Over the past decade, traveling has become the new black. You see much more people catching flights, especially black people. Many are still discouraged from traveling though. I’ve heard everything from: “I don’t have anyone to go with,” “that seem like a place you go with your boo-and I don’t have one” “I don’t have any money” “I’m trying to stack my paper, before I start to travel” “black people don’t travel” –What? What? What? And Whet? As someone who is black, single, and broke, I can’t see how anyone can travel any other way! This is not a guide or a “how to travel on a budget” kind of post. Traveling not only relieves me of everyday stresses, but it opens my mind to so many possibilities. So, instead of my blackness, relationship status, or bank account being an excuse, it’s the very reason why I HAVE to get away. That might sound crazy, but let me explain.
I’ve been blessed to visit many places, however, people I know growing up, or even in my family has never left the country. I truly believe if we were meant to stay put, we would have roots for feet, and remain idol as a tree does. Having a companion whether it’s close friends or “Bae”, brings comfort in the idea of having someone to talk to, relate to, and share the same experience with you. However, that should not stop you from going somewhere if nobody wants to go. There’s so many people in the world; traveling alone brings so much opportunity to meet people. Plus, if YOU want to do something, you don’t have to take a “consensus of the group” you can just do it! I’m definitely not opposed to traveling alone, and being without a man.
I’m very friendly, approachable, hell, I’m also very pretty. I attract men (and women) EVERY where I go. I don’t say that to sound cocky, but it’s the truth. I’m a natural flirt, but because my relationship status has not changed for a while now, I take full advantage (in a safe, non-hoeish kinda way). Men and women love the company of other women and men. It’s less inviting to other people, with a group full of people who are in relationships. Sure couples can meet people too, but unless there’s other couples in the group, in my observation, most people I’ve met have been other singles especially if they were men. I just think it’s better that way. If a man asks me to dance and the vibes call for it…I’m going to dance, and not feel guilty about it. If he buys me a drink…I’m going to drink it! And, if he’s been to other places I haven’t explored in this new city, I’m going to be open to check it out. Now, I’m not saying go out and get yourself kidnapped, let’s be smart, but I do think my singleness allows me more freedom to meet much more people than I probably would, if I had a boyfriend.
I’m an educator. The bureaucracy in public higher education alone is enough to want to get away! But my pay check certainly doesn’t reflect the places I’ve been. Money does not influence whether I’m going somewhere or not. The experiences I receive from traveling, trumps the experience I receive from getting paid-ANY DAY. Don’t get me wrong, securing my financial future is a priority, but securing my youth, peace of mind, sense of adventure, is also a priority. I don’t want to be that rich person on my death bed with regrets of places I should have went, or things I should have done because I was too busy working and “stacking my bread.” With a spreadsheet, airline subscriptions, or travel groups/clubs, and some faith, you can go anywhere!! I’ve been to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, many places in the states with next to nothing. When there’s no money there’s faith, and faith would get you more places than money. I’m not saying faith alone is the cure, but my faith allows me to always find work, or earn money to fund everyplace I’ve been, and places that I’m going.
Many of us are privileged and don’t even realize it. Being black in America is totally different than being black any where else. In many places the people have either never seen a black person, or have ever talked to a black person. Being black in Cyprus is totally different than being black in Cuba, however, I’ve experienced culture shock from both places because I’m also American, and to the people there that stands out the most.
I’m so NY in any city in the states, but being “so NY” is synonymous with being very American. The way we approach food, connect with people, dress, style our hair, is a big signaler of my American-ness. When some places becomes overwhelming, there’s comfort in knowing my home is in America, but traveling also gives me the wisdom to check my privilege, and it’s very humbling. In this current political climate, many joke around saying they’re moving to another country. I found that to be hilarious because the people who are saying that don’t even have a passport, or even begin to know how to get one! Many of us also expressed moving to Africa, but yet many of us had yet to travel there. It’s certainly not impossible to move to place you’ve never been, but a benefit of traveling allows me to learn different cultures, customs, and to be open to talking to diverse groups of people.
I’m black, single, and broke, but it doesn’t define who I am, or where I’m going. Get that passport, book that trip, and no matter your circumstances-GET OUT of New York and GET OUT of America. You’d definitely find yourself blown away.