Photo Credit: Anya Remy
I'm A Black Traveler Who Likes To Take Risks When I Travel— Within Reason
Black traveler Anya Remy poses a rhetorical question: “without taking a few risks, are you really experiencing life?” To be clear, she means reasonable ones that won’t result in grievous injury or worse. In her view, risk-taking helps build character, and traveling provides the perfect opportunity to throw caution to the wind.
“I think we are prone to taking more risks while traveling,” Anya told Travel Noire. “It’s almost like being invisible without boundaries, while living your best life. Traveling gives you a rush of self-confidence, and you do things you wouldn’t normally do at home because you aren’t being judged.”
It begs a second question: what are the most risky travel activities Anya has done so far?
“I swam in the deepest lake in Central America, Lake Atitlán, in Guatemala,” she said. “I braved driving in total darkness on some of Costa Rica’s rural roads to visit the waterfalls, rain forests and a treetop restaurant. I swam with sharks and pigs in the Bahamas. I hiked for over an hour without a guide to get to Pedro do Telégrafo in Brazil. And I jumped off a boat to swim in the waters of Phi Phi Island. I think travel by itself has its own risks, because once you’re in a foreign country, you have to learn new laws and follow rules that aren’t applicable back home.”
That brave face doesn’t quite hold up when she’s home. Anya is adamant that she will never swim in any lake in The United States, no matter how pristine or placid. Nor will she drive at night in certain cities in Maryland, where she lives.
Anya mentioned feeling a rush of confidence during travel, and she isn’t alone in that. How do we muster up the courage to do things outside what’s familiar? Is there a certain thrill that comes with assuming a new persona, being anonymous, or putting on a mask of sorts when we travel? For Anya and others, there absolutely is.
Social media enables Anya to connect with other Black travelers from around the world. Facebook has quite a few Black traveler groups, with members looking for travel companions and advice. For Anya, these groups serve a greater purpose beyond socializing. They are important resources that have helped guide her in deciding where she can safely travel as a Black woman.
“Lovecraft Country highlighted the Safe Negro Travel Guide, which was written for Black people during the Jim Crow era,” Anya said. “It listed the places and various services which were Black friendly. The show itself was fictional, but the guide had roots in reality. I think the Black traveler groups are the modern-day guides via social media. They allow us to tell our own stories, share travel dos and don’ts, and express ourselves in ways only Black people can understand.”
Anya has nothing against traveling alone, but prefers to do it with others.
“Solo travel isn’t for me just yet, and that’s OK, because we have to crawl before we walk. We all have our own comfort levels, and I love traveling with my girlfriends, family, and significant other. Being able to laugh and make memories isn’t something I would want to do alone. The only downside is that I have to consider the plans of others, not just my own.”
Not long ago, Anya tried glamping, a style of accommodation that allows people to experience nature while having access to certain comforts and amenities. This middle ground was ideal for Anya, whose appreciation for nature only goes so far. Baby wipes in lieu of showers, and digging holes in the ground to relieve yourself? Perish the thought.
“Let me speak freely and without judgement here- I absolutely hate the great outdoors!” she said. “Nature walks? Hate them. Hiking? Not my thing. Camping? No way. And let’s not talk about jogging on a nice day. Why run when I’m not being chased?”
“But I’ve learned there’s a whole tribe of people who are like me. Stumbling on glamping by way of the Getaway House cabins, I was able to experience nature at my own pace. Being able to go for a trail walk and return to a nice shower in my cabin was comforting.”
Glamping was unique for sure, but there were other fantastic trips Anya recounted fondly.
“We walk away from every trip with memories, so it’s hard for me to choose a favorite,” she said. “Thailand would be the furthest I’ve traveled – 26 hours in total. The Big Buddha, Phi Phi Island, James Bond Island and Pileh Lagoon were sites I’ll never forget. The views were simply breathtaking and photographs don’t capture them properly.”
“Coming in as a close second would be Guatemala. The only way to travel to the towns on Lake Atitlán was by water taxi, which was incredibly cool to me. The views of the active volcano while speeding down the lake made for a very memorable trip.”
Outside of jet setting, Anya is a HR professional by day and an up and coming lifestyle aficionado by night. She loves food and fashion and devotes time to educating others about autism. “Raising autism awareness, especially in young, minority communities, is very close to my heart,” she said. “I have a son who was diagnosed with autism at an early age.”
Curious to know where Anya will be next? Follow her on Instagram @ SIX10_1984.