Photo Credit: TN
Traveler Of The Week: Traveling Makes Ifeoma Want To Make The World Better
Travel Noire has always been devoted to showcasing black travelers that inspire others to see more of the world. Lifelong traveler Ifeoma (@ife_ezeugwu) shares why seeing how others live around the world has made her want to make the world a better place for everyone.
Travel Noire: Where are you originally from and where do you currently live?
Ifeoma: My dad is from Nigeria and mom is from Barbados. I grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland. I went to Temple University in Philadelphia (shout out to TU) and now I live in Brooklyn, NY.
Travel Noire: How do you save money for your trips?
Ifeoma: I live by the motto “Book a ticket, figure out the rest when you get there.” Honestly, I get my inspiration from many places: from a picture on Tumblr to a recommendation from a friend. But ultimately, I research a few places that currently interest me, check to see which one aligns best with my budget and go with that.
Also, once a year I plan a large trip during the winter holidays. For big trips, I say plan early and pay in parts. Breaking down the payments help make a large expense seem more feasible and if you pay the majority of the trip beforehand it helps ease stress levels during the trip.
Travel Noire: What are your favorite domestic destinations?
Ifeoma: When I travel domestically I like to take advantage of the natural parks that the states have to offer. By far my favorite place that I have visited is Zion National Park in Utah. I’m always down for a challenging hike with a beautiful view and though I may have almost died while hiking Angels Landing, the view at the top was worth energy to make there.
Travel Noire: What are your favorite destinations to travel internationally?
Ifeoma: I love a great city with old architecture and great food. To this day my two favorite places I have traveled are Spain and Portugal. Both countries are extremely enchanting, warm, and full of beautiful sights and food. Best of all, you can experience a little bit of the beach while still exploring the main city.
What are three travel secrets that black travelers should know?
Ifeoma: There is no such thing as a cheap trip-find the right corners to cut and budget correctly, but don’t put unrealistic restrictions on yourself. Spend where you can and enjoy.
Racism and discrimination will be everywhere. From Africa all the way to South East Asia, people will always point out your differences. Embrace who you are and continue to pioneer the world through travel.
When it comes to food, just because it looks different, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. Try dishes that are native to the places you travel because you won’t get the opportunity to try it anywhere else!
Travel Noire: How did traveling change your perspective on life?
Ifeoma: I’m fortunate enough to have been traveling since I was a little kid. My parents always believed that the best way to learn about others and yourself was to travel. Now that I’m older, I travel for more or less for the same reasons. With each new place that I go to, I am reminded that there is so much more to the world than just myself. Most importantly, with traveling, I remember that I have a bigger calling to life, which is to educate myself and those that come after me about the many beauties that the world has to offer.
Travel Noire: What has been your most inspiring travel moment?
Ifeoma: While visiting a family friend last Christmas, I went to both Panama City and many rural areas throughout Panama. One day I went for a walk with my family out in the country and I saw a woman and her two kids hand washing their clothes underneath a bridge overpass. The next day, I was walking into a big state of the art mall in Panama City. When I think back to the juxtaposition of both, I am reminded that as a people, we still have a long way to go with providing opportunity and resources for everyone. I am also reminded that I need to do my part in making a change in the world for the better.
Travel Noire: What advice do you have for black travelers traveling abroad?
Ifeoma: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. We are in an era where traveling is a movement for black people. As new and beautiful as that is, it’s important to remember that when we travel to different places, “our look” is also new and exciting to the people that live in these spaces.
People will stare, ask to take pictures with you, etc. It’s okay to feel annoyed but also take the time to understand the mindset of the people around you. Sometimes it’s nice to take a moment to teach as opposed to getting upset.
Travel Noire: Where are you off to next?
Ifeoma: I honestly don’t do too much domestic traveling but the next trip I would do within the states would most likely be to California to go check out the Red ferns or maybe Arizona to visit Havasu Falls. For now, I’m off to Aruba at the end of June to celebrate my friend’s birthday and most importantly to get some R&R on the beach! For 2019 I’d like to venture out and travel to more scenic places such as Iceland or maybe even Japan. Who knows? But I look forward to checking out a new special culture.