I am very excited to introduce you to Khalif, the Travel Ninja of the week. He’s an amazingly educated, intelligent, well-traveled man with charisma and he’s #TeamCarryon! I know you’ll find him interesting, let me know what you think in the comments!
1. You work in work in HealthCare Informatics for Kaiser Permanente. What is that exactly and what qualifications did you need to have that job?
I am the Regional Director for Home Care Clinical Systems which includes Home Health, Palliative Care and Hospice. We send clinicians (Nurses, Physical Therapists, Social Workers, etc) directly to the patient home when they are home-bound and there is a taxing effort required for them to leave the home. I am responsible for the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) for my department which covers 10 Home Care agencies in Southern California across 12 hospitals.
This responsibility includes the critical analysis, system build, testing, implementation, Clinical workflow creation, and end user training in an attempt to provide a smooth user experience. I am also responsible for all of our reporting metrics and IT equipment (Laptops, tablets, iPhones, field connectivity, etc). For this role, I have a BS in Business Management and a Masters degree in HealthCare Admin (MHA) with a focus on Clinical Informatics. I am also certified with Epic.
2. How many vacation days do you get in your current job and how many trips a year do you take?
I currently earn 36 days (7 weeks) a year at my current level. Really, I take a trip every chance I get. My goals is to always do no less than three international trips and several domestic trips as well. Besides, I have to keep up my status with American Airlines and get my 50k miles each year. Hoping to make the next level which requires 100k miles a year.
3. You took your first international trip in 2010, where did you go and how did it change you?
My first international trip was really in 2008 to Panama but it didn’t really stand out to me. Not because of the location, but because of the circumstances. My first real international trip was in 2010 as a graduation present to myself after earning my BS in Business Management. I went on a guided tour (European Magic) with Contiki Tours to England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. It was amazing! I was with my best friend and 38 new strangers that quickly became friends. My eyes were opened to the fact that most of the world does not live life how I have come to know it in the United States. It was then that I decided I wanted to see as much of the world as I possibly could.
4. How many countries have you been to and where are you off to for the rest of the year?
I count 26 countries but I think I may have lost one somewhere. I have listed them below. Right now, I have the following trips already booked. March – NYC, April – Miami, May – Seattle, Israel, June – Orlando, Houston July – Chicago, Rome, Istanbul, Athens, Paris, August – NYC, September – NYC, October – Abu Dhabi, Dubai
Countries Visited – , Japan, Panama, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Jamaica, Bahamas, Monaco, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, South Korea, China, Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Curacao, Bermuda, Peru, Brazil
5. Do you notice a difference in the way you are treated in foreign countries as opposed to America?
Yes! However, I think that is going to change. In the past, much of my travel has been in large groups or with one other person where I am the only person of color. I think this has an impact on how I have been treated in the past. Overall, I think I have been treated well and fair even though I do get some strange looks here and there. Although I think that is more related to the fact that some of the locals had either not seen individuals that look like me or had very little exposure to individuals that look like me.
This year, I have solo travel booked to Tel Aviv, Israel and Istanbul, Turkey. It will be interesting to see how people react to me while on these trips. This will be the test!
6. What country do you feel the most comfortable and why?
I think I feel most comfortable in the Spanish speaking countries I have visited (Spain, Mexico, Peru) just because It is easier for me to communicate and the language barrier is not as deep. Growing up in Southern California I have been around Spanish my entire life and I can communicate pretty well in Spanish.
7. How has traveling changed your perspective in general?
My perspective has changed on so many levels from how I treat people to my own understanding of how culture can have such a large impact on the individual experience. Most recently, I am slowly making my way into the realm of minimalistic living. I say slowly because I have a long way to go but I am starting to realize that I do not need so much “Stuff”! This plays into the experiences I have had over the years visiting various countries and meeting locals that live on much much less than I do but are happy.
It really makes you re-think what makes you happy! Of course, this is also a big reason on why I am #TeamCarryOn! No matter what trip I am going on, there is no reason to check a bag with the airline (unless I am moving). Why? Because there is no need to take my entire life with me. I might as well stay home for that! If there is something that I really need, it becomes part of the adventure to go to the local store or market to find that item.
8. What challenges if any do you face traveling as a Black man?
I haven’t faced too many to be honest, but I do think that the biggest hurdle is just perception. There is a perception that black men are bad or out to hurt you or simply cant afford to travel. I know that to be a false statement!
9. What advice would you give to anyone who may be hesitant to travel while Black?
Go! Do it! Book the trip! Who cares what “they” think!! <– This is my advice.