Baecation: Rondel & Yanique
JET loves Black Love. In our newest series, we hear from couples who turned their honeymoon into a permanent voyage. Are you on a baecation? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Baecation.
Boy and girl from different sides of the world (Or in NY terms – Brooklyn and Queens respectively), end up at the same prestigious university yet never notice each other until a mutual friend, who sees a love story in the making, introduces them in front of the campus library, and the rest is history. Sounds like a story line straight out of A Different World, but it’s not. When Rondel and Yanique were introduced by a friend on Temple University’s campus their freshman year, they had no idea what the future would hold. Now 32-year-old Rondel Holder, creator of Black travel’s Soul Society and 32-year-old Yanique Ashwood, creator of the fashion blog Le Chic Boheme, are set to tie the knot next month so that their School Daze kind of love lasts forever.
JET: How did you two meet?
Rondel: We are both from New York City, but met freshman year in college at Temple University in Philly. A mutual friend introduced us in front of the campus library. Now that we play it back it sounds so innocent and cliché, lol.
JET: What was your first vacation together? What were you feeling on that trip?
Yanique: We went to St. Lucia for a friend’s wedding and I was excited! It was the first time that I went on vacation with a boyfriend. It also helped that Ron is so adventurous.
JET: Since that first trip how has your travel style evolved as a couple?
Yanique: I think it’s only gotten better. We now know each other’s interests and pet peeves. We also choose locations based on the cultures that intrigue us.
Rondel: We’ve gotten into an amazing travel groove. With the exception of one or two regions, we’re both interested in the same destinations and revisiting the same places we loved in the past, so it’s really easy to agree. She knows that naturally I’m the planner and organizer, so I book reservations, keep the folders with all information, etc. Sometimes I ask her for opinion between a few top contending hotels or resorts, but sometimes I just book and let her know after, especially when it’s a flight deal that is time sensitive. Book now, figure it out later! It’s a pretty sweet deal for her I’d say.
JET: How has travel strengthened your relationship?
Yanique: I believe that anything that educates you makes you better, and I think that traveling to other countries provides that ultimate education. We experience new food, fashion, art, and culture everywhere we go. Not only does traveling result in great photos, but it often leads to great discussions and thought provoking discourse that only makes our bond stronger.
Rondel: I think from the very beginning travel has been a huge part of our relationship. She knew from meeting me in college that I had dreams of traveling the world. Traveling definitely helps you fast forward past the surface levels of relationships. Before you even move in together you get to see the sleeping and domestic habits of your partner, how they handle money, whether they’re adventurous or laid back. Travel also forces you into situations where you have to depend on your companion. Plus it doesn’t hurt to create endless memories laying on the beach, watching sunsets with the love of your life.
JET: What’s the most annoying thing about traveling with each other? The best?
Yanique: He doesn’t really annoy me when we travel, but I don’t love the fact that he doesn’t unpack his suitcase. The best part is that we get to experience something new together.
Rondel: The best thing about traveling with each other is building unique memories that only you two share. It’s also a great reset from the busy day-to-day life. You can sit and enjoy each other and really get back to the simple chemistry of why you got together in the first place.
JET: What’s your favorite travel memory together?
Yanique: When he flew me to Turks and Caicos for my birthday and surprised me with a proposal on the beach at sunset!
Rondel: One of my favorite travel memories is where Yanique taught me how to swim. I had been trying to self-teach my whole life and I could do a little something, but she actually taught me how to swim and took a video. I couldn’t believe it.
JET: Speaking of that gorgeous beach proposal, in a few short weeks you will be tying the knot. How have you incorporated your love of travel into your big day?
Rondel: It’s funny, everyone assumed that we would have a destination wedding because we both travel so often, but New York is our home base and we wanted to celebrate where most of our family and friends were. As far as incorporating it in the wedding, we have an international food menu, music, I got some dope paper plane cufflinks and a few other details that you’ll have to wait to see.
JET: Are you crossing off a dream destination for the honeymoon?
Yanique: I’ve been dreaming of traveling to the Seychelles since I first learned about them in 2008, and I am overjoyed that we were able to book a trip there to island hop, for two weeks, for our honeymoon. Being the travel maestro that he is, Rondel, has been finding ways to cultivate a unique experience without breaking the bank.
JET: At some point you will have a mini me or two, how do you envision travel as a family?
Yanique: We definitely plan on travelling with our kids. Being from the Caribbean, my parents had me on the plane since I was 2-years-old visiting family, so at a young age I realized how fortunate I was living in America and it showed me not to take anything for granted.
Rondel: We talk about this all the time. We’re both concerned about traveling with kids and it’s probably why neither one of us are in a rush to have a child. The beautiful thing about Soul Society is that I see so many families traveling with kids all around the world, so it has become a great resource for information and inspiration. We will figure it out when the time comes!
JET: What advice do you have for traveling as a couple?
Yanique: Be prepared to compromise. You will be forced out of your comfort zone, but you should embrace it and not fight it. The beauty in travel is allowing the experience to change you.
Rondel: I would say before you take your first trip, make sure your relationship is stable, because there’s nothing worse than booking a baecation 6-months in advance and then realizing a month before that bae is no longer bae. Also, before you go, or even before you choose a destination, identify what your common interests are. Some places on your list may be better fit to go with friends or family, and other places may be right for your bae.
JET: Tell us something you learned about each other through travel that you didn’t know before?
Yanique: I learned how fearless Rondel is. He truly wants to learn about the people in the countries we visit. He always wants to wander away from the touristy spots and go into the neighborhoods where the culture really thrives.
Rondel: I learned that Yanique and I have a similar rhythm. We create our own fun and don’t need much from the outside to do so. When we’re together I don’t think we’ve ever once complained about being bored.
JET: Describe your permanent baecation in three words?
Rondel & Yanique: Fun. Loving. Exciting.