First there was the Green Book, then there was Go Girl, the first black travel guide of the modern era. Elaine Lee is a legend who continues to inspire. The New Black Travel Movement owes everything to her and her work.
—Faith AdieleAward-winning author of Meeting Faith; founder of VONA’s Travel Writing Series; Senior Editor, Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel
At a time when people of African descent have achieved unprecedented international influence, I applaud American Airlines for welcoming global travel expert Elaine Lee to Blackatlas.com A consummate professional on all fronts, Elaine has been my travel role model for more than two decades. I watched in awe as she put in motion her vision — signed, sealed and delivered — to successfully complete an around the world trip. And then, if memory serves, she did it again. I had the great good fortune, a few years back, of meeting up with Elaine in Paris for a lovely evening of champagne, an exquisite meal and joyous camaraderie. I consider a treasured keepsake the necklace she gave me that evening. She routinely travels with gifts for friends (old and new). Elaine embraces travel with every fiber of her being as the wondrous adventure and celebration of humanity that it can be. Blackatlas is lucky to have her.I have my sights set on excursions to Vietnam, Madagascar, Bali and New Zealand. In the timeless tradition of the black gospel song, I’ll be looking to Elaine Lee at Blackatlas.com to “order my steps.”
Evelyn C. White, Author of Alice Walker: A Life
One thing from the book I wanted to thank you for was putting my fears of unease and non-acceptance to rest when in another country. My next adventure was to Austria and Czech Republic, but I was really, really scared how I, a black woman, would be accepted in such white, European countries. After reading your book, I feel very de-stressed and at ease with travelling. My next hurdles will be Ireland and Scotland. Thank you for inspiring me.
I was in the local library the other day with my son and on the shelf was a copy of “Go Girl!”
I pulled it off the shelf and showed my 10-year-old my name and essay and it was such a delight for me to see the look of amazement on his face that his mom was in a book. At the library! He was very proud of me.
I just wanted to thank you again for including my work in “Go Girl” and some 13 years later allowing for such a lovely moment.
I hope all is well and all your journeys have been satisfying.
Adrienne Johnson – Contributor to “You Go Gurl”
I loved your article in your recent travel section. I was just making plans to use AirBNB for a solo trip to Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin and Munster this summer and I can hardly wait. As a single black woman who’s traveled all over the world–usually alone–I am always heartened when I hear about other intrepid people of color exploring this great big world. Elaine Lee, whom I met almost 20 yrs ago, has been an huge inspiration and source of support for my wanderings. As an ethnically mixed person I am often questioned about my nationality and ethnicity here in the US and abroad I now look forward to learning about how other cultures will see me through there own lens of what race, ethnicity and culture looks like.
As the world begins to look increasingly like me, I am and encouraged to know that more and more ‘average’ African Americans are enthusiastically taking our rightful place as global citizens.
Kudos for encouraging this!
Kelly – Letter written to the New York Times 1/7/14
“Your book is terrific. Even my 82-year old mother, who never travels, loves it. “I couldn’t put it down” she said, after sneaking away my copy.”
Comments from people who have encountered the travel media work of Elaine Lee:
“Thank you so much for all of the suggestions and information that you provided during your talk at the Chicago Black Expo. I am extremely proud of you, you are a real go-getter, a modern day Zora. Keep up the good work, sistah.
“Thank you for taking the Utah assignment with such positive energy and enthusiasm”. Ylonda Caviness, Essence Magazine
I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation at Sisterspace. It gave me a much needed shot in the arm to plan another trip.
I heard you on WLIB-Am in New York City yesterday and you sounded really great I was moved to tears when I read your observations about being treated like a “human being” in your travels…many of us are not aware of the stress of being an African American until it is taken away from us. Thank you.
Bored, stressed and tired, I stumbled across your website. Reading the articles has given me the courage to travel solo to Europe for the first time.
You are my shero! I saw you on the Travel Channel and went right out to buy your book. I loved it. Keep up the good work.
I decided your book would be perfect reading for a flight. There was a woman sitting next to me and she asked if she could see the book. She told me of her two school age daughters both of whom had expressed an interest in travel. After the flight but before I finished the book, I gave it to her and the next day ran down to my local bookstore and bought another one.
I have had your book for several years and I get excited each time I pick it up.
I received your book on a Friday and spent the entire weekend reading it, cover to cover. It was wonderful.
I have just started your book and have been overwhelmed by the depth and power of each essay. Its great to know that there are other black women out there who feel the need to explore all of God’s creation. .
I enjoyed reading your book tremendously. It was as if I wrote it myself. It reminded me of when I traveled abroad for the first time and realized how stressed out I was as Black woman living in a racist society. My body actually shivered as I shedded the stress and my muscles did something they were not accomstomed to doing…relax! Thanks for telling the sisters the importance of travel.
You should feel proud because you are empowering us to experience the world just by reading your book.
Kathryn F., Law Librarian
I am on my third read of “Go Girl” and am enjoying more with each reading.
We gave your book our highest rating – 5 stars!
Star Book Club
I found Elaine Lee’s “Glacier Climbing” in New Zealand story simultaneously suspenseful and exhilerating. Elaine’s description of the Franz Joseph Glacier area’s beauty, and her personal reservations, physical challenges and eventual triumph are realistically magnificent. I’d never had a thought -much less an inclination- of ascending a glacier, but after her account, the memory of my personal glacial climb is virtually indelible.
Reading her account gave me a true feeling of what it must be like to climb a “river of ice”!
I wish you continued success with your travel writing…you are so talented. I appreciate your digging deep, touching the core of your emotions and experience to offer them up so richly to the reader via an afrocentric lens. I am so sorry you had to pay such a high price for embracing and displaying your African pride. I salute your strength and resolute stance.
Your travels and writing continue to inspire me.
“Elaine is freakin dope and an inspiration!”
Your slide presentation with the inputs of a Brazil-seasoned audience was SO inspiring, informative and plain fun….I don’t want to wait until the Olympics! I’m grateful that the librarian had you come and that she too is motivated to continue the travel series, and made us aware of the library resources…I may have to renew my library card! I mentioned it this morning in cardio-arts, which meant the rest of the class was sharing their Brazil stories…didn’t realize how many local folk have been there……Thanks again! Peace,
All of that comes through, as your spirit is sooooooooo big!!! thank you for all you do to share your passion for God’s beautiful creation..i always think that is our true purpose – to get people to look at the creation so they can appreciate the creator behind. I love and appreciate YOU!
You deserve the recognition because there are many travel experts like me who appreciate your knowledge and work. So ” you go girl.”
Your Black travel symposium broke an attendance record for the Bay Area Travel Writers Association.