My Fellow Black Americans: It’s Time to Get – and Use –...

My Fellow Black Americans: It’s Time to Get – and Use – That Passport

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Brothers and sisters, if you don’t have one already, you need to get yourself a passport. If you do have one, it’s time to use it. As a 35-year-old black man living in Florida, I can honestly say that now, more than ever in my lifetime, I am mortally afraid of inadvertently pissing off some over-eager, trigger-happy jackass with a gun, who would then feel entirely justified in shooting me because he felt “threatened” and knew that he’d be absolved by a jury of his peers of any wrongdoing. No matter how many languages I speak, how many countries I’ve been to, how many degrees I have, how many classes I’ve taught, how many non-black friends I have, I am part of the same pariah class as you, demonized because of my skin color and feared because of my potential – for violence as well as greatness.

I left the United States in 2005, running adventurously towards the unknown but also running away from the miasma of inequality as I perceived it all those years ago. I returned this past Christmas and have felt like things have only gotten worse.

Be it the barefaced happiness at George Zimmerman’s acquittal, the unmitigated hatred for President Obama, the unyielding desire to use the ugliest racial slur in the English language because “[we] say it all the time,” the grotesquely ironic opinion that black Americans are the most racist group in the country, the antagonizing law enforcement activities like “stop-and-frisk” and “random secondary screening,” the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, the inhumane disparities in prison sentencing, or the mass closing of public schools in the neediest neighborhoods, we are reminded incessantly of our lowly place in American society by society itself. And this is despite innumerable examples of how much we as black Americans contribute positively to society (especially when allowed to flourish) and despite the efforts of scores of white Americans who recognize their privilege and do fight with us in destroying inequality. Yet, in 2013, ignorance and hatred remain as unfettered and ingrained in the American psyche as they were in 1913 and 1813 and 1713. For too many Americans, citizens of a land which espouses freedom and liberty as the driving forces of its national ideology, it is unsafe to merely exist. That is what it’s like to be a problem.

Mind you, family, the United States isn’t the only place black folks are catching hell. We are murdered or disappear in Brazil and Colombia and plenty of other places with mind-boggling frequency, often at the hands of local law enforcement. No place is utopia. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for it.

We have options. There are places in this world where our presence isn’t viewed as a menace, as a problem, or even as an inconvenience. There are places where we are welcomed, listened to, appreciated, and even loved. These places can and do challenge us in ways we could have never imagined, but our very existence isn’t challenged.

We will have to do our part, by being open to learning new concepts, new languages, new ways of thinking and being. By being permeable. We will have to strive to be just as understanding and accepting as we hope to be understood and accepted. In the end, the tangible investment in passport fees, airline tickets, and lodging expenses pay off in that they remove the yoke of low expectations. They can release us from the snares of a society that thinks it’s got us all figured out. Most importantly, these investments pay off in options.

We must have the option to participate in our own society as full-fledged members or be part of the creation of a society that will not hinder us from personal greatness. But we alone have the power to create these options for ourselves. That responsibility – that choice – belongs to no one but us.

Once you have your passport, if you decide to leave permanently, do not feel like you’ve abandoned anything. You are merely following in the footsteps of our (s)heroes Josephine Baker and James Baldwin and Richard Wright and Nina Simone and W.E.B. Du Bois, searching beyond the borders of the United States for a cure to that cancer of oppression. You, like them, may flourish in foreign soil and find safety and peace.

If you do return, you will do so in the spirit of Zora Neale Hurston and Malcolm X and Langston Hughes and Katherine Dunham and Angela Davis: eyes opened, mentally unchained, and better equipped to withstand the renewed assault on your spirit once repatriated. You’ll be able to act as an example for other brothers and sisters – of all colors – in their quest for growth, enlightenment, self-worth, freedom, peace, and even physical safety. Basic rights, but options, too.

A passport isn’t the antidote to financial woes or family drama or failing schools or racial profiling. But it is a door opener, an exit, a way out, an escape to the boundless existence – the boundless life – that we deserve as human beings. A passport allows us to choose our reality, be it here or abroad.

Previous generations fought for our right to be first-class citizens of the United States, a right that, just a few days ago, was denied yet again for a black youth born in this country.

It is now our duty to be first-class citizens of the world.

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55 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s like you’ve been reading my mind. Long term/permanent travel has been my goal for a while now because I love travel and the richness and growth it brings. I’ve been so close to purchasing a one way ticket more than a few times this week. Although I still haven’t given up on my dream, I’m not going to let the travesties you mentioned taint my goal. I want to make sure I’m going to something as opposed to running away from something. I’ve got to do some healing because I don’t want to bring all this baggage on what I suspect will be an amazing trip and journey.

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Eric. As we used to say back in my youth: “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it!” Let travel be part of your healing process. It’s okay to work through some of the hurt on the road; there will never be a “right” time to start traveling, other than the present.

      “The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
      Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”
      -Walt Whitman

      • I love your article. My husband and I travel the world, looking for a retirement place and we love learning. We learned so much from many different places we visited; for instance: the Dutch don’t clutter their house with stuffs and most countries value family, friends, and happiness or the just the joy of life.

  2. You make excellent points. Especially about what I call “The Triumphant Return”. It’s coming back to to the USA after life abroad with new perspectives that changes your world view and allows you to go into what I call “God Mode”. A deeper understanding of the world around us.

    ~Watt
    http://YusefWateef.com

    • The Triumphant Return and God Mode…very nice concepts, my brother. I’m still striving for better understanding of the world by continuously losing myself in it. It’s imperative that our brothers and sisters do that more.

      Many thanks, again, for reading and commenting.

  3. Good post! I’ve long appreciated the options I have in regards to where in the world I can live. This thing in Florida has me rethinking my planned road trip through Florida next year. I don’t know how I would feel promoting tourism to Florida. At this time, I’m not feeling it.

    • Thanks a mil for reading and commenting, Terri! I do understand all the negative feelings about spending money in Florida after the verdict, but there are currently Stand Your Ground laws in 21 other states. This issue is definitely not confined to Florida, and a boycott would actually hurt the people it’s supposed to protect: the black citizens of the state who are heavily dependent on jobs in the service and tourism sectors and who’d be the first fired should the economy go bad. The gun lobby and the powers that be just doesn’t care enough for a boycott to be effective, in my opinion. Not that I don’t think some action is required, but I’m concerned about our brothers and sisters on the lowest rungs of the economy. Still, I completely understand the feeling. Here’s hoping you do come down and we can meet up in Miami!

    • Sherise,

      Vielen Dank! I’m glad you were able to find continued inspiration in my words. You’re already doin’ it! Not sure if you noticed from previous posts, but I spent the second half of 2012 in Berlin and have started the PhD program at LMU! Hopefully we can arrange a meet-up next time I’m in Germany, which will undoubtedly mean a connection at FRA.

      Thanks again,
      E

  4. I am with you; I’ve often said that ALL Americans should be required to live abroad for 6 months minimum in their early 20s. And it certainly does look like it’s gotten worse here. So sad.

  5. I’m not a fellow black American 🙂 but I can relate to the general sentiment of this post. I’ve always believed that interacting with people from diverse backgrounds changes their (as well as your own) preconceived notions and racist attitudes. Through travel, that is accomplished on a global scale.

    • Ariana,

      Thank you for reading and commenting! The struggle for acceptance as a human being and the desire to be taken as an individual based on personal merit is something in which people from all backgrounds – at one time or another – have engaged. Because of that, the lack of empathy is mind-boggling. Conversely, it’s non-black Americans like you who keep us from succumbing to complete cynicism. 🙂 Thanks again!

  6. I Love this blog post and all the points you made are so valid. I am Trinidadian by birth, American by naturalization. For the longest it has amazed me that only one or two of my African American friends have a passport and usually if they do its not travel and explore but go to some resort and get drunk (personal experience). And for the rest, I have been telling them get your passports and see the world, travel, explore, live outside your own “box” and most importantly LEARN!…. I hope more people read this blog post and take your advice.
    Great Post my brother! GREAT POST!

    ~Nia

    • Nia,

      Thanks a lot for reading and commenting! One thing I’d like to point out – which I’m sure you’ve already considered – is that, by nature of the small physical dimensions of most Caribbean islands and the stronger political ties with Europe, more of you guys end up traveling abroad, which is indeed a great thing! Part of the reason we as black Americans, and Americans in general, travel a bit less is the sheer size of the place and the historical barriers to international travel for most black folks. That mindset absolutely has to change, and I appreciate my Caribbean brothers and sisters who do travel for being examples to our kin who are less-inclined to do so.

      I’ve GOT to get to Trinidad!

      Thanks again!

      • That is so true, but I have also seen some apprehension in flying out of the country by African Americans ( that goes past financial reasons) I’m not sure why that is??? Please enlighten me if you know. There is so much to see and do in this world, I really Loved this post!
        AND yes! Do visit Trinidad and its more tranquil sister isle Tobago (you will LOVE it)

        • Honestly, a lot of it is just plain fear and ignorance. Folks have to be educated and exposed. That’s all we can do, really.

          Thanks again for the compliment! 🙂

  7. yes i own a passport have for over 25 years and i use it and renew it you are exactly right in all your words so I commend you i to am very much a voice of my views and never afraid to speak my mind that is my legal right you know freedom of speech they should have never given to me because i utilize it boldly and have since i was a child as well so awesome i will copy paste and post it to everyone i know so keep it up GOD BLESS

    • Thank you Christine! Flexing a quarter-century of passport stamps!

      LOL @ “Freedom of speech…they should have never given it to me.” They did and we’re all more enlightened because of it.

      Fly on!

  8. We’re all human. Race has nothing to do with who we are as people. The sooner everyone realizes that, the sooner we can move forward as a species.

    • You’re right that we’re all human. And the sooner humans stop treating people of different skin colors and physical features as less than human because of those differences, the sooner we can move forward as a species.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  9. Hi I just had a client today that is Ethiopian( raised in the US) but lives in Turkey. She has been living there for 2/12 yrs teaching, and she loves it!!!!! She also said that they don’t see race like over here in the US. I love to travel and my goal is to one day live somewhere where I won’t be judged by the color of my skin but by the God loving person that I am!!!!

    • Hello Kelly,

      Thank you for your comment. You WILL realize your goal and there are indeed places where you will only be judged by your actions. Travel to a few places and see which one is the right fit for you. It may take a while, but you will find your home.

      All the best!

  10. Well said. I agree, more Black people need to see rest of the world. I have been a world traveler since I was a little boy, and my parents were the ones to expose me to diversity and culture. So many of us are missing out on a whole new perspective and life changing experiences – There is life beyond the states!

    • Jason,

      You have indeed been blessed to have parents who showed you the world from an early age. Keep representing, young brother, and thanks for commenting.

  11. The article is well written and timely and I agree with most of what was written but I would love for the writer to comment on which countries in this great big world would be welcoming of us, allow us to participate in the democratic process that we have here, be a part of the legislative process, with all of its flaws, and provide the standard of living , on average, that Black Americans enjoy in the US? As an avid traveler who has visited over 40 countries, I can honestly say that visiting a place is much different than living there. As well as I have typically been treated while exploring various countries, I know for sure that you will always be an outsider even when people have treated you nicely during your visit.

    • Irma,

      Thanks a lot for reading and commenting! First, let me say that I lived abroad for 8 years – in Sweden, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Brazil, and Germany – and I know very well that visiting a place is different than living there. While almost every country will require you to become a citizen in order to participate in their process of voting and legislation (a byzantine bureaucratic process, truly, but not impossible to achieve), there are plenty of places that provide a higher standard of living for their middle-class residents, especially. They would include, but aren’t limited to, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the UAE, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Certainly, there are varying degrees to which a non-native of those countries can integrate fully into the society, but I wouldn’t agree with the statement that “you will always be an outsider even when people have treated you nicely during your visit.” There is racism and discrimination everywhere, of course, but I never once, in the three years that I lived in Brazil, felt like an outsider. Never. From what I hear about Canada, plus my own experiences there, I can’t imagine feeling like that much of an outsider. But I’m also the type to try and learn the local language and tend to make friends with people wherever I go. I actually feel more like an outsider in the United States sometimes.

      Every place has problems, but I think it’s dangerously naive to consider any one country the “best country in the world.”

      Thank you, again, for your thoughts on the piece. Paz e bem.

  12. Great read! I am a 20 year old African-American female and I recently spent a month in the Philippines conducting research for Howard University and it opened my eyes to a lot of what you spoke about in the article. While I do not agree with permanently leaving the country, foreign travel is necessary for us to define ourselves to others because many outside the US are only exposed to what they see of us on TV.

    • Magdalene (great name!!!),

      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed your time in the Philippines and I hope that this is just the start of more worldwide travels for you. You’re well within your rights to choose whether or not you want to leave the country permanently. Some people feel more comfortable abroad, and that’s their choice, too. As you said, it is absolutely necessary for us to define ourselves, as opposed to how we are constantly misrepresented.

      Keep on flying, fellow HBCUan!

    • Magdalene
      Why don’t you agree with leaving the country? It could be that leaving is not for you but may the answer for someone else. I think alot of americans look at themselves as the best and the outside world being filled with danger. Some people think this is the greatest country until you look at the racial divide, educational, happiness and health of other nations. Few conservatives american have an answer for this.

  13. Bruver (hope you’re comfortable with that reference) I enjoyed your piece & take on the plight of our collective reality. And embrace your remedy to the our generational malady – to travel. Quite apt! Before I start I need you to try & understand I in no way seek to degrade any aspect to which you’ve expressed opinions.
    I’m just a stickler to incessantly seeking the third option. As you might have deduced from my name I’m indigenously African & particularly Nigerian. Reiterating I don’t seek to rubbish anything you’ve touched on but I for one isn’t living in the land of my forefathers & do love travel just like you. But from my experience no matter where one decides to visit or reside, our bane always tags along. Although maybe at times not as bad but as surely as night follows day it always puts in an appearance.
    In my humble opinion, if there’s a way out of this ‘them & us’ scenario it firstly has to come from us then accompanied with a stand & demand what’s rightfully ours the universality of existence

    • Jide,

      Thanks a lot for commenting, bruh (that’s how we say “bruva” in my hometown)!

      I hear exactly what you’re saying – that Standing Our Ground is crucial to obtaining our rightful equality as human beings. That is crucial and there are some people who will choose to do just that. But there are other ways to affect change, and we need people doing it all: fighting on a legislative, judicial, and executive level within government, fighting on an economic level in business, fighting on an educational and cultural level, and so on. International travel is an absolute must if we are to understand just how much we belong to the world and how much it belongs to us. Some of us will find it easier to maintain the struggle from afar, if only to keep from self-destructing in the heat of battle. Some of us prefer to locate ourselves in places where we don’t feel so numerically outnumbered – in Nigeria or Brazil or Kenya, perhaps. We have to take care of ourselves individually so that we may take care of ourselves collectively.

      I hope that wasn’t too convoluted…it’s late.

      Paz e bem!

  14. FlyBrother, I couldn’t have said it better myself! Amen!

    I started studying Spanish when I was a young girl and finished with my Bachelors and Masters in Spanish. People used to say,”Why are you studying Spanish?” It was a stereotype and still is that there is a specific genotype for what a Spanish-speaking person/Hispanic/Latino/a looks like in the U.S. It wasn’t until I traveled to Costa Rica for the first time for study abroad that I found out that there are black people that speak Spanish, period. It was eye-opening! I was often thought of to be from that country and others like it with a significant black population. I’ve traveled to five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, El Salvador) and the majority of these countries have a black population but countries like Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Colombia have the largest but outside of Africa, Brazil has the largest black population (this is due to a huge slave trade making Brazil either the last or second to last country to abolish it along with Cuba). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in living in Brazil to see what it was like. From my experiences, the racism is there in Latin America (including Brazil) but it seems to pale in comparison to the United States. I had to educate a few ignorant people in Costa Rica that not all black people are good at sports. Some countries still do blackface but it is usually tied in with Carnival costumes. Also, a lot of countries have unrealistic stereotypes about what an American looks like since they see so few of us African Americans traveling abroad. They think to be American is to be blonde with blue eyes… It’d be nice to change this stereotype, for real.

    Black was revered as beautiful and respected in many parts of Colombia I traveled to during my recently ended two year stint as a US government official posted there. Next up is Dominican Republic! I have a lot to do there as Black awareness fueled by hate for neighboring and proud Haiti is still deep rooted in a sea of pride for Spamish and Indian roots instead. In Colombia, many black people were proud of their heritage and saw Obama as their President too! For me, it was fun to have “family” away from home. Their struggles were similar to blacks elsewhere though usually the worst of circumstances and often ignored by the government as far as access to government services went.

    I left the country for the first time when I was deployed to Iraq during my service in the Marines and owe that to my desire to travel and work abroad from that moment forward. After study abroad, I completed overseas internships including one in Africa where I saw the true beauty and devastation of the African diaspora. I am committed to a life traveling abroad whether it remains one living on the front lines or one with occasional trips there but I encourage y’all, the experience is priceless!

    FlyBrother, let’s connect!

    • Qiubo Kamilah?!

      I sincerely appreciate you sharing your story. I lived in Colombia for 4 years (2005-2009), and I can say that I had the complete opposite experience. I’ve never lived in such a white-supremacist society in my life; that was where I was asked once, “Why do you want to be a black nigger?” In the upscale schools where I taught, they all wanted McCain to win the presidency in 2009 (pre-FTA, of course, because they thought Obama would derail it). That said, I’m very glad that you found the communities that appreciate the beauty of the very large black influence in Colombian society. I do wish that I had had that experience. I found it in Brazil.

      As you say, Latin America has deep racial issues. I tend to think that they’re just as bad as the US, if not a little worse, only because so many people refuse to acknowledge or even talk about race in Latin America. If you bring it up, then you’re labeled as the racist one. Even though countries like Brazil, Colombia, the DR, Cuba, and Venezuela have higher percentages of black people than we have in the States, I can’t ever see them having an Obama or an Oprah or any paradigm shift in socioeconomic stratification along color lines. They’ve never had that crucial civil rights movement.

      Still, I’m glad you seem to have the same love for Latin America that I do and I look forward to further discourse about the region and your time in Colombia!

      -Fly

  15. I have to say that I really enjoyed reading your post. I’m a 35 year old black woman and I’m a bit ashamed to say that I just got a passport within the last year and went on my first trip out of the country this past June. I absolutely loved it and wonder why I waited so long. My dream would be to live abroad although I’m not sure where yet. I do have some ideas. Anyway, thank you for this post, it renewed my spirit of wanting to live outside of the States.

    • Tamika,

      Thank you for posting. DO NOT be ashamed about just now getting your passport. You have it! That’s what matters. Now get ta steppin’. 😉

      Fly safe.

  16. I agree with a lot of this article but disagree with a lot more. Im a black 29 year old male from northern Florida as well and I don’t like articles like this, that , that make it seem like everyone in the USA hates blacks. I feel its disrespectful to my non black friends who do not feel this way and those who fought and risked their lives along side blacks to give us freedom. Another thing is that our American passports give us the freedom to be able to travel where we want for the most part. When I was in Choco Colombia my Afro Colombian friends wish they had the freedom to travel that I have, i’m thankful to the US, we don’t have to apply for visas etc. for majority of our travel, and even when we do, it’s not a strenuous process faced by others, we pay said fee and our visas are issued. I just hope for you to be more careful when selling the idea that everyone in the US hate blacks, this is an international platform and I would some non black Americans to hesitate coming here because they fear how they will be viewed. And to be honest, there are a lot of worse places to be black in the Americas. After meeting people in over 30 countries, from Mexico to Argentina, spending 6 months in Colombia, and on the other 4 inhabited continents in my travels, I’ve learned people treat you better as a black American tourist, than if you are a black local or an African immigrant.

      • Bruce, Your comment tells me you are more concerned about poor whites thinking blacks hate them, than the other way around. If you actually think that? You are in terrible denial. It is blacks who are concerned with how they will be treated abroad, not whites. I wonder what caused you to think this?

    • Bruce,

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I would, however, like to point out specific lines in the post where I addressed some of the exact issues that you mention.

      Your criticism: “I don’t like articles like this, that , that make it seem like everyone in the USA hates blacks. I feel its disrespectful to my non black friends who do not feel this way and those who fought and risked their lives along side blacks to give us freedom.”

      My actual text: “And this is despite innumerable examples of how much we as black Americans contribute positively to society (especially when allowed to flourish) and despite the efforts of scores of white Americans who recognize their privilege and do fight with us in destroying inequality.” My non-black friends have forwarded this post to other people, actually.

      Your criticism: “And to be honest, there are a lot of worse places to be black in the Americas.”

      My actual text: “Mind you, family, the United States isn’t the only place black folks are catching hell. We are murdered or disappear in Brazil and Colombia and plenty of other places with mind-boggling frequency, often at the hands of local law enforcement. No place is utopia.” You’re right that there are worse places to be black, but are you suggesting that we should settle for unequal and/or inhumane treatment in the United States simply because other people might have it worse?

      Your criticism: “Another thing is that our American passports give us the freedom to be able to travel where we want for the most part.”

      My response: Swiss passports give their citizens the freedom to be able to travel everywhere Americans do, plus Cuba and Libya.

      Your criticism: “I just hope for you to be more careful when selling the idea that everyone in the US hate blacks, this is an international platform and I would some non black Americans to hesitate coming here because they fear how they will be viewed.”

      My response: I never once said that everyone in the US hates blacks. That is a generalization made nowhere in the piece. But I won’t ignore centuries of enslavement, mistreatment, and discrimination from a sizable portion of the US population. There is history behind our present condition and it must be recognized in order for all of us to move forward.

      Again, I do appreciate that you took the time to read my post and comment on it, and you are certainly within your rights to dislike the post; that doesn’t change the truth of its content. I do hope that you will read it again and reconsider your opinion.

      Either way, paz e bem.

        • Me too. Three times.

          I think you and I have many common interests and are pretty much on the same side of most issues. The point of my post wasn’t to vilify anyone so much as remind ourselves that we have options in how we deal with injustice. And those options are, as you rightly pointed out, a result of the freedom our American passports afford us. I see that, however, as the very least the country can do for us in light of its history.

          I’m glad to have you as a reader, Bruce, and I hope to continue the dialogue on many other topics. Stay fly, young brother.

  17. Your reasoning is partly why I’ve spent a 1/3 of the past 8 years out of the States. For me though, my experiences-while not particularly bad-have always left me happy to return home and proud to be an American. I do think though, that I needed something to compare life in the U.S. too. I didn’t understand the advantages of being American until I lived in Venezuela and Honduras. Now, here in China, I’m learning a lot about American culture as contrasted to Chinese cultural norms. I know that I’m not done traveling but I also know that I’ll always come back because Philly is “home.”

  18. Great post! It always baffles me that we limit ourselves to this box called the United States. I lived in Panama as a kid because my father was in the military, and that whole experience taught me that there are other places in the world where I can call home.

  19. Wow…I greatly appreciate the sentiment behind this post. Traveling is my passion, and for me, it’s all about leaving my comfort zone, experiencing new people and cultures, and immersing myself in someone else’s world. We as black folks need to think beyond traveling to places where we know we’ll only hear English, and attempt to learn a few words of someone else’s language. A staggering few Americans hold passports, and even fewer blacks. Though I think the time is quickly approaching when EVERYONE will be required to have one, that time isn’t here yet. And we shouldn’t wait for it. For those that have the time/resources, GET ON A PLANE!

  20. Fly Brother,

    Thanks for sharing this post! It was very enlightening and I plan to share it within my network! I am a 50+ year old African America female. I was forced to get a passport when it was required to take a cruises. However, about 6 years ago, I met my now husband (online) who was an international contractor in Iraq. He was from Atlanta, GA. After traveling back and forth to the states to visit me. He finally invited me to travel to Dubai to visit. Luck for me I had a passport 🙂 I was excited to travel to the middle east, however all of my friends were very concerned.

    He booked a round-trip straight flight from Atlanta, GA to Dubai — about 16 hours on Delta Airlines. I had the best time of my life! He proposed to me in Dubai, we married in Jamaica one year later! Since then we have traveled back to Dubai on several occasions. I have traveled to meet him in Paris and Jordan as well. We have travel together to Belize, Dominican Republic, and we recently vacation in Thailand.

    We plan to travel to Tokyo in July and return back to Thailand! I love the Thailand culture and people! Unfortunately, we did not see many Americans in South East Asia. In fact we were there for 3 1/2 weeks and did not see any African Americans during our visit!

    As we traveled through the Middle East and South East Asia, we never felt uncomfortable, was treated nice and with the utmost respect as two African Americans! I documented my trips on Facebook to my friends and family back home to dispel the untruths and the ignorance about traveling abroad! We are building friendships across the world. In fact, we are now planning a trip to India for a business opportunity!

    Many might ask, well how can we afford to do all the traveling? People would be amaze what can be accomplished when they set priorities! Education was my way out of poverty to middle class. I am a CEO of a non-profit youth organization and I am a part-time professor. My husband still does international contractor work, however he is taking a 6 month leave as we explore another business venture here in the states together. So, we want to continue to think outside-of-the box and explore the world around us from a global perspective! We have two grand boys age 10 and 12 and I am preparing to take them to Europe because I believe it is important to expose them early! The greatest lessons to learn by is to experience them for yourself — not what you hear and read in the mainstream media. The media will paralyze you mentally!

    I am so glad that I came across this blog! Again, thanks for sharing it with the world-wide-web!

    Jackie

  21. […] A few years ago, on a snowy January evening, a stranger mistook me for someone they had seen the previous week, aboard an evening train heading to Frankfurt. The moment lasted seconds, but our brief encounter would serve as a catalyst for what became a lifelong journey of (self) discovery. As a mixed race teenager growing up on a council estate in the north of England, it was the first time I contemplated a self-image tied with any sort of elegance. Who knows what this other mixed race guy with an afro was like, or why he was going to Frankfurt, or where he came from. For me it was the notion that a stranger stopped me on the street that day, because they thought it was plausible I was a black European traveller. One minute racing through the wintry German evening on a train, the next walking down a street in Sheffield. It seemed to offer a glimmer of a new, positive identity, and ever since I’ve been searching for that person on the 7.30 train to Frankfurt, within and without. Continue Reading, “Why Afropean? The 7:30 Train to Frankfurt.” […]

  22. We left the USA in 2012 and have found happiness & peace in New Zealand. We just happened upon your blog & it’s so great to see other young African-Americians promoting travel & expatriation. We have a blog too…would love for you to read it and hear your thoughts…

  23. In the last 30 years I have been an expat. I returned the the US for 4 years. It took 2 years to deal with re-entry culture schock and 2 years to organize my exit plan. I have achieved more outside of America than when within. Of course, I had to make sacrifices, such as family and children, but I do feel fulfilled.

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