I really enjoy traveling. To some, that might not be such a big deal.
What if I told you that I am a female traveler and I usually travel solo? That is a little more intriguing… right?
What if I told you I was African-American?
The last question I posed was not a question or a riddle; it describes me. I am female, I am Black, and I travel, and more often than not, I do it alone.
Usually, when I visit new cities and countries most commonly traveled by White Europeans, Australians, and Americans, I am stared at by the locals and asked if I am from Africa. It is an easy assumption to make for the people in the countries which I visit that are generally of one ethnicity and not many varieties of skin color. When I tell them that I am actually from America, I am met with looks of confusion, shock, or disbelief.
When I began to travel I rarely came across another traveling dark brown face like mine and began to assume that Black people just did not travel. That was until a few months ago when my friend introduced me to a group of predominantly black people that travel called the Nomadness Travel Tribe. We share stories, photos, travel tips, provide encouragement, and network. There are a lot of amazing and knowledgeable people who have a wealth of experience and who make me realize all the time that I am not alone.
Being Black in places where people have never seen a Black face before makes me not only intrigued about what is going on in the minds of my onlookers, but it also makes me want to educate those who think that all Black people are from Africa.
Sure, somewhere in my very distant past my ancestors came from Africa, but I was born in America as were over four generations before me. I want people to know that it is possible for anyone to be from anywhere these days.
I have been asked quite often about my travel decisions and about why I choose to travel to places like Cambodia or Taiwan. I really cannot understand why anyone would ask these kinds of questions. Why travel anywhere? Why go to places like Japan? Haiti? France? Russia?
Personally, for me it to learn more about the people and the culture. In many places, people’s way of life is very different outside of the United States. For me, it is very important to step outside of my comfort zone and into other cultures and out of guidebooks and into the thick of a country.
Being a solo Black female traveler is not something you typically hear of or even see on your average travel or adventure shows, or in travel magazines; it is just not something thought of, which is why it might seem like such a foreign concept to people.
I have been called ‘crazy’, ‘adventurous’, and even ‘brave’. I consider myself to be none of these but simply just a person curious about the world and I do not let my skin color or background determine what I can and cannot do. I am living proof that Black people travel too.