This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while. I’m trying to find ways to express succinctly what is on my heart and in my mind. Being Black is such a large part of who we are. Kathy and I are intentionally Black, consciously Black and unapologetically Black. It’s not about hate for non-blacks. It’s a love thing.
Our blackness, not just our skin, but our thinking, our memories, our very essence goes with us everywhere we go. We have found great blessings traveling Black and a few challenges.
One of the greatest gifts of travel has been our heightened sense of appreciation for black folks, especially in places where there are not a lot of us. Walking down Crenshaw in Los Angeles, California I always smiled and gave a nod to my peeps. But seeing a black man or woman in Southeast Asia is a different experience. It’s an opportunity for conversation, exchanging experiences and most of all a chance to share a little black love.
And this is not an experience unique to Asia. Traveling across the U.S.A., visiting National Parks we rarely see other Black folks. We went days and miles on a trip up to Canada. We were delighted to meet a Black couple in Glacier National Park, Wyoming. We had a good laugh when we realized we were all from California.
Traveling Black in Africa increases our commitment to love and serve Black folk, all across the diaspora. It also is a great reality check for the privilege that comes with our American passports and lifestyle.
It reminds us of our commonalities, especially with other Black women.
Traveling Black strengthens our love for and connections to people of color. The Malaysian man, next to Kathy, in the picture above commented on their identical skin tone and the beauty there. Celebrating diversity is one more thing to love about traveling Black.
The biggest challenge so far in traveling Black has been an ocasional sense of isolation and of being on display, a curiosity. We felt this most acutely in Vietnam where our skin was often stroked, our hair frequently gently pulled. It never felt malicious or racist. I know racism and colorism exist everywhere, but to paraphrase the late, great Muhammad Ali, no one in Southeast Asia has ever called me or anyone I love a nigger. I for sure can’t say that about the USA!
Traveling Black is a chance to explore your entrepreneurial side. We love shopping and bringing back beautiful things from all over the world.
Traveling Black is a great way to make new friends and to connect with old. In this digital age it is very easy to make connections and stay connected. Black Americans Living Abroad is a great Facebook group for just that purpose. Nomadness Tribe and Travel Noire are both wonderful sites as well. One of the best parts about traveling Black is doing it with people you love and respect.