that you are not letting fear hold you back from true freedom. You found the freedom to stay, freedom to go, the freedom to do you. Your life inspires.

    • Mia Dunlap Says

      Katty Patty!!! Thank you for being a listening ear, text and FaceTime buddy, and my encouragement on this journey!!!! Love you!!!! Samuel and Khole are blessed to have you mothering them! Oh, and I fixed the typos, let me know if there are more! Lol

  • Quinn B. Says

    I love you DEARLY! I am so proud to call you my friend and share this journey with you. Your journey is an inspiration to so many!

    • Mia Dunlap Says

      Thank you, Quinn!!!! And thanking you for offering yourself, your talent, and your love on my journey! #GeminiTwin #697

  • Damilola Okuboyejo Says

    Mia this is so amazing. And you are so amazing.

    “But I brought my assumptions to a space rather than my being and allowing myself to encounter other beings.”

    “I don’t owe anyone anything. I get to honor my life and my body. And if I’ve reached my limit, go home. And if I want to return, do. And if I don’t, don’t. Period.”

    Those two statements, EVERYTHING!!

    • Mia Dunlap Says

      (I fixed typos!)
      Girl, I wrote the boys the cutest postcard ever! And posted it! But it was in Naples and I didn’t send it, so I can’t mail Naples cards from Amsterdam! Ergh! Going to send a pic of it when I get back! Thank you for being a friend from the very beginning! Through everything, I’ve always been able to count on you! Love you! #DaNiFeran!!!

  • Shalina Says

    #3… These are the times that you truly learn who is “for” you and who is “fairweather.” Everybody is not happy for you. Everybody is rooting for you. Everybody is not hoping that you accomplish your goal. And that’s THEIR problem, not yours. It speaks to their insecurities and envy. There are a lot of people allow their fear to hold them back and the fact that your fear energizes and motivates you… they don’t know how to deal with that. Acknowledge it, drop people in the appropriate category, then step back and realize… you are STILL travelling the world without their support. Next, reflect on ALL of the people that LOVE you enough to set aside their fears, insecurities and personal baggage to support you.

    • Mia Dunlap Says

      Shalina, if there is after life and reincarnation and all that jazzzz, I KNOW you were once my mother!!! Since age ten in your blue stick shift car, you’ve rooted for me! It’s almost like Dr. Hawkins assigned you to me! Thank you for your wisdom and your love!!!

  • You are right you are amazing.and God comes in different races languages.but when he comes to us.he come exactly how we can recognize that it’s him.not by luck but love for him and others he will lead you and owe no man

  • Sunneryse Says

    My experience of you-Powerful…authentic…courageous…inspirational.

  • Mia,

    It sounds like life is giving you her greatest lessons as you continue to travel the world. More importantly, you’re soaking them all up! So, great to hear!

    You’re such an inspiring spirit! Keep living freely! And keep realizing your spiritual ideal self everyday!


    • Mia Dunlap Says


      Thank you, sir! Yes, it’s for sure an adventure of lesson learning! I’m most excited to share what I learned with the world through writing! Thanks for reading!


  • Rock Major Says

    I honor your ability to vulnerably share your experience. Not only are you experiencing freedom from writing but I am introduced to truth reading it. I met God in this post today, and She IS black. Mia keep pushing, keep forging, keep seeking even when you don’t realize what you are searching for. The depth of your being is being exposed and you are gracefully, welcoming her and allowing the world to experience her along the way. So by all means, when you need rest, take it. Remember you have a community of people in your corner cheering you on and are in it to coast you through whatever turbulence you may encounter. Chiao

  • Great blog! The world is our blank canvas.

  • Theresa Bailey Says

    I love love love the God Reference/experience but my question would be…how do you reckon it was God and not Jesus himself guiding and walking with you?

    An absolute inspiring without a doubt! Kept telling myself oh I’ll get my passport by the end of the year but I’ve surely been lackadaisical in actually going forth…your journey has made up my mind that I’ll have my Passport by Dec 2016.

    *One personal experience I remember was us being 15 at OSP and whatever was going on in the room I was feeling myself I guess and whatever our conversation was I replied “you’re ugly” and your reply was “there’s nothing ugly about me but you yourself need to go look in the mirror” I’ve never forgotten that moment because you spoke such truth in that moment of no you aren’t ugly of any sort but beautiful all the way through spiritually, mentally,and physically(quirks included) it took me to realize I was deflecting my own image of myself. You’ve been the greatest lesson to me in life and now are even more inspiring. Keep pushing forward MIA! “Never let your fear decide your future”

  • Mommy G! Says

    Mia ~
    Enjoy your journey. We only get one life, live yours as you see fit. We are all individuals telling our own stories! Yours has been a major story to many. Keep inspiring, you never know who you may touch and encourage. You have lots of guts to do what you’re doing. BTW, don’t be mad at friends that didn’t respond…you may not know their story! Stay encouraged, be wise and safe! Your judgment is your best indicator of what you should or should not do. Let it guide you on your journey. Take care, continue to learn & have fun. Love you lots!

  • Janaka Says

    Love love all of this! That’s your travel book #baggageclaimed

  • Deshanna Says

    Soooooooo you musta forgot me in the “i met God” section…im certain my texts were God sent!!

  • Ashley Hall Says

    And right next to Baggage Claim you’ll see ARRIVAL!!!!! Come on now…. chile you’ve worked hard to have the experiences you are having and to be where you are. “Quiet as it’s kept-TT, lol. You’re living out loud and that’s all, all of us want you to do. You’re living in your destiny and you’re challenging your community of believers (church) to live out loud with you.

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