Every Black American’s first question when traveling to another country is "Is it safe for Black people?"
Being Black in America means you are constantly reminded of your Blackness. I began to notice that I conditioned myself to make others feel comfortable, resulting in me not feeling at home in my own skin, in my own country.
The trauma of not feeling safe at home can hold you back from exploring other places.
But when I stepped out of my comfort zone, I realized that home also existed in other countries.
Home existed in Brazil, Cambodia, The Philippines, Honduras, Thailand, Mexico, different parts of Africa, and many other places all over the world.
Finding Home Through Connection
Exploring countries outside the USA that have areas with a strong presence of melanated people made me understand that I was living the agenda of the colonizers who enslaved my ancestors. I was uncomfortable because the agenda was not made to benefit me.
My first time stepping foot into a country where everyone looked like me was Lagos, Nigeria.
I didn’t have to reject questions about my skin color, my hair, my identity. I didn’t have to try to make others feel comfortable … Why?
Because I looked like everyone.
Finding Home Through Food
Stopping over in Puerto Rico, I tried food that tasted familiar to dishes I grew up eating.
I soon learned that many melanated populated countries prepare the same dishes with a little twist. For example, plantains are my favorite and you can find them all over the diaspora.
When you travel I dare you to find a restaurant serving traditional food that the locals trust. I promise you will feel at home the dishes will be authentic and cooked with love.
Finding Home Through Music
The thing I love the most about traveling to countries is the music.
If home is where the heart is, the music is the heartbeat.
When you hear the drums you can’t help but to move your hips, add some food and a local beverage… Yup! You’re at home.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Honduras with the Garifuna, Thailand on Reggae Island, at a Batekoo party in Brazil, or attending your first wedding in India.
It feels good to move, your body is comfortable, and it knows what to do without you telling it.
Your body feels at home.
If you are one of the few Black Americans that have their passport, I urge you to step outside your comfort zone and find home everywhere you go. Explore like a local, find your melanated brothers and sisters, experience their culture. We are so different, but we are alike.