The biggest surprise about traveling internationally was to discover that in many parts of the world it is an asset to be a black woman, unlike in North America, where it is often a liability. When I am abroad, I am usually afforded a level of respect and appreciation that I do not get in my own country.
For a couple of days, weeks or months a year, I kind of like the idea of being consistently treated like a human being. I like going into stores and not being followed or going into a restaurant and not being immediately shuttled to the back table by the kitchen. I enjoy being graciously extended service on a first-come-first-served basis without having to insist on it. It does wonders for my self esteem and peace of mind, which in turn, contributes to my overall well being.
Most of us are not fully aware of the stress involved in being an African American until it’s absent. Then it feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and your soul. In view of our well known (and documented) shorter life span than whites, as well as our higher percentages of heart attacks, hypertension, obesity, and certain types of cancer, I think it behooves us to look at ways to nurture our bodies, minds and spirits. For me, international travel is a sure fire way to do just that. It is “My Balm in Gilead”. When I travel I am able to release the illusionary control I have on my life and relax into its deeper rhythms. I am able to feel its prompting and follow it. Therein, I find the courage to play with my fear of the unknown especially when visiting new places and trying new things. My motto for this kind of vibration voyaging is: “The universe rewards acts of faith”.
When I tell sisters that I have traveled around the world by myself, they usually say to me, “I could never do that! Or “I could never get enough money together” or “I could never take that much time off of work” or “I’d be too scared”. I understand where those feelings come from and at the same time I know that travel is more accessible, affordable and less threatening than they perceive it to be. I want the sister to experience travel as I do, as a form of empowerment, survival, renewal as well as an avenue to explore economic opportunities in the international marketplace.
Preparing to take such a journey is the same whether or not your destination is another state or another state of mind.
Tips for harnessing the inner power to make your journey a reality:
1) Create a vision/Map your dream/Identify your goal
2) Identify the tools necessary to make your dream a reality
3) Identify the team that will help you get there
4) Create a timeline
5) Take a vow of faithfulness to your goal/vision/dream
6) One way to get somewhere is to act as if you are already there. Visualize yourself having accomplished your goal…the feeling, the sounds, the smells, the pizzazz!
“The most foreign country is within”. Alice Walker