Travel Noire has always been devoted to showcasing black travelers that inspire others to see more of the world. Tiffanie (@theburgundyblazer) shares how leaving behind her PR girl life in New York City to pursue an MBA in Paris helped her to push past her limitations.
Travel Noire: Where are you originally from and where do you currently live?
Tiffanie: I’m originally from Wilmington, MA. I’ve lived in Washington D.C. (#HU You Knowww), San Francisco, and most recently NYC before moving abroad. I currently live in Paris. I still can’t believe that I live here!
Travel Noire: How do you save money for your trips?
Tiffanie: I’m enrolled in a full-time MBA program that’s based in Paris, so, unfortunately, I have ZERO income at the moment. I forced myself to save in NYC the year prior to moving. I put myself on a super strict budget. This meant riding the struggle bus for a little while but it was so worth it.
Travel Noire: What are your favorite domestic destinations?
Tiffanie: My absolute favorite domestic destination is the Virgin Islands. I’m a Caribbean gyal and I have family living in St. Thomas. From St. Thomas, it’s super easy to see friends and family in the British Virgin Islands as well. Everything about the islands makes me happy; the people, the weather, the food, the music – I just can’t get enough.
Travel Noire: What are your favorite destinations to travel internationally?
Tiffanie: Italy stole my heart! When I was around 17 I traveled abroad for the first time. My orchestra traveled to different cities in Italy to perform. I fell in love with each city and all that the country had to offer. Fortuitously I found myself back in Italy, 11 years later (practically to the date!) with my MBA program. This time around I ate my way through Florence, which is easily my favorite place on earth. Hong Kong is also a really cool place to visit. The energy and pace reminded me a lot of life in NYC. And the nightlife! Weekend nights at Lan Kuai Fung were insane. Picture music blasting from bars and crowds of people from all around the world hanging out in the streets having a great time. It was the ultimate block party. Too much fun! Oh, and I can’t leave out Paris! Croissants on croissants, please and thank you.
Travel Noire: What are three travel secrets that black travelers should know?
Tiffanie: We are everywhere! I always used to worry about how I would be perceived in other countries. I kid you not, right before I went to Abu Dhabi I Googled “How are black women perceived in Abu Dhabi?” just to see what I was getting myself into (by the way, I didn’t have any problems while I was there). I’ve seen a handful of us and then some in every country that I’ve visited so far. I’ve never felt out of place.
Other cultures are absolutely obsessed with our hair. If your hair is as big as mine, expect to get stopped – quite literally everywhere – for a picture.
Based off of my experience in the countries that I’ve visited so far, gluten intolerances aren’t a “thing” in countries outside of the U.S. I don’t know about any of you, but in the states, I have a serious gluten intolerance. Guess who can eat all the bread, pasta, and pastries when traveling abroad? This girl!
Travel Noire: How did traveling change your perspective on life?
Tiffanie: Traveling has shown me that the best experiences lie outside of your comfort zone. Is it nerve-racking to pick-up and move to a new country? Yes! Is it scary to immerse yourself in a new culture where you aren’t familiar with the language or customs? Absolutely! But I’m telling you, you will grow. You will grow more than you could ever imagine. Traveling has introduced me to a life that is free of limitations.
Travel Noire: What has been your most inspiring travel moment?
Tiffanie: I’ve been most inspired by the people that I’ve met abroad versus a defining moment in time. Within months of moving to Paris, I made real connections – soul connections – with people from all walks of life. These people have shared their personal journeys with me, and have left me with intellectual souvenirs for me to take with me on mine. For instance, I have a friend from India who introduced me to a powerful meditation practice that I’ve now incorporated into my daily (errr, weekly) routine. My friends here have also wholeheartedly encouraged me to launch my style and travel blog: theburgundyblazer.com!
To know that no matter where I go I’ll always find my tribe – people who provide endless love, light, and support – inspires me to travel more.
Travel Noire: What’s one item that you always have in your carry-on?
Tiffanie: Earplugs! I don’t travel anywhere without them. Listening to a crying baby on a 10-hour flight? No thank you.
Travel Noire: What advice do you have for black travelers traveling abroad?
Tiffanie: Don’t over plan. The best experiences that I’ve had abroad have been when I take a day or two to randomly explore and/or eat my way through a city. It opens you up to an unrivaled experience that you may not have had if you’re following the perfect itinerary created after hours of Googling your destination. Don’t get me wrong, suggestions are great! But, every one of us experiences life differently. A lot can be learned about a new place (and quite honestly, yourself) when you just go with the flow!
Travel Noire: Where are you off to next?
Tiffanie: I’m traveling to Portugal this weekend to celebrate my birthday! Lisbon, here I come!