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Growing up, I watched action movies like James Bond and Lara Croft, and I wanted to be like them.

I had audacious dreams of embarking on magical journeys, exploring every corner of the earth. 

But for years, I held onto the preconceived notion that world explorers didn’t look like me: not Black and not women. For some time I allowed this falsehood to hold me back from pursuing my dreams.

The History (or Non-History) of Black Travel

When the average American was embarking on their first road trip during the early 1900s, the average Black American didn’t have the privilege of traveling. 

Racism, discrimination, lack of resources, and fear for safety are just a few things that prevented us from travels. This debilitating fear was passed on for generations. 

By the time I came around, there was so little representation of us in travel that I believed that Black people didn’t hike, didn’t swim, didn’t explore, or do any activity that were deemed as dangerous.

That was a lie.

Taking the Plunge

Travel has changed my life, taught me new things, empowered me, and helped me overcome generational curses. I was introduced to my power when I faced my fears.

My journey began after a break-up.

I’m the type of girl that looks within when experiencing breakups, so I blamed myself and felt lost. I decided to spin a globe and wherever my finger landed that’s where I was going to start my adventure for self-exploration. I put my NYC apartment up on Airbnb, purchased a ticket, and headed to Asia. I kept my plan a secret because my family would have thought I was crazy. 

My journey led me to backpack 6 countries throughout Asia all by myself. Although I was terrified at first, I quickly adjusted and realized I had no reason to be scared. I actually felt empowered and learned how to love myself. 

Travel has humbled me and made me realize that my problems didn’t matter. 

It also taught me that outside of America, I am loved.

In Southeast Asia, I was called their sister.

In Colombia, I was referred to as La Reina.

In Brazil, I saw myself in many of the locals.

And in Africa, my skin color didn’t matter.

This feeling of having family all over the world empowered me to face my fears and try new things.

Off the Beaten Path

When I talk about travel, I’m not talking about staying at your resort all day and eating the same stuff you eat at home.

The type of traveling I’m referring to is exploring off the beaten path, taking public transportation, eating like a local, feeling the rhythm of the country.

I am currently a motorcyclist, travel influencer, and in school to become a pilot. 

I have explored over 100 countries. My excursions have included swimming with sharks and jaguars, the rare honor of visiting remote tribes in Africa, and receiving a blessed tattoo by a monk in Thailand.

I found my purpose and I’m creating a legacy. A GREAT legacy. A legacy that will set the standard for my kids and those that come up after me. 

They will no longer limit themselves with fear.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with you. Salute to all my fellow explorers!

I dare you to try something new, learn something new, and I dare you to love yourself. Safe travels and continue sharing your light with the world.

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Tanyka Renee Henry

Adventure Travel Lover. Pilot. Motorcyclist. Explorer. Airplane mode

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