I never imagined that I would be traveling as much as I do now. I always dreamt about it, talked about it, and read about it. I always felt like there was something missing in my life that I knew I was born to do. It was travel. I knew seeing the world was apart of my DNA but I couldn't figure out how to make it happen. But God!
I'm writing this at the airport in Denver as I randomly decided that I wanted to check the city out. I mean it's random but why not? Life is sweet when you get the gall for what you want. I felt good about heading here but as I started to arrive, all I could think about was “Twin Peaks.” And “Bates Motel” and any other white midwestern show that lacked Black people.
The truth about traveling while Black is that you become aware of the beauty of being a Black woman. Most people and races haven't seen a fly Black women in the flesh. Sometimes the stares straddle the line of awe and if your skin color is offending someone.
Because that's the core of our race issues in America. There are people who get offended by other races. They get scared by someone who doesn't look like them. And when you have shows like "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," and "The Big Bang Theory," you know, shows that middle America watches but they lack diversity. The crux is that you fear what you don't know. And as a person of color, you just wonder why your complexion terrifies other races. If we’re so inferior than can we live?
Traveling solo while Black causes one to be vigilant. It's a torn feeling of wanting to enjoy yourself to remembering that you are a Black woman and what that means to other people. I was having breakfast at my hotel and this white woman with a brown son, just started chatting with me. It was like she was armoured with me. She told me her life story, she asked to be Facebook friends and I took a picture with her sons. She stated that "I will never forget this trip and meeting you."
And I have no idea what I did. I was on my iPad writing and eating my spinach, bacon, and tomato omelette. I can see how someone could be offended by her behavior but to me, I just understand that some people have never seen anyone like me. And Black women- we leave people in awe.
This society will have us thinking we are so unattractive. If a Black man wants to take a dig at a Black woman, he goes straight for her natural looks. Hi, French Montana. Black men take whatever inner issues that they have with race and being a Black man out on Black women. Some Black men can't face the struggles that go with being a Black man so they dig and dig into Black women because they're wondering how a Black woman can handle it all and still be so fire?
As a Black woman, once you start seeing the world, you'll see how your beauty is revered. Then you will become so unbothered by the way certain Black men feel toward you. Because you'll know, it's not you- it's him. And then you'll start to embrace and understand the fullness of your beauty.
Besides the liberation that comes with solo travel as a Black woman, I have compiled a few tips to make sure you travel safely and that you get the most out of your travel:
- Step your packing game up- This is one I just learned. I've always been an over packer but when the budget is real, I had to figure out how to not pay for a checked bag via Spirit. Not paying for a bag and a cheap flight is the real value in Spirit. In my trip to Denver, I packed three shoes, two bathing suits, a pair of trousers and shorts, along with my toiletries and my makeup bag. Scaling down my makeup case was rough. I took BB cream, banana power, my highlighter, eyeliner, and lashes.
2. Have a “kinda” plan- What will bring you happiness while visiting a new place? Jot down a couple of restaurants to try out. What are the top 3 activities and landmarks that you want to see.
3. Talk to your cabbie or Lyft driver but don't tell them you're traveling solo- Try not to tell people you're traveling alone. Make up stories.
4. Keep your location on while using apps- It's a subtle flex that can save your life.
5. Don't get too intoxicated- Just because you're trying out a new wine bar or a speakeasy doesn’t mean you have to drink the entire cocktail. You want to be alert. Have fun but be smart.