Travel Noire has always been devoted to showcasing black travelers that inspire others to see more of the world. Travel blogger Gloria shares how travel helped her learn to lead a simpler, more fulfilling life.
Travel Noire: Where are you originally from and where do you currently live?
Gloria: I’m 100% Nigerian but my parents immigrated to California where they had me and the rest of
my 5 brothers and sisters. Though my mom currently lives in Arizona now, I’ve been fully nomadic and
living out of a suitcase [or two] for the last 5 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some may call
that homeless — okay, maybe that’s just my mom.
Travel Noire: When did traveling become more than a hobby for you?
Gloria: When I studied abroad my senior year of college, by my second week, I was already off on my first solo trip (to Scotland) and it was history from there. I knew since then that someway, somehow, I was going to make this my career. I had been blogging since I was 11 years old, so I knew that once I started traveling, that a travel blog only made sense. Getting paid to travel is the literal dream, and I pinch myself every morning that I wake up getting to do something I love.
Travel Noire: What are your favorite domestic destinations and why?
Gloria: I have so much love for San Francisco, New York, and Chicago because they’re all such international cities, that if I were to be based in any of them, I would still feel like I was traveling because of the varied cuisines and cultures on display daily.
Travel Noire: What are your favorite destinations to travel abroad and why?
Gloria: Bali has become like a second home to me as I find myself in and out of this island so frequently as of late, and all corny cliches aside, this place is truly magical and it’s the one destination I can go to whenever I need to get my spiritual, mental and physical chords back in tune. And the others that round out the top 5 are Japan because it’s like a utopia, Montenegro because I’m treated like a celebrity there, Brazil because they have such a vibrant culture and Namibia because it’s the most other-worldly place I have ever seen.
Travel Noire: What are your top three travel secrets that black travelers should know?
Gloria: Use Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” feature when searching for flights and chase the deal, rather than the destination, to start seeing more of the world. Yes, we all have bucket lists, but if you want to be a better traveler, start getting versed by visiting a few cheaper flight destinations first.
Speaking of flight-searching, make sure you open up an Incognito (private) browser to find your flight,
because everytime you search for a destination, they’re catching those cookies of your
search information and hiking up the price each time you log in.
Lastly, also regarding flight-searching, because this is often the largest investment when it comes to
traveling, is to use a VPN or pretend you are booking from another country. If you’re searching from the U.S with the American Dollar or from the UK with the British Pound, those are both relatively strong currencies, so you will be shown the highest prices. Try searching for flights from countries with weaker currencies like with the Philippine Peso or the Nepalese Rupee and watch the prices drop a couple hundred dollars after conversion. You’re welcome!
Travel Noire: How did traveling change your perspective on life?
Gloria: It reminded me of the different kinds of beauty that occupy this world. It also showed me that different doesn’t mean WRONG. A lot of times we grow up learning one single way of doing things, and how that way is the ONLY or RIGHT way. But then you travel and experience other cultures and see that the way they do things isn’t wrong, just different. And you can appreciate the beauty in differences so much more when you can contextualize the environment they grew up in.
Travel Noire: What has been your most inspiring travel moment?
Gloria: I was camping near Petra, Jordan in a Bedouin camp, surrounded by strangers-turned- friends, and the Bedouin boys played music around the campfire as we all started dancing to the beat in a circle. There was no wifi, there was hardly any light, and there was definitely no other civilization for miles as we were in the middle of the desert. With wine flowing through our blood and a million stars accessorizing the sky, we shared stories, laughs, and tears, and it was one of the most magical and inspiring moments of my life. Life, when stripped down to the basics, is beautiful. Sometimes all we need is good company, good music, and good wine.
Travel Noire: What advice do you have for black travelers?
Gloria: While being black and abroad comes with its fair share of nuances, microaggressions, and racist encounters, please understand that those negative experiences are still in the minority. We are increasing our presence around the world as everyday tourists and some cultures that are closed-off to the outside world are finally starting to take notice. Though it is not your duty nor obligation to be explaining, teaching or debunking anything about black culture, you’ll find that it’s actually a pretty enlightening exchange, because more often than not, people are just fascinated by black people. I mean heck, we’re magical AF, so I’d be fascinated by us too! 😉