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June 23, 2005

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Hi

I know that black people DO travel BUT I think that if it's upper/middle class doing the travelling then they can afford a certain kind of luxury that the 'ordinary' man or woman can't. They would stay in certain areas or certain hotels and visit 'landmarks' where the people working in these areas will have been educated in service, tourism and foreign-policy. To me, this does not necessarily represent the full experience of a country. By that I mean, how racist or 'tolerant'(i hate that word) the country can truly be. I am black, female (from the UK) and will also want to be travelling alone however I am put off by stories, both by locals and visitors of various places. Where do I start?

The problem is - if we never travel, how will others be educated about us?

Just another little thing. Having been born in the UK, Im surprised to hear what MamaJunkYard has to say ("I have on many occassions been asked by white people in the UK how I got here!! So many people believe that Africans can not and do not travel"). Where abouts in the UK did you stay? Not that I doubt what you're saying but sometimes we can have expectations ourselves of other people and that causes us to interpret things differently. As a Briton, 'how did you get here?' is just a way of making small-talk ('which mode of transport did you take?' for example) and not a suggestion that you are a rareity for being a black woman who travels.

coffey0072

...Poor, black, struggling, starving artists, who're chronically single can travel too!
People are still shocked til this DAY that my black ass had the unmitigated gall to attend the Sundance Film Festival of all places, and hobnob at parties rife with celebrities, directors, and production designers!

When I went to Sicily, I would have LOVED to read an "African American Guide to Italy/Southern Italy" That would've helped my friend and I tremendously.

You are SO right about what people's expectations/or lack thereof, of us are. We travel and we are fabulous!

Ali

Perhaps you will be one of the trail blazing African American travel writers? You have the passion & plenty of adventures!

Mama JunkYard

As an East African travelling female I can relate to this post.

I have on many occassions been asked by white people in the UK how I got here!! So many people believe that Africans can not and do not travel.

The travel literature that exists is geared towards white travellers and I have found that to be very frustrating.

Last year I was desperate to find out how dreadlocks as worn by a black woman were perceived in Central America. This was really important because I was going as a professional as opposed to tourist. I knew from my experiences in Kenya that there are some sectors of the working world that view dread heads as lazy drug smoking thugs.

While I understand that mine was a specific issue, I found very little information on anything to do with the perception of solo black female travellers.

I have found that in ALL the countries I have been to my experiences and interactions with "locals" differ in comparison to those of my white counterparts. Yet this is rarely written about. You are faced to learn the hard way.

Thank you for this post and for the links you provided. I shall be checking out those books soon.


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