My Favorite Cultural Escapes

I don’t know where you live, but I’m smack in the middle of New York City.  This city is buzzing all the time.  It always moves really fast, and even when getting home I need something to escape the day.  My day begins with getting one kid ready for school and then changing a diaper of the other, taking a bath, then walking to my son’s school, then walk to the train, deal with a crowded train, then get to work – work all day, and then deal with a crowded train on the way home, eat dinner, go through bath and bed time routines, thten dishes, and then it’s time for glorious house cleaning, jewelry making, or whatever other personal project I have going on.  Granted, that this is just an example, but I’m sure that you can relate to a hectic  day.  We all need some way to give us a break from the craziness of our worlds.  I’ll share some of mine.

  1. Nag Champa Incense – Oh my, I can’t tell you how much I love this incense.  I was turned on to this incense by a friend of mine many years ago and really, I haven’t looked back.  It puts a stop to any hectic world and brings in a strong scent of Africanese into your home.  There are some others that I will always purchase as they will never ever go to waste, and they are Cocoberry, White Rain, several musks are nice too.  If this doesn’t bring Africa into your home, I just don’t know what will (wink).

    Nag Champa Stick Incense

  2. African Art – I love African art.  Something about it just takes me out of New York City and just gives me a visual vacation.  Imagine after having a long day at work and then you can see something beautiful during dinner. That is just amazing to me.  We also love African infused paintings… I’m a personal fan of Tenjin Ikeda… here’s his site…   We own a few of his pieces…

    Art by Tenjin Ikeda
    Art by Tenjin Ikeda


  3. Music – Now you may read this everywhere, but there is some truth to this.  Music can alter your emotions which is why it’s such a successful business to get into.  The wonderful thing about music, is that whatever music you are into, there is an artist that performs it.  Here are some of mine that move me from the busy to the cultural. maracas

    1. Boheme and Comparsa by Deep Forest — Very ethnic and just rich music to listen to.

    2. Latin music – This is too large to list, but I’m a fan of many musicians in this genre.  Right now I’m into Fonseca, Fanny Lu, Voz Veis, Marc Antony, and Carlos Vives.

    3. Classical music – yes, I love the soothing sounds of Pachebel’s Canon, Bach, and Mozart.  Sometimes I want to hear a huge symphony!  It helps to soothe the mind.

    4. Meditation music – Now this is an area that will differ for a lot of folks.  Some like just music playing, piano, guitars, violins, harps, the sounds of the ocean and nature, and guided meditations, and I’m a huge fan of a rare CD simply called Meditations by Valorie, but I haven’t found it online in a long time.  I strongly believe that this is her site as it sounds just like her.   There are a lot of meditations sites, cds, and digital tracks.  If you want a time to relax, just go online and see which one resonates with you best.  This not only replenishes your energy, but your soul.

    5. Country music – oh yes, I’m a fan!   That is very cultural to me because I wasn’t raised with that style of music.  I love me some serious Brad Paisley, Phil Vassar and others.

    6. Since I’m Venezuelan born and raised… I sometimes want to go completely back to my home roots, and I listen to Venezuelan folkloric music.  It’s filled with cuatros, harps, and very folksy music – Joropos, gaitas and llaneras.

    7. African music – I have several that are my go to faves, which are Orisha music and other African singers.  (They go well with my Nag Champa incense).

  4. Drumming Circle –  Have you ever been to one?  If you are in NYC in the summer months, I invite you to join the Marcus Garvey Drum Circle.  It’s usually on Saturdays, and since the park is small, just listen for the sound of the drums and follow it.  People go with their instruments, and the music can really touch your soul.  People will join in, and dance to the sounds of the drums and other instruments.  If you have children, this is a great way to introduce them to something cultural.  Here, have a look-sie and a hear-sie.  There are many circles in different places, if you haven’t tried it, go and find one and join in…  These are sure to transport you somewhere else and give you that cultural escape that your every day life may not be giving you.  Marcus Garvey Drummers

  5.  African Oils – I live close to Harlem so I am lucky to have access to the vendors on the streets.  They have an oil for every nose.  My favorite ones are Lotus, Black Woman, and Sudanese Frankincense.  I find that the oils last much longer during the day, I don’t need to constantly reapply like with many perfumes, and here’s the best part – they are a lot less costly, so you can buy so many scents.  If you see something that looks like the picture below, stop by and see which ones you like.  Your sense of smell will thank you and transport you somewhere else.  oils

There are many other ways that I can escape, but this is a good list of my faves to start with.  Join in the conversation… What is your Cultural Escape?  Like us, on the Facebook Page and do join in!  Tell me, how do you get away from the hustle and bustle?  How do you connect back to your roots in this fast paced world?  Add to this list… Don’t be shy…

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