Go Away With … Lisa Nichols

Lisa Nichols x 640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
March 1, 2016

Founder and CEO of Motivating the Masses, Inc., Lisa Nichols was once a single mom relying on public assistance to help make ends meet. Now a motivational speaker and best-selling author, Nichols says she feels grateful to be able to help others. The 49-year-old California resident’s latest book is “Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life and Achieve Prosperity Today” (Dey Street Books, $25.99). To keep updated on her projects, fans may follow Nichols on Twitter.

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?

A. Yes! When I went to Johannesburg, I visited Nelson Mandela’s jail cell and stayed there for eight hours. I sat in his jail cell. I sat where he had his meals. I wanted to understand his level of sacrifice, as well as his level of forgiveness. I wanted to understand more about how he could leave prison after 27 years and lead the largest forgiveness movement in history. I often share the profound impact that had on my life and my ability to forgive the perceivably unforgivable. The trip to Johannesburg inspired me to want to be a better woman and I often share that experience from the stage.

Q. What is your favorite vacation memory?

A. My best vacation memory is of us in Swaziland. My son, Jelani, and I met the queen regent right after an extremely long safari. We did not have time to eat and my son was 10 years old at the time. He was famished and made me promise to feed him after we visited with the queen. During the visit, we were served small plates with a bite-size piece of chicken and some veggies. Jelani began to aggressively tear into the piece of chicken. I saved my piece to give to him as well, and he tore into that, too. At this point I was getting a bit embarrassed. After he finished, he blurted out, “Excuse me, Mrs. Queen, can I have some more of your chicken, please?” I stopped breathing momentarily and the queen, seeing the look on my face, burst into laughter and had a line of servants standing one behind another with small plates of chicken waiting for Master Jelani — as she affectionately named him — to finish with the previous plate. Jelani blazed through at least four or five plates before he slowed down. The queen instructed her head chef to wrap up half a dozen chicken legs for Jelani to take with him. This doubles as my fondest and most embarrassing moment while traveling. (Laughs)

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child? And did you love it … or not so much?

A. My family went on a family reunion to Little Rock, Arkansas, when I was 12 years old. I loved the trip tremendously, because it was with my family and we bonded in such an amazing way. The only challenge that I had was my cousins wanted to walk around barefoot all the time and I attempted to do the same. I resigned myself to the fact that I’m a city girl and require shoes — except for the beach!

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. Travel with cash, get a sufficient amount of singles, fives or tens for tipping. Always be prepared to honor the people who serve you. Call the phone company and the credit card company and let them know when you are traveling, especially internationally, so that you don’t incur unsuspected charges or get your credit card shut down for security reasons. Pack and leave a little space for my bag to expand with goodies during my trip.

Q. What are your favorite vacation areas?

A. The Caribbean. I love Tortola (British Virgin Islands).

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?

A. I would recommend that they spend as much time taking in the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, white sand beaches and tropical views. Lay on the beach or enjoy a day on one of the marina yachts. Pack a lunch, download some great music and enjoy a day island-hoping and swimming in some of the most beautiful water on the planet.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. I’d love to visit Alaska, Spain, London and Fiji.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. My must-have items include Emergen-C, B12 and Airborne for my immune system. Febreze for the not-so-nice smells that I encounter, disposable ThermaCare back heating pads for the long trip. A wrap for the chilly flight. My iPad and Bluetooth speaker for my music and movies. At least three mildly scented candles.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. Hawaii has a very love centered energy, while there I could fill the power of love s palatable in the air and energy around me.

Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. Fourth of July in New Orleans speaking at the Essence Festival and taking my mother with me to enjoy a first-class whirlwind experience that even included watching me speak on stage with Steve Harvey with over 7,000 excited screaming people in the audience. My mom got to meet many celebrities and was treated like a queen. It was meaningful to me to give her such an amazing experience.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I actually prefer private vacation rentals and villa’s when I travel. Since my work keeps me on the road and in hotels so much I really enjoy staying in villas and enjoying my own cooking when I am on my down time. I make a mean teriyaki chicken dish, fettuccini and peach cobbler that my family loves to experience while we are together.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A.  I don’t think that any one place that I have ever been to reminded me of L.A., other than when I was on tour for Chicken Soup for the African American Soul and I would go from city to city  — South Carolina, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston — and there were small groups of people in each city that we had recruited to help me due to the zero dollar budget that I had at the time. While the cities didn’t remind me of Los Angeles, the warm and friendly maternal women that I met in each city made me feel at home, loved and in good hands.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Mozambique in Laguna Beach, Ca. for its soulful ambiance and awesome reggae bands on Sunday nights; and Little Sisters in Hermosa Beach for the unique and flavorful dishes they serve that are bar none the best I’ve ever tasted.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. Hot apple pie a la mode for dessert and ordering movies online.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. The cuisine, the value of the U.S. dollar and what to be aware of as a woman traveling alone.

Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Traveling nonstop for leisure for about three uninterrupted months. Visiting places like the rain forest for 14 days and learning about the indigenous people and what they can teach me about simplicity and being at one with the earth. About six weeks in the Caribbean — Tortola, Antigua, Turk and Caicos or the Bahamas. Living in a small cozy villa and enjoying the simple island life of daily swims in the ocean for exercise, sailing, dancing and eating the delicious fruit available to me. And a romantic get away to Paris for no less than 21 days, living in a swanky condo or villa and having no cell phone access.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Catalina Island has always been one of my favorites weekend getaway places. I’ve often traveled there with my mom, grandmother, son and brother and enjoyed great simple family time. I travel frequently for work — over 300 days out of the year — so I see some of the most beautiful places for short periods of time while there for work. Places like Croatia, Dominican Republic, Montego Bay Jamaica, Costa Rica, Bali and Riviera Maya have fast become my favorites to revisit for a leisure trip.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. New York City for the energy that it gives to me. Whenever I am there I feel like a kid again, always wowed by its momentum, diversity and magnitude. Tortola, for the opportunity to recalibrate when I am there, the breathtaking views and the warm culture of my island friends. Laguna Hills, Calif., for the prosperity and ease that I witness when I am there. Los Angeles   for the history that I have there and the fact that I have over 61 awesome family members in L.A. that get together regularly to maintain family tradition. Chicago, for its great food and wonderful culture of people.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM


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