Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Expat Paradox


Paris

A few months after moving to London I read an article describing a paradoxical situation that befalls many expats, where their new country fails in comparison to home, yet home no longer fits snugly.

I knew instinctively I would befall a similar fate.

Living in London exposed me to an alternate reality. A reality that I fell in love with.

Yet I am afraid to stay. And afraid to return home.

Afraid to stay in London and be so very far away from my home... my family, my friends, life's familiarity. Hyper aware that I may lose the attention of the ones I love the most -- the ones who love me the most  -- sacrificed for the unfamiliar, yet alluring, love and attention of the unknown.

Afraid to return home to the same ordinary life I sought to shake loose. Afraid to fall back into the same grind, facing the same demons, as if the last year was just a fleeting day dream flickering off into the distance. 

How will I continue to use this experience to elevate my life if it led me right back to where I started? 

How do I face the possibility that I may fall short of the "elevated life" I seek?

The audience speaks: No guts, no glory.. You'll be fine.. You'll work it out, you always do.

As if through some miraculous alignment of the stars an aspirational life is possible without the sweat and vision required to align them.

Perhaps at this point I should acknowledge the Pygmalion effect on my life. Perhaps I should be thankful for the accountability that has brought to life this abstract form.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

None the less, full disclosure: I realize the luxury of my anxiety, which to be clear, is a fleeting day dream flickering off into the distance. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured in The Orbital's Beauties of Holloway #RHUL

 


Back in the spring of this year I was invited to shoot for Beauties of Holloway. Beauties of Holloway is a special insert to The Orbital, the official magazine of Royal Holloway. The insert was designed to highlight the diversity of beauty and culture on campus. 

These photos were taken on the footbridge at the main entrance to Royal Holloway, University of London. In the background you find the Clock Tower and the north facade of the Founder's Building.

Special thanks to SURHUL BME director Violet Bordoli for having me and to Yang Qiu for his epic photography skills. 



Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lifestyle/ Travel Vlog: Stockholm (The Finale) An Eritrean Graduation, Partying at KÃ¥ken + My Near Abduction!

BONUS VIDEO! Too much footage for just *three* vlogs. I spent 7 days in Stockholm, Sweden and had an amazing time.

Come along for a traditional Eritrean/ Swedish graduation party, my near abduction by two Swedish hotties, and me and my girls partying to hip-hop and reggae music at KÃ¥ken in this, the grand finale of the Stockholm series.

By the way while you're here, did you like this video? If so, hit that like button on the vid and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel, so I know to keep the vlogs coming!

Music by: Blank & Kytt "Sun Shy"

[Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, here is the direct link http://youtu.be/E1wdJS73yro]



Tags: Stockholm, Travel Noire, Sweden, Södermalm, Europe, Travel, Traveling in Europe, Kåken, Eritrean, Eritrea

HERE is the Stockholm playlist of videos. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lifestyle/ Travel Vlog: Stockholm, Sweden (Part 3 of 3) Drunken Street Parties, Live R&B Music + Archipelago Boat Tour


Here's part 3 of a 3-part series. Too much footage for just one vlog. I spent 7 days in Stockholm, Sweden and had an amazing time.

Come along for random drunken street parties, BillerudKorsnäs, Lilla Hotellbaren, the 3-hour Archipelago Tour and Swedish hotties playing live R&B music at Mister French in this, part 3 of the series.

Do you like these vlogs? If so, hit that like button on the vid and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel, so I know to keep the vlogs coming!

Music by: Blank & Kytt "Sun Shy"

[Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, here is the direct link http://youtu.be/hLpff88XbdE]



Tags: Tags: Stockholm, Travel Noire, Sweden, Södermalm, Europe, Travel, Traveling in Europe

 **There will be a bonus video from my last night partying in Stockholm**

HERE is the Stockholm playlist of videos. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lifestyle/ Travel Vlog: Stockholm (part 2 of 3) Stockholm Business School, Ericsson and Stortorgskällaren









Here's part 2 of a 3-part series. Too much footage for just one vlog. I spent 7 days in Stockholm, Sweden and had an amazing time.

Come along for a quick tour of Stockholm Business School, Ericsson and Stortorgskällaren in part 2 of this vlog. By the way while you're here, did you like this video?

If so, hit that like button on the vid and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel, so I know to keep the vlogs coming!

Music by: Blank & Kytt "Sun Shy"

 [Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, here is the direct link http://youtu.be/nHwfyNYNCrQ]

 

Stockholm Part 1
Stockholm Part 3

Tags: Stockholm, Travel Noire, Sweden, Södermalm, Europe, Travel, Traveling in Europe

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lifestyle/ Travel Vlog: Stockholm (part 1 of 3) Vasa Museum, Södermalm, Slussen/ Old Town and Scandic Malmen Hotel



I spent 7 days in Stockholm, Sweden on an international excursion with my MBA cohort and had an amazing time. Come along for a quick tour of The Vasa Museum, Södermalm, Slussen/ Old Town, The Ferry, Tivoli Amusement Park and the Scandic Malmen Hotel.

Here's part 1 of a 3-part series. Too much footage for just one vlog!

By the way while you're here, did you like this video? If so, hit that like button on my youtube channel and SUBSCRIBE, so I know to keep the vlogs coming!

Music by: Blank & Kytt "Sun Shy"

[Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, here is the direct link http://youtu.be/wUhwFn61qpM]



Stockholm Part 2
Stockholm FULL playlist of vlogs

Monday, May 19, 2014

VLOG: London Staycation, Ice Skating, London Eye, Wicked, Fashion Week









Decided to explore a bit of central London for a few days during my first winter holiday abroad. Come along for a quick tour of some well known attractions here in London.

By the way while you're here, did you like this video? If so, hit that like button and SUBSCRIBE, so I know to keep the vlogs coming!

-Kx

 [Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, it's linked HERE]



Tags: Vlog, Travel Diary, London, Travel Noire, Croydon, Europe, Travel, Ice Skating, Plays, Wicked, Fashion Week, London Skyline, Traveling in Europe

Monday, May 12, 2014

VLOG: Chocolate, Waffles and Beer in Brussels, Belgium


I spent 24 hours in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. Nerd Fact: Belgium is de facto capital of the European Union.

Come along for a quick tour of the home of the finest Chocolate, Belgian Waffles, Mussels and Beer!

By the way, while you're here, did you like this video? If so, hit that like button and SUBSCRIBE, so you are the first to know when I post new footage!

Here's the Paris/Brussels trip photo album, incase you missed that post.

-Kx

[Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, it's linked HERE]



Tags: Bruxelles, Travel Noire, Belgium, Brussels, Europe, Travel, Dutch, French, Waffles, Belgian Chocolate, Mussels

Sunday, May 4, 2014

VLOG: Kells Roaming the Streets of Paris



Come with me on my first trip to the city of lights. Not an overrated city in the least. You'll love it!

By the way, while you're here, did you like this video? If so, hit that like button and SUBSCRIBE, so you are the first to know when I post new footage!

Also, here's the Paris trip photo album, incase you missed that post.

-Kx

[Video embedded below, but if you can't see it, it's linked HERE]

 

Tags: Paris, France, Travel Noire, Europe, Travel, French, Eurostar, Eiffel Tower, Triomphe, Champs Elysee,

Friday, December 27, 2013

A few snapshots from my trip to Paris and Brussels

First night in Paris (beautiful and sunny there after) 

Took an extended weekend trip to Paris and Brussels with a few of my MBA cohorts right at the end of the term. Paris had me utterly speechless. As soon as I stepped off the EuroStar I was enamored with the city's easy-going vibe, the food, the people, the architecture and sheer beauty of the city. It was more than I ever imagined. I hope to take several more trips there, god willing.

Ello Belgium! #brussels #grandplace #beer #chocolate #mussels #waffles #winter2013
Also, we made the time to pop up to Brussels and do the necessary Grand Place, Belgian beer, chocolate, mussels and waffles.. all were delish!

Will post the vlog for this trip as soon as it's edited. So much fun filming it. Stay tuned for that!

The full Paris/Brussels album will be posted HERE.

Picked up a lil something something while at the #LV flagship in #paris #luxury #tourist #shoppingbags #okjustonebag

Pont de l'Archevêché #paris #lovelocks

Taking a breather at the #Louvre. The place is spectacular to say the least. Will need 3 more visits to see it all!

Travel crew: Aurora, Yang and Wei #chengdu #taiwan #china #miami #thestates #paris #brussels #europe #winter2013

#selfie #paris #winter2013
Meanwhile in #Belgium #mussels #beers #chips #nomnomnom


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Long Story Short, I'm Moving to LONDON. #KM2UK

"I refuse to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
My intimate going-away affair at the Regent Cocktail Club this Thursday.

The plan was to create a video post and explain this all to you in person. But the time has run short.

Long story short, this Saturday, September 21st, I'm moving to Europe.

I'll be moving to a town in Surrey just west of London to study for my MBA at Royal Holloway, University of London.

I don't have many regrets in life. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and is all a part of God's master plan.

The one thing that I did not do, but wished I had done in undergrad, was study abroad. I had always known that I was going to pursue my MBA after I had worked for a few years, so when I felt the time was right, I decided to look into international masters programs to satisfy my curiosity.

I found that MBAs in Europe were typically one-year programs, as opposed to two-year programs domestically, point one for the move.

That would mean only one year of lost income while attending the program, only one year of loans needed for accommodations, tuition and books (less debt) and only one year away from my already flourishing career, point two, three and four for the move.

I wouldn't be Kelliann if I hadn't considered the personal branding aspects of this decision. I also thought about the cachet an international MBA would bring to my resume and credentials.

Domestically you will find many Ivy League and top-tier educated MBAs, but you will find fewer globally educated ones.

A global experience and perspective has become one of the main focuses of most domestic (and international) MBA program, just take a look at any prospectus. I thought why not make my education a truly global one while standing out from the crowd by studying in and traveling about Europe, point five for the move.



While this dialog may make it seem as if this was an easy decision for me, it was not. My strategy was clear, but my emotional hurdles and reservations were as well.

For me this is a life-changing decision. I worked on being as level-headed about it as possible.

To this day I still have some anxiety, but I think anxiety comes with any major shift in life, so when ever I feel myself getting too anxious, I review all the reasons for making this move and I vent to my A-Team and Prayer Warriors who remind me what a wonderful opportunity this is for me and how it will change my life for the better.

#KM2UK is the official hashtag for my move to the UK.  Follow my journey  on Instagram, Twitter, FB and here on my blog. Also, if you would like to wish me a found farewell, I'm host an intimate going-away affair on Thursday, September 19th at the Regent Cocktail Club on South Beach.



--
Kelliann McDonald is an author, a marketing and public relations strategist and a community advocate. A recognized #BrandMotivator™, McDonald works to generate results that attain and surpass brand and organizational objectives. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Top 3 Reasons Why a Vacation at the Gran Meliá in Puerto Rico is a Must

Coco Beach, Puerto Rico, Gran Melia Golf Resort, March 2013.

Let’s be honest, you need a vacation. We all do. The last couple of years have been tough on us all and we deserve some time to restore what little sanity we have left. 

Modern day professionals lead immensely hectic lives. Spouses, children, bosses, co-workers and aging parents, all vying for our undivided attention… who knew being an adult would be this hard, but there is a bright side, and it is called vacation. 

We must pencil in some time to disengage from it all, to get off the grid and to reconnect with our true selves and with the people in our lives who mean the most to us. 

I make a special effort to do just that every year for my birthday. For a few days each March, I trade in the stresses of life for sun, sea and sand. This year’s annual excursion took me to the shores of la isla del encanto, better known as Puerto Rico. 

Here are my top three reasons for vacationing in Puerto Rico, specifically at the breathtaking Gran Meliá Golf Resort

1. Puerto Rico is Convenient. Puerto Rico is easily accessible from the contiguous United States. The flight is a quick 2 ½ hours (from south Florida) and the Caribbean island is an unincorporated territory of the United States, meaning your cell phone, iPad (think Google Maps, Pandora + Yelp) and your U.S. currency all work 100% the same as they do stateside. Yes, one less thing to worry about while traveling and dining throughout the island and no unexpected cellular roaming charges when you return home, winning! Also, if you are not too comfortable with Spanish, no worries, most service professionals on the island speak English fluently. 

2. Gran Meliá Resort Offers an Exclusive Location. The Gran Meliá is situated on a peninsula in the town of Rio Grande, about 25 minutes east of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). It is an easy drive, a rental car is recommended, and takes you just far enough outside of the hustle and bustle of the city to offer a truly soothing retreat. This location offers tranquil surroundings and beautiful views of Coco Beach and is a 5 minute drive from El Yunque National Forest, one of the most sought-after attractions on the island for hiking and other rain forest adventures. If you are looking for serenity and views of a tropical paradise coupled with the exclusivity of a high-end family friendly resort, I assure you, the Gran Meliá is the place for you. 

3. You Can't Beat a Memorable Vacation Where Value Meets Luxury. Once you decide that the Gran Meliá is the resort for you, splurge a little and go for the Red Level access. Red Level caters to guests desiring a highly-personalized stay. In addition to a private lounge, a daily complimentary beer and wine happy hour, an upgraded suite, access to the private pool, discounts on dining at all of the gourmet restaurants on-site, and private check-in and check-out (all of which we took full advantage of), the Red Level access also affords a daily complimentary gourmet breakfast buffet and a personal on-call butler. Yes, it is definitely worth it and if you really want to ensure that everything goes flawlessly, call on Ivan Sotomayor, the VIP guest services manager, before you head down and he will make sure everything is perfect once you and your guests arrive. Ivan is truly a God-send and will take good care of you.  Be sure to tell him Kelliann sent you, name dropping will definitely help the cause.  

So there you have it, my top three reasons for vacationing in Puerto Rico. 

One thing to keep in mind while traveling internationally: the swiftness of customer service differs from country to country. Keep in mind that you are on vacation, so a slower pace is acceptable. I find that Americans tend to be a bit pushy. Take it easy, my friend, you're on vacation!

VIP Guest Services Manager Ivan stopped by to greet us on his day off.
Coolin' in the 24 hour pool.
24 hour pool.
Sun kissed. Holdin' a meds. 
w/ the bestie.
24 hour pool.
en El Viejo San Juan.
Red Level private pool.
Coco Beach.


Happy Vacay!

--
Here is the Gran Melia on FB.

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