‘Rona Self-Care Reflection by Dr. J

Check out the episode!! —>> https://www.podserve.fm/episodes/10845/rona-self-care-reflection-with-dr-j.mp3

Hey guys! The Rona is about over for me here in China and I’m DEVASTATED cuz I’ve LOVED this Rona season! In this episode, I talk about how I have not only survived, but thrived. Lots of folks have asked me how and now I’m spilling the beans.

Self-Care During the ‘Rona
What have I been doing? Answer: IOENO (I don’t even know)
Suggestions for you and y’all

Post-run. On my daily walk to pick up my dinner at the grocery store. Headed home to cook!

My suggestions for you and y’all as you brave this intense and unexpected time:

Read—schedule it. I didn’t do this and now I’m sad.
Own your feelings. If you feel shitty, say it and be it. If you feel like superwoman/man/gender-non-conforming, say it and be it.
Call your people. Don’t call the people who aren’t your people.
Laugh at the memes. They really are hilarious.
Rest. We will probably and hopefully never ever have this time to rest ever again.
Exercise. I run every other day unless I’m bleeding. It’s necessary. I’m slower than molasses and that’s fine
Go outside. Everyday.
Eat well. (I’ve been vegan and unfortunately have loved it and feel amazing. Try that maybe?)

Plan your pivot. Whatever you’ve been thinking and saying you want to do and change..plan it. And start to implement it.
Reevaluate those things that you’ve had to give up during this time. Be thankful for the purge.

Episode 12: Lawrence. Food. China. Texas. Black. Painter.


^^^^ Check out Lawrence’s interview here! ^^^^
Lawrence in Thailand

I spent time chatting with Lawrence right when the Coronavirus shenanigans began. We chatted about all things travel, eating, trying to convince people to travel, and incorporating the global perspective into future plans. He’s great and shared that he would love to hear from you.

Follow him…
Instagram: @furcoatlorenzo
Email: dr21123@protonmail.com
YouTube: Black Dragon in China

The first three pictures are in Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya) and the last four are in China(Beijing, Xi’an).

Cuzzo, ESL, Educator Survives Europe

From the pen of the Cuzzo:

I am 32 years old and in my 9th year teaching, currently as an English Language Development specialist in a rural district outside of Denver.  I’ve been married to my husband for 11 years, and we have 2 boys (aged 7 and 5).

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

When I’m not teaching I enjoy reading, sewing Harry Potter inspired quilts and clothes, and spending time with the family.

Salzburg, Austria

I don’t have any hocks to share, but people are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter (@ShelbyReadsAlot) and Instagram (@shelbyreadsbooks), however you will be bombarded with pictures of my kids, Harry Potter Memes, and my cat being weird.


Countries I’ve visited: 

And I’m going to Ireland, Scotland, and England July 2021. 

Follow her: Twitter (@ShelbyReadsAlot) and Instagram (@shelbyreadsbooks)

Salzburg, Austria

Thanks for sharing your story on the internet waves with me!


Episode 10: Feeding Oneself Abroad


Food is important and I think about it often. When you’re abroad, you are away from all the things you are most familiar with and the one thing above most, if not all others, that is most jarring is what/how/when one fills their belly. 

In this episode, I am sharing my big eating change from dining exclusive in restaurants to dining in my tiny home. In an effort to make my apartment my home (thanks therapy), I will be prioritizing how I fill my belly. This is an absolute need and I’m excited to be on this journey. I knew it would eventually come and I can officially say that the time is now here!

Basically, I needed to do this transition to

—become more settled in my country

—have more control in what I eat

—reach my health/weight goals and push through my plateau

—avoid having allergy issues from oil

—save $$$

On the Instagram, I will be posting my progress and meals and such periodically. It has been about 8 days so far and my body and mind have changed for the better. 

Take a moment this week to think about preparing for hard work by first doing hard work. Big changes are difficult, but when you have your ‘why’ in place, it becomes much easier. Second, let’s reflect on what we are putting into our bodies. I’m focusing on food for now and then will be working on mental and emotional food later.

Follow #MelanatedStamps on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for listening. Share with your friends. Inbox me if you want to be interviewed and showcased on my podcast. I’m ALWAYS looking for Black Americans who have an abroad story!



Episode 9: Goal-Setting Whilst Abroad

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m amazing at setting goals. I’ve been setting them for over 20 years now and I now have a pretty high percentage of success in reaching them. In this episode, I’ll be talking about my goals for living and working abroad. I’ll also be talking about how my goals have morphed over the years and some tips for you on setting your own goals. Take a listen, share with your friends, schedule an interview with me, and following on Insta/Facebook @MelanatedStamps!



Episode 8: I miss Butter’s Note, Black Food Plates, and Not Much Else.


Holidays are bizarre the deeper you get into adulting. They become less and less about the “reason for the season” (whatever that may mean to you) and more about all the hard things and the complicatedness of existing on this planet..

And then there’s holidaying while abroad. China is a wild place and being here, in a country where “Jesus” has been replaced by the Chinese Communist Party, makes for an interesting late-November and December.

Check out my thoughts in this episode regarding being away during the holiday season, my New Year’s Resolutions, attempting to balance and be, and find my footing whilst abroad.

Find me on Instagram! @MelanatedStamps

Episode8: I miss Butter’s Note, Black Food Plates, and Not Much Else.


Holidays are bizarre the deeper you get into adulting. They become less and less about the “reason for the season” (whatever that may mean to you) and more about all the hard things and the complicatedness of existing on this planet..

And then there’s holidaying while abroad. China is a wild place and being here, in a country where “Jesus” has been replaced by the Chinese Communist Party, makes for an interesting late-November and December.

Check out my thoughts in this episode regarding being away during the holiday season, my New Year’s Resolutions, attempting to balance and be, and find my footing whilst abroad.

Find me on Instagram! @MelanatedStamps

Sharing a blanket with Some Folks in Montenegro

Have a listen and share!

New Episode! Today, I got inspired to talk about my childhood as a military kid and how it impacts how I see the world. My father served in the US Army for 29.5 years and his father for 6ish I believe. I have countless cousins and family members—many of whom served as well. I’m torn because the more I live and read and study, the more jaded I become of the country I once loved with no abandon. Now, I give my country the side eye and am pretty mouthy about injustice and whiteness. 

I met a beautiful family from Kosovo who shared their beach blanket and snacks with me on the beach in Montenegro. It was one of my favorite travel moments because it was shrouded in the ordinary, but forever deeply impactful. A simple conversation in broken English literally meant the world to me and assuaged moments of little Jenaya years where I was devastated that my dad wasn’t like other dads who were always there for the daughters. Mine was off fighting and supporting distant lands that I saw on a map posted on my childhood bedroom wall.

Happy Veterans Day to all who have served, lost their lives, and missed out on soccer games and piano recitals. To the moms and dads and partners of soldiers who are the silent heroes who had to be two parents like my mom, thanks.

Montenegro: Reset, Reflect, Sunset, New/Ending Chapter


For those who don’t want to read: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/melanated-stamps/id1450577060

For me, this place is, was, and always will be special. Not special like Colombia, but very spiritually significant. In my sojourn across and through 12 countries in Europe last year, I found this gem. I halfway knew this place existed, but not really. After a bad day at work teaching hard-to-love children, I went home and booked my ticket to Paris, France. A month later, on another bad day at work, I decided my trip would be 2 months instead of 2 weeks cuz I need more time to recover. On another bad day, I decided I’m just not gonna come back to America at all. On another bad day, I purchased a seat in a CELTA class to get certified in teaching English. And then I had all good days after that cuz I knew the bad days had an end date. June 1, 2019—the end of the school year. June 2, 2019 10:40am was my flight to Paris. Go ‘head young ones. Cuss me out and tell me about my edges. I’m gonna be taking selfies next to the Eiffel Tower and eating macarons of all flavors in T minus 12 days..T minus 11 days.. T minus 10 days…

Once I got serious about leaving and my epic, and now extended, European adventure, I started tracing possible paths around the continent during staff meetings, rush hour traffic, planning time, lunch, at stop lights, during family dinners, during Netflix and Chill with me and Bae Pillow-Blanket, during the twilight moments before my alarm would startle me to my reality, and when I zoned out on dates and monologues with potential suitors who told me I was wasting money by traveling and not working. I had been planning to do another route altogether, but that one bad day aforementioned (see above paragraph re: “not coming back” cuz 9-year-old homegirl cussed me out cuz I didn’t let her eat Cheetos during math class), I decided to reserve a seat in a CELTA course in Bulgaria. Bulgaria and CELTA will definitely be a podcast/blogpost later. 

Adding Bulgaria meant that I had to reroute my whole vacation—and also life trajectory, but that’s yet another blog entry and podcast episode. I had everything booked up to about Italy. And then, I looked at Italy and CELTA date and Italy and CELTA date and back to Italy..Whew! I had a lot of ground to cover in a mere 5 days! I had to somehow get from Venice, Italy to Sofia, Bulgaria in 5 days! But I didn’t want to just fly directly cuz that’s dumb and I’m poor and flying is expensive and too easy. I chose to fly across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia and then work my way down the coast. Besides, the goal of my trip was to practice meandering and being journey-centric, not destination-centric—a life tendency that I’m trying to break. The whole “finish line is better than smelling the flowers along the way” has me definitely spending many-a-coin in therapy right now.

From the Google

Next hard thing. I speak English and Spanish. Spanish at like 60% fluency overall but 93% fluency at a Mexican restaurant. These languages are very helpful in Europe because words at least kinda look familiar. Italian, French, Portuguese, German kinda are like step-sisters. I knew that when I crossed the Adriatic Sea, I could say goodbye to linguistic kinship and would have to survive buses and navigating in Slavic languages with weird scribbles and patterns and sounds.

Upon planning my trip, I thought that, in theory, if Croatia was as beautiful as I remembered, that I could take buses from city to city along the coast and get some sneak-peeks of the water. I hate buses. Car trips. Road trips. But I’m poor. Trans-country bus it is. 

From Venice, I took a plane and landed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Second time here in Croatia. Gorgeous.

I was right. I would wake up from slumbering and halfway drooling on myself to unbelievable views of the water and cliffs and rocks and so much blue like this

And this

In planning my trip those successive bad days at work, I did lots of Googling and if a place on Google Images looked pretty, it made it to my short list. I remember looking up Montenegro and thinking, “Bruh this don’t even look real! Let me gon’head and check it out myself and see.” It was. And is.

After having the opportunity to live and see beauty and serenity and calm for a couple days, I was ripe for a chapter end and chapter begin. I could feel my soul and heart becoming vulnerable and I made a deliberate decision to bare to myself my wounds and aches and pains and grief for the second time in my life. And that led me to my spiritual moment of release and re-setting. 

I decided to write this extended blog post so that you could chronicle and place this volume in its correct home on my life memoir bookshelf. “Montenegro and the Sunset Reset” Volume goes somewhere after “Denver: I Quit” and “China: What Happens If I Just Start Over.”

Here are some other things I found in Ulcinj, Montenegro, this tiny beach town, on my way up and down from my sunset moment. 

Ok. Now you can listen to the podcast episode. It’ll make more sense now that you have context. 


Have you ever had a spiritual moment like mine where your vulnerability was honored by an opportunity to end a chapter of pain and complacency? Or where you learned a lesson about your self and the purpose of life whilst abroad? I’d love to hear your story! Comment below or email me at melanatedstamps@gmail.com to have your story featured here!

Episode #5: Michael Nuñez –Headphones, Stockton, Slimy Consistency, Lithuania

Michael Nuñez is my guest on this episode and he had lots to share about his adventures to 20 countries. Of course, we won’t bore your to tears with a complete detailed itinerary of all of that, but tune in for the highlights and reflections! 

Michael currently lives in New Zealand where he is living his best life, teaching English online, and doing photography. He just celebrated his one-year anniversary of “I was sitting at my desk and saw a deal for a cheap roundtrip ticket to New Zealand and I decided to buy a one-way instead” this week. At the time of this recording, I was in China and he was preparing to depart to NZ. But now, he is loving his new life on the far side of the world. Follow him on his adventures and feel free to link up with him to support his ventures and passions.

Check out the episode here!

Countries Traveled:
Dominican Republic, Mexico, USA, Canada, New Zealand, N. Ireland, Scotland, England, Ireland, France, Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Sicily, Malta, Israel, Sweden, Norway.

herethereoranywherepodcast.com (future podcast about podcast and visas)
oneandonlynunez.com (Life Blog)
imagesbynunez.com (Photography)

Instagram Hashtags:

Check out below to see what it looks like to be melanated, abroad, and the epitome of #MelanatedStamps!

Giants Causeway, Scotland, 2016
Kefalonia, Greece, 2015
Nuevo Renacer, Dominican Republic, 2015
Paris, France, 2017
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, 2015
Waikiki, Hawaii, 2019
(Not abroad, but WAY too cool to pass up!)