Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Niecy Bivens
'Visiting Tanzania Felt Like I Really Got Back To My Roots'
International traveler Niecy Bivens was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. The 42-year-old mother of four boys and founder of the Melanated Travels agency has visited many countries worldwide and aims to explore a new destination every month.
Last year, Niecy went on an unforgettable trip to the East African nation of Tanzania, where she visited the city of Dar es Salaam and the island of Zanzibar.
“Visiting Tanzania felt like I really got back to my roots,” she told Travel Noire. “I had the opportunity to go to different communities and meet the people there.”
One of the most memorable experiences Niecy had in Tanzania was visiting the home of a local family to prepare a traditional Swahili dinner with them.
“The food was amazing, as was an experience itself. What was interesting was that we didn’t use any of your typical everyday seasonings, only herbs and hand crushed fresh spices.”
“Being able to help hand-pick flowers and herbs from the garden and then use them in the meal we were preparing was something I’d never done before. It was a truly unique experience.”
Niecy was also able to take a tour of a Tanzanian village and meet many of the children there.
“What I found to be so amazing was how much they truly value life. Despite their humble living situations, they were so content. The children were so happy just kicking around a carton or a flat ball. They had the best time outside just playing.”
“The people in the village were so nice and full of so much joy and gratitude. To them, life was happiness. Being healthy, being alive, and having family was happiness. Material things meant nothing to them.”
A rewarding part of these experiences for Niecy was knowing that she was helping to support communities in need by spending her money there, and that her dollars were going directly to the families.
Immersive experiences like these that allow her to spend time with locals and learn their culture are part of what Niecy enjoys most about traveling. In addition, she appreciates that traveling allows her to take time for herself.
“Traveling allows me to clear my mind and take a break from everyday life. I am able to come back refreshed, renewed, and with even more knowledge about things outside my normal bubble of life.”
“It gives me crazy experiences, like fracturing my tailbone falling off a horse in Cabo, but also exhilarating ones that push me past my comfort zone, like hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro.”
Niecy is currently preparing for her next adventure.
“I’ll be going back to Mexico again, however this time I will be visiting Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City.”
You can follow Niecy and her upcoming travels at @ohshetrippin.