The B in BOLT…Reflections on Traveling Black

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.

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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.

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Bali, Indonesia

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.

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Glacier National Park

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.

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Chipate Village, Zambia
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Chipate Village, Zambia

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.

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Hair Care Day, Chipate Village, Zambia

It reminds us of our commonalities, especially with other Black women.

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Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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.

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Sultans Water Palace, Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia
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Hanoi, Vietnam

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!

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Pasadena, California

Traveling Black is a chance to explore your entrepreneurial side. We love shopping and bringing back beautiful things from all over the world.

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Charlotte and Pete Hill O'Neal, Arusha, Tanzania
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New and Old Friends, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Aida Ayers, Creative Solutions, Zanzibar

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.  

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2 thoughts on “The B in BOLT…Reflections on Traveling Black

  1. This is absolutely so gorgeous, Marci. My heart is full. So happy that you are following your hearts, which are so big and beautiful. You and Kathy look incredibly happy.

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    1. We just made small sometimes difficult adjustments and then realized that there is no perfect time or perfect way to follow our dreams. So we worked with that which always worked for us – faith and gratitude. Thank you for your kind words. Be well

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