All my life I had made these plans to do things that involved someone else. I remember in high school, Lady Gaga had came to town and I had another friend who wanted to see GaGa live. This was during her Fame Monster circa so I had to see it. I had my money for the ticket, my other friend didn’t. Guess what happened ? I didn’t see GaGa that year. I was so sad because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to go to a concert by myself. If my friend didn’t go, I didn’t go. Nonetheless, some years passed and I was able to see Lady GaGa live (ArtPop circa). But instances like this has happened to me so many times. I have even lost friends due to similar situations. (Yes another quick story) I had a really close friend, I mean two peas in a pod. We loved our pod so much, we got an apartment together. We had planned to go to New Orleans for her birthday, didn’t happen. Several other things happened in the midst but the kicker for me was Afropunk Brooklyn 2016. We were supposed to go together, we didn’t. I didn’t know we weren’t going as one until last minute. Ticket prices went up and everything! I WAS PISSED! I ended up going by myself to Afropunk because at that moment I was just fed up. At that moment I made the choice to start traveling alone. I was already used to going on adventures by myself and talking to strangers and making new connections. Why not travel alone ? That friend and I no longer speak unfortunately (a lot more transpired before and after the Afropunk drama) but, I say all that to say, there is so much liberation and awkwardness in traveling alone. There’s something in you like, oh shit what if something happens? Who is going to help me? All kind of questions start going through your head but literally you have to just tell yourself, fuck it! Whatever happens, happens. I’m going! Then when you finally make it to your destination and start doing things and meeting people you feel like the ultimate bad ass. The thrill of running off your own time and the joy of doing whatever you truly want to do. Luckily, by the Grace of God, I’m still alive to tell the story about my solo travels.
My latest adventure took me to Jamaica. I booked a ticket to Jamaica to meet and stay with complete strangers. Yes! I’m NUTS! But let’s talk about the importance of being black and well traveled for a second before I jump into that experience. A lot of black kids don’t have the opportunity to go to a resort for a vacation and they definitely don’t have the opportunity to go to a resort out of the country like some of the other kids. And for that reason alone is why it is important to be black and well traveled. Representation. The more black people that are travel will open doors for other people to travel so that other kids can identify with them and have an understanding that not only are you going to grow up and be phenomenal but you too can travel across boarders and you too will take your kids to these different places. Traveling is so important, helps broaden your mental horizons and that is definitely needed within the black and brown community.
But back to me going to Jamaica. This trip was about to be a flop too due to some friends not being able to go. At first I wanted to go to Mexico for spring break. It’s my last spring break, I’m not spending in Miami or anywhere in the states! Mexico didn’t happen. So I started looking for deals elsewhere. I was skeptical about going out the country by myself but a friend told me, “just do it!”. I prayed like God I really want to go out the country for Spring Break. I was perusing the internet and came across something called Global Jet Black Jaunt. A group of travelers dedicated towards people of color. They had a sick deal to Jamaica during my spring break. 4 days, all inclusive(except airfare) for $1000. It was super last minute so I booked it ! And since I booked it during Black History Month, I got $200 off. So it made the deal even sweeter. I was so skeptical about this because it was my first time going out the country and to add some more edge, I’m going by myself to meet and live with complete strangers! But I had to literally tell myself, “Why the hell not ! If I die or get kidnapped or something then so be it.” That was litteally my attitude( Let’s be honest here, it’s not even safe in the United States either #FindOurGirls).
The trip was amazing! Met amazing people, literally everyone in my group literally were friends in another life at another time, it was crazy. I just couldn’t believe that some higher power created his beautiful country, and I did a lot of reflection on that and my life as a whole and just to think how far I’ve come and also realizing again how much further I have to go. That’s why I say, travel alone. Spend sometime with yourself in an unfamiliar environment. Meet people! I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to meet new people, the connections I have made will help me forever and I’m forever grateful for that.
Before I started traveling , I thought traveling was expensive. But it’s really not. I’m planning a trip to Europe, 5 countries for a week-$1500. That’s airfare, housing, all that! Like anything else in life, do your research. Get rid of the mindset that you have to have this hyper-glamorous traveling experience and learn to enjoy what the country truly has to offer. In Jamaica I got to really be with the locals and talk with them, in New Orleans I really walked through the quarter before all the Mardi Gras madness took place and embrace the New Orleans culture, in DC I ate so much crab it made no sense( and I’ve never been a crab eater,had to detox like shit when I got back). Just enjoy your travels! Put your damn phone away and embrace it all, the people, the scenery, the FOOD, everything. Another tip, DO NOT FLY SPIRIT OUT OF THE COUNTRY! The worst thing to hear while out of the country with y’all president in office is your flight got cancelled, that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I have tons of tips about traveling domestically and internationally and I welcome questions, so let’s talk.
Photo credits : The Art Hype