Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of @black_german_traveler.
Traveler Story: 'I'm Not Thinking About Marriage Or Kids, I Just Want To Travel'
World traveler Emília was born in Angola and moved to Germany with her family when she was a child. The 26-year-old now works as an educator in an English international kindergarten.
When she was a young girl, Emília told her grandmother in Angola that one day she would board an airplane and travel the world.
“My dream was to discover different countries,” she told Travel Noire. “Flying was, and still is, something special and exciting for me.”
“I started traveling in 2013, but just to go visit my family or friends. In 2018, my curiosity and interest in other cultures and languages caused me to begin venturing out to discover more of the world.”
Emília says that although she enjoys life in Germany due to its quality education, healthcare, and insurance, sometimes she struggles with the differences between the Angolan and German cultures and mentalities.
“I just try to take the positive things from both cultures,” she said. “When I’m in Angola, my family there tells me I behave so differently. They can’t believe I travel alone as a woman. They expect me to get married and have kids NOW. But I decided that what I want for my life is to travel as much as possible. I’m not thinking about marriage or kids. I just want to travel!”
“Traveling gives me a level of happiness I can’t even explain. It has changed my whole mindset and understanding of the world. I’m more open-minded and empathetic to others now. I no longer take life for granted and have come to realize how good my life truly is.”
“Solo travel, in particular, has helped me mature so much emotionally. I’m more self-confident and independent. I’ve learned how to deal with my own feelings and thoughts. I’ve improved my problem-solving and decision-making skills, and have learned to trust my instinct more.”
Emília realizes her family only worries about her traveling solo out of genuine concern for her safety. And she reassures them that she feels perfectly safe traveling solo.
“In general, I feel safe traveling alone as a Black woman. Of course, there have been situations and places where I’ve felt uncomfortable, for example in Vienna, Austria, where so many people stared at me.”
“But I’ve never felt threatened by any of these people. Europe sometimes gets a bad reputation, but I can say that I have always felt very comfortable and safe living in Germany. There are plenty of Black people here, so we’re not a novelty or unusual sight to see. I also lived in London while completing an internship there, and felt very welcome there, too.”
Emília says the best way to stay safe while traveling solo is to use common sense and always listen to your instinct.
“If your gut tells you something is dangerous, don’t do it. Don’t go out alone at night and definitely don’t tell strangers where you’re staying.”
“Before going anywhere, I research online about the country and if it’s dangerous for Black people. At the hotel’s reception, I ask about the city and which parts I should avoid.”
Emília will take her next trip in May, although she’s not yet sure where she’ll be heading.
“I really want to travel to Peru or Colombia,” she revealed. “Also, in the future I would like to live in another country for at least two years.”
Follow Emília on Instagram: @black_german_traveler.