You Don’t Have to be a Privileged White Girl to Travel
I live in a world where everything is possible. I live in a world where limitations are self imposed. I live in a world where I create my reality and my destiny.
Though lately, some people have burst my optimism bubble. After reading my post How to Travel the World When You’ve Got Absolutely No Money (which has already had nearly one million views!!) They’ve insisted that my ability to believe in possibility comes from my white privilege. They’ve contested that the opportunities for travel and dream chasing only apply to others like me. They’ve decided that you’ve got to be a “hot white chick” to travel the world.
Admittedly, I don’t know what it’s like for someone who isn’t a twenty something American born white girl, to travel. The same way someone who isn’t a twenty something American born white girl can’t fully know what it’s like for me. But my wisdom tells me that though we are each born and met on the road of life with different challenges, everything, absolutely everything is possible. I have to believe that if I am to continue believing in humanity.
A big part of that comes from the many people I’ve met on the road who have shattered limiting beliefs I once held. I could tell you how I’ve met people from all walks of life, wearing all colors of skin, coming from all countries on this planet, doing many of the things that I’ve done to finance a life of travel, and more. But I know that it doesn’t carry as much weight coming from the lips of a “privileged” white girl. I’d rather they told you themselves.
So I’m turning off my microphone, and I’m shining the spotlight on some other inspiring humans instead. I’ve contacted my fellow travel blogging nomads who come from developing countries, have diverse ethnic backgrounds, and have special physical challenges, and today they’re sharing their stories with you. They’re here to tell you that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, and no matter what may stand in your way, you can absolutely travel the world if you set your heart and your mind to it.
You don’t have to be This “Privileged” White Ass American Girl to travel the world, and here is my proof:
Olivia Christine, OChristine.com
“The past 10 years have been filled with fear, bravery, hesitation, and perseverance. When people ask me to tell my story, I often meet their invitation with confusion. What part of the story do you want to hear? That I was poor: born and raised in the inner city of the South Bronx during some of NYC’s most dangerous decades? Concrete mayhem painted with the footprints of innocent hopefuls playing doubledutch and street scully. Or is it my release from that world that is more appealing? The kid who “got out”? The girl who, though made fun of and ridiculed for even fathoming that she COULD live beyond that bubble, actually did it? At a young age, I decided the opinions of others weren’t for me. They were shackles to my dreams and food to my fears.
And I did get out. But not without pain. Not without setbacks. At 17, I was diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis: an autoimmune disease that almost destroyed my kidneys. My travel dreams deferred and hope shattered, I spent 180 days receiving monthly chemotherapy to save me from needing dialysis. Those six months met deep mediation and reflection. I set an intention to travel the world and pursue all that brings joy to my soul.
Fast forward 11 years: my name is Olivia Christine and I am travel blogger, digital nomad, and yoga teacher. Having lupus and being poor was a great crutch when I needed to justify my misery and explain why I couldn’t travel. Healthcare was a problem and money was a never-ending pain in my ass. So initially, I got a corporate job and traveled the country planning conferences all year round. That was travel right? But I was unhappy. I was shuffled around in planes and hotels with barely any time to see and enjoy my experiences until I burned out. Enough was enough.
As a traveler with lupus, my biggest challenge is remembering to embrace slow travel. I know that under extreme stress, my lupus could flare and destroy me. I often get excited and want to explore anything and everything, which takes a toll on my body. Now, I often do yoga to keep my stress level down and get lots of sleep. Every three days is a break day where I do nothing but drink water and rest.
As an Afro-Latina, I met the world of travel with apprehension. I felt like the world wasn’t good to people of color and I didn’t want to encounter the hate I saw so much around me and in the media. But I took the leap with an open mind and realized people around the world want knowledge, culture, and exploration just as much as I do! But because they don’t have the opportunity to travel, all they have are stereotypes portrayed by the media. I feel like it became MY JOB to travel. To show people that women of color and city dwellers travel too! That we are brave and adventurous! And yes, I CAN camp, swim and get my hair wet!
There are audiences out there hungry to feel included and connected with our work. I aim to help fill that gap. Women of color, people from less fortunate backgrounds, and those with health issues should also know that they deserve to dream beyond their wildest imaginations, because why not?”
Inspired by Olivia and want to follow her travels? Check her out on her blog.
Aileen Adalid, IAmAileen.com
“I was born in a small island in the northern part of the Philippines that’s called ‘Batanes’ and given the size of my hometown, I have always pondered about what else is ‘out’ there for me to experience and see. So when I moved to the capital and acquired a stable job in a world-renowned investment bank, I had the firm belief that I finally have the chance to earn a LOT in order to travel more — but of course, such was NOT true. As a fresh graduate and as a resident of a country that hasn’t developed so much in the past years, I was ‘underpaid’ to the point that I just had about enough money every month to get by. Add the fact that my working hours were harsh so I barely had the chance to travel!
Slowly, I realized that it was not the kind of life that I wanted and when I started to meet and befriend backpackers and nomads who were passing through my city, that’s when I discovered that there was a better path for me. I found out that I had a skill (marketing) and a hobby (graphic and web design) that I both enjoy which could make me travel more and which would also give me the chance to take control of my life (and not leave it in the hands of someone else).
So right then and there, I decided to follow my true passion and dream: traveling the world while working for myself. Such was NOT an easy ordeal to start, but I persisted! At 21, I quit my job to travel the world while working as a digital nomad. This life change worked really well for me. In fact, during my travels, I was inspired to start my own company which made me a successful entrepreneur just last 2014 and thereby making me lead an even more sustainable traveling lifestyle now. Overall, given my story, I have used my blog iAmAileen.com as a platform to spread the word that a life of travel is absolutely NOT only for the rich and that it’s possible even for a person that has a limited passport (like me)!
I say this because since I’m born in a ‘third world county’ I definitely have encountered challenges during my travels. First of all, there’s the fact that my passport only allows me to visit a few number of countries without a visa — this means that for most of the world’s high-ranked destinations like those in the U.S. and Europe, I would often have to shell out a considerable sum of money for visa applications (add the hustle and bustle that comes along with it). Second of all, there’s also the issue of discrimination in immigration centers (they give me a hard time given my nationality, and more).
This is a rampant and sad reality unfortunately, but I never let it become a hindrance to my traveling lifestyle (and you shouldn’t either!) My #1 tip: first travel to the visa-free countries that are as applicable to your nationality. These countries would typically have a low cost of living; thus giving you enough spare money AND time to save up more for your traveling sprees in the future! (To note, there are tons of remote jobs that you can do while on the road, and for my case, I’ve chosen to become a digital nomad.)
As time goes on, if you want to start visiting countries that are not visa-free to you, remember to be resourceful in your visa applications and to overdeliver at all times! For instance, grab sponsors like your relatives or parents even if it’s just on paper so you can add more proof to your solvency (if ever your situation might not be enough), and then provide as many documents as you can in order to prove that you have the capability to travel and that you have good intentions for your trip (prove to them that you’re not overstaying, that you are well-traveled, etc.). All of these actions have proved to be great steps for me as I have already been traveling for almost 3 years already!
Ultimately, as you can see, a traveling lifestyle will only be a challenge if you let it become one, because there are and always will be a ton of possibilities and ways that can enable you to travel more! If I have managed to do this despite my background, then YOU can definitely do the same!”
Read more in Aileen’s post The Five Steps I Took to Start a Life of Travel
Erick Prince, MinorityNomad.com
“I started traveling full time about four years ago. I’ve been traveling internationally since 2005 on holidays. In 2001 I joined the military which initially introduced me to International Travel and opened my eyes to the world which had previously been inaccessible to me. Growing up in East Cleveland, travel wasn’t high on the priority list of things to aspire to do. Now that I’ve experienced it there’s no turning back. Amazing lifestyle.
Honestly, most challenges I’ve faced are a result of programming. My own and others. My idea that people are racist and out to get me all around the world and others perceptions of what African Americans are like. To understand what travel is like for African Americans you have to understand our history first. You have a people who have been stripped of all identity, culture, and history. Then given an artificial and antiquated version of each. We are then systemically marginalized and killed regularly in OUR country where we are supposed to be safe. By basic logic why would we expect better treatment elsewhere when we’ve been programmed to fear the known and the unknown?
People around the world definitely have an idea of who African-Americans are. Sometimes that’s negative but I’ve largely found it to be positive. People are genuinely curious to meet and talk with African Americans and you would be surprised how deeply you’ll be welcomed into many cultures and communities.
My advice to any person of color is to get out there. JUST GO. And don’t start with some “How Stella Got her Groove Back” trip to the Caribbean. Go someplace you haven’t heard of. Go someplace that doesn’t have a restaurant in your city. Embrace the unknown and you’ll be shocked at how much it changes you as a person for the better.
Also seek out advice from those few of us out here. We are few but we are definitely out here traveling and exploring. The world wants to meet you. Is excited to meet you. Don’t keep them waiting. Matthew Henson, the first African-American Artic explorer , said “As I stood there on the top of the world and I thought of the hundreds of men who had lost their lives in the effort to reach it [North Pole], I felt profoundly grateful that I had the honor of representing my race.”
It’s our turn to get out there and represent.”
Read Erick’s in depth post My Experience Traveling While Black
Lois Yasay, We Are Sole Sisters
“I was 26 years old, working aimlessly at a desk job in Manila, when it first occurred to me that I can just leave everything behind and start a new life elsewhere. I barely had any savings, had only traveled abroad twice and didn’t really know where to move. All I knew was that I had to go away or else I would waste an entire life doing the same thing over and over without having seen the world.
I saved around 2,500 USD and planned to travel indefinitely and document the trip on the travel blog We Are Sole Sisters. With that money, I managed to travel to across India and all over Southeast Asia covering 9 countries in 6 months. I documented my route, itinerary and recommendations in my ebook “Where Should I Go in Southeast Asia?” More than 4 years later, I’ve managed to escape the cubicle and I’m currently based in Europe with my husband and baby.
As a Filipino, I often find it challenging when I’m applying for a visa abroad. Like when I applied for a visa from the Spanish embassy to join a group of women travel bloggers from all over the world for a sponsored trip to run with the bulls in Pamplona. I was denied. The reason they gave me was that they could not guarantee that I would come back to the Philippines. They assumed I would overstay, At first I was incredulous, but I started to see things from their perspective. I was a single, unemployed female with no permanent job or residence. It didn’t matter to them that I had previous visa stamps from other European countries.
Once, when applying for a Canadian visa, the consul asked me: ‘Let me get this straight. You are a single Filipino woman in the US, applying for entry to Canada with no job here, no permanent address, no bank account and nothing whatsoever that ties you to your country- and you expect me to grant you a visa? I’m sure you have a nursing degree and will only try to get a job in Canada when you arrive.’
I told him, ‘You’re wrong. I only want to visit Canada to see Niagara Falls. I heard it’s more beautiful on that side.’ My answer took him aback. He didn’t expect my response. In the end, he gave me the visa.
It was difficult for me at first to accept the limits of my Philippine passport. I wanted to see the world but I knew there would be places that would not easily accept me because of the country I represent. It’s not fair but it’s not something I can change. I can only change my attitude. I can only change my mindset. And I choose to travel. I travel because it’s my way of telling the world I can.
The reality is, traveling with a Filipino passport poses a lot of challenges. We often face discrimination because sadly, a lot of Filipinos are illegal immigrants. We also need to apply for visas to a lot of countries and that means we generally have to apply for it in the Philippines (reducing the ease of travel). As of this year, the most powerful passport in the world, Finland gets visa free access to 173 countries. Filipinos only get about 60. We also need to secure visas way in advance and spend a lot of money on application fees. But I don’t think that this should stop us from traveling. Yes, it’s more difficult. Yes, it makes travel more expensive. Yes, we feel restricted, frustrated and powerless, even. But it should not stop us from exploring the world. There are no guarantees in life and there’s nothing we can do to make sure we get a visa. But here are some suggestions on how you can increase your chances of getting approved:
1) Be meticulous and gather all the necessary documents at least a month before your interview. Carefully fill out forms and always be honest.
2) Do your research well and ask others who have recently applied for the same visa for some tips and advice.
3) If you have previous visas and entry stamps from other countries, this may increase your chances of getting approved.
4) Dress for the part by wearing something simple and professional looking. But don’t overdress- this can be seen as an act of desperation.
5) A consul will always have a main question in mind: “Is this person going to overstay in my country?” Reassure him as much as possible by showing all possible ties you have to your home country (i.e. a stable, well-paying job, assets, properties and strong relationships)
6) Be confident during the interview but stay humble. Never lie. Embassies make a thorough background check for sure. Being able to speak English fluently is a major plus.
7) Don’t give out unnecessary information or documents when it’s not asked. Keep your answers brief and straight to the point.
8) Visualize yourself as already arriving in that country. Sometimes, all it takes are positive thoughts and a dream.”
Find out how Lois traveled in Southeast Asia for 6 months on just $2500 in her ebook Where I Should I Go in Southeast Asia.
“Let’s be perfectly honest, being a “cute white girl” will get you far in life, especially when traveling. But while I am a disabled woman of color with a lust for travel, I have also found a few different ways of traveling without the pretty white girl aesthetic.
Regardless of how you look, broke is broke. Having travelled extensively while being a poor student, you need to figure out how to make your money go far. I couchsurfed as much as I could during my 2 month tour of America, Canada and Jamaica. This saved me a lot of money and meant that I made a bunch of new friends along the way.
When I couldn’t find a host, I stayed in cheap hostels and met even more people that way, including some that I am still in contact with to this day. All these new friends may also have a couch (or if you’re lucky, a bed!) free when you’re in their neck of the woods.
A large part of traveling is just throwing yourself out there and engaging with people that have lived very different lives from you. What people first notice about me is the hardware I have on my leg due to polio. While some do leap straight to the question of “so what happened to your leg?”, I am not shy about telling them. As I would like more people to know a bit about the disability and show them that, that is the least interesting thing about me.
Fully abled pretty white girl, or disabled black woman with a penchant for bad jokes, the only way to really afford a life of travel is to want it more than anything. The desire to travel will mean that you will do what it takes to see as much of the world as you possibly can, boundaries be damned.”
Learn more about Jay on her blog.
Shazia Chiu, Gap Year for Two
If you saw a few bullet points of information about me, I’d sound just like your average American girl. I was born and raised in an affluent Northern California neighborhood. My native language is English and I attended a few public schools growing up. I’m about to graduate from a respected university. But there is one small thing that sets me apart from many Americans–I am half-Pakistani, and I grew up in a mixed Muslim-Christian household.
I am proud of and grateful for this heritage, but at times, I’ve wondered if my background would negatively impact my ability to travel safely abroad. However, several recent trips I’ve taken to European and Asian countries have taught me a valuable lesson: in this day and age people are quite accepting of diverse lifestyles and beliefs. I think it’s more possible than ever to see all that the world has to offer, no matter where you’re from.
So far my travels have shown me that my skin color, my economic background, and my religious beliefs don’t have much of a bearing on how people treat me. I know this is definitely not the case for everyone, and that it’s important to sensitive to other people’s experiences. But I also believe that it’s important to realize that you can reach your travel dreams, no matter who you are! It’s always inspiring for me to hear stories about people who travel despite physical and mental limitations, or cultural and economic barriers. With options for working abroad in exchange for food and accommodation, the ability to create small online businesses, and the ever-shrinking nature of our planet, I think it’s easier than ever for people to experience all that the world has to offer. I’m beyond excited to meet more inspiring and open-minded people when my husband and I begin our year-long, round-the-world trip this August.
Read more about Shazia’s travels on her blog.
Raphael Zoren, A Journey of Wonders
“‘Not everyone can be a world traveler but a world traveler can come from anywhere.’ That is my motto in life and as a Mexican, I understand how difficult is for people from developing countries to achieve their dreams of traveling the world.
If achieving a life of constant travel was a videogame, then you can easily say that people from developed countries start in the easy to medium difficulty setting regardless of their skin color, ethnicity or socio-economic status.
Let’s not kid ourselves, people in developing countries start in the very hard to extremely hard difficulty setting: making a global income is hard, getting visas for developed countries is harder and well, there’s just not as many opportunities (no work holiday visas, no mile based travel hacks, no teaching English abroad even if your tests are better than those of native speakers).
But my message is not about trying to discourage you. In fact, it is the entire opposite: I am the living example that your dreams of travel are a possibility if you wish for them hard enough.
Free yourself of the chains of the local economy and start thinking globally. Yes, I know it’s scary to quit your job in order to venture into the world of traveling but believe in yourself. Anything is possible in this life and instead of complaining that you weren’t born with a silver spoon, you need to embrace it. You need to take it all in and make yourself stronger.
As a Mexican, I have it relatively easy when it comes to visas (at least compared to travelers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East) and yet, I get questioned every single time at airports and land borders.
The reason? Border agents aren’t used to seeing a Mexican world traveller who backpacks without much money and without a return plane ticket home. And yes, there is still a lot of mistrust and questions as sometimes they assume I’m entering their country to work illegally.
Here are my tips for how other Mexicans can travel the world:
1) Freelance online during your travels so you can make money on the road.
2) Get an University degree in a sought-after area and work abroad in a developed country for a couple of years to make and save money.
3) Get a work holiday visa in New Zealand (it’s the only developed country that gives those visas to Mexicans).
4) Get an University degree in a USA University so you can apply for a Teaching English Abroad position.
5) Marry someone whose passport can allow you to have more opportunities to fund your travel (note: this last one is a joke, you should marry for love but the passport is a nice plus #joking #halfjoking.)”
Learn more about Raphael on his blog.
DJ Yabis, Dream Euro Trip
“I’ve always believed that if you want something really badly, you will do everything to get it. There are no valid excuses for not getting what you want in life.
I’m Filipino, gay and have pretty much known since I was young that I’ve always wanted to travel the world and live in Europe. The only problem is that I need a bloody visa for pretty much all the destinations I want to visit and more importantly, I need a lot of money to be able to afford it.
So what did I do? I got creative!
European Commission has an Erasmus Mundus scholarship program for non-Europeans to study their Masters for 1 or 2 years. Since I had a great educational background as an Industrial Engineer from the best university in the Philippines, University of the Philippines, and great work experience from the biggest shipping and human resources company in Asia, Magsaysay Inc, I worked my ass off and applied for the scholarship.
It’s great because it solves two things: my visa so I can stay in Europe for 2 years and my money situation since they give monthly allowance every month even during the summer break.
I eventually got it and have lived and travelled all over Europe ever since.
You don’t have to follow my path nor think that my path is the only way. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to open yourself to the fact that there are limitless possibilities out there and there is nothing stopping you from getting what you want in life besides you and your excuses.
My tips if you want to start a life of travel:
1) Start small. Visit cities and countries near you.
2) Need a visa? Forget them for now and visit countries where you don’t need a visa. I’m sure there are loads of them as well.
3) Need money? Save and don’t spend on unimportant things in life!
4) Look for various opportunities that can help you achieve your travel dreams like scholarships, conferences, study abroad opportunities, global internships like AIESEC, volunteer programs. There are seriously a lot of ways on how to see the world. Just look around and choose which one makes more sense to you.
5) Dream! And believe in them. It’s so cliche but it’s true. But you have to truly believe in your dreams and you make conscious effort towards achieving them and you’ll see it will all come to reality!
6) If you get stuck, move on. Maybe it’s not for you. The universe is guiding you towards something else.
7) Get creative!
Want to learn how you can live and travel in Europe? Check out DJ’s blog.
Francesca Murray, One Girl One World
“I always thought that I would follow a straight and narrow path: graduate college, start my career as a publicist, climb the corporate ladder, marry a nice man and by 25 begin raising our children in a cute house by the beach. But in 2009 I studied abroad in Portovenere, Italy and my life has never been the same. Since then I’ve lived in Spain, worked in France, and traveled to 15 countries and counting. I’ve traveled for so many reasons. To escape, to chase love, to teach, to party…but in general I live for discovering new cultures and languages. I’ve picked up a few things along the way, including French, Spanish, some Italian and a couple of cooking recipes.
My biggest challenge hasn’t been money (not that I’m rich, far from it actually) because I always find a way around that. Be it scholarships to study abroad, saving intensely, or finding a job abroad; the possibilities have actually been endless. Contrary to popular belief, my ethnicity hasn’t posed a great challenge either. Not that I’m blissfully unaware of racism or that there aren’t people who stare at me because I’m different, but because I choose not to let it limit my life experiences. My age and gender have not presented many challenges either. My biggest personal challenge has been breaking through the social norms of my home country. If I played the role right, I would have been married with my first child and in a managerial position at a marketing firm in some major US metropolitan city. None of those things have motivated me to work as hard as the desire to keep traveling does. Thankfully we live in a time where choosing your own path is becoming more encouraged and accepted, so I am!
I truly believe that if I can do it, you can too! My favorite saying is “do it afraid” because fear should never be an excuse not to live your dream! I come from humble beginnings and I’m all about helping and inspiring others to live their dream and travel. Once you find the courage inside you to live the life you really want, what everyone else thinks won’t matter. Let’s keep breaking the mold until there is no longer a mold to break!”
Read more about how Francesca affords a life of travel here.
Kirsten Kester, Curious Kester
“Being in a wheelchair may sound like a challenge, but in my opinion it depends on how you approach life. I was born with a rare handicap called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. It affects my ability to walk and therefore I use a wheelchair. My handicap seldom affects my life in a negative way. That means I don’t let my handicap control what to do with my life but of course it will affect it. It’s not as if I can say today I will climb this mountain and forget about the wheelchair. But I can and DO say; today I want to go up that mountain and then I will figure out a way to get up there. My curiosity and will power makes me turn the next corner until there aren’t any more.
Globetrotting in a wheelchair means thinking out of the box. Everything from finding suitable accommodation to do the adventurous journeys is totally different from when my friends are traveling. Still I’ve experienced so much more than any of them.
I usually travel with my husband, whom I have known since 1991. After so many years everything becomes a lot easier. We both know what to do in most situations. Almost, I should say because when you’re globetrotting there are seldom two situations that look alike.
I am often asked how do you travel being in a wheelchair. The short answer is, it is impossible to explain in a few words. When you travel in a wheelchair, the key is not to get frustrated or give up each time you meet an obstacle, but choose a different approach, ask for help and use your imagination.
I have always been a curious, open minded and an extrovert woman. I want see the world, and challenge myself. To me the world is a huge playground and I will rather face the hurdles and difficulties, than stay at home.”
To read more about Kirsten’s travels in a wheelchair, check out her blog.
Kach Medina Umandap, Two Monkeys Travel
“I grew up and studied in the Philippines but after getting my University degree at the age of 20, I moved to the Middle East to find work – Kuwait and Iraq for 4 years before embarking on this long-term backpacking journey. Being a Filipino, it’s not that common for us to travel abroad for leisure, most of them thinks it’s a waste of money, expensive, or difficult due to having a Philippines passport.
I won’t deny that there are challenges, I was refused entry into Nicaragua (land border crossing) because they don’t know what the requirements were for a Filipino citizen like me. I ended up crying in the corner when an immigration official took pity on me and helped me get the visa on arrival. I had to pay $85 for a visa to enter Panama because that’s the cheapest route to go to South America and I couldn’t even fly to any Caribbean countries because most flights have to pass through the USA, but I don’t have a valid tourist visa.
Having a Philippines passport can be a disadvantage at times, but I will always be proud of it and will never give it up. If you just want to make your life easier then try to get a 10 year USA tourist visa so you will be able to save money while backpacking around the Caribbean and Central America (no need to pay for visa fees). However, having a Philippines passport is great if you decide to travel around Asia, where most of the countries are visa free or visa on arrival and you don’t have to pay any fees, whereas western passport holders spend a lot on their visas!
One little advantage to being an Asian traveler, particularly a Filipina, is that my Latino Asian looks seem to blend in wherever we go. In Vietnam, India, South America – people always assume I’m a local, which helps keep the ‘tourist tax’ a bit lower, until I start speaking that is!
Since leaving my life as a worker in the Middle East in April 2013, I’ve been traveling non-stop all over South East Asia, India, UK, Central and South America. Most of the places that we’re going are countries that have a bilateral agreement with my country so it will be less hassle for me – we spent 6 months in Peru, 3 months in Costa Rica, 9 months in Vietnam and even 3 months in India. My partner and I invested in skills to support our travels. We both quit our old jobs with salaries over two years ago, but our savings were just enough for less than a year of travels.
We are now TEFL certified teachers, Tantra Yoga Teachers and Ayurveda Massage therapists. We usually apply for business visas once we enter a new country so we can start earning money to fund our next travels. If there’s no opportunity for us to earn a living, we do volunteering work (mostly hostel jobs) so we can cut down on food and accommodation expenses. We were actually broke when we arrived in Peru, after a year of traveling around, but we found a job in an eco-hostel in Cuzco, Peru where we cooked, cleaned and did receptionists work. We then found a massage table and pushed around in a wheelbarrow to different hotels in the afternoon and at night to earn money to fund our next move.”
Read more about Kach’s experiences getting visas all over the world here.
Jazzy, Road Affair
“A lot of black people have this misconception that black people don’t travel (only white people do), nor do they have the means to travel and if they do, they will be lynched or burned on a cross. All of this is bullsh**.
I am a long-term budget traveler, and no I am not white, nor was I born into a heap of money. Actually, I am a Haitian-American black traveler that has never had a job that has paid me more than $18,000 a year (surviving in NYC with this wage is a struggle) before I started living the nomad lifestyle.
And guess what, I wasn’t chased out of any country because of my skin color, nor was I asked to use the black’s only restroom. If anything it was the complete opposite.
I know you are probably thinking, is traveling while black difficult and will I face any challenges? My answer is, no it’s not and honestly, I haven’t faced any “challenges” traveling while black.
Yes, people will stare, touch your hair, laugh or even call you a “nigger” but if you call those challenges then you must be struggling to survive everyday because there’s people in your hometown that will do that too. But those things shouldn’t stop any black person from exploring the world or make them believe that everyone around the world treats black people like shit.
The amazingly nice and wonderful people I met throughout my journey so far and all the positive experience and adventures I have, are the things that feed my urge to travel more. F@ck the small “I don’t like you because you are black” moments. I live for the positive moments and you should too.
Honestly, if someone is uncomfortable with your presence then that’s their problem. You shouldn’t lose sleep at night because of someone else’s ignorance nor should it stop you from traveling. And if you do, you’re giving them way too much power over you.
The world is just as much yours as it is theirs.
But I do challenge you to understand the difference between hatred, curiosity and lack of knowledge. There are people out there in the world that have never seen a black person in the flesh and their reaction will be to touch, stare and even take pictures.
But I believe if we expose them to more people of our skin tone (only way we can do this, is by traveling) the less they will stare, and the more they will know that there is more to the world then just them and white people. It’s also not just about more black people traveling but also educating people along the way. That is how you feed the curious and educate the ignorant.
Travel to learn the world and to teach the world.
To my fellow black people, here’s some advice:
1) Don’t be afraid of traveling because you fear what might happen. Fear should be a motivation not something that makes you crawl up in a corner and never come out.
2) If you want to travel, don’t think about all the reasons why you can’t travel, make traveling your priority and think about all the great experiences you will have, the amazing people you will meet and the freedom you will feel. But most importantly, think about how you will start living for the first time in your life.
3) And you know what, if you finally do travel and end up facing some challenges while traveling as a black person, then face it, overcome it, learn from it, spread what you have learned to others and move on to the next obstacle, if there are any.
Lastly, remember traveling is not a privilege for whites only. Traveling is for anyone that wants it. If you want it, there is no reason why you can’t have it too. If there is a will there is a way!”
Amen, thank you for that Jazzy. For more insights, read her post Traveling While Black.
So, what do you think?
Are traveling, backpacking, couch surfing, work trade, and volunteering things that only white girls with “first world” passports can do? Or is fear, be it fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, fear of rejection, or even fear of brilliance, the only thing that truly holds us back from following our dreams?