In celebration of Black History Month 2015, Cultural Xplorer is continuing with the annual series of Black History Month interviews highlighting bloggers and travelers of color. This interview series was created to eradicate the long-standing myth that African-Americans and people of color do not travel.
This series features a number of interviews from both men and women of color from around the world who are passionate about traveling and sharing their stories through their writing and through travel videos.
Alyssa on Traveling
How were you exposed to traveling?
My first trip was to Jamaica – I wasn’t even 6 months old yet! It’s where my family is from so we visited there a few times when I was younger. Even though we didn’t always have the money, my mom made it a priority to show my brother and me new places, so I give her full credit for giving me the travel bug! She always encouraged me to learn languages (and put me in French Immersion school as a result) and do language exchanges and take school trips.
What motivated you to make travel a part of your life?
I had my whole life planned out: I was going to finish my undergrad degree, do a Masters and PhD, become a professor and have fun when I was retired. Then, on the advice of my best friend (and Will Smith) I read The Alchemist. I realized that I don’t have to do something just because it’s what I think I should do or what people tell me I should. I decided to skip my grad school applications and applied to teach abroad in the French Caribbean. A few months after I graduated, I was off to Martinique and I’ve been living abroad since.
What is your most memorable travel experience to date?
I am currently having a blast in Morocco! I’ve always wanted to visit—the mix of French, Arab, and Berber culture really interested me and I just had this loud, colourful idea of what it would be like. I’ve learned so much and met a lot of interesting people.
I think what makes it so memorable is that it’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time and I’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges to do it…and it’s finally happening!