First Class State of Mind

It’s a little funny to think about the fact that last week I was enjoying this view of Brooklyn during my girls weekend out.

This trip was an unexpected blessing that came about because I have an amazing sister girlfriend who likes to adventure in the way I do. We did a lot of stuff in a very short span of time and as the weekend went on I had several moments that led to the strongest takeaway of the trip: the revelation of my new First Class State of Mind.

My trip started out with a beautiful drive through southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana.

Why was I driving south you must be wondering? Glad you asked. See, it is tough to get affordable airfare out of Arkansas to many places and the deal my Sis landed required that I drive to Louisiana so that we could fly together out of New Orleans to New York City. I am used to making these types of trips for the sake of economy but this time I had a little bit of unexpected excitement. See, we middle country folk have to pay attention to things like the weather forecast before we just hop in the car and I had taken note of a pretty significant storm system that was making its way through our region early the day of my departure. So, I thought it prudent to wait it out a bit and delay my departure. My strategy went well for half of the trip. Then it got interesting.

Roughly 15 miles north of Interstate 20 I noticed that the crops had burned badly in the field from the freakish weather we have been having in farm country.

Dried out crops in Northern Louisiana.

At some point I felt the wind begin to pick up which I thought was odd because I knew that the weather system from earlier that day had passed through. I drive a small economy car so I notice when I have to fight a little more to hold my car on the road. A few miles later I encountered several patches of fast moving dirt clouds that make it even more difficult to remain on the road. Mind you, I’m traveling on two lane state roads at this point through very rural America. And then it happened, I smelled something burning. I slowed down and surveyed the land ahead of me scanning from left to right and back left again until I saw the fires. Up ahead and to the left there were several field fires that were slowly making their way in the direction of the road I was on helped along by the strong west-blowing wind. I did the only thing I could do, I put the pedal to the metal and made my way quickly to the turnoff for I-20 and road over to Jackson to catch I-55 down to I-12. There was no way I was going to continue that trip through the Louisiana countryside at night not knowing if there were other fires about.

Gassing up on I-20 as I detour on the high roads

It would have been nice to have had more of a first class plane ticket from Little Rock to New Orleans in that instance but what can you do?

My rest point that evening was actually Baton Rogue and after a glorious hour of sleep (smirk) we made our way down to New Orleans to catch our flight.

My Stassi and Me

Everything else from that point forward gave me a glimpse of how my First Class Mindset is beginning to take root.

We had the luxury of moving about NYC at our leisure.

7-Day Unlimited Subway Passes Are Clutch

We weren’t fitting time in around a work conference or sneaking in fun activities around a family reunion. We were simply there to play and have a good time. We explored parks, met up with friends on the spur of the moment, tried new foods and rested whenever we felt like it.

Brooklyn Beauties Plotting Our Manhattan Debut

One of my favorite moments was our visit to the Schomburg Museum in Harlem. If you haven’t been then I’m telling you, you need to go and leave yourself plenty of time to meander.

We experienced several #LevelUp and #Upgrade experiences throughout our adventure and you can read all about that on Stassi’s blog if you like, but the true luxury that I experienced throughout was the control of our time and agenda. The ability to take my time at the 911 Memorial without feeling rushed was so very necessary as I am still working through that experience all these years later.

911 Memorial Reflection Pool

If you want to feel the richness of life, I encourage you to look at where and how you place your time. Are you exercising the best control you can over your time? Are you leaving yourself room to live and breath? If not, why and how can you make that change? I don’t make all the money in the world and I wasn’t born with a trust fund, but I am blessed to have a mind that enjoys a good challenge and an even better bargain deal. If you can dream it, you can do it.

Harlem, USA, Baby!

Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit

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