Journeying as a Black woman traveler is as glorious as it is tricky. Black women travelers deserve unforgettable, joy-filled, heart-racing adventures just like everyone else, without having to sacrifice wellness in any form. But between getting swept up in the magic of new friends and the seduction of long days spent by the ocean, how often do we make space in our travel itineraries for a wellness check-in?
From booking the trip, planning it, getting to the airport, and arriving in the country, every stage of travel is rife with reasons for deep belly breaths and lots (lots) of brushing it off as a Black woman. And yes, it is exhausting. Sometimes this shows up with family members having something smart to say about your solo travel tendencies, or it could be being made to feel guilty for taking time off for a vacation by your boss (because how dare a Black woman rest?)
Whether we collectively acknowledge it or not, the Black woman traveler and her wellness gets knocked to the back of the list.
Even while conversations around mental, emotional, and physical wellness are developing in an encouraging direction, there is definitely more work and compassion to be had. From the often unwanted attention, the culture shock, the imposed expectations, the very colorful dynamics of dating as a Black woman abroad, to the longing for the familiar, family, or plain old routine, the list of travel triggers is long. So that Black women can travel and be well, we created a list of wellness reminders – enjoy!
Go Slow, Live Fully
We start here because this is surely the genesis, the only way Black women deserve to start a trip: that is, unbothered. Here is your gentle reminder that there is truly no need to rush. Not towards expectations, life-goals, or any other socially mandated ‘rule’ for where and how Black women should be.
This first reminder is one of delicious slowness, the ability – no audacity – to take your time and do so with an authority that speaks loudly to the fact that you deserve to be here, presently taking in the moment or the trip you worked hard for. So, go slow.
There Is No Need To Shrink Yourself Here
Perhaps this is one to etch into each day of your trip: There is never a need to shrink myself. Black women travelers usually need a version of this motto while traveling, while being stared down for simply being, for talking confidently, for speaking fluently, for being excellent, and so on.
On this trip, we encourage you to prioritize your wellness by leaning in rather than shrinking back. Despite how new it may feel to own your entire existence in a brand new country, we encourage you to take up all the damn space available and witness yourself.
Seek Out Black Sisterhood/Community, Shamelessly
We’ve all been there. Sometimes you just crave the unspoken understanding that other Black travelers telepathically offer, or the cackling musicality of being among Black women having a good time. There is no need to feel bad or over-think that, at all. Being seen is crucial to wellness while on a trip, so go ahead and find your community.
Those Insecurities, Doubts And Fears Don’t Need To Follow You
This wellness reminder is for the Black woman traveler who wants to travel lighter. The great thing about traveling to a new place is the opportunity to reinvent yourself. Sometimes not just for a confidence boost, but to necessarily separate yourself from harmful or unkind ways of thinking about yourself, most likely due to the biases of the society you were raised in.
We recommend doing something physical or symbolic to release those doubts, fears, or insecurities; like writing them down on a piece of paper and tearing it up before you leave for your trip. Another suggestion could be to write yourself a letter reminding yourself why you don’t need to identify with those past insecurities and how your new self carried you all the way across the world and has taken you into a new chapter. Meditate on this one and see what you can release and replace while traveling in this new version of life.
Rest Is So Necessary
Rest is a concept that we’re collectively starting to claim unapologetically and it is well overdue. Resting, daydreaming, and taking days off is all necessary and worthwhile, especially on your vacation. Book your time off, head to the beach, turn off your phone, and relish in the rest that Black women are not always afforded.
Love Yourself Deeply, Every Damn Day
We include this one because being a Black woman traveler can be a confusing and inconsistent experience. Not only are you navigating being Black, but also being woman and that’s not to mention any other ways you self-identify in the world.
The remedy? Self-love, deeply and frequently. At home and on vacation Black women deserve to selfishly indulge in their own love and find reasons to feel beautiful, powerful, soft, surreal, and any other way that makes the day feel brighter. While we can’t control the inconsistent ways that we’ll be received while traveling, the one constant must be the love we lather generously onto our lived experiences.
You Are Enough
We hope you know it, and if for some reason you doubt it, remind yourself that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.