It's hard enough as it is being an African-American living in the U.S. Not to say that it's a horrible experience, but I think that a large collective of POC, particularly AA's can agree that it isn't always the most pleasant experience.
The history that America holds with racism and slavery is something that isn't easy to ignore or pretend it didn't happen. It exist till this very day and we see episodes of it playing out all the time. Unfortunately this is the reality for a lot of people. Having to constantly worry about if people are racist (among other things) while simply trying to live life can be exhausting. The flip side to that however, is being able to go places where the color of your skin doesn't change the way people see you. Traveling really introduces you to a new way of seeing yourself.
For all the ugly things that the world can be, it can be equally beautiful. Traveling the world has definitely made me a witness and firm believer of that. I've been places where the locals are amazed to see a Black person up close and in person. In some parts of the world- seeing a POC isn't the norm. People are sometimes curious when they see black travelers and want to genuinely interact with them. Since a lot of what they know about Black people comes from the media, being able to physically interact with one is not only a joy, but an educational experience as well. It helps the world see us without the over saturated narrative that comes attached.
I've been places where people come up and ask for pictures of me and with me. They invite me to local festivities, outings and I've even been invited to attend a welcome home party for a couple I'd met on the plane while out the country. If you've lived in a cage all your life, the cage sadly becomes all you know. It's not until you step out of that cage and away from the comforts of it, that you begin to see the world has so much more to offer you.
This is why traveling is so important. Outside of selfies and pool pictures- traveling actually teaches us that the world [as a whole] is a beautiful place and there are more good people than there are bad ones.
I've traveled to countries where the locals have wanted to touch my skin, my hair and simply hang out with me. Although sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming and uncomfortable, I've gotten used to the fact that people are interested in me. I take that as my opportunity to educate them on Black Americans. We're not all the negative stereotypes that we've been portrayed as on TV or in the News.
I've been to dozens of cities in over 20+ countries on 4 different continents and I can honestly say that I've not experienced anything that made me want to say I'll never travel again.
Have there been instances where I was faced with a bad seed or a rotten apple? Absolutely! That's everywhere you go and there are always a couple in the bunch. But the good outweigh the bad in those cases and you go on about your business. If you're looking for confrontation it will definitely find you, especially if you feel like you have to be on guard or defensive towards every little thing. If that's the case, you'll always feel like you're under attack no matter where you go.
Not saying that we should let our guards down when we go places, but we shouldn't be so damaged by the bad that we fail to see the good.
The world is a beautiful place if you have the eyes, mind and heart to see it. Don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone, you'll be amazed at the people you meet and the things you learn. I encourage everyone to travel internationally so that they too can see the world from a different point of view.
For assistance planning your next trip or if you have questions about whether or not a place is safe to travel to- email me and I'll be happy to help! email@example.com