Whether it is money, fear of the unknown, or fear of racism, there are many Black people who haven’t experienced the joys of traveling. This is something people of all races may face, but traveling can be an exciting, memorable and educational experience.
Yes, there are “horror” stories about how Black people are treated abroad, but there are also plenty of great stories. Over the years, there has been a rise in travel companies, websites and blogs that are all about promoting Black travel. You may get stared at, asked to take pictures or asked if people can touch your hair, but these dilemmas are matched by all of the positive experiences traveling, both internationally and domestically, can bring.
Some websites and travel companies highlight these experiences and give advice on these topics.
Black & Abroad:
Black & Abroad is one example of one such inspiration. In April 2015, Eric Martin and Kent Johnson combined their love for traveling and founded “Black & Abroad.” From South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico to Australia, Iceland and Martinique, they have traveled all over and wanted to inspire others to do the same.
“We needed to see more of our community exploring the world with us and we wanted to tap into a sense of pride when doing so,” they stated on their website. “We both agreed that although the collective black dollar spent close to $50 billion each year on travel, there was a severe lack of representation within the industry.”
Their mission to “explore, embrace and empower” has encouraged many to join their movement. Their website features the stories of other Black people traveling. From personal experiences, to how to travel on a budget and travel suggestions, the site encourages others to take an adventure abroad. Through sites like Facebook and Instagram, they also share many aesthetic photos. Black & Abroad also looks at inspiring youth who they collaborate with to help take international journeys.
To learn more about Black & Abroad, visit their website at https://www.weareblackandabroad.com/.
Another great resource to get inspired to travel is Travel Noire. The digital publishing platform provides resources to members of the African diaspora who want to travel. Its curators select people from all over the world to share their travel stories.
Different articles on topics like food and style are included. For example, how natural hair is perceived in different areas of the world may be one topic discussed.
To learn more about Travel Noire visit: https://travelnoire.com/category/style/
International travel isn’t the only way to do it. Taking road trips without spending money on flights could be fun too. Places like the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. are great excuses to get out of your hometown. If you’re from D.C., there are multiple other museums to visit. From the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to exploring other cultural museums, there’s plenty to explore in the United States.
One easy way for college students and young adults to travel, is to study abroad. While this can also be expensive, there are many options to make this possible. National and school scholarships, offices dedicated to international relations, and even competitions can help students study abroad. In 2014 through 2015, the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) reported that 5.6 percent of African American or Black students traveled abroad. American Indian/Alaska Native students made up 0.5%; Multiracial students made up 4.1%; Asian/Pacific Islander students made up 8.1%; Hispanic/Latino American students made up 8.8%; and Caucasian students made up 72.9%.
Let’s raise the number of Black students and students of color who are exploring the world.
Cydni Gordon is one person who has been able to travel extensively, starting with her study abroad experience to Mexico in college. “Traveling has shown me how much you can learn about yourself when you step out of your everyday world,” Cydni said. “It has brought out some of the qualities that I’m most proud of and some I didn’t know I had.” Cydni said the thrill of wandering around a new city never gets old, and she cherishes her first study abroad experience for influencing her to continue traveling. She enjoys the challenge of navigating new cultures, overcoming language barriers and pushing herself to try new things.
Women of Color Abroad:
There are many different travel groups and websites specifically for women of color. This includes Blue Zaria. “I hope to inspire Black girls and women to travel…dare to be different by living life unconventionally,” Tracy Hogarth, founder and director of Blue Zaria, said on the website. During her travels, Tracy also looks for cultural and girls’ movements around the world.
Brown Girls Fly is “a melanin-infused perspective on travel.” This site not only shares the stories of brown women out exploring the world, it also provides help with trip planning and suggestions for different destinations.
Nomadness Travel Tribe was founded in 2011 by Evita Turquoise Robinson. It is described as an online community for travelers all over. The group has over 15,000 international members, it has crowd funded over $40,000, and its docuseries, The NOMADNESS Project, has over 200,000 subscribers on Youtube.
Other reasons to travel, according to those who love it:
Below, some people share why they enjoy traveling, both domestically and internationally.
Sita Miller is an independent travel agent who is a part of a travel group and travel bloggers. She gives people advice on travel dilemmas and also shares her own experiences. Not only does she enjoy helping other people travel, she enjoys the deals she gets on her own travel. “Traveling is so important because it shows you the world is so much bigger than your state or city,” Sita said. She said it’s important to see the world through other people’s eyes and open your mind.
Travis Ellison said traveling does a lot for the mind, body and soul. He’s been able to travel more due to job opportunities, and spoke on his experience. “You see new places but you’re able to relate to places you’ve already been. It opens your eyes to all of the possibilities,” Travis said. ”It’s important to see new things, see new people, and communicate with people who grew up differently.”
Emeka Onyirimba believes it’s important for people to expand their horizons, broaden their worldly views, and “understand that the world is bigger than your city.”
Miguel Almodovar described travel as an educational experience. He said “traveling is the least expensive education you can get for yourself.”
With so many reasons to travel, there are also many resources. There are plenty of other websites, blogs and travel agents of color who focus on helping and inspiring Black people and other people of color to travel. Other websites include tastemakersafrica.com, blackgirltravel.com, urbantravelgirl.com, International Travel Chick and Nomadness Travel Tribe. Get out there and travel, and don’t forget to send in your pictures.