In 2012 I booked my first international trip to Mexico and then to Haiti that same year and I was forever changed. How was I changed? I learned that the world was far bigger than I could have ever imagined and I felt a pull on my heart to share my experiences and pictures with others. Upon returning home my heart’s desire continued to be to see the world with my own eyes, to touch, to taste, to smell, and to feel these places that I’ve only seen in history books, the places that I’ve only seen on TV or in magazines. It wasn’t until 2015 after traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo to volunteer at an orphanage and then to Costa Rica to celebrate my 29th birthday did the travel bug really kick in. In 2016 I traveled every other month and visited 5 countries in a year. I travel not because I’m running away from reality or responsibility, I travel because the heart work that takes place with every trip I take is so worth the cost and sacrifice. I travel because I have a heart for adventure and the need to see the world for myself.
On October 25th I traveled 6,645 miles from Boston to Dubai for an experience that solidified what my heart has been telling me since 2012. I traveled solo to Dubai for #dubaiblackout and met up with 500 people who look like me and who had a desire to see and experience the world for themselves. My trip to Dubai has only furthered my desire to share my travels in hopes of encouraging others to make a way to see the world for themselves. The people who traveled to Dubai were from different states/countries, different ages and had different travel experiences but we all had one thing in common; we had a desire to show the world that we, as men and women of color, could collectively come together and break down the stereotype that black people don’t travel.
After spending 4 full days in Dubai I moved on to Egypt for a history lesson of great proportion. The only information I had on Egypt aside for how to dress was learned in grade school. Actually being in the presence of ancient history was humbling to put it lightly. Being in the presence of actual pyramids, ancient artifacts, mummies, tombs, churches and just the vast rich history and culture left me speechless. I traveled to Egypt with an open mind, with a heart ready to receive whatever I would learn and experience and I got far more than I could have ever imagined. #Cairo19 toured the cities of Cairo, Memphis, Giza and Alexandria with Habibi Tours and the quality of the tours made them well worth the experience. Our guide was very knowledgeable and made it so that each of us was comfortable along every step of the way. There are a few things that would have made the tours more comfortable for guests but overall they provided exactly what we needed for our 3 days of touring.
I would be doing a disservice if I said the trip was only full of inspiring and humbling moments. The hardest thing that I personally had to deal with while tour Egypt was feeling like I was on display as a black person. We encountered numerous people taking our pictures without permission, touching our hair without permission, saying rude things to us in English; one traveler was told that she WAS an animal. There were other instances of just being made to feel like we weren’t welcomed there but we did not allow those negative experiences to keep us from fully enjoying our trip. After our first encounter with this kind of behavior I realized that we were born to stand out so while they stared we smiled and let our melanin glow. There was NO way to escape all of this melanin and would we never apologize for it.
I’m thankful for the journey that I am on and for every experience, whether good or bad, because I learn so much about myself, others and the world. I’m thankful for each opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, to share my experiences, to teach others and to see the world for myself.
Thank you for joining me on this journey…