In Ella Sri Lanka 2016 

In Ella Sri Lanka 2016 

The digital nomad community is far too often an arrogant bunch and usually the types that I stay as far away from while traveling as possible. Usually they frequent any English speaking bar or cafe and either ask you a million questions about how you make your money, attempt to engage in a pissing contest over how many countries you've been to or lament about how the culture or poltics of whatever country their currently in is so much worse than wherever they've come from. If you're black you will get a whole new list of questions and micro-agressions like "What are you doing here?". What are any of us doing here? Aren't we all traveling, living, exploring, gaining experience in our areas of interest? Then there's the questions about how hard it must be to be from Chicago. As I recall there's some pretty crappy neighborhoods in London as well, so if I'm not assuming you're dodging bullets in Westminster, why would you assume that I'm coming from a hard knock life in the Cabrini Green Projects. Hey digital nomads! You're not the first and you're not the last, and yes some of us are black too! 

Black travellers will tell you that there is rascism along the nomad trails just like everywhere else in life, and it's not always from the locals, but sometimes it's from your fellow nomads and travellers. I recall when I was in Prague earning my TEFL certification a fellow student asked me "Don't you feel weird here because you're black." He was American as well, and acted as if I had come from some utopia of blackness where I had never been the only black person in a room. Every time I opened up my mouth to tell a story about my past experience in any subject he waited with baited breath for stories of living on government funding with a crack-addicted mother and a pimp for a father. He'd say things like "Oh it must have been really hard growing up then huh?" searching for a sob story to tell his friends how I'd overcome all my adversity and landed in Europe to make my "people" proud no doubt. 

In actuality I come from a fashion model mother and a military father who both have always traveled their whole lives. In fact I'm still trying to catch up with their visited countries and experience.  I have no memories of being on my first airplane ride and my first passport was filled up long ago. Travel has always been a part of my life and at this point it always will be and actually this lifestyle was engrained in me from the start.

The black travel phenomenon is something that I can't really support because while I was a child in the 80's and 90's travelling with my mother, there were other young black kids that were there living the same lifestyle I was. Their parents we models, designers, dancers, actors, musicians and I'm sure many other professions. We had no idea that by the time we were in our 30's people would pretend that our lives never existed and that before 2015 black people were simply not traveling. Like we had no passports of experience outside of our home country at all. 

While I think it's great that black people are embracing the idea of travel, I can't subscribe to this narrative that black people never traveled until recently. The shock and awe from both the black community and the non-black community needs to cease and decist. Black folks have always been "outchea" and lack of knowledge on a subject doesn't make it true. We need to continue to travel sure, absolutely but once again black history needs to be recognized and discussed. Black travel is just another topic ike black kings and queens, inventors and artists, on which we and the public at large are ingnorant about.  

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