How Kai Got Her #MoJo Back in Brazil!

How Stella Got Her Groove Back is one of my all-time favourite films! On many levels I can relate to Stella (played by the amazing Angela Bassett); a forty-something, highly successful corporate black woman from San Francisco who is persuaded by her friend to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica in an attempt to get ‘her groove back’. .. Sun, sea, and a steamy love story is all part of the self-care mix!

Kai DM
Diversity Matters – a platform addressing race quality in the workplace

Get £25 off Your First Airbnb booking or £9 off an Airbnb experience!

However there are a few differences between me and Stella; age, profession, location, and the fact that I generally don’t need (and rarely have had) any persuasion to take a ‘well deserved travel break’, nor is there any evidence of a steamy love story occurring in my reality – other than with myself. Like Stella, I too was facing burnout. As Black women navigating through a ‘white world’, we sometimes neglect the need to self-care in an effort to ‘not get left behind‘ or expose our vulnerability. It wasn’t just pride which stopped me from asking for help – I literally didn’t know where to look for it. So I soldiered on doing the work of a team when I’m – obviously, though sometimes I forget – only one person. It might seem selfish, but I made a conscious decision to up and leave Diversity Matters, a platform I created 3 years ago which offers support to companies aiming to adapt more inclusive culture to their workplace, so I can focus on my metal wellbeing by taking a trip to Brazil. And it seems to be doing the trick – I’ve recently found got my groove back, in the form of my mojo!

travelmakerkai | sea bahia1
Tabom No Brasil: A personal journey discovering my roots in Bahia

Getting my #mojo – self confidence back!

The urban dictionary defines mojo as “Self-confidence, Self-assuredness. As in basis for belief in ones self in a situation.” and “ability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude

Video: Muddy Waters – Got My Mojo Workin’ (Thanks Ray Jones for the reference to this video!)

So if the Urban dictionary is anything to go by, there’s no denying this is exactly what Brazil has done for me over the weeks which swiftly turned into months. I arrived in Brazil broken, confused, and in what felt like a deep whole. 2018 was the toughest year for me both professionally and personally, triggered by the loss of my mum. Depression and anxiety were evident each day, making me unproductive and demotivated. It got so bad, my final option for survival was to literally leave behind a scenario which I was becoming too comfortable in – staying in bed dwelling in self-pity, by taking a flight. The plan was to get help in the form of life coaching sessions from my best friend living in São Paulo, who’d been encouraging me to book a flight. Ironically, I never received a single ‘formal’ session from him, so I can’t fully credit ‘life coaching’ for getting my mojo back. However my (very gradual) ‘bounce back’ came in the form of an opportunity to create the branding for his Coaching business after seeing him struggling to make his website using Wix… This was exactly what I need – a task to make me feel useful – and keep my mind busy, whilst still nurturing my healing.  Then I turned that website task into a whole ‘project’; managing his personal branding – everything from logo design, website, a personalised photoshoot so no stock images are ever needed, short videos, and social media management.

Coach MVA Photoshoot.jpg
Photoshoot for Coach MVA; Business Exec Coach in São Paulo, Brazil

Little did I realise this would lead to my next mojo, and this time it wasn’t so much about me, but the people I’d meet!

Finding my #mojo – mobile journalism

The branding curating I’d ventured into in my earlier days in Brazil, was the gateway to discovering just how impactful my phone can be. Despite travelling with my beloved DSLR, not once have I used it! My smart phone is to credit for all the client photoshoots I’ve conducted, as well as videos. So by the time I got my strength and ‘mojo’ back to venture out to interview people (a passion I have for sharing stories), I was confident enough to incorporate my journalistic background with millennial style content creation; charisma, empathy and a phone with great pixel quality!

kai avenida paulista
Getting my mojo back in São Paulo! 

Understanding Mobile Journalism

Mobile journalism is a form of digital storytelling where the primary device used for creating and editing images, audio and video is a smartphone. It’s a method which allows journalistic video productions to be inclusive (anyone with a phone can pretty much document a story), affordable, instant-sharing (I’m one for first sharing on Instagram before developing longer edits for other platforms), faster and perhaps most importantly for me as a solo female traveller – discreet. The last thing I need is unwanted attention carrying around recording equipment which traditionally tends to be big and bulky. Also, a mobile phone is much less intimidating that having a massive camera in the interviewees face, and the informality often benefits me to have a more personal and intimidate connection with the interviewee.

Bianca Brazilian 'fat' model
Don’t call me plus size! This Brazilian model prefers you call her ‘Gorda’ – ‘Fat’ says; “Many mobile journalists build other portable devices like laptops and DSLRs into their workflow, but smartphones are at the heart of mobile journalism, and are increasingly used journalists for radio news and podcasts, and video for TV news and documentaries as well as videos for social platforms…. Perhaps more than any other device, smartphones encourage cross-platform creativity and digital innovation.

So all my photos, videos, audio and graphics (I can access an array of editing apps via my smartphone) gets created and edited (I prefer to do my video editing on my laptop however – bigger screen!) on the phone and uploaded to my Instagram, YouTube, blog and other social platforms directly.

Developing my passion through MoJo

The next stage of my mojo is developing my video content further by scripting voice overs a lot more like I recently did for the Panteras Negras video, and collaborating with editors to enhance my visual story telling. I’m also ready to start sharing written and video content on other platforms outside my blog… So it goes without saying – Kai’s available for commissions!

Rap Burguer: Black owned Rap Burger joint in Paulista

This is how Kai got her MoJo back!

Check out some of my short videos, interviews and reviews all documented using my mobile phone!

travelmakerkai | africa arte5
Sokhna, a Senegalese entrepreneur ‘showing the Africa Brazil doesn’t see’
Travelmakerkai | Farmers Market Rio
Vendors posing at Gloria’s Farmer’s Market in Rio
Travelmakerkai | Tucum Rio de Janeiro
Marina, from TUCUM store welcomes us in with a warm friendly smile
Travelmakerkai | AfroBrasil Museu
Sidney introduces me to Habeeb Akande’s Illuminating the Blackness: Black and African Muslims in Brazil

Finding my mojo as given me the self-confidence to venture out of my comfort zone to produce amazing mojo – mobile journalism. At the heart of mobile journalism is using what you have to share share stories. What I have with me in Brazil is the privilege of being a child of the African diaspora, empathy, and a natural ability to connect with people…

Other mobile content content partly filmed on iPhone 7

How do you get your mojo/groove back? I’d love to hear your thoughts on my post! Leave your comments in the box below!

Sending positive vibes from Bahia!

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Please support my craft by seeking permission before using any photos from this blog, and crediting (including using suitable links). All copyrights belong to ©Travelmakerkai unless stated otherwise.


I’m always on the look out for local photographers to collaborate with, and influencers to interview for the blog… Interested? Contact me and let’s get creative!

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