Africa Black Travel Cultural Clashes Keepin' It Real

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk

Estimated Reading Time: 25 minutes


Cape Town, South Africa

Black people. Oh, how I love us. Diaspora dialogue will have you vibin’ and jivin’ to our melanin melody, because the black community just has a way of putting literal and figurative color into life.

We have our own language(s), culture, and unspoken truths that make our existence so unique, dynamic, and admired by many.

Black people are arguably some of the most versatile people in the world. And we flex and adapt based on our surroundings because… well, we have to.

You could get Lacy one second and LaQuisha the next. David one minute and Darnell the other. Hashtag, we lit!

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
With Las Morenas de España founder + crew in Barcelona, Spain

Jokes aside, we never lose sight of our roots.

But even in all our sunkissed skin unity, we’re our own worst critics and enemies, especially when it comes to how we deal with each other.

And we’ve seemed to form this exclusivity about our culture that makes it hard for people on the outside to understand us better.

There's a conversation that the black travel community has needed to have for a while. Let's talk. Click To Tweet

But before I get into that, allow me to contextualize my journey, my travels, and this article a bit, so that you can understand my perspective and why I’m so bothered by this.

I graduated from college in 2013, and 10 days later, packed my life into a suitcase or three and “moved” to Europe on a one-way ticket.

How long did I plan to travel? I had no idea. What I did have, was about $500 to my name and determination to see as many countries as possible with that amount.

No one, including my mother, knew how broke I was. But I’m sure she had a clue as she constantly called to remind me to get a rill jobe!” in her very Nigerian accent.

But I knew money was fleeting. There’s always money to be made, and money to be paid. So I just tried to do the best with what I had.

If that meant my meals for the day would be a large loaf of bread divided into three parts so that I could have something for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — so be it.

If I was sneaky enough to slip a couple butter packs from my hostel into my purse, I did. And then I’d treat myself to a ham slice or two if I was starving shameless enough.

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My cute AirBnb hut in Livingstone, Zambia

If you’ve read my book, you know a bit about my troubled childhood.

I’m from a family of eight, and the third daughter of two Nigerian-born and raised parents who immigrated to California to raise our family in the 80’s.

I lived a very sheltered [but typical African] life, where God and education were at the forefront of everything.

I was a 4.5 GPA student, loved writing, and started my first blog at 11 years old. I was glued to computers, obsessed with creating things, and always found ways to express myself through digital means.

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
My beautiful family minus my dad who passed away in 2012 (and yes, that’s my mom slaying in the middle)

Despite all that, since I didn’t have the same childhood freedoms as my [white American] friends growing up, I rebelled in every way possible and was regularly suspended from elementary and middle school.

I hated how strict and closed off life was for me. Here was this imaginative girl, with little room to explore it.

Needless to say, how could I dream of anything beyond the realm of what my parents had already sculpted for my life?

This became my teenage struggle for years.

But when I got to college on a basketball scholarship, and someone planted the idea of studying abroad for a semester, I practically scoffed at the idea, as I didn’t think it was something black people did (see: snowboarding, giving time-outs, living in North Dakota, etc).

I couldn’t even afford to pay attention in biology class, so what did I look like trying to prioritize my peasantry with plane tickets?

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Baker University Fall Class of 2013, Baldwin City, Kansas, USA

Traveling to me was very much considered a rich man’s hobby and it was cute that someone thought I fit the bill, but I kept the receipt and put a “return-to-sender” on the thought, because, naw son.

But then an academic advisor suggested I try it. And then a professor. And then a coach. And pretty soon I had enough encouragement to apply, get accepted, and make this unrealistic idea a reality.

Being Nigerian, of course my mom thought I was crazy.

“I came all dee way to Ah-merry-cah for you to leaf? FOOLISH GOAT!” Nigerian parents love insulting their kids with random nouns. All out of love of course 🙂

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On the front lawn of my study abroad campus, Harlaxton College. Not too shabby, eh?

You have to understand, if you are born in Africa and immigrate to the states to start a family, your people back home will literally think you’ve made it and will expect you to start sending them back all your riches at your earliest convenience.

Therefore you have this obligation to build up a life (your kids included), be successful, and prove all your relatives right through means of a lucrative career in medicine, law, or engineering.

So the idea of me leaving a country she spent the better years of her life trying to assimilate into, was a bit insulting. And I understood that. And I asked God for forgiveness, not permission, soooooo, off I went.

I was pretty much half rebel, half @%$hole the majority of my life. I’ve come to terms with it.

As a broke college student who spent my book money investing in a camera to teach myself photography, my mom knew I wouldn’t be able to afford a plane ticket to get anywhere but an @$%whooping.

What she didn’t know, is that I turned that one-time $500 camera investment, into the gift that kept on giving, booking anywhere from 3-5 photo shoots per week.

As an Aries and Nigerian, if there’s something I want, there’s nothing that will stop me from getting it.

I’m stubborn and dedicated in my desires, and it was only a matter of time before my blessings manifested before my eyes.

Ticket, booked! So off I went.

Studying abroad in the UK was by far the best thing to happen to me, because that led to my first job upon graduation, and my love for solo travel soon after.

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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Most people think of a semester in a foreign country as an opportunity to drink and let loose for 4 months, especially as the drinking age is 3 years less in most other countries outside of the U.S.

Though it’s 21 stateside, I waited until I was 22 just because I wanted to finish out my collegiate basketball and tennis season as focused as possible.

I also made some decent change on weekends being my friends’ and teammates’ designated drivers. Again, #TheNaijaHustle

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Irish at heart | Dublin, Ireland

But as soon as I started my semester abroad, I wanted to make sure I made the most of every opportunity and experience, because Lord knows my broke ass wallet wouldn’t be able to afford to do this ever again.

People don’t understand how much of a privilege traveling is. Not to mention how much of a privilege it is when you have a first world passport.

Within the first week of studying abroad, I applied and was hired as an Ambassador, a Resident Assistant, and a Campus Blogger.

While only one of those three positions were paid, it was more than the money I was after. I knew I would gain professional experience that would hopefully lead to other opportunities.

And sure enough — it did! I got my first job post-college as a Multimedia and Student Development Intern at the very place I studied abroad. BOOM! Manifestation.

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Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

I was literally getting paid to travel with the students, run the campus social media, and create marketing materials both in digital and print.

Though the job was extremely tasking and time-consuming, I still made time for my blog as much as I could.

And I snuck away to travel as much as possible too. Solo jaunts to any random territory my black ass could get to.

And being based in the UK for a year meant that the most affordable travel options from there were of course, around Europe.

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Being extra like guacamole | Lloret de Mar, Spain

I got to cross off so many incredible destinations and places I would’ve never thought I’d see beyond a television screen.

And then I started venturing further east and into territories where I became the first black encounters many of the locals were having, which was unfathomable for me, but amusing, nonetheless.

I then started transitioning the focus of my blog to address some of these experiences as a black woman, because I was learning things about the black travel experience the hard way.

Though these harsher experiences were far and few between, I still wish someone would’ve gave me a heads up that they happened.

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Florence, Italy

I wish someone would’ve told me that waiting for the night bus in Rome meant that cars may slow down every few minutes and wave 100 euros my way, assuming I was a prostitute. (For the record, I’d like to think I’m worth 100x that price, I digress).

I wish someone would’ve warned me that people in some countries will spit in my path to let me know they didn’t approve of me being there.

I wish someone would’ve let me know that a restaurant may deny me service because they don’t think I could afford to eat there because I’m black — meaning impoverished, to many people. 

So I finally mustered up the courage to open up about these raw and real isolated experiencesNOT to deter black people from traveling there, but to let them know, it happens, and that the good will still outweigh the bad.

It’s a quick and reassuring, “Hey, sis, I experienced that too, so don’t trip!”

To remind them that the unmitigated ignorance of a few doesn’t dictate nor reflect the feelings of the entire country.

That beyond these inevitable and blatant acts of hatred, we are allowed to exist anywhere we please and not to let these @%$holes ruin a trip for you.

Again, I was so broke, yet so eager to see the world, that my sole goal was to stretch my dollar as far as I could for as long as I could, and figure out a way to make it work en route.

Black People: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
Always down for a plane selfie! PLELFIE? | Cyprus-bound

It means I moved to a new country (Spain) with less than $75 to my name.

It means that I didn’t care to cross off bucket list destinations, as much as I cared to just experience any new territory that I could afford to get to.

And God bless the Schengen zone, because it meant my American passport [and privilege] afforded me the opportunity to pass through 26 countries by plane, boat, train, or bus and I’d get to bypass any visas, fees, or paperwork.

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
Schwetzingen, Germany

And time and time again, I learned how there was still an overwhelmingly negative global perception of black people.

I mean, you try throwing a race into the same stereotypical movie roles for decades and see what it subconsciously does to the psyche of people everywhere.

I’m on an almost daily mission to continue reversing those stereotypes about black people and black women.

But who knew this mission would fall on deaf ears to a demographic I wanted nothing more than to help liberate.

Because like I said, the good experiences outweighed the bad ones by a mile.

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com - Hitchhiking Montenegro
Hitchhiking in Montenegro! 12/10 would recommend. Super fun, but maybe because I put that I was Serena Williams on my sign #TravelingWhileBlack

My words and my experiences are freeing and empowering for me, and I wanted my fellow Black Americans to come experience this for themselves.

To get used to what it’s like to have someone think you’re a celebrity, instead of a drug dealer or criminal.

To get used to what it’s like to not be followed everywhere in a store.

To get used to what it’s like to be amongst people who actually want to listen and learn about your culture, not just criticize and judge it.

I never dreamed I’d still be on the road 4 years since that first flight across the Atlantic, still able to find ways to get paid to do what I love — travel.

“You know you can’t do this forever right?” I’m reminded daily by both people online and on the road. But who said that was the goal? People seem to feel threatened by someone else’s confidence, as if it’s a reminder of their own shortcomings. Or the risks they didn’t take. The options they didn’t explore. The happiness they never achieved. Living out of a suitcase full time is every bit as glamorous as it sounds (lol, it’s not). But it’s a small price to pay for the things I get to experience. The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create a legacy that will. And if I can inspire people in the slightest to dream a bit deeper, explore a bit further, or live a bit crazier, then my work here is done, and your approval simply isn’t necessary. So to my risk-takers and hustlers who dare to dream, don’t ever let anyone try to limit your imagination. You were made for this. 🙌🏾✊🏾

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From the 6-year-old boy who found it necessary to rub dirt on my wrist and inform me that they’re basically the same color, to the Greek man who gently placed my arm next to his and exclaimed, “The contrast! It’s so beautiful!”

*electric slides away in Swahili*

However offensive or disturbing, there is always an opportunity for at least one person to come away from the experience more enlightened.

Spoiler Alert: It usually won’t be you.

We are simply an enigma in some places and I just wanted the black community (especially in the western world) to come experience this firsthand.

How To Get Paid To Teach English Abroad | TheBlogAbroad.com
No matter how many times they insisted on biting my hand (because, chocolate), I adored these little humans | Barcelona, Spain

I never intended on this blog becoming my “job”. I simply loved to write and explore — and I combined the two and made a lifestyle out of it.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve gotten used to talking quite candidly about all the ups and downs of traveling while black.

But my words of empowerment, vulnerability, and inspiration to the black community were instead reciprocated with slander, hate, and shame.

Visiting Puerto Rico and Becoming an Island Queen / TheBlogAbroad.com
Flamenco Beach, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

I never thought that documenting my journey fresh out of college, with nothing more than a degree and a few dollars to my name would yield so much vitriol from the very people I tried to write for and inspire.

I never knew that being a role model for my future kids and struggling black teenagers (like I was in my past) would land me on the receiving end of some of the most hateful things I’ve ever heard in my life.

And 99% of it would come from the black community. Why?

All because my first few travel experiences came from Europe — the only continent I could even afford to travel to in the first place.

Salzburg, Austria | TheBlogAbroad.com
Salzburg, Austria

Black travelers, black community, black people, I beg you, I beg us, to please stop this cancerous culture of travel shaming by way of this virtual hierarchy that adds or subtracts shades to our blackness.

Learning about other cultures is NOT an act of disregard for our own. Click To Tweet

Stop shaming black people for traveling to Europe before Africa.

Stop acting like traveling around Africa is as cheap as it is in Europe.

Stop using our travel itineraries to validate our levels of “wokeness”. You could be a Hotep hoteppin’ in Namibia just as hard as someone traveling through Spain.

Stop acting like the colonizers and slave owners of the past are somehow embedded in the souls of white people today.

Stop acting like traveling to Europe should be something reserved for only white people.

Stop with the mentality that we are not to mix and mingle with people who aren’t black.

Stop guilting black people into feeling inadequate for not prioritizing Africa over other travel destinations.

Black travelers, the travel shaming in our community has GOT to stop! Click To Tweet

It is grossly exhausting, disheartening, and frustrating to get comments like this almost daily.

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
Lest we forget, America was built off the backs of slaves. Black people have the right to stay and enjoy the country their ancestors helped build.

But God forbid I went on to share my positive experiences around Europe, inviting fellow Black Americans to meet me on the other side, and the hate I have to read and skim through daily in my emails is absolutely ridiculous.

As I’m re-reading these comments now, tears are hitting my keyboard not because of the words, but because of the faces of black people attached to them.

Trolls or not, the number of messages I get from black people with the underlying message of how I’m a disgrace for not having traveled to the Motherland first, makes me so enraged, as if I’m not allowed to enjoy the harvest of my seeds, given my circumstances of how I started traveling in the first place.

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
Salvador de Bahía, Brazil

Another common message I get is the very misogynoir-minded idea that:

“Black women love to worship their oppressors.”

Sir, WHAT?! Like, can we stop that? The manager of this restaurant literally just treated me to a 5-course meal on the house and invited me to an event with the staff later that evening for no other reason than me being black.

Sorry that I said yes to the offer and that they were so excited to introduce me to all their friends, show me around their city, and lend me their car for rides whenever I needed.

If anything, they oppressed these thighs, because I’ve put on a good 10 lbs from all the free carbs I was spoiled with.

Budapest, Hungary | TheBlogAbroad.com
Hungry in Hungary!

Had I not traveled around Europe, Asia, or South America before I went to Africa, I’m not sure I’d be able to handle some of the things I had to deal with.

Let’s stop equating Africa to any other continent in the world because no place will ever come close. Africa is beautiful, difficult, enriching, humbling, frustrating, inspiring, and overwhelming in every way.

Having just spent 3 months in the Motherland, exploring seven African nations, the experience still leaves me speechless today.

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Sossuvlei, Namibia

I invested almost $4,000 into my African adventures. A dollar amount that could easily stretch me for 8 months in Asia, 6 months in Europe, and a good 4 in South America.

Searching flights from Kenya to Nigeria was anywhere from $1,000 – 3,000 USD for a one-way ticket.

Black Americans and Africans share the same skin, but have such contrasting realities and mindsets. And it’s why Black Americans might need some practice traveling through other countries before plunging right into the cradle of civilization.

Though the bribe culture is not an issue only specific to African countries, I’m not going to disregard the fact that at seven different levels of my passing through the Lagos International Airport, workers tried to extort money from me — because they simply could.

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Lagos, Nigeria

Had I not been Nigerian myself, and warned by my mother that this would happen, I may have just handed over cash every time they found a reason I violated a “law”.

The most ridiculous one was a lady who found my workout resistance bands in my carry-on and told me that they’re forbidden from being there and needed to be checked in my other luggage.

She tried to call people over to escort me back through security, and threatened to throw them away, and once she saw how unphased I was, because I knew the game, she gave up and went to try her luck on the next person.

Let’s be honest with ourselves — that will not happen to you in Scotland. Or Austria. Or Norway. Or Ireland. Or Germany. Or Denmark. Or Monaco. Should I go on?

There is corruption everywhere, but there are levels to it. And Africa is a beast you must prepare for.

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Johannesburg, South Africa

So back on a global scale, it’s not a secret, that some countries will yield better and more welcoming experiences than others.

And if the average Black American has two weeks off per year to explore the world, I want to make sure they’re spending their hard-earned dollars in a country that welcomes them.

A two-week jaunt in Europe will get you so much further than a two-week jaunt around Africa. Do we know how big Africa is?

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Your daily dose of perspective. Can’t wait to backpack around Africa on my two-week annual vacation! 🙂

Yet we’re trying to shame black people who can easily cross off 5 European countries in that span with little time lost en route via train or budget airlines.

LET THEM LIVE!

And today, we now have incredible black travel communities and groups like Black Travel Movement, Travel Noire, Nomadness Travel Tribe, and Black & Abroad who are all about celebrating, encouraging, and inspiring travel in our community to anywhere!

Did you know black people are the fastest growing demographic of American travelers, yet our own people are trying to shame and dictate where we go.

#HowSway?!

There are so many contradicting emotions about the Motherland, and it’s the reason I’ve hardly been able to put together my posts about my travels around Africa a couple months ago.

What’s even more ironic, is that we shame Black Americans for not wanting to travel to Africa right away, yet 85% of us don’t even want to be referred to as African-American.

THE CAUCASITY! I’M SO CONFUSED.

As a daughter of two Nigerian parents, I am literally African-American. Yes, you can call me black too.

But don’t erase my heritage. I hold onto that hyphen and embrace that I am AFRICAN first, born on American soil.

Hyphenating my label doesn’t make me any less American than Billy-Bob from Nebraska.

What it does do, is acknowledge my often forgotten ancestry.

My blood is 100% Naija green. I’m Ogidi and Enugukwu-made by way of both my parents. And I’m blessed to know my direct lineage and proud to embrace that hyphen.

But for those who can’t trace their African heritage, my girl Veronica nailed my thoughts…

Gabby also makes a great point for many who feel like they shouldn’t be called African-American because it somehow makes them feel less American than the next person.

If Italians, Irish, Spaniards, Greeks, etc don’t hyphenate their American label, then why do we? Valid question, and I don’t think it’s an attempt at political correctness any more than it’s meant to pay homage to our roots.

I was in Kenya when I wrote that status on my Facebook, genuinely curious as to what Black Americans want to be called these days, and when I shared the results of the poll with my Kenyan, Nigerian, South African, and Zimbabwean friends, they were both shocked and bit disheartened that so many people wanted to drop the African label.

Again, this plays into the contrasting realities and perspectives one carries as an African vs. a Black American.

And one of the biggest critiques that my African friends shared with me about Black Americans is that they get in their own way and refuse to accept the reality of their circumstances, no matter how sh*tty.

And while that oversimplifies and disregards the fact that Africans being born in a majority black continent and country means they will never experience racism to the degree of Black Americans, I was still able to digest their message, however harsh.

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Machu Picchu, Cuscuo | Photo Credit: Derio Ilari

Black Americans, as soon as we accept that no matter what we do and how hard we try, there will always be people who have a problem with our existence, the sooner we’ll be able to pivot, adjust, adapt, and flourish.

Our job is not to make people love us. Racist Randall still thinks we should be hanging outside his backyard. And I don’t mean for a BBQ.

We could spend our lives lamenting about slavery and its generational handicap in our society, hating anybody with our oppressor’s skin color, or we could learn to make the most of the opportunities we are afforded, the privileges we do have, and the mountains we can move on our own.

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
Enugu, Nigeria

This is where I identify more with my Nigerian heritage than my Black American one. Nigerians don’t give three sh*ts about whether they’re wanted or welcomed somewhere.

They legit will set up shop anywhere and thrive because their success has nothing to do with the approval of others.

They’re there to hustle, get ahead, and send some funds back home to relatives. They get a reputation for loving money too much, but I will never knock their ambition.

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Jerusalem, Israel

The thing I have to remind myself often, is that Blacks weren’t the only race or ethnic group who were enslaved, murdered, raped, and oppressed by other people.

And I don’t think black people realize how resilient we are.

Visiting Brazil, home of the largest import of African slaves to the Americas (almost 5 million forcibly labored over the period of four centuries), was such a humbling experience for me.

Brazil was the last country to abolish slavery in the Western world. Not the United States! Perspective.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Colorism is still a huge issue there because of that.

And during the abolishment movement, Brazil’s solution to get rid of their “Negro Problem” (yes, that’s what they called it), was by forced racial whitening, branqueamento.

This whitening ideology garnered massive support through the belief that the Negro race would disappear completely within a few generations of mixed breeding between whites and blacks.

And if you didn’t agree with this as a black person in Brazil, they pushed you into the hills, out of town, and off to fend for yourselves without food, running water, or any kind of governing.

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Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

Yet and still, they found a way to survive and to this day, Afro-Brazilians still live a very rough life in the favelas, but the important thing is that they have and will continue to endure and survive.

Black people, that's what we do best. We take the sh*t the world throws at us, and press forward. Click To Tweet

We bend, but we don’t break.

And we will never get the world to be on our side if we can’t even get on each other’s.

Traveling is such a privilege in our black community, yet we still find ways to tear each other down because of the ways we choose to travel and the destinations we want to go.

Instead of dictating the direction of someone else’s dollars, why don’t we use what we learn from other cultures, to improve our own — I mean, everyone does this with our culture anyway (see: appropriation).

Black Travelers: We Need To Have This Talk | TheBlogAbroad.com
Me jumping to conclusions | Salvador de Bahía, Brazil

This post will resonate with some and anger others, and that’s perfectly okay.

You’ve read the kind of messages I’m used to getting, so either there will be more of the same, or people will take a step back and do some soul-searching like I have during these past four years of traveling the world.

You can take my black card, you can call me a sellout, and you can continue spewing the hate in light of my truths.

But what you can’t take away is my dignity, my passion, and my relentless pursuit to leave this world a better, more compassionate, and more accepting place than I found it.

And that’s something my skin color nor yours, can stop us from doing.

For years, I used being black as an excuse. The reason I couldn’t do X, Y, or Z.

Now I’m choosing to use it as a source of strength, a shield of protection, and a blessing beyond comprehension.

And the travel destinations I or any other black person chooses doesn’t take an ounce away from our blackness or dedication to making our community, our people, and our culture better off.

For more daily musings, keep up with me on Instagram HERE.

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For those PINterested in sharing

  • Ericka Shonta Williams

    The CAUCASITY!! How sway!! 7 times in one airport i would have called it a day. I went through Chicago ohare had about 7 workers trying to holler…hate that airport. Many folks i think may be just angry little ****** for ever reasons they look back at that income tax refund check they use to go to Miami or panama city spring break and realize they could have been in Europe for months. Many folks dont have savings or balls the size of yours. The key is courage, planning and timing. Thank you for writing this and displaying your life. I bought the book and straight up thought doesnt matter if you sell tshirts or wristbands, etc i want to support someone bold enough to take a chance and believe in themselves. Anything is possible if people focus they rather play the broke victim card with brand new 2017 cars. Live with Brio!!!

  • Talisa Lavarry

    I just yelled at the computer like I was yelling at a preacher in the pulpit the entire time I read this. This one right here is EVERYTHING! I am not surprised that you had the courage to call a thing a thing and I’m most grateful. There are some that you will never be able to get through to. Fear coated with ignorance is a powerful thing. There are also those that your truth will inspire, including me. Thank you for your honesty and for paving the way for so many of us that have the audacity to believe that we can go further than our ancestors did and do more than generations before us ever dreamed of. So many see your path as unrealistic. They are indoctrinated into a system that has convinced them that we are less than. They believe that they have to stay the course that was cut out for them. Their minds can’t go beyond their neighborhoods, let alone another country. And you know while we can make this all sophisticated and philosophical…..at the end of the day you have a lot of HATERS, plain and simple. Mad as hell that their limited beliefs keep them stuck doing the status quo. I’m where you were, working my ass off to see the light. Traveling to where all of my circumstances allow me to, and pushing myself even when it looks and feels like I must have lost my damn mind. While the journey may be rough the reward is one that no other path could possibly offer. Not only that, I have people like you that have already given me a blueprint and shown me that IT CAN BE DONE. I be damned if I hate or remain ignorant. I be damned if sit at home or in a cubicle salty as hell while being an internet thug trying to knock you off of your pedestal, bring down your high or alter your infectious smile. Girl you and others started sharing, and I started listening and I will keep listening. This blog was GOLD. Your strength is admirable. Thank you for showing up and being you. Thank you for answering the call. Thank you and God Bless.

  • Hey sis,

    I’m going to respectfully suggest that the dialogue on this particular post be exclusive to those that identify as Black. I’m cringing at the thought of someone with loads of historical privilege coming on here and agreeing with your assertion that Black Americans move on from chattel slavery and other things you referenced. Your call of course, just a thought.

    • ATT

      Me too. Some of the non-black people who have commented already made me cringe.

  • Yes to all of THIS👌! I remember going to an event and networking with a range of travellers. One of the black travellers I ended up chatting to at length felt compelled to ask me how many African countries we’d visited. Bare in mind she she already seemed to have an issue with European travel being so popular. She balked after I said “three”. She said Africa needs more attention, and that we would probably go viral if we focused more on African destinations. I just nodded my head, smiled, and told her: “Actually, Omo was born and raised in Nigeria. Have you ever lived long term in any African country?” 😂 Crickets…

  • Acts238

    I was trying to understand your perspective and experience for self. I stopped reading once you had the audacity to say “Black Americans” and “Africans. How dare you call yourself a Black American and they turn around and brag about being Nigerian.. which means you are a Continental African. Contray to this Anti-African self hatred. Please stop it. Black Americans are Africans. You should know the difference between geography, cultures, and actual genetics. You should know since you have traveled to Europe that that is where Europeans come from aka Whites. There’s also Asian. That is so offensive you have no idea of Africans being put through 400 years of pain just for Continental Africans to enter America (Mind you prior to American Africans taking brutality for Civil Rights.. American banned African Immigrants)… and reap the American dream. I don’t fault you for traveling as it is your freedom, but do understand how your words can affect people. You need to understand what black really means and why it was constructed socially to divide. You need to understand that America is a nationlity. You may be saving face due to Black folk being from North America, South America, and the Caribbeans/Latin America.. same way American Africans built their countries and fought for rights… that goes for the rest of the Diaspora too. By labeling and dividing yourself you are giving off white supremacy colonization and THEIR brainwashing. You have the nerve to mention skin.. again separating yourself once again… ALL AFRICANS need to stop this divide and conquer. It would be nice if people got to see their homelands just once.
    The ugly truth is…ALL AFRICANS/blacks have been the most abused people on and off the Continent. Maybe you don’t realize it since you have taken upon so many labels.. one minute you are Nigerian.. the next Black.. then American.. and African… but yet you and others that KNOW where you come from have the nerve to egg this self hatred Afrophobia stuff on. Forgive me if I’m being harsh. I pray well wake up and stop with the name calling and stereotypes.
    We all have been lied to about each other. I did not care for you alluding to Europeans viewing just so called Black Americans as bums and selling their bodies.. well listen here… how about ALL africans have a bad stigma.. poverty, needing food, living in huts, military child troops, welfare, hood, ghetto… all tricks to divide while they rob and manipulate… this isn’t about traveling for me. This is about the divide of ALL AFRICANS worldwide..tribalism… nationalities… skin color… Funny how African Immigrants are taught to separate themselves when they break their necks to attend all things built on American Africans backs… HBCUS were built by former enslaved Africans. AAs have built empires,
    music, various companies, fought for civil rights to vote, apply for certain jobs…
    But the African Immigrants will glady slide into those positions. They will glady talk down on their own people who many of them sold for Cowries.
    I mean even Hollywood.
    They are breaking their necks to get AA roles… those things wer fought for us all.
    So please stop this weird division.
    That goes for all.
    Love yourself.
    Don’t you realize how amazing you are? You aren’t European nor Asian. Be proud of being African.

  • I’ve never understood the tendency of black folks to condemn other black folks for living how they want. I just don’t get it. I’m glad you have been able to continue to share your experiences despite the hatred and vitriol you received for doing so.

  • Kendra Liburd

    To Acts238

    It’s like saying North Koreans and South Koreans. Both are the Korean but culturally they are different due to unfortunate circumstances. The same applies to African descendents that have been dispersed. We’re all black but culturally very different. As a child of immigrants (St Kitts Nevis Massive…..lol sorry I had to!) born and raised in the US, It’s easy to see the difference between various groups of African descendents. We (the African diaspora) have such a rich culture that ties us together, but the way we’ve adapted during unfortunate circumstances (slave trade and colonization) in various regions of the world makes us different. Please complete the article.

  • gogo_gadget

    There was a lot here but I wanted to start with commenting specically about the African vs. African-American perspective. I’m Kenyan-American and my father came to the US (Mississippi!) in the 1960s. Meaning he experienced 1960s racism. Because of that I’ve always felt my parents aligned more closely with Black Americans than more recent African immigrants — also they grew up in Kenya during colonialism. It’s striking how much this affected them — they saw British oppression first hand and Jim Crow. I guess my point is — I was raised to see the resilency of all African-descendant people and see our struggles as united because my parents “lived” so much of both sides of it. Black folks here haven’t just lemented about struggles -/ they fought for a more just society in which we as African immigrants here directly benefit from. I’m sure you would agree but it’s worth repeating. Secondly – We should be kinder to each other. I feel many black folks really struggle with self-hate (internalized anti-blackness) and inflict it on each other. It’s a by-product of toxic anti-blackness. It can seep into your psyche and discourage you. Your trolls (who don’t deserve any defense) I’m sure suffer from this X1000. You should never have to defend your choices to anyone — and the misogynistic tone of your trolls are really strong here. “Misogynoir” is real and get called out as much as possible. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Bryant Welch

    Thank you for sharing such a deep, thoughtful and personal post. I can see why it took you so long and so many experiences to articulate it! You continue to impress and inspire me and make me smile. You’ve brought my own perspective of the world a lot closer to my own chest. While some may believe this post wasn’t for me, I learned much from it and see connected dots of history, geography, demography and anthropology through your insight. Again, thank you for all you do to make the globe one truly magical place for all to experience in any way they choose.

  • Brittany Pittman

    I really shouldn’t be mad after reading those screenshotted comments but… I have to admit , I am. As a Black woman from Texas , it really makes me ANGRY when I see black people callingblack women “bedwenches” and “slaves”. Knowing the history of slavery and the disgusting dehumanization that enslaved black women went through , you would think they would be sensitive to those names but I digress. Like you said , we are our own worst enemies and I am sick and tired of it. I’m used to it ( which is sad ) but I still hate it. Just like the whole “i bet she’s with a white man”… Lol. This is why I pick and choose which people I deal with. Some people want control and nothing but control. I wonder if they realize that whoever you choose to date is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. I almost had a fit after reading that because on nearly every blog that I come across – that’s written by a Black woman – always has accusations of “white boys” written in the comments. It’s lame and strange. I’ll just leave it at that.

    Oh and that shirt…. if someone offered me a trip to Africa , I would pack my bags and fly out of here so fast.I also wouldn’t mind spending my hard earned money to go there. Like…it’s AFRICA! Why wouldn’t you want to there? All of the countries , diverse landscapes , cities and suburbs and just… oh my goodness. My blood pressure is going up so i’ll stop. Let’s just say I would not mind living in those airbnb’s from your instagram. Permenantly.

    Traveling is something that i’ve always wanted to do. After high school I was going to spend some years studying abroad but ultimately chose to remain close to my parents. I decision I don’t and do regret. Fast forward to 2017 and I was googling different variationd of “black women expats” , ” black women leaving the U.S” and finally ( a funny one) ” Black people escaping D*naldTr*mp”. Yes. I googled that. It was my goal to find a travel blogger who could give tips on how to get out of dodge. Of course I came across your video on Youtube and instantly wanted to be your best friend. I applied to a school outside of the U.S , got accepted and now i’m just waiting to leave. I honestly am glad that I came across your blog and got a ew and fresh perspective on things. I got tired of the same old ” Woe is me” narritive that’s been driven into my head by my own people. We are stronger than we think. If only we realized that.

  • Steph Humphrey

    ALL OF THIS! I get this every time I’m headed to a new country which is usually in Europe. I have limited PTO and love that I can spend 10 days in Europe and spend around $1000 and thats including everything from flights, lodging, food and activities (I stay on the east coast where flights are regularly $200-$250 round trip). I always get some friend, relative, or coworkers giving me a snotty face and asking when I’m going to Africa. I always say “When you start funding my trips.” I’m sure I will have to say this line again when I head to Greece in a couple months. I’ll still be gathering my life and having a blast.

  • Daycia D Harley

    Very good read!! I went to Asia, Latin America, and Europe and haven’t been to Africa (yet)! It’s my dream, but alas as you said it’s very pricey! I plan on doing a trip through South Asia hoping to get to Africa from there because of how much cheaper it is!
    Thanks for writing this!! You’re one of my biggest inspirations for writing while traveling so I hope to learn a lot more!

    Let’s support and uplift each other not bring each other down!

  • Siarra Chantal Turner

    This post gave me so much life I think I’m live forever on it…

    I read and re-read your post this morning, held my phone tightly as truth after truth wash over me. Not quite like rain, more like a wave. Your truths hit with impact.

    As a poet, I wrote 3 poems from what I felt reading this. As a fellow travel blogger, I just kept screaming “YES!!” at the phone screen every time you illuminated something I’ve run up against. Like you, I’ve had a post on drafts since day one. But, unlike you, I’m not quite at the level (or courage) to hit publish.

    Thank you for this. I don’t know how else to show such apppreciation for these words, but thank you. Don’t stop. You are influencing so many with what you post, share, and write. Myself included. So thank you. Thanks for walking the path so others can too. (or make our own like you did).

  • Beth Cooper

    Read it all; learned a lot. I don’t usually comment, but I just wanted to leave some positivity after reading some of the awful comments you have to wade through. But it was helpful for me to read those to broaden my perspective. Thank you for posting them. <3 <3 You're inspiring and thoughtful and open minded. You learn and teach and learn and teach and you get my point. xoxoxox

  • anon_on_purpose

    I’ve read your blog consistently for quite a long time, but have never felt compelled to comment until reading this post today. As an African-American who travels to and from Europe frequently, either for work or for leisure, I have ALWAYS appreciated your insights on traveling abroad while black. I feel like you provide a roadmap for a group of people who have only recently begun to travel internationally on a large scale, and it helps greatly to know that an expertise on world travel exists from a perspective that I can directly relate to! It’s not at all surprising to me that the comments you hear most are the negative ones, but please know that there a ton of silent readers of your blog that truly benefit from the work that you do. Do not be discouraged!

  • Overseas Teacher

    I love every bit of this article and agree 100%. Keep pressing forward. You’re doing great work for Black people and Black Women. As long as you stay true to you and continue to keep it all the way genuine, people are going to always talk. So let them. It’s hurtful. Yes it is. But such as life. Keep going forward doing great and mighty things.

  • Seas of Serenity

    Let me say this,
    I’m BLACK AND I’M PROUD!
    I must say that I’m disappointed that you would take your time in Africa to create further discourse and division between members of the diaspora using an unscientific poll as a basis of launching a theory. It’s important to be mindful that for many of us the term Black is MORE inclusive. It includes people of the diaspora from every country. African-American excludes people and many of us use it to be inclusive of melanin popping people across the world. It is in no way to separate from or deny our African lineage. Additionally, African-American was introduced as a political term to get Black folks under control during the Black pride and empowerment movement of the 1960s-70s and to make white people comfortable. It was never truly about Us. Additionally, I’ll point out that I’ve heard/seen many people that are truly African-American make snide remarks about Black people not truly being AA. I hope you’ll remember that there’s context around terminology in the future.

    As a well-traveled Black woman, I loved this comment:
    “Black Americans and Africans share the same skin, but have such contrasting realities and mindsets. And it’s why Black Americans might need some practice traveling through other countries before plunging right into the cradle of civilization.” I really believe most Black Americans are not ready.
    Your perspective is unique to your experiences and I respect that. At the present time, I gag at the thought of going to European countries but I would never demean those who travel there. Some of the comments you posted are clearly from trolls and don’t even sound like anything a BLACK person would say. From my vantage point, my most sage advice is to keep living and you will likely feel differently on some things. Most importantly, live your life and be great. By the time you’re 40, you won’t care about what people say.

  • Jasmine Edwards

    Thank you for what you have done and continue to do for our community, Glo. God has you here for a purpose and it is truly a blessing to be a part of that. Keep on making history Glo! We stand behind you 110%. Much continued love, happiness & success my sister.

  • Stacey Hookins

    Thank you for such an honest and refreshing article! I’m white and born in England, in a family where racism doesn’t exist. It wasn’t intill I dated a black guy in Uni (I lived in France by this time) and he said he received racial abuse that I realized this was a problem. I was shocked. I very naively thought racism was a thing of the past as I had never witnessed it myself. Now I live in Namibia. I love Africa and I have lived in this beautiful continent for 4 years now and I have no plans on leaving. Living in a country once governed by apartheid I now see racism on a regular basis and my fiance and I have many debates about it. As a white female safari guide I have to fight to be accepted and stand my ground as it is considered as a black man’s job. But this judgement usually comes from European tourists, the locals here are much more accepting of diversity and think it is wonderful that I have decided to make Namibia my home by choice.
    In my opinion it all comes down to acceptance. Accepting everyone do what they want, no matter their colour, gender, sexual preference, job or passion in life. I have hope for the future, we need people like you to continue telling the truth and starting healthy debates so that we can see the problem and hopefully change it.

    For more info on us and our lives as safari guides in Southern Africa head on over to followtheguides.com / https://www.facebook.com/followthetravelguides/ / https://www.instagram.com/followthetravelguides/?hl=en

  • Janeen Journey

    I’m glad that you are willing to share your experiences with travel even though you have been criticized for doing so. I’ve been to Africa 3 times. I’ve been to Europe 3 times. My time in Africa didn’t make me any more Black than my time in Europe made me white. I do believe that all of the experiences were valuable for me. The idea that Europeans where/are the only villians out to oppress Black people totally neglects the fact that Africans were also active in the slave trade. They handed over enemies and opposing tribes for various reasons. Every culture has a dark part of their past that they would like to deny. I believe that travel does help me as a Black or African American woman (either term works for me) to see that Black Americans are NOT the only group to be oppressed in history. If we travel to majority Black African nations ONLY and embrace those cultures (and yes they are separate cultures) as our own history and narrative, we miss a chance to identify with others. Don’t many African Americans want White Americans to see the world through their perspective in order to reduce prejudice and racism? Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same with the rest of the world?

  • Meet The Wards

    First of all THANK YOU for sharing this. I truly appreciate all you have complied here and I completely agree with all your points of view.

    “We could spend our lives lamenting about slavery and its generational handicap in our society, hating anybody with our oppressor’s skin color, or we could learn to make the most of the opportunities we are afforded, the privileges we do have, and the mountains we can move on our own.” I think this is one of the hardest things for AAs to swallow. Like if we don’t mention slavery then it will be forgotten and it isn’t valid. From traveling to all these places your eyes get opened wide and you see what true privileges you do have and you realize that stuff doesn’t matter directly to you anymore. You are MUCH more than that.

    I can speak for myself and all the people that I pass your articles to that WE really appreciate your black posts. It’s nice to know where I will feel comfortable and where I will not. Since I live abroad that is one of the 1st things I search for when considering a new destination. And no finding out black people aren’t treated well somewhere won’t be the reason I decide not to go but it’s still just nice to know what to expect sometimes.

    Also as a side note F**k all those people who ATTEMPT to make you feel bad for the places you have been/not been. Who are they to judge you when most of them probably have ever even left their state or don’t have a passport.

    I hope you continue doing what the F**k you want regardless of what anyone tells you. This is one the best put together blogs I have seen and I really enjoy reading your posts.

  • Wow…refreshing to take a peek at the ‘other side.’ As an African-African (couldn’t resist)..travel blogger, I think I’ve travelled to more Asian and European countries than I have around Africa. I was born in Kenya, grew up there before heading to Europe so definitely have spent most of my life in Africa (covered a few countries pre-blogging days too Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia etc…even touched Lagos, Nigeria) and my followers from the African region have never thrown shade on me not doing more of Africa. In fact they want to be informed about other parts of the world and I’m giving that to them, sharing for example how stunning Ukraine is or how wonderful folks are in Bosnia-Herzegovina…and they love that! They want to be exposed to the possibilities to explore lands outside of favourite travel destinations like U.A.E or Turkey. I agree circumstances haven’t made it as seamless gallavanting around Africa as traveling around my base here in Europe. In 2015 over the summer managed to do Kenya and Somalia and would have done more but was on a work trip with time restrictions. Somalia caused a bit of a furor among a couple of followers but it was a dream fulfilled…lots of history behind my decision to visit.
    I confess I many times get peeved at those African-American travel bloggers who make sweeping condescending conclusions about Africa when they haven’t traveled to the continent..those ones get me fuming. Being around them makes me feel like we are back in the times of Joseph Conrad who penned “the Heart of darkness” and kept on referring to the blacks like they were clueless natives. The Africans of today are so exposed, so well read, so informed that it gets them vexed when they are at the end of the superiority-inferiority complex stick..Forget the haters and thank you for this..and thank you for showcasing the countries in Africa that you did.

  • Margie Jordan

    It’s so wonderful to just not care what everyone else thinks. It’s my life, my money, my travels. Your approval is not required nor is your understanding of why I do what I do or where I go. The world has to much to teach us and I’m life long student. They can keep hating and I’ll keep traveling. 🙂

  • M’kali-Hashiki

    I have never been to Africa, and probably never will go (I have pretty intense plane phobia that has only increased as I’ve gotten older so I try to limit my trips to flights under 5hrs & only on certain airlines). I’ve been to most of Western Europe, Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, and I’m currently (not as in “this minute”, but as in “last trip & next trip”) exploring Central America.

    I’ve been to European countries where Old European ladies felt entitled to rub my young cousins head cuz “it’s good luck to rub a young Schwartzer”. And countries where musicians slept with me cuz that would help them “understand The Blues”. The truth is that folx who’ve never seen a Black person treating you like “celebrity” comes from exactly the same place as those who spit in your path. They don’t see you as human. If you want to exploit that for a free meal, and an invitation to a party, I ain’t mad at chu, but don’t get it twisted; they want a picture with you the same way they’d want a picture with a talking animal if one came to town. Pretending that “the soul of the oppressor” does not still exist in White Europeans is not living in reality. And the best travel is about understanding reality.

    Lashing out at people because angry traumatized trolls have lashed out at you doesn’t automatically make your stance completely right & their stance completely wrong.

  • Gal Mor

    In the context of your post, I remember one of the first questions you asked me on the very first night you arrived in Israel as we went out for food and drinks in the market; “do Israeli’s hate black people?”. At the time the question threw me off as inappropriate and offensive, but in light of some the experiences you describe in your travels around the world I better understand where that question came from. I remember telling you that I find it hard to answer that question and that I’ll leave it to you to decide at the end of your trip. I hope the answer you came up with is one that doesn’t discourage you from doing what you do and being who you are! I think you rock and happy we got to spend time and be goofy together. Hope to have you back again soon:)

  • Dear Gloria, I’m very glad I read your beautiful post; thank you. Keep travelling, exploring, and writing!

  • Della A Beaver

    Love, love, love this! I wish that I would have started traveling when I was you but I started traveling late in my life..48 to be exact and 10 years later, I’m looking forward to traveling to the day I die…Europe, Africa, Asia! Keep being you, keep exploring the world and let the haters, hate! Do You!

  • Leland Williams

    I simply love, love, LOVE this!! In my opinion I don’t see why anyone would disapprove of this, but at the same time I do. However with your will, passion, and dedication to ameliorate this issue, people will begin to learn. Growing up in Southern California, I was ALWAYS immersed in almost every, (literally), every culture. While I was still in high school about to graduate, my mom came home rather annoyed. Both my brother and I had been applying to college after college…you know how that goes lol. My dad asked how her day went and she then went on to talk about how another one of her coworkers was passive aggressively badgering her about why my brother and didn’t want to go to any HBCU. Of course my mom stated that 1). it’s simply our choice where we wanted to go, and 2). that both my brother and I were (and still are) completely mezmoried by the myriad of cultures in this world, and that we wanted to go somewhere that would immediately immerse us in that atmosphere (not at all saying HBCU don’t do this). So we decided to move to Hawaii to attend Hawaii Pacific University on Oahu or “the gathering spot.” I don’t regret it one bit, and I’m still here as a graduate student. In 2014 I studied abroad to Australia, and again I got so much “side-eye,” questions, and concerns as to why I wanted to go there. Most of my African American friends studied abroad too, but in several countries in Africa. I chose Australia because what I’m studying; environmental studies and sustainability. The Great Barrier Reef was LITERALLY in my backyard…but this was still a little “sketchy” to some of my friends. The comments poured in: “Australia is the most racist country on earth,” “don’t let them beat you…” the list goes on. Because of this, I was mortified to get on that 14 hour flight from LAX at midnight 2/13/14. But of course I did and the (extremely) long flight provided the perfect time for some thinking. We flew through Valentines Day (#SingleSquad) and landed 2/16/14 Australia time. For the next six month I enjoyed EVERY bit of my time there. Learning about there unique environments and even history…and yes the genocidal history too. The people were extremely friendly…friendly too the point where it was a little awkward 😅. I guess what I’m trying to say is that yes, there are some harsh pasts out there however this shouldn’t be used to always assume what people are like today. Of course, like stated in this lovely blog, there are some complete jerks out there who wish to keep these ignorant, racist, and terrible ideals around, but I firmly believe there is far more good in this world that will prevent this. Going out and traveling the world, and advocating our excellence is great way to make this change.

  • wearefree

    I’m a middle-aged white woman in rural Kansas (with a daughter who also attended Baker for a semester), and I love your blog. This particular post was fascinating. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I’m so sorry for the vitriol you have experienced and hope that your words will be taken to heart. We all have our own perspectives, molded by our life experiences. I love your global perspective layered with your cultural roots. Sure makes for a unique and beautiful painting!

  • rmichele

    I appreciate your perspective, and applaud you for having the courage to share it! I’ve been blessed, as a Black/African-American woman (I’m ok using both), to have traveled to many places in the world. However, while it’s on my wish-list, I have never been to Africa, and I don’t apologize for that! I’m “WOKE”, and not seeking the acceptance, understanding or approval from anyone. For those who attempt to bully, because my journey is different than theirs, I say: we are the sum total of our exposure; let that percolate!
    I wish you continued success, happiness and safe travels!

  • Ali Jaafar

    Great article!

  • Pingback: Black traveler, why you should consider traveling to an African country |()

  • Valerie J. Wilson

    Thank you for sharing your story, Glo. I love and respect you so much more for how open and honest you are about your life.
    Don’t let the haters get you down. Keep on keeping on girl.

  • Jai

    I have so many thoughts after reading this. I have to first mention that I cried with you as I read this post. This box that black people and especially black women are expected to live in are so demanding, so limiting. I live in Asia and am an unambiguous looking black woman. You are absolutely right. There are bad moments (more like ignorant moments) but the good far outweigh. I view my blackness as one aspect of my identity, not the whole because the truth is sometimes being a woman, age, American, or an English speaker are more important to people than my skin color.

    “Black Americans, as soon as we accept that no matter what we do and how hard we try, there will always be people who have a problem with our existence, the sooner we’ll be able to pivot, adjust, adapt, and flourish.” THIS, ALL OF THIS! I have dark skin and growing up in the states was HAARRDD. I never felt accepted or beautiful. So when I read the misogynoir painted in the comments thrown your way I yelled out “hypocrisy.” Black/African- Americans need to stop pretending like being in the USA or even in our own communities is a safe haven. IT IS NOT. Especially when one has the phenotype similar to yours and mine. Naturally, I expect (not tolerate) someone of a predominantly non-black culture in other countries to have misconceptions or curiosity about my look and identity. But to receive that treatment at home is an intentional disregard of my humanity from blacks and non-blacks.

    “The thing I have to remind myself often, is that Blacks weren’t the only race or ethnic group who were enslaved, murdered, raped, and oppressed by other people.” THIS THIS THIS. We are so wrapped up in our own pain and story. We are addicted to it and have used it as a crutch. This is why other cultures lack sympathy for us. Others have been through the fire too and found a way to make it. Yes, blackness makes our situations unique, NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

    I am so sorry that you have to endure such ignorance. You are resilient and I hope you continue to live your best life! Go where you are loved, wherever that may be!

  • Kim

    Many of those comments are clearly from trolls who want to get a rise out of you. I wrote a post some time ago about excuses people give for not wanting to travel the African continent. Cost is always the first one. Travelling is expensive and sometimes very restrictive when you are from a developing country like Jamaica where I am from. I understand why you travelled around Europe and South East Asia before going to the African continent. Your case does not account for people who complain about the expense of going to that continent but go to others and drop $$$$. We spend money on what we value when we have said money to spend.

    Regardless of the expense, if we,when we can afford to, don’t travel and show the good aspects of the continent then many of the age old stereotypes fuelled by the traditional media will continue to spread. Why is it such a problem to invest 5,000 dollars for 3 months on the African continent visiting a few countries instead of enjoying SEA for a year? Yes, there is corruption and many other negatives and everyone is free to spend his/her money as desired. Many full time travel bloggers go where they can make a living and where their money can stretch very far and that is perfectly fine.

    We often have certain wide scale expectations of black people and forget that we are not a homogenous group. Both sides have valid opinions. Also many black people see you as a pioneer of sorts and so may impose certain expectations on you and never forget those who are jealous, bitter and plain mean. There are more people supporting you than trolling you. Keep inspiring those whose minds are open.

  • Grace Dixon

    Glo, I am crying from reading this AND I’M NOT EVEN BLACK! Thank you for being so candid and brave and talking about your experiences in such a real and personal way. And while this might be something that doesn’t affect me during my travels, I appreciate your strength in writing this and loved your line about leaving this world a better, more compassionate and accepting place. We need more people with this mindset so I thank you <3

  • Maiden

    I’m a descendant of (likely west African but I’m not sure) slaves. I believe now more than ever that agency is paramount that we have to work our butts off to make our lives what we want them to be. But I feel this post conflates two issues. One is people who are judging you (and others) for not prioritizing Africa. Those people are silly. Just as silly as people who judge people who “only travel to the Caribbean” or “only go to tourist places” or “never travel Solo”. I thought this post was going to focus on the idiocy of “travel competition” that gets hurtful and judgmental. I think however the post conflates this absurd mentality that there is a such thing as what black people should and should not do… which is stupid… and power identity and resilience in black people in general. That’s the part that hits me uncomfortably for several reasons. 1) people I know that call themselves black are doing so for a variety of reasons. I find it rare that the reason involves shame or a disavowal of our Africaness. But there are times when there are differences. You show that in this post actually you say ” Africans being born in a majority black continent and country means they will never experience racism to the degree of Black Americans”. In my job where only 3% of us are black. I am the only descendant of slaves. The rest are Africans first or second generation. We could go into the why’s of that but the disparitythat this is an example of is something that should give us all pause as we think of our message and methods with respect to lifting each other up. I call myself African American by the way because I see the truth of that connection but I have also been critisied and made fun of for African appropriation. Not by many but by some. Food for thought. 2) this comment section demonstrates many many many many black folks support you. What’s the Ratio of positive to negative comments? Your ability to LIVE off of being a black travel blogger leads me to believe you have a loyal consistent following of folks many are likely black. I know you don’t mean ALL when you reference black Americans in this post but it’s hard to tell if you think that “black people in general” need to have this convo or “those haters” are your audience. I for one am a black traveler who didn’t need to have this conversation and feel chided about issues that I have long since resolved. 3) the “you aren’t the only oppresssd people just move on” narrative is often only reserved for black folks discussing slavery despite the fact that other groups do the same– many African scholars discuss colonialsms inpact on the continent in modern day, Jewish people still reference handicaps of holocust and antisemitism, etc etc. I agree this should not be used to police other black peoples decisions as our liberation is living the lives we want to live. I just find the use of these phrases to be disheartening as they are things I’ve heard from folks sitting on top of their privilege my whole life. And it’s hard when agents of the state can murder and harass you with impunity or when you living in the favelas or going to failing schools intentionally defunded or didn’t have access to the best parts of what America has to offer before 75 years ago to “Just appreciate that we’ve endured”. We should have agency and believe in our ability to do what we can but that paradigm shift especially Amisdt consistent examples of our powerlessness.. will take time. Do we expect Afro brasilans to focus on the fact that they are alive and be happy and just use that strength to travel the world, or do we want them to fight for a better life … the way Black Americans have done to give us acccess to what America has to offer? I do see the privileges of the American passport of living in the largest economy of the world. I see travel as cultivating a strength based mindset. Still I see black peoples all over the world that struggle against oppression as rightful in their indignation and their focus on that oppression is often appropriate. this is not intended to be hate but rather an alternative view that will allow for further reflection from all of us.

  • Bola

    The black community needs to be more united and this skill should start in the home. I love the way you con tinted with your travels regardless of these negative experiences. You are an inspiration.👌

  • Megan Maxwell

    You make a great point about Europe being so accessible to new travelers. Like, things can get downright overwhelming when you’re in a country drastically different than your own, especially if it’s your first international travel experience. Why not ease into the experience???

    And it’s shitty you get so many terrible comments.

  • Okizia Beyond

    Absolutely beatiful. Loved so many parts of this.

  • fragglewriter

    I agree with your article, and your entire blog as well, and appreciate its honesty and your honest perspective.

  • Great post – enjoyed reading this, lots of though provoking points.

  • Joelle McMillan-Toney

    I loved this post, Gloria. Before I traveled Europe for 3 months I had the same thought process as some of the negative commentators. I didn’t want to go to Europe, the continent that oppressed the rest of the world, and enjoy the spoils of the exploitation the practiced. But then I fell in love with an Italian man in San Diego, then I won a grant to create a volunteer project in Rome, and the rest is history. I experienced a lot of the same things you did but like you said the good outweighs the bad by a landslide.

  • your style of writing is so cool! and I like your photos very much!

  • El Blaise

    Recently I began taking formative steps towards expatriation and while this particular post does little to advance those efforts it has done my heart good to read about action for a change in place of the far too prevalent talk.

    Thank you.