I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a Curly Service Announcement:
The world needs to see us.
We’ve been in Greece for nearly two weeks and while most of our experiences with the locals have been perfectly pleasant, we’ve been reminded on several occasions that… *whispers loudly* …we’re Black. We know. But it can be disheartening when something as innocuous as the color of your skin elicits stares and eye rolls. We’ve been ignored, jumped in line, and left at the tram station. Yes y’all, the tram rolled up, stopped, the director reached for the button and took the hell off. We smiled, shrugged and waited for the next one. Next stop, the pharmacy. You know that ‘record scratch, everybody stop moving’ feeling you get when you walk into a place unwelcome? Yeah, that. So we walk in, I smile at the attendant, she scowls at me and finally makes her way over to ask if we need help. After answering a question or two she says, ‘you finished now.’ She was not asking a question. Hubby simply responded, ‘you putting us out?’ We don’t like to presume and Lawd knows stuff gets lost in translation, but damn.
All of that said, there aren’t many Black people in Greece, and many of the few that we’ve come across are impoverished. Just like in the States, there are people who ignore us and people that will look at us like they caught the stomach virus… all screw face. *shrugs* Whatever. I’ve decided that whether at home or abroad, small minded people are going to have to realize we’re going to shop where we want, educate our kids where we want, and oh…we have passports too boo.
Yeah, we’re present! We’ve got melanin! Get used to it! It is our duty to travel, ’cause we have growing to do, and we have an obligation to let them see our faces because they have growing to do. So where we going next?!
Back to the script–
With just a couple of days left in Greece, I thought I’d share one last set of pics. In all, I think we snapped like 3000. Crazy, right?! But at the end of the day, all you really have is your memories and the things that jog them.
We finally decided to conquer it…
To the top!
One of the ancient theaters…
That’s Lycabettus Hill, the mountain we conquered last week.
I wanna be THIS strong- Leandra
This pic is taken from HERE to give you some perspective.
…or better yet, Kokoretsi. We had to do it. It’s made of intestines of suckling lamb as well as the heart, liver, spleen, kidneys and lungs. Every damn time we inquired about the dish, they looked as if we’d asked, ‘do you server chitterlings?’ It doesn’t smell half as bad but definitely leaves a ‘rank’ aftertaste. #IllTryItOnce
Curlies, when and where is your next vacay?
What have your experiences been abroad?
Where should we go next?! I’m taking suggestions!
Thanks for sharing your experience abroad.
During my college career, i studied aboard in Belgium, which i enjoyed much in 2009. i took advantage of the opportunity to travel to other European countries as well including Greece. For the most part, I didnt consider my experience in Greece negative nor positive but neutral (socially that is) Yes, i did get the stares and awkward looks, a few people even wanted to take photos with me which i thought a bit offensive at times and uncomfortable. I definitely feel it was a mixture of exoticism, curiosity, and ignorance. But i also had positive experiences as well.
Oh and, i am a dark-skinned female and i was rocking kinky-twists at that time.
would i go back? i dont know… definitely not alone and i would prefer to visit other places i havent gone first.
In the next two weeks I am taking a trip to the DR, but not the resort part of the DR. My accomdations may not even include running water. DO you have any natural hair ideas for traveling?
Thanks for sharing. I will be scratching Greece off of my future travels list. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing. I will be scratching Greece off MY list. Peace.
I read that Greek has had a problem with racism, particularly against immigrants of color…in fact, Greek Courts only recently convicted a man of hate crime(usually don't according to human rights watch)! I also think Greek economic problems have also exacerbated any racial tension.
Still, I think its really hard to predict how we will be treated when we travel. my friends that have lived in europe all say that italians are the most racist, others say french others say the portugese…so ultimately, it really depends on who you meet, where you go, what you do. i've had very positive experiences, but maybe i was just lucky? i also think being blk can be an advantage in some places, because you can blend in, but other times, you really get a different take on things than the white people sometimes, which i really like it!
in any case, i highly recommend travelling to africa — africans are very hospitable.
THANK YOU for posting this article Nikki! The EXACT same thing happened to me when I went to study abroad in Spain! I go into a store, and in my poorly broken spanish, explain to the lady that I wanted to make a meal for my host parent. She stood so close behind me that I could feel her breath on my neck and then proceeded to tell me to GET OUT!! The crazy thing was that I had to walk by her shop EVERYDAY after that! And I'd just mean mug the hell out of her, wishing that I'd flipped on her and just started yelling and cussing in "ATLANTA SLANG". I didn't but it opened my eyes to the racism that exists in Europe. It may not be in every single city, but when you face it, you know it and as an African- American, I get that chill down my spine as I think back to my ancestors and family who had to face that before me.
It was so disappointing and hurtful being called a nigger or mistaken for a prostitute even though I'm completely clothed from head to toe, (as in Jacket, jeans, sneakers, COMPLETELY COVERED)that it made me WISH for the more subtle racism that was in AMERICA. Needless to say it definitely impacted my view of the international community, but it also gave me a sense of duty as a future counselor.
I have a dream of being able to work overseas with a focus on working with americans having a hard time adjusting to living in a foreign country. It's usually manageable for many, but it can be difficult. To be able to help those (especially) families and POC who have to not only deal with adjusting, but also discrimination, would be an accomplishment worth striving for.
Not really sure what my point was again, but thanks Nikki for sharing your story!
And Greece looks awesome! Can't wait to go!
OMG!! I'M PLANNING ON GOING TO GREECE NEXT YEAR? WHERE DID YOU GO? WHERE DID YOU STAY?
Sorry to hear about your experience, Nikki. I I visited Cyprus, sister country to Greece, last year with hubby last year. There were hardly any black peoplev there …..in fact, during our 12 day stay, I saw a total of 2 other black people. The Cyproits were generally pleasant, though this could be due to the presence of my husband by my side, who happens to be white Italian. We, or rather I, did get lots of bemused stares, though……..the kind of looks you expect if a pink giraffe suddenly strolls down the street.
I also had a similar experience when I visited northern Italy….again with my husband. I wonder if they would have been so welcoming if I went alone.
Absolutely love this post!! Just wanted to say that.
Thanks for the post. Greek is scratched off the list of future vacays. Peace.
Visit Taiwan, its an island off the coast of China (In fact, they were once a part of China but have since formed there own government) My father, a black man, lived there for about a year when I, a black woman, decided to visit! This place was beautiful with rolling countrysides right next to major cities that reminded me of New York but better. The two weeks I was there, we traveled throughout the entire island, and me, my dad, and my best friend who joined me were the only black people I saw. The country LOVED us!!!! Many would say we were beautiful in there language (I know because my father married a woman that speaks mandarian chinese) The locals would take pictures of us, want to get in them, ask us to try there food! When we went shopping in there mega mall (I'm talking GUCCI, LOUIS, PRADA, and many,many hot asian designer clothing) we weren't followed, but instead welcomed. I thought to myself clearly they have no idea that black people are not welcomed in most parts of the world! It felt good to be in an area that didn't have any negative stereotypes or treatment to me because I was black!! TAIWAN should be on everyone's list!! Warning if you go, go with plenty of money for shopping and a stomach for they're "exotic" food!
I lived in Greece for 3 years and it took me a while to understand the culture. Greeks openly admit they are rude but they offer equal opportunity rudeness to everyone, including other Greeks. That being said, they will go out of their way to make sure you have a good time with them. Once I got to know people I asked why they stared at me and it was because they only see Blacks in movies or on TV. They consider us exotic.
Wow, I didn't have that experience traveling in Greece. I went to Santorini, Athens, Crete and Mykonos (though I had food poisoning there and didn't get out much). Also, my husband and I traveled with an interracial couple (Asian and White) so maybe we didn't have time to notice any rude behavior because we were busy chatting it up. I hope you enjoyed yourself regardless of the mistreatment.
Well thank you so much for posting this about Greece because my husband and I will be traveing their this May. Greece will just be one of the stops, being that we will be on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise. I am so excited but nervous about the cultural differences and not fitting it.
So Rome and Sicily, Italy; Athens and Crete, Greece; and Ephesus,Turkey will be my next vacay.
We're already thinking about our 2013 trip. We're considering Brazil. Trying to travel before we work on kids.
This will be my first travel abroad.
@anon January 7, 2012 3:30 AM
you wrote "Some of the worst racism I experienced in Europe was in Paris with my Parisian friends of color (one African and one mixed Tunisian and White)"
Just wanted to point out Tunisia IS an African Country…Can you please elaborate on the nationality of your "african" friend? just curious.
In 2007, I had the wonderful opportunity to study in Greece for a semester. Luckily, I did not experience rude or racial comments to your extent Nikki. However, there was one incident at the farmer's market where this young teenage boy was very interested in my hair.
While my back was turn, I felt fingers running through my hair! Yes, his fingers was in my hair. Completely shock at by his actions, I calmly but sternly advise his inappropriate behavior is not accepted. He apologized, but it was obvious he has never seen Afro textured hair.
I took that as a learning experience. There are still people in this earth who has not been exposed to different cultures or races. Those they have been exposed to probably have been influence by media.
Hey NIKKI, of course come to South AFRICA, Its a beautiful place with beautiful places.
I am your number one fan here, so when you come, I GOTTA MEET YOU…lol. Enjoy
I haven't been to mainland Greece, but spent time in Crete and loved it. You should take a trip to Istanbul as well. I loved it there and the people were fantastic.
You seemed like you guys had a great time overall and you just need to keep focusing on yourselves and ignore the idiots. You looked so stunning in those pictures, I am sure they were jealous of your awesomeness.
I lived in Germany for half a year for student teaching and traveled to Prague and Italy twice during that time. I never noticed any rude stares or had rude comments. The Germans were generally nice and friendly. In fact, the Italian men were very much interested in flirting with me. It seems like they love black women. 🙂
You must go to Capetown South Africa ! Ive made it a yearly trip since I went there a couple of years ago. I voluntered there to help at risk youth and have gone back just to vacay with local families I adopted 🙂 they are a loving people and yes some will stare – remeber apartheid wasnt that long ago. But for the most part they are pretty friendly . I stay with people who consider themselves "colored" but i get to mingle with some who would be considered "black" like me. Either way no mater where I travel , Ive been to Asia , Europe a couple of times Im usuaally either the only one or or one of a few and it doesnt bother me . As long as know one puts there hands on me of course ha! Its a lovely country SA you should try to make the journey – when you arrive you will learn more about yourself than you will be about the country. Truly Africa is a remarkable place.
I live in Germany and i think the stares, questions all of that give us the opportunity to change the stereotype of us… german tv consists of flavor of love, rap videos and other garbage they think really portrays US… and to the the poster who said the jamaicans called her "fluffy" my husband of 21 years is jamaican and that is a COMPLIMENT to them they were probably trying to "pick u up"….. hubby keeps encouraging me to gain weight !!! LOL
I live in Istanbul,Turkey which isn't far from Greece at all. I felt the same way about the stares but every native tells me that they stare because they are curious. Turkish culture is very similar to Greek. Same food, music and customs. Different religions. All in all I like it here but its time to get back to the USA.
I lived very close to and traveled widely throughout Greece. I value your input, I would like to add that 'friendliness' towards strangers and 'customer service' as is practiced in the U.S. is in many cases NOT the same in the Mediterranean where you may be greeted with a grunt before a smile even when there's cash in your hand – ask the locals. You could have been experiencing racism, xenophobia or anti-Americanism or all three – you may never know. You're obvious foreigners not simply because of your skin but the way you dress, your speech, and you're obviously tourists wealthy enough to travel – in tough economic times this sometimes spells resentment.
Many non-Greeks have jumped shipped due to the terrible economy a shame because it's generally fairly diverse in the large cities. Don't worry about the tram, those old films with people running after it are based in reality, the drivers are occasional disgruntled government jerks waiting for their shift to end. Have a great rest of your holiday! Beautiful pics!
Yes, it is sad about the racists. People should consider traveling to and contributing to the Economy of African countries.
What if that girl in front of you in the Target checkout line was vacationing in America?
What if the two ladies blocking the middle of the grocery aisle chatting in a foreign language were tourists trying to decipher a food label for tonight's dinner?
Man, am I glad I read all these posts – your comments have provided much enlightenment.
I have admired P.J. Thomas' newspaper articles, here is a link to her site and a YouTube interview.
It is possible to experience Europe affordably, so says another single female with bills:
1. Travel off-peak times i.e. when schools are in session to avoid vacationing families which is tantamount to higher prices. One can also try traveling during the winter or spring, but obtain travel insurance as a back-up against unpredictable weather.
2. Vary the travel time – catch a late night or early morning flight.
3. Visit travel sites – Expedia, Travelocity and the like, consequently eliminating the travel agent,
4. Book tours when you are in your location. Hotel staff will have excellent suggestions since they are native to the areas.
5a. Save – I basically live below my means – I am not suggesting that anyone is over their budget. Anyway, I'll buy quality, but it has to be durable. For example I have suits that I have worn for the last 8 / 9 years. They are classics as opposed to trendy. I update blouses, t-shirts and shirts, but refuse to purchase a new wardrobe just because it's in the store. How many pairs of jeans do I need? I am fine with four – I dry clean them though! Trends fade, but classics last.
5b. Save – I have a vacation account with a credit union where $100 is deducted per paycheck. Even if I don't use it for traveling, it's still saved funds that I don't touch.
Hope this helps!
Love your site and love to travel :). My first international trip was to Taiwan on business and believe it or not I forgot my makeup bag and had to go to the mall to buy some! Needless to say they didnt have my shade they just stared lol. I was followed by young Taiwanese people who I swear thought i was some sort of celebrity and they just kept smiling at me. My next trips was to Belgium a couple of times and there wasnt many of us their either but I was treated well.
One of my favortie places to go is South Africa – you and hubby must go to Capetown for the beauty vineyards, the history, the food and the welcoming people. I went a couple of years ago to help at risk youth and have since been adopted by local families so I stay with them when I go and they take me to the most beautiful places. I stay with people who consider themselves "colored" and i would be considered black becuase Im brown with curly hair. There were some moments with some white South Africans who I could tell wished Apartheid wasnt over *shrugs* oh well. I decided in my twenties as long as people didn't put their hand on me I would ignore any rudeness. South Africa is beautiful if you ever want to go let me know I got cool local connections 🙂
My next trip ? hmmm not sure but definately back to South Africa this year. 🙂
Come to the Netherlands for your next vacation. Since Holland is in the north of Europe the weather is not as warm as it is in Greece but we have lots of othef things to offer; windmills, wooden shoes, museums and the red light district, haha. Most black people in Holland are originally from Surinam, a country next to Brazil. I guarantee you'll love our food!
Happy new year.
WOW YOU ARE IN GREECE VERY NICE! MY SON'S FORMER BABYSITTER WAS GREEK SO I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING! ANYWAY ENJOY YOUR TRIP PLEASE POST PICTURES
OF BABY GIA MY SISTER BEEN IN LOVE WITH HER SINCE SHE SAW HER IN THAT LIONESS COSTUME:) HAPPY NEW YEAR!
@ Anonymous January 7, 2012 3:30 AM – I think its really interesting that you feel that the racism in the UK is really bad. I dated a white english guy for a number of years who had quite a number of black friends. I remember one of the girlfriends consistently saying that she thought that there was no racism in the uk and that things there were so much better than in the US. I've heard this so many times from other people. I definitely can't agree with that knowing the sordid past of the UK. Even though I never had a racist experience in the UK I know that there is racism there and I get tired of people trying to pass off the UK as racism free ( towards blacks) !
I went to Greece while in undergrad and my experience wasn't quite the same…of course, I was REALLY YOUNG and with a group of Caucasian travelers as well. We had a chance to visit the other islands as well…Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete and Instanbul, Turkey. Santorini and Mykonos were definitely my favorite! Can't wait to go back…sigh…
I totally can relate. I was in China (Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hangzhou) in 2010 & I felt the same. Some were fairly enough curious which was cool. Others were just stupid. Enjoyed the experience nonetheless!
Im not sure about that reaction. I have been to the greek islands, turkey, and to cyprus twice, and once was by myself. I had nothing but positive interactions with people. The first time I traveled with my white friend to cyprus and the time we went to the greek islands and turkey was with my black south african friend and she was very dark and all the men were all over her. So, im not sure why you got that reaction. I lived in London for almost ten years and the racism there was really annoying. Subtle but worse than in America. Ive traveled all over Europe and in the Caribbean and the only places I found bad racism/color prejudice were Rome (got Jim Crowed at the vatican by a man as dark as me) and the Eastern Caribbean (St. Lucia and St. Vincent) where I was called a white girl and treated differently. I do think that if your an outsider you will get treated differently. Some of the worst racism I experienced in Europe was in Paris with my Parisian friends of color (one African and one mixed Tunisian and White) the white folks were acting horrible. And many of my black american friends say they have nothing but love in Paris. So, I guess it depends who your with and the situation. But it is true that being American can be much more of a factor than being of color.
Wow. The response to this article has been amazing and I've learned A LOT from the comments. Thank you curly divas!
Hubby and I are already trying to decide where to go next… it's difficult though! We'd love to go to South Africa but the airline tickets are ridic… Morocco sounds good… so does Rio… so does Spain… ha! It'd be dope if we all swarmed in on a country and vacay'ed together… that'd be a sight to behold!
Nikki please go to Ghana. You will love it. Ive been there twice and its been amazing. Ghanaians are some of the friendlist people in the world and you will die for some West African food. And how would cool would be if you and hubby could do like an informal trio back to your roots? You and your hubby will not be disappointed. 🙂
It doesn't take thousands of dollars to travel to Europe? Umm yes it does! You could spend at least $1000 on the plane ticket alone, not to mention accommodations, food, tours, etc. I don't know where these ladies are getting the money to take several vacations a year. I'm a poor, single woman who would love to travel, but I got to keep the lights on. Please put me on!
Why am I not surprised? I have been out of the country twice both times to Mexico (Cancun and Baja). I was supposed to go on a trip in 2012 with my mom out of the country but since we are expecting our second child that won't be happening; therefore, I have decided that the hubby and I will be taking a very nice vacay in 2013 for our 10 year anniversary. Like you I believe in traveling and when my children are old enough will travel as well. Go Nikki! Don't let the ignorance of others stop you.
Come to Jamaica!!!!
"the few that we've come across are impoverished."
Uhm, yeah, you wanna know why? Because they've been evading taxes for DECADES so never mind them, get your traveling on!
av been to greece never had that experieances, why are people soo rude
@ Anon 6:06… In my experiences, 90% of our fears about traveling is as result of newsfeed or that one experience a friend of a cousin of a co worker had… maybe. Trust me, do it once and the rest is history. I always wanted to experience Dubai. I just had to see for myself what the buzz was about and man, I was NOT disappointed!!! I knew people would have things to say and they did. Are you seriously going half way around the world? Don't you have to be Muslim? They are terrorists in that part of the world…. Blah, blah, blah! How shocked those same people were when they heard my stories and saw the pics! I felt safer there that some other cities I've been to in the good ole US of A. Just do it 🙂
I've traveled a bit and while I must have gotten the occasional stares, honestly, I don't dwell on it. As long as I'm not being disrespectful to the culture, people or religion(s), I go about my way and enjoy my stay!
With that said, one of my favorite vacations was in Dubai in 2009! It was AHHH-mazing in every way. We learned a lot and experienced even moreb( I.e. belly danced with a Moraccan belly dancer at an overnight camp in the desert). There was so much to see and do. Within an hour of landing, we felt right at home! To top it off, our flight home was cancelled, so we got bumped to the business class of an Emirates A 380! Ladies, just google this bad boy… You have to see to believe. I mean, they had a BAR with lounge chairs in the back of the darn plane!
Lastly… Our kids must also travel. We have to expose them young. Got both my babies their passports at six months old!
Nikki, I posted earlier, but I forgot to say thank you for this truthful, yet optimistic post about traveling abroad. I'm 40 and I have always felt hesitant to travel overseas because of stories that I have heard. (I've only been to Jamaica and I had a great time. Pathetic, I know…but it's my truth.) For some reason, something about what you posted makes me want to travel now. For the past few days, I've been actually checking in at this blog, not for hair information, but to see the travel pics! I need to get over my fears and get out there to see the world. It's not as if I can't afford it. (And now, with all of the money that I no longer spend on getting RELAXERS…I'm much better off. LOL!) I think it's so important for us to get out there, not just for others to see, but for our own enrichment. Thank you so much for sharing – it's having a huge impact!
Spain is the place to be! Salamanca is close to Portugal, it's full of beautiful historic buildings and don't even think you've had real Tapas until you've had it there!
I think this post should be titled "traveling while in a country when you look different from everyone else there". I cant help but visualize a swedish person smack dab in the middle of a heavily populated hispanic,african/afro american, indian etc area. I can see this person being looked at with disdain and disgust especially from people who are obviously ignorant to cultures outside of there own. Hopefully as communication and technology continues to spread so will cultural-sensitivity and mere exposure to people who are "different" from us (even though we are all essentially the same).
Thanks for sharing Nikki. It's unfortunate that we are treated poorly sometimes in other countries. Perception has become their reality. But I continue to kick down doors and hold my head high. Love the pics!
Can I just add tho (I commented b4) that black people are not alone in experiencing this when they travel. Staring (if it isn't accompanied with abuse) does not always equate racism. I went to Somaliland (also known as northern Somalia) in 2004, and I met chinese people there, and also white Europeans. I was SHOCKED to see them lol, just because it was unexpected. The Somali people there were really shocked too. Not because they dislike eastern Asians or Europeans, but just because you don't see them everyday in Somalia.
@Lorian I'm yet to see the stats on "most blacks living in poverty."
Also, it doesn't take thousands of dollars to travel. For example if you check Virgin Atlantic you can find vacation deals that include airfare and hotels. If you can get to Florida, you can get to the Bahamas because it's a boat ride away.
Take a chance!
Go to South America,..Argentina or Chile (I've always wanted to go)
Oh and most Greeks are Eastern Orthodox Christians (Christmas for them is tomorrow) that's why you saw Santa.
Oops, I hit "publish" too soon! I find that people are very curious about me and my presence in their country, but not in a particularly negative way. I usually knit to pass the time or I have a gadget (Kindle, IPod touch, etc.) which helps to break the ice with people.
I am really enjoying these postings…I travel a bit, and I have had pretty good experiences. I'm usually travelling alone, and for the most part I've had positive experiences. I don't let any negative behavior I encounter bother me; if I did, I'd never leave my house!
There are stupid people all over the world. That has not stopped me from traveling at all. I have had some wonderful experiences. I do have a tactic if someone should rudely stare. I will open my eyes wide open, point and stare. That does the trick. 🙂
Last summer I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland and honestly had the experience of a life time. Rather than traveling outside of the country, however I traveled all over Ireland with my group and friends. Everywhere I went I received stares, which I can admit brought out some of my own insecurities.
Dublin is a very multicultural place where people of every color can be found, but even in Dun Laoghaire, which is a suburb 20 minutes from Dublin I received stares. My site director/professor explained that while they often had Americans coming to Ireland to trace ancestral roots, it was rare for them to come into contact with Black Americans. Thus, it wasn't me, it was them. Where some people would cut their eyes at me, others would stop and follow me just to hear me speak, or to compliment me. To most I was exotic, an enigma of sorts.
While at a pub one night in the Aran Island, I actually had a few older gentlemen inquire about my lineage. They wanted to know about me and my family, my culture. It was beautiful. Moments like that, and in 6 weeks there were quite a few, made the glares and stares worth it, because I got to spread endless amounts of knowledge. It was beautiful.
I love your pictures! Keep traveling! Continue holding your head up high and look everyone in the face. You're beautiful.
Yelp the prejudice lines extend far beyond the American borders. Your report does not surprise me!
Why is everything about race for black americans? This is so strange to me. I've backpacked all over the world and had a wide variety of experiences, mostly incredibley positive.
Not all the stares are because of your colour. Just being a recognisably different ethnicity from the locals elicits a lot of attention in many places, especially off the well trod tourist trails.
In many places, being black has been the REASON why I've been welcomed and treated much better than other white travellers.
And I can say for a fact that sometimes white travellers are hated and treated badly by natives simply for being white.
I saw this in South America and in South east Asia. There are many places in the world where being a black as opposed to a white American puts you at a distinct advantage. This is a fact that needs to start being accepted and understood by black people.
It's really unfortunate that you or any other Blacks folks had to experience that while in Greece! What? They don't think WE travel for pleasure?
My husband was in the military quite some time ago and spent a lot of time in Europe. He refuses to go back because of similar incidents that Nikki described. Being treated as though you are less than human or beneath "them" is not a good look!
This is why my family and I tend to travel to places where there are people of color such as anywhere in the Carribean (we've been to just about every island), South America, Mexico (played out though) and next on the list; Fiji and then Africa.
I was wondering if you and your husband had received any negative responses. I'm glad that you're not letting it ruin your trip and I admire the way you handle it. Keep the pics coming; they are beautiful!
While in Nicaragua for the past 2 months I realize that most people are just plain ole' RUDE and that treatment is given to anyone. Their problem isn't on color, it's just a lack of culture and good manners. I've asked around and almost everyone agrees….they treat everyone like that, even themselves. It's very frustrating, but it's a part or learning how to deal with different people and understanding why they're like that.
Thanks for writing this Nikki. I'm traveling in Scotland at the moment and for the most part people here too have been pleasant but there are those instances, ignorant instances, where I'm reminded that i'm black. One example, checking into a hotel in Edinburgh, I waited online for 15 minutes, no one else was in front of me and the receptionist had the nerve to ask me "if I needed something" and which was followed with a snippety attitude( you best believe that I will be writing a complaint email). After that incident I started thinking to myself, wow I need to write an article about the experience of being black woman and traveling. I'm grateful that you did this and you have encourage me to write the article.
as a black female living in Japan I totally endorse what you say
Be that strong!!! 🙂 You already are.
I'm constantly amazed at the strength of the images perpetuated about us. And saddened. More disheartened than anything, actually.
But you're right, we DO need to get out and explore. We need to see the world and let them see us. We have so much spending power and our idea of getting away usually goes as far as Hawaii or the Caribbean. This is a big planet. There's so much to see.
I'm sorry you two left College State to go to that kind of treatment. :-/ Blah!
My two and half month winter exodus to Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua is exciting me. I want to visit the indigenous and black populations there. My next winter exodus, I think, will be to Africa. Quite possibly Kenya. 🙂 That excites me.
When I was in Kenya, Kenyans called me a white woman! LOL!
Oh my goodness! That's nuts! I studied abroad in France (and let me tell you, being a curly in France will illicit stares, but good ones), and I didn't have that happen to me at all! Granted, there are a good number of Black people in France of all social classes, but I'm amazed that you would be treated so rudely especially since Europeans pride themselves on their progressive views. Oh well, like you said, small-minded people are all over the world. I hope this didn't completely damper your trip.
The Santa was probably still around because most Greeks are Orthodox Christians for whom Christmas is celebrated on January 7th.
Nikki I think your rght. Stories like this have stopped me from traveling abroad but I need to see the world and make some people mad doing it! You go girl 😉
i love this site, the pics are beautiful, the part that really caught my eye was the pic of the plant growing out of the ground and your caption under it. my name is Leandra and it was rough growing up with this name,lol.
Hi Niki, Sorry you and your hubby ran into a few nuckle heads on your trip. My husband and I went on a Med cruise about 2 years ago. We went to Malta, Athens, Rhodes, Tunis, Alexandria,(got to see the pyramids, that was awesome). We were treated like royalty. I look at your photos and they bring back good memories.(we almost have the same photos that you have) We love to cruise because everything is included into one price. Not only that you can book almost a year in advance, put down a down payment and pay on it every month just like any other bill. That's how we do it. Next we plan to cruise to Austraila. But I do know what you mean about we need to travel more. I came back and told some of mine coworkers and they asked if my husband was white. My jaw dropped.
Thanks for the pics and for initiating such stimulating discussions, Nik! I've experienced racism right here in America as well as in Greece, and a few other countries in Europe. It makes me even more determined to see the rest of the world. And to think that Greece is experiencing significant economic problems and perhaps its worse financial crisis. So, they should be happy to see tourists of all gender, color and creed!
Maybe I can start traveling abroad when I lock down a second income…everyone here is just acting like it's something you just decide to do and bam…there's thousands of dollars to do it. I would not feel safe going outside the country without LOTS of money to make sure I can get myself out of a sticky situation quickly! I dunno…most black people are living in poverty not only here but everywhere…so let's look at the facts. If we could we would! But that doesn't mean we aren't trying!
I was about to eat a turkey sandwich until I saw your picture. Got to get back on point! Thanks for motivating me. Lol. Fabulous pictures!
I just recently came back from London and I loved it. I didn't receive any problems. Can't wait to go back, next stop Tokyo. They will definitely ooh and aww at my curly twist n curl. 🙂
You are reigniting my wanderlust! I was in Barcelona in Fall 2010, and there were only a few incidents where my race was hurled in my face . Once, some human statue people in the touristy Las Ramblas area starting shouting "OBAMA. OBAMA!" at me, but it came off as awkwardly enthusiastic, not totally ignant. Another time I was walking through a park and some black Africans started singing "Negra" at me, but I intentionally ignored them so they shouted "Black girl. BLACK GIRL!!!". Lawd. Most of the Spaniards were alright. Not everyone was friendly, but I think part of that could have been a prejudice against foreigners, especially those with limited linguistic abilities.
@anonymous 12.09: "I went to South Africa three years ago and expected to be brushed off by the Africans because I had heard stories that they don't like African American's, but that wasn't the case in South Africa, I am not sure about other parts of Africa."
No, we love you!!! Come to Kenya 🙂
Seriously, the Ministry of Tourism needs to give me an award for promoting Kenya, LOL!
@ Anonymous 10.35 a.m: "I want to climb Mt Kilaminjaro and do an Eastern and Southern African tour. (Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa) – and Ethiopia when things are more stable in that area."
What on earth do you mean "when things are more stable?" There's so much misinformation about Africa in the media, though, so I don't blame you for this misconception.
Wow, those pictures are gorgeous! [And you look like a supermodel in them :)] Next tourist destination: Kenya!!! Nobody will stare at you or ask if you're done shopping 🙂
My x-father in law was Greek..was dumped off in NYC by the Greek Navy (had a fight over a girl)…he didn't speak a lick of English. He was the rudest bigot I've ever met! What cracked me up the most was when he'd be cussing out the Hispanics saying, "Go back to your own country!" in his super thick Greek accent! SMH!
Sooo glad my little Greek goddess from that marriage is nothing like her Grandfather!
My next trip is to Costa Rica for ziplining, whitewater rafting, rainforest exploration and chilling at the beach and for the first time I'll be able to swim (I learned late. Dont judge.) and get my hair WET! I went to Greece a couple years back for New Years and there were WAAAY too many BIG DOGS and the writing made me feel dyslexic but the food was bomb. I think more of us should see the world. Plus overseas black girls (especially American) get A LOT of love.
Girl being black has nothing to do with it. I've been over sea's many times and trust me when i say they are staring because you are american not because your black. they see african's alot they can tell and SMELL we are different thus they stare. I say given then something to look at 🙂
For international travels, I've been to Spain, France and Italy in Europe, as well as some of the Carribean. Depending on what you want to do should determine your next trip. Of the European countries, Spain was my favorite. Barcelona is especially lovely and I felt such joie de vivre there. If you're going to do Europe I believe the Eurorail(train) still exists to affordably travel between countries. I'm adamant about not shopping and have walked out out of any shop where I feel disrespected – no way no how will I spend a dime supporting ignorance.
When we went to Rome last summer the people were amazed with my 6 y/o and her hair. They were coming from behind the counters to touch her and kept saying "Ciao Bella". At first it was okay, but the more they did it i was getting pissed and looking to see if someone was gonna try and snatch my baby. It was crazy
I'm a curly living and working in Japan for the past two years. Your experience is very similar to mine. I get weird stares all the time. I've scared people in grocery stores, shopping malls, the gym, and subways. I can literally count on one hand how many other black women I've seen in my two years living in Japan. When I do see that one black woman, we smile and nod at each other even though we're complete strangers.
However, most Japanese people tend to treat all foreigners the same despite race. My blue-eyed, blond-haired boyfriend gets just as many stares as I do. Moral of the story: black women should travel more!
Girllll, they was some haters cuz you was rockin that hair do and that Ruby Woo! You're lookin' sharp sister girl!!!
The only place we have been so far is Mexico. Everyone was really friendly (but that's probably because we stayed on the resort). We are actually planning on taking a trip this fall to Hawaii to see family and plan to take more trips as my kids get older.
I can talk for days abut traveling while black. I was in Greece 2 years ago and experienced the same thing. I am VERY dark skin and it was as though I was walking around with frogs on my face. Everywhere I went I was the center of attention and not in a good way. When cars would go by I would passengers would stare and point as though a new species was just discovered…ugh…I will not even talk about my trip to Tibet. I was surrounded in the market by people wanting to touch my skin and hair. I couldn't even eat in peace. There were people hiding behind trees trying to take my picture…ugh… I hated that trip and its such a shame because how many people get to travel to thous parts….. Traveling while black can be very difficult, discouraging and stressful.
I loved Greece, we were there last year, we also went to Egypt, Turkey, Israel & Pakistan. I didn't have such an awful experience, ours was quite pleasant, but in 2009 we went to Spain, Italy, Monaco & France, and I almost had to act PROJECTISH on this one chic, who worked in his jewelry store, but my husband saved her before I jumped on her…LOL. Sorry, you had such a rough experience, but there are IGNORANT people in all parts of the world. This year we went to Hawaii and the people there were probably some of the sweetest people we’ve met during our travels .
More proof we are the real Hebrews – the only people on the planet to fulfill the prophecy!
I went to Spain twice and got a lot of stares. But, I was also traveling with two of my friends that were from Puerto Rico. And they got the stares too. I think since none of us looked like we were from there, none of us were really welcomed with open arms. We have a large group of friends there so we were fine. Plus, we got invited to a wedding while we were there, and went back!
I got the most stares because, well, I was only the black girl. Sometimes it was irritating. But, I tried not to focus on it too much. I'm sure most ppl thought I was African. (They have immigration issues over there too. With anyone who's not from Spain) Then, I opened my mouth and started speaking fluent Spanish. That REALLY threw everyone for a loop. I must say though, I went there during that heat wave they had a few years ago, and decided to go to the beach. When I got on the bus to get to our apartment, I got stares as if I had three heads. It wasn't until I looked at myself in the mirror that I saw what they were staring at. It was 130 degrees outside. In full sun. I had a serious tan! That thing was a surprise to me too! LOL! So they got a pass on that. However, I must say, I loved the trip. And my tan!
Do people in other parts of the world not realize that our president (and his dark skinned wife) are Black? I get people not being used to natural hair, but come on; you're honestly shocked to see a black person in your neck of the woods when the leader of the free world is black?
Haha! Maybe you were too pretty and they were afraid their Greek mens heads would be turned…all. the. way. around.
As an aspiring architect (currently taking my licensing exams), I love seeing these pictures of places I have studied. I will say off the bat, there are very few and far between of the 'other' in my profession…..I get alot of confused looks when I am on site, I take it in stride
I have been to Barcelona and Rome, Florence, Siena (Italy)and I loved them all. I did not notice stares and if they did, I did not care much. I did get hit on quite a bit though. I go to Jamaica often as my family is from there, love the FOOD!
In any case enjoy the trip. For your next place try Durban, South Africa, it is on my bucket list.
Sorry to hear about your.. Crazily, the most racism I have ever experienced was here in the U.S. Whites and various other races (even a few AA) often mistake me for the "help". Whether I'm in a mall, boutique, or pharmacy I get mistaken for an employee! I was in a grocery store once and someone walked up to me to ask where something was, mind you, I wearing my winter coat! LOL. WTH. What? We can't afford to shop too?
Before moving to New York I thought people would be a lot more progressive than folks in the mid-west. And they are by a small amount, but I can say I have had a number of unpleasant experiences with racist people. I have been called the N word by more random white people living here than I have experienced anywhere else (I have also lived in Chicago and a suburb near Malibu)I have ever been. I was even once told to go back to my "Colony".
No matter what, I love travel and I will not allow ignorant, miserable people stop me from exploring this "land that made for you and me" 😉 I have been to Italy(3x, love it, and for my last trip I honeymooned in Sicily), Mexico, Paris, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic. And though Hawaii is a part of the U.S. it really is a different world and one of the prettiest places I have ever been. Whether people were sitting on their porch or driving by in the car they often took time to acknowledge me and my boyfriend at the time with a wave or smile, children too! It was beautiful.
Nikki, thank you for sharing your travel experiences with us. Don't worry too much about the "negative" responses of some of the people you may meet. Just enjoy your vacation and concentrate on the positive experiences. I am also thrilled to see so many comments from ladies who love traveling throughout the world. I have visited Peru, Aruba, and Ethiopia. I long to travel to France, Poland and Greece, and perhaps Italy. I definitely want to visit Israel. Circumstances don't allow me to travel much now, but perhaps, one day….
Since you are over there, you should check out Croatia. It is not what you would expect… it is beautiful!
I had to just *SIGH* whilst reading this post. The irony is in the fact that the title says "Travelling While Black". Try LIVING while black AND muslim LOL. I live in the UK in a multi-cultural area, but because I wear the hijab (head scarf- I wear big ones that start from my head and end at around my knees) I regularlly get stared at, pointed at, sworn at. People stop their cars to scream abuse. Some people cross the street to tell me what they think of me. My sister had an egg thrown at her. I even had a lorry driver once beep at me whilst doing a nazi salute. And this is in the United Kingdom. Great Britain. *SIGH* But I smile at them, & I turn the other cheek, because they aren't worth my time.
Thanks so much for sharing your traveling experience with us Nikki, I feel like I've been on vacation with you! I have always wanted to visit Greece, your pictures were awesome!
That meal with the squid, octopus and the lamb intestines dish… YUCK….some things are not meant to be eaten! I would have asked for some crackers! LOL.
Take your next vacay in either Brazil or Spain!
I've been just about everywhere, courtesy to the Navy. I love traveling and I've lived in several countries before. I've had good and bad experiences. Like you said, you just have to realize that there is hatred everywhere not just in America. But I've found that there is more acceptance in most European countries. I'm in a interracial marriage as well, so the stares and whispers are a constant, It just toughens your skin and you learn to ignore it. I think its true we don't show a strong presence as educated world travelers. The biggest problem is, in the countries I've been to, there are misconceptions of African American people, Foreigners believe what they see from American movies and Television. So when they do see someone like us, the only thing they can relate it to is gangsters and crack ho's. So We definitely have to get globe hoping and be seen for who we really are. People!
I think you and hubby would enjoy Seychelles. It's gorgeous and quiet. Been there 3 times and I've never been disappointed.
I am LOVING Greece so much from you pics that I'm looking into working it in my travel plans for 2013. The only international plans for this year will be Jamaica but I've been several times (can't stay away). Enjoy the rest of your vacation!
So if the point of this was to get Blacks to travel more, how does this article do this? Because we are afraid of looks and poor treatment many of our people don't even travel in America. I travel a lot around this country and what I have found is that we take our defensiveness with us. I have taken some of my Black sisters to little boutiques and stores and I am having a great time and my Black friend will come up and say "they following me around like I'm going to steal something or "they act like they don't want me in here" Two Black women in the same store, totally different experience, because perception is everything. Since I am a free woman I go where I want and I can not control your response to me, but I can control my response to you and How I feel about it.
also, I have to agree with everyone suggesting Ghana! You must go ! It's safe, the food is good, the people are beautiful , warm and kind, and there is soooo much to see !
BTW I loooooooove the site! I plan on making the trip to Greece myself. You look ABSOLUTELY fabulous while on vacay!!! I usually end up looking a hot mess by the 3rd day lol!
I have done some traveling to Europe The past 2 Years (London, Belgium, France, Prague, Italy, and Spain) and I havent had any bad experiences (at least nothing I was conscious of) I would definitely recommend Italy! Especially the Tuscany Region and the Amalfi Coast!
I have so much to say. I love traveling and can't wait til my little ones have their own passports
BUT – one thing I want to say is the line jumping in Greece is not (necessarily) because you're black. In Greece there is (as my friend put it) a lack of a social contract regarding public orderliness that applies most obviously to standing in line and driving. That observation came from a Greek-American after coming back from a trip "home."
For a travel suggestion – Central and South America. Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru *sigh* you must go.
PPS- You should also realize that the Greeks aren't feeling too happy now coz their economy is kinda up in the air and their fellow EU member countries aren't so pleased about saving their butts. They've had swift government change because of that and their 'future' is still pretty much up in the air. They're facing some serious cuts in budget spending which they aren't too happy about… Do they talk about that at all over there?
Check out blackatlas.com. It is a site full of things black people should do and see wherever they travel. Just plug in your destination and voila.
Nikki, don't let their reaction phase you. You are doing them a favour by exposing THEM to your fine selves.
You are showing them another side to black people, that they will have to wrap their minds around: that there are folks with dark skin who come to their country as a tourist. And not only that, but you both look so chic – you sure they aren't staring at you trying to figure out which celebrities you look like?
So keep stepping in style, coz you are doing your bit to expand their horizons. Go whereever strikes your fancy – Europe has loads to see.
Scandinavia is gorgeous in summer, and I hear Estonia, Latvia, that side is also wow.
Just keep sending back those glam shots (your Mister does some good work!) for us to see. 🙂
PS- when Boogs is old enough to go too, I'll let you know where the kid-friendly places in Germany and Provence are… Coz that's a whole nother ball game.
I've been to a few places including parts of Europe, the Caribbean, Peru, Bolivia, India, Sierra Leone, Canada, oh and the USA too (I'm a Londoner) 🙂
Seriously, visit the Motherland – it is beautiful out there. Yes, Africa has its problems, but it is such an eye opener. The world is so much bigger than the place we inhabit. Visiting eastern and southern Africa is top of my destination list.
If you come to London, no one will blink an eyelid at you. The city is almost as mixed as New York. London is great for a visit (but don't hold your breath for good weather)!
I enjoyed your post and have learned a lot from the comments! I'm heading to Spain!
Wow at Ms. 4.47 above. Way to counter your perceived racism with more racism, "squinty-eyes" indeed! Unbelievable. As someone with a fair amount of Asian friends and even traveled to Asia, I can categorically tell you that I've never gotten overt racism from anyone.
I've had good and bad experiences and I'm quite widely traveled but the good FAR FAR outweighed the bad, even in rural Eastern Europe with zero zero black people for a hundred miles or in Asia. I can take curiosity, I've worked with white people in Africa and when we go on trips in rural areas, THEY get stared at, touched and marveled at. It's absolutely normal, it does feel uncomfortable and awkward but as long as there is no malice behind it, I'm totally OK with it.
Hey Ms. Nikki,
My last travel experience was in November 2011 to Hawaii. Although it is considered part of the U.S., its citizens are actually largely Asian with about 30% white folk and maybe 15% us! My daughter is stationed there and I was there for two weeks while she recovered from surgery. And while it technically wasn't a vacay, it had always been my dream to go there. Because I was gettin my NPN (non-paid nurse) on I didn't get to do a lot of surfing or hiking, etc., but we did go to the beach, enjoy some of the restaurants and of course did our requisite mall hopping. Anyway, OMG Hawaii was gorgeous and wonderful. Clean, relatively bug-free and very quiet even on late nights out on weekends! It really is paradise. The natives were largely friendly, but those other folk (squinty-eyes), well we've all heard the stories about how they feel about us. But it doesn't matter how you feel about me, just as long as you stay out of my way. If you mess wit me and mine it's gon be on and perculatin', but as long as you clear a path and don't try to cut me in line, we's all good. So basically "they" stayed on they side of the street, mall, whatever and I had a fantastic time. If you haven't been, I give it a thumbs up. Happy Travels! (mzcnnd)
my hubby and I had a great time in Istanbul in Dec 2010. The people were kind and friendly towards us, the food was great and there's so much to see. I noticed Yumpopstar had a bad experience, but ours was different…well kids wanted to take pictures with my husband who is darker than me, but apart from that nothing strange.
Girls trip we do one every year. It's usually a cruise but this year it's Vegas baby! It's funny because we travel with a diverse (4)girl crew and we still get the stupidity among races, but its okay it won't stop our fun and yours either!
Im sorry about your experience nikki, I have had that as well, while traveling through some parts of Europe namely Germany, I have had the worst experiences even right here in South Africa with some south African white people, but i guess its how the cookie crumbles, ive had really odd and mean stares from fellow white country south african people and this is my home country, europe is easier to travel through I guess, not as much racism, dont let that get you down enjoy your travels and stay safe!
It's hard for any black person traveling in Europe to separate European snobbery from racism. I wouldn't necessarily even try to differentiate the two.
I spent two and a half months in Uganda last summer working with local street children. I was with a group of 11 college students like myself from all over the country who were each working at different organizations. Me and one of my friends from school were the only Black people in the group. Being a Black American in Africa was a very interesting experience. I truly believe that every Black person should go to Africa at least once in their lives because there is so much to learn on both ends. I was very surprised to find that many of the locals had only ever seen White foreigners. It was assumed that I was from America because one of my parents must by White. What?! I could go on an on, but I will definitely be African again soon once I graduate.
So many suggestions but you should definitely add some places in Africa to your list. This comment by @Casimiransmom says it all:
" I don't think enough of us visit the continent of Africa. Surprisingly, they need to see us there too, intelligent African Americans and not the crap shown on TV, and it doesn't hurt for us to see them either."
I live in the U.S. now but I'm originally from Kenya. Growing up I saw many American and European tourists but few of them were black. Sadly the image that we have of African Americans is somewhat negative. It's mainly derived from what we see in the media and movies. Africans need to see other successful Black people. Too many people associate success with being white and mediocrity with being black.
If you decide to try some African destinations, my suggestions are:
Kenya: Visit the coast, go on safari, spend a few nights in Nairobi. Neighbouring Tanzania is also a great destination for safari, great beaches and the island of Zanzibar.
South Africa: Highly recommended->Cape Town! Very cosmopolitan city, great nightlife, good food. Enjoy nice drives on the coast, the scenery is gorgeous! Go to Stellenbosch for wine tasting. There's so much more to do. Durban is also a wonderful place to visit, very laid-back. South Africa has great game parks so you can go on Safari as well.
Don't let the bad experiences faze you. I was also stared at when I went to China. People actually reached out and touched my hair and took pictures! I felt on display but I decided I was going to have fun and not let it bother me too much. If you go to China, I recommend Beijing: The Forbidden City, the Summer palace, The Great Wall, Temple of Heaven. There's alot to do in the city and you can always travel to places further afield.
As a Nigerian, I may be biased but I have to say that there's nothing like the motherland. I particularly love my homeland of Nigeria, but it's not for the faint of heart, LOL- I would encourage you to go with someone familiar with the city you're visiting in Nigeria for maximum enjoyment. For you and hubby however, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania would be lovely. I spent 4 months in South Africa and absolutely loved it! Beautiful people, beautiful country- just breathtaking. And of course, you blend right in.
Nikki, you really should model! 🙂 Thanks for representing us well out there with your head held high although I know it wasn't always easy with the ignorance. I'm not sure where we'll be going this year but we've been to Aruba, Cancun, and the Dominican Republic (we like warm places with a beach -lol). I've also been to London; Alaska and Japan on the way to South Korea; Jamaica and the Cayman Islands via a cruise. Fiji, Egypt, Africa, and a bunch more are on my bucket list. ~KF519
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I have been to Ghana. It's a great place. I saw the place where slaves were held before they were taken to the Americas. I also went to a village where I was given the name Akua, which means born on Wednesday. I'm happy I had the cnance to visit the land of my ancestors. The climate is perfect and the people are very nice. You most definately will have the chance to buy black. I felt good knowing I was contributing to Ghana's economy. Thanks for sharing your experiences — the good and the bad — in Greece. You are a wonderful ambassador for black women!
kudos nikki, for not sugar coating your experiences.
Nikki, can I just say you are fabulous with a capital "F"!! And what a beautiful writer…I absolutely love this post!
Now to answer your q: My sisters and i are headed to Costa Rica to celebrate her 40th bday! As for u and hubby's next trip, I've heard great things about Dubai!
I'm half Ghanaian and from GA. I've been to Ghana, a few times, Canada, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, Slovakia, Austria,Czech Republic and Turkey. The craziest experiences I had were in Slovakia and Turkey !!!! In Bratislava we had a run in with wanna be neo-nazi skins at an internet cafe of all places! we got to our hotel and then that same night some middle eastern guy was getting troubled by the cops due to this passport. Of course in the middle of this, he shouts out that being brown in Bratislava meant automatic trouble!! Needless to say good ol' eastern bloc Slovakia was kind of weird. Turkey takes the cake though. Never have I felt so uncomfortable travelling. We had some good experiences- a home cooked meal with traditional food. But every day in Istanbul we got harassed and had dirty things said to us ( I travelled with a white female friend). I was followed around in the Puma store ( yeah Puma! not even NIke!!!!) We even caught a guy taking a picture of us on his camera phone. It got so bad that we started saying we were french and german, respectively. It's sad because Istanbul was pretty cool, but of all the places I've been in the world, the guys were the creepiest there !!!!
Have not been to Greece, but I have visited family and friends in France an Belgium and I don't care for Europe!! Great posts and glad that you always have a positive attitude about things. FOR YOUR NEXT VACAY, TRY VISITING AFRICA (GHANA, NIGERIA OR SOUTH AFRICA TO START). —-Congolaise 🙂
My cousin and I traveled to Paris in 2008 and for the most part had a pleasant experience. We stayed at a great quaint boutique hotel in a residential area. I learned a few key phrases which helped us get by, mainly "Pour les vous Anglais?" lol (Do you speak English) We had a couple instances where we looked at eachother like "Oh yeah?" 1) In a boutique near our hotel we went in to peruse the digs and after our "Bonjour" we got "What do you want?" which prompted the look at eachother and "Oh yeah?" needless to say we walked out. 2) At a visit to Breakfast in America (if you're craving American food while in Paris I highly recommend) we were seated by 2 white American men who were there on business. We struck up convo and they proceeded to be curious about what we did and even said "Have fun I'm sure you've been saving up awhile for this trip" …"Oh yeah?" Actually boo it was on a whim and we have the travel agent on speed dial. Bloop! 3)I'm pretty sure we were cussed out in French in a bakery no one spoke English so I'm not 100% but I've been cussed out enough to know when I'm being cussed out lol whether in English, French, or Swahili. 4) An Asian waitress in a restaurant was really happy to see and serve two Black Americans – She wanted to know all about the States which was nice. 5) Oh and the men were all over us. Not sure if they thought we were prostitutes or not but having someone whispering French in your ear whether they're trying to solicite a devious act or not ..was pretty sexy lol. You & your Greece pics are FAB.U.LOUS!!
I have been to different parts of Mexico.and going from city to city the reactions are vast. There are a fair amount of African descendant Mexicand but not so much in northern Mexico. I get hit on alot in Sabinas,Coahuila.
I'm going to be honest and say that this is why most black people do not travel. Yes, I am guilty of vacationing where I know my peeps will be at. Unfortunatly this way of thinking is sort of ignorant, but I am on vacation and I don't want to be gauked at, as if I am on of the sights. My dream vacation is Hawaii, I love water where I can see my feet (besides the bathtub). I think other places that you should try or I like are China, Italy, and Japan.
Taking my son on a cruise in February for his 16th bday.
I lived in Germany for 3 years truly dreaded going off of the military base i lived on. My husband and I would walk into a restaurant and litteraly you can hear the forks hit the plate as hundreds of eyes, turn to stare at you!! I mostly got the stares, since my husband, a very light hispanic, skin tone is very similar to a Europeans and I am dark skin Black woman.
I just returned from a tour of Europe with my sister and a friend. ITALY was by far my favorite place. We visited Southern Italy and EVERYWHERE we went people were staring and saying how "BELLA" (Beautiful) we were. Maybe it was due to the fact that we were the only AFrican Americans in the whole town..lol.
Also thanks for the pictures. Lovely. One more thing: I think we need some black travel shows. Not only should the world know about "blacks" but they should be aware that how they treat us is on view.
I've be following your site for months, althought I had never comment. I'm from Brazil and I'm (more) proud of being a black girl after this post. I'm planning a travel to Europe soon. You're awesome and Brazil should be your next stop. 😉
How about doing a tour of the "black Paris" with Ricki…
See more here:
She is an expat from California.
I shrug these experiences off as I chalk it up to ignorance. Believe me you'll do the same! In China I was part of a mixed group so there were many stares. Interestingly there was a curly caucasian and a good number of Chines inddividuals were touching her hair and taking pictures. Lol!
Anyway, I would suggest London, Paris, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Canada (Toronto & Montreal)Ghana and China. I had a lay-over in
Amsterdam on the way back from Ghana and did a city tour. Now that was an experience. Happy travels!
Italy should be your next stop! The food and experience are wonderful.
Glad to hear this. Like I said above I'm going to Australia and New Zealand in September. Your post just made me very happy. Any suggestions on locations or regions I should not miss?
Oops on calling London a country…
My last vacay was to Italy, Florence/Rome specifically. I went with two friends. I'm from the Caribbean and my two friends are African American.
There were some frustrations at the airport when we got there but that had more to do with customs not letting us bring in a bottle of wine we had bought at the airport (cuz we had plan to get things started during the flight but the flight attendants did not have a cork opener -raised eyebrow) and later with a delayed flight.
Our experience in Florence and Rome was wonderful. The people were friendly and accomodating. The ones who didn't speak English, I tried to communicate with in a mix of Italian/Spanish. It was quite amusing and they took it in stride. Overall a great experience.
My next trip is to Spain, but I've been there before when I studied there for a semester in college. I'd heard stories that Spaniards were racist, in general, but particularly so towards Domincans – which I am. I have to say that my experirence there was also a good one. I traveled all over Spain and not once was I subjected to nasty attitude…
Hi Nik, love your pictures and stories. You're one of the funniest people I know. I'm originally from Nigeria and love to travel as well. I currently live in the US and been to England, Paris, Amsterdam, and Mexico. I think a lot of us don't travel because of the cost. I just joined a travel club that allows me and my family to do this much cheaper and more often. Your team can contact me if interested – firstname.lastname@example.org
Love your site too. I have to log in everyday : )
I'm going to Nigeria in a few months- then again, I'm Nigerian, LOL. After that, London and Paris in the summer; Mexico in the fall. Yup- I LOVE to travel- every couple of months I just have to get out of the country. I would suggest Costa Rica- LOVED it! South Africa, Tanzania etc.
Well written Nikki and I wholeheartedly agree. I absolutely LOVE to travel and have traveled extensively, alone and with friends, throughout Europe, Africa, Central and South America. I aim to be a global citizen of this world- it just opens your mind so much. Many friends and relatives have tried to discourage me from traveling because of racism etc, but I refuse NOT to be seen. Their problems with my skin tone has nothing to do with me; that's their problem. And I agree, we really have to think of ourselves as global ambassadors and conduct ourselves accordingly, because often, the only time folks in foreign countries have seen black folks is through tv- especially tv shows. And the images we put out there with these nonsense reality shows only serves to reinforce stereotypes.
I spent some time in New Zealand and Australia and let me tell you, the locals were treating me like I was Oprah or something (especially in New Zealand). I got a few stares from the some of the aboriginals in australia (i think they may have been trying to figure out if I was one of their peeps) but other than that, it was ALL LOVE. People were all smiles and bows (literally). Opening doors and tons of non-ignorant questions. Spent time in the wine country of both areas and when they found out I was from Cali and only 45 minutes away from Napa, that niceness went to a whole noother level. Extremely positive experience. I've been to parts of cali that wasn't as nice as these people were.
I am a Caribbean woman, so color is not the first thing I see. I live in America most of my life, specially in the south (Ga). I have an adventurous spirit. So , summer 2011, I went to Italy for 2 months; it was an amazing experience. I was open minded at first until I meet a African girl on the train from Rome, who told me what black people go through there. That a was all it took to plant fear about my trip, however, the opposite happen, I was welcomed everywhere. In the south , Salerno, I did get stares, but no one was openly rude to me; I learned that I was an anomialy to them. The black people there live on the outskirts and are panhandlers. I say Africans because northern Africans are included. Italians are afraid of being over run by a new race, especailly with the older generation.
__I took the bus from Salerno to Florence (6 hrs) , I was waiting with an elderly couple spoke zero english and I knew very little Italian. Anyway, on the journey this couple fed me, tried to make conversation with me, made sure I made it to my destination -it was sweet.
In Florence, I made friends with a Cameroon guy, who lived there for 7 yrs. He told me that work is scarce for black people , but better in the north than the south. He worked 5 yrs at a hotel before he was able to get a proper position there( it helped he speaks 4 languages)he is in the process of getting approved for a home, which he said is another battle.
Italy has many mixed children, and you can see the African influence in there dna, but their genophobic people originally.
However, Italian men have an itch for black women, it;s a big itch. North and Southern Italian men, find our color alluring, many women there share our shape, so it's a color thing. Italy is not perfect, but I loved the time I spent there.
Did you ladies not know a lot of those places are prejudice because 1) there's not a lot of us over there and probably the few that are they haven't tried to become friendly toward people who don't look like them; and 2) it's the little news they probably get about blacks are in the form of racist ignorant stuff from news reports that get filtered through!
So, it's good for them to see intelligent, beautiful black people…especially couples who got it going on! Represent Nikki & Hubs
In was 2005 I went to Paris and Barcelona…just beautiful…one of the best experiences of my 22 years. But even an amazing experience doesn't come without a WTF (I'm not sure if it qualifies as a TWB) episode. In gay Paree some weird French guys asked me to come with them and offered to buy me shoes…PAUSE…as much as I love shoes I won't be gettting them from weird French boys who hang out in corners thank you very much!! I don't know want they wanted from me, but I'd be damned if I stuck around to find out!! But, on the plus side, an artist loved my hair so much he pretty much begged me to let him draw me, and he offered to give me the drawing for free. 😀
I remember going to Spain with my Mum, aunt and cousin when I was about 12. The resort was full of Germans who would stop what they were doing and just stare at us. By the 3rd day my Mum was pretty pissed, as we walked into the hotel lobby everyone was frozen and staring as usual, so my Mum at the top of her voice said "Yes, Black people can afford holidays too!!". I've never seen heads spin round so fast and no one looked at us again for the rest of our trip 🙂 I love my Mum
Love your pics and I enjoy greek mythology so thanks you. I think you should go to Barbados. (Rhonda)
I'm a natural living in Bosnia which like Greece is a part of the Balkans. I've been here for a little over a year and the first thing I noticed when I moved here were the stares and whispers as I walked down the street or walked into a resturant. It made me feel very uncomfortable (and sometimes still does) but now that I know the culture and language, I've come to find that they really like our skin color. They just express their curiosity and love for our darker complexion in a way that is uncomfortable for those of us from the States. The scowels are cultural as well. They wear very hard scowels in this area of the world and it doesn't neccessarily mean that they are unhappy with something or someone:) For your next vacation, I'd suggest Costa Rica. Its an all in one vaca spot. You can have a relaxing time or an adventourus one!
I plan to go to Australia and New Zealand in September. I'm hoping to find someone to go with me, if not I'm going solo.
I've been to Greece, and I can't say I had any problems or situations Nikki described. But I think I generally don't notice things of that nature or so I've been told. I was there in 2008 right before the election and the Obama-mania was most awesome. I had a few interesting conversations about him with Greek residents that I met. And everyone I met was pleasant.
My experience has been very positive in all my travels. I've been to England, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugual, France, Greece, Italy, and Turkey all in the last 6 years and I had never travelled before then. I believe my view of life and people has changed dramatically and my life is richer. I can't wait until September!
…Costa Rica…not PR. I made the same mistake when I bought my plane ticket…SMH
I lived in Italy for 2 years as a child. Since 2007 I have been to 7 Carribean locations, Vienna, Prague, Salzburg, Venice and Puerto Rico. I have had some bad experiences, but most of the time I give people the benefit of doubt because of their lack of knowledge and exposure. Unfortunately, we (as a group…not individual accusations) treat foreigners with the same disregard here with our own stereotypes… Now, I did lose it a bit one day in Vienna…but I don't want any e-judgment for my out of character actions 😉
Greece is in my top 5 must visit locations…I am really interested in India right now.
Hey, seriously what camera is that?!!!! I am Namibian but of mixed descent (Bushman, Dutch, German and South African white) so whilst traveling and living in Nigeria I would often be called fair or half caste. I would have men staring and coming on to me. Half the time, I got asked if I was American or from Brazil or the Islands. People didn't believe me when I said, ' no boo, I came from the Southern parts of Africa- Namibia darling', this has happened to me in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana too, which is strange because they border Namibia. Also been to Austria, Germany (just got back from Berlin yesterday) Switzerland, Finland, Slovakia and England. For me, most of my travels include me couch surfing in my white friends apartments. So Very often, I will be the only non white in very white surrounding. Sometimes people stop and stare. Often times, I get a few smiles and lots of questions. With most people its what am I doing there and where do I come from. I guess, for me, since I am always the odd one out, I am so used to it. Also I just moved to Sweden, so yep, I am definitely one not to be missed with tall, blond and blue eyed people all around. My next travels will be taking me to Asia, so will see how that works – although once in Vienna, an Indian women struck up a conversation with me in Hindi. She couldn't believe it when I told her I wasn't Indian. Had to pull out my ID to show her!!!!!!!! Must check out Greece though – my sister and her girl friend (South African) went there to Karpathos, she loved it and well yep lets say the Greek men fell in love with them too 😉
Hopefully my next vacation will be to the Dominican Republic in early March.
My only experience abroad was Botswana this past summer for an internship program. Overall everyone was very welcoming, and it was nice to see mostly blacks in ads for things like cereal, Colgate and Pampers (fast forward to our return at JFK and the only black person in the immigration mural is a male playing basketball). I also enjoyed seeing black people who were living well and not being labeled a "sell out" for doing so.
The racism I observed while there came from some of the other interns. There were 3 black interns including myself and we quickly separated ourselves from them because of their rudeness, conceit and general disrespect. I'm sure it must have looked like a separatist black-power type of thing to them, but we knew better than to act like that and just didn't want to be around such behavior.
Countries I want to visit: more of South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, India, Japan, Greece, Brazil, PR, Jamaica, Fiji, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, London, France, Italy
Tobago. DH and I went last summer and had the most relaxing time. Great food, friendly folks, and the beaches and vistas are just breathtaking. Several videos of our trip are on my YT page (Shonesters – the playlist called "Please go somewhere!"): http://www.youtube.com/user/shonesters?feature=mhee#g/c/389C57976D95FFC8
I will be going to Ghana in a couple of weeks..first time to the Motherland! You should definitely travel to Africa for your next trip.
First off, I loved your pics and it was great seeing Greece through your eyes. It is a destination that have have plans on go to one day. I have had the pleasure of traveling to Barcelona, Rome and Venice. I don't remember getting "you black" stares in any of the places. Matter fact, I was in Spain when they won the World Cup. Watched the soccer match with thousands of Spaniards in Espana Square. It. Was. Phenomenal!! Nothing but love there. I loved Venice so much I have plans to go back when its not 110 degrees! One of my coworkers said that (I was in Barcelona for a work conference) I looked like the fancy black Frenchwomen. Maybe that's why I didn't get stares?
Yes we all know that we are black and it's a shame that people don't treat us right because of our color but I will not let that stop me from traveling! Well my trips for this year are all within the United States, South Carolina and Vegas. But heck you can still get stares within the United States still in this Day and time but I don't care cause God created us all and no race is superior to the other!
Correction: meant to include Hawaii as part of the American cities list. I don't want to be confused with the "birthers". LOL!!!!
I went to Spain back in November 2001. We had a few blank stares in restaurants but nothing we haven't experienced at home in New York. LOL!!! For the most part, people were very pleasant. It was right after the September 11th attacks so once people found out we were American they seemed to go out of their way to be nice. Since then I've been to Puerto Rico twice, Antigua, Hawaii and Montreal. All other trips in between those have been to American cities (SF, LV, Fl, etc…). Currently planning a trip to Denmark for August or September 2012.
I loved this! I'm heading to Tokyo next, never did Greece but now have plans to!
I enjoyed this read. You should come to Virgin Islands Next. Think about it 🙂 And bring boogey with u.
My next travel venture for this year will be South Korea in the summer. I've never been and can't wait to go! I've been invited to go to Spain and Italy and if I can swing it, then best believe I'll be there too! =)
This is why I come to your blog! Thanks for the inspirational words and beautiful pictures. I NEED TO ACHIEVE THAT BUN!
I loved Spain. I would have to agree with Verde Butterfly on Sevilla. I spent a little more than a semester there while travelling around the country as well as Portugal and Morocco.
I never felt unwelcome in southern Spain or Morocco. I look forward to returning in the future.
I think Interlaken, Switzerland should be your next adventure. If you love nature and the out doors you will love it. I've been all over the world and no place can compare to the natural beauty of that place.
Thanks for this post. I was wondering how you and your husband were received as well. You have such a great attitude about it!
I'm really happy that you are sharing this trip with your readers. As others have said we need to travel outside the states more. I follow several Black bloggers who are UK based and as international holidays are no big deal to them I often wonder why we don't do the same in the U.S. Hopefully your Greece trip will expand a few horizons.
The husband and I were in Portugal recently and we had a lovely time, the locals were really friendly and we felt really comfortable, would gladly return there. Our fellow travelers on the other hand were rather surprised that we had corporate jobs and after getting over that 'shock' were surprised that we are African and so 'well-spoken' etc as they assumed that only black Americans/Brits could be that way..SMH..
However we live in Eastern Europe and after 10 years here the stares dont bother me anymore..
It's not just people abroad that hate on traveling black folks….I've gotten questions of "how can you afford to go XYZ" questions from coworkers (of all ethnicities) here in the states. My response is that I'm single, own a modest home, don't try to keep up with the Jones by having the most expensive car, clothes, and shoes and that for me traveling is my indulgence and is a priority to me so I am modest in other areas of my life to accomidate it.
I take two trips abroad every year (one with my sorority sisters and one with my boyfriend) and so far I've been to Europe (France, London, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland), Africa (Cape Verte), Mexico, Cananda, South American (Costa Rica, Peru) and all over the Carribean. I also am blessed to have a job that involves international travel (1-2x a year) so I often take a few extra days and explore where ever I am (spent three days in Prague on the company dime and loved it!).
What many people don't realize is that traveling can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. You don't have to go 5 star like you are rich and many times there are deals on plane tickets, hotels, and package deals.
For trip ideas…I'd DEF recommend Cape Verde, Prague, Costa Rica and France. I'm doing an "eat, pray, love" tour with my sorority sisters (Italy, India, and Indonesia) this year and the BF and I plan on hitting up Guyana to visit a friend that moved there.
Like you my motto is "have passport and vacation days…will travel"!!!
Thanks Nikki for sharing your travel experiences…it is always interesting to hear other peoples experiences in other countries. I am heading to Belize in March (hubbies family) and South Africa in December. I went to South Africa three years ago and expected to be brushed off by the Africans because I had heard stories that they don't like African American's, but that wasn't the case in South Africa, I am not sure about other parts of Africa. We wanted to do Egypt but the area is too unstable. I am starting a non-profit to help children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in Africa and this trip will be a fact finding mission, ground laying and a little fun mixed in….again thanks.
I really enjoyed this post Nikki, thank you for sharing.
Nikki, you said it wonderfully: "…whether at home or abroad, small minded people are going to have to realize we’re going to shop where we want, educate our kids where we want, and oh…we have passports too boo." *2 snaps & a twirl* YES, honey YESS!! What I admire most about this is that you did not resort to ignorance, so many people would be inclined to show an attitude back, but why give them what they want/think to expect anyway?! We are a proud and classy race and people around the world need to see what we already know about ourselves–we're fab!
Anyway, I'm heading to London & Paris next week, can't wait 🙂
I hate that your experiences have been so negative Nikki. But I had to share that I've been to Greece in a study abroad program and found them to be quite accommodating and helpful. I was never once made to feel uncomfortable (except maybe by the white Americans travelling with us). In fact, they absolutely loved my friend's dreads. But Greece is awesome so please don't let your encounters with the ignorant few ruin your perception of these lovely people.
My husband and I are currently in Panama City, Panama. We've been here a week already and I've noticed something really interesting. While the relaxed is losing momentum in the states, the creamy crack is strong as ever here. I've only seen one other person with natural hair other than myself. Panama is home to fair, honey and ebony sistas and yet if your hair has the slightest curl it will be cracked out very soon. I get a lot of skeptical looks like "has she looked in the mirror yet". I don't mind them though. We have another week here and I determined to convert someone. Lol.
I would love to visit Greece one day! We took a family vacation back in Oct. to Quebec and Montreal Canada and loved it! I try to make a trip there every year or so. There is so much culture there and you get to practice your French and even take a French language class, if you want. Quebec has few black people but the locals are very friendly. Enjoy your future travels and God Bless!
I wrote this comment on the wrong post accidentally but:
The fact of the matter is that no matter where you go in the world you're always black– meaning you will always stand- out, draw attention, etc. After doing considerable amounts of traveling, I realize that 50% of people's reaction is due to "small mindedness" but bigger than that is simple lack of exposure. Except for small populations of North Africans in many European countries, these people have no interaction with us outside of seeing us in music videos, and acting in often unfavorable or stereotypical ways on television [usually, American television.] Even in a place as close as Mexico, people ask me "Are you Tyra Banks? Are you Whitney Houston" with magnifying- glass type, uncomfortable amounts of interest and exoticism OR will be rude, ask me to dance/sing, comment on my skin. To be fair, sometimes the attention is just that– it's curiosity at seeing something [someone] you have never encountered before. In Asia, people were genuinely just curious. In white and European countries [particularly, in Eastern Europe where people iN Prague REFUSED to serve us in restaurants], that racial heirarchy is still pretty evident. That said, it happens here too– we know, we know what the issue is, and we know that regardless of how much we "get out there" these people will make assumptions and accusations. The best you can do is a) not support their economy by traveling [but no one wins then or b) travel to your heart's content, identify people's perceptions, but not stress yourself about it. That burden and stress we carry as a result of the perceptions of us literally kills us. Just enjoy your trip!
I don't think enough of us visit the continent of Africa. Surprisingly, they need to see us there too, intelligent African Americans and not the crap shown on TV, and it doesn't hurt for us to see them either. I would like to visit Austria and sing the hills are alive with the sound of music…LOL. But that's just me.
I can't get over that side bun!
I've only traveled abroad once in 2010 to Paris, France and it was a very pleasant experience. everyone was extremely nice and courteous
I wanted to go to Holland last year (funds was scary) but I don't know if I still want to go after that Denmark/Rihanna comment. I might still do it though.
I think that you should go to Morrocco next. hopefully all that mess will have died down by then (summertime drama of 2011). thanks again for sharing and you and hubby staying positive and fabulous.
-If you like it, I love it!!
Hi Nikki! This is a great post. It sounds to me like you are handling the situation very well.
Bottom line is that we are all Human Beings before we are black, white, asian, middle-eastern…etc. And as Human Beings we have a right to travel, explore, and venture to unknown territories.
I would say that you are representing us black people wonderfully abroad. Keep your head high and enjoy the beauty in Greece! Dont let ignorant/rude people bring you down!
@ acdsigns1 – I'm from Jamaica so I can only imagine how you felt when they were calling you fluffy but mama, they don't mean anything negative by it lol. They love fluffy girls, and they welcome them, so consider it a compliment 🙂 , and if you don't, I apologize on behalf of my countrymen. They are pretty vocal lol.
I'm so jealous; it looks beautiful over there 🙂
I used to live in Germany about 30 years ago, so I see things haven't changed much. I used to get stares and eye-rolling, but I was a child then so I didn't really pay it any mind. But now, I don't know if I have the patience to deal with ignorance. I'm glad you kept your cool though and didn't let those folks affect your vacation. Have a safe trip back home!
I appreciate you sharing these pics of your time in Greece. You are right, blacks do need to travel and not just to Aunty Deb's in Georgia. I was watching a Louis Gates special where he talked on this very thing. However, I think he was visiting places of the African Diaspora. Anyway, the last out of country experience I had was in the mid-90's when I tagged along with my Mom and several friends to go to Italy. My mom's girlfriend had a son there in the military. It was great! Phenomenal! We were treated very well. Next trip could be in June to Puerto Rico or a Mediterrean cruise honeymooning. Sabrina
I've had the touching and rude stares in China, as well as the unsolicited photographs. In Korea there were stares mixed with smiles and they were definitely more cultured. In Lebanon, due to the illegal immigration of Africans, we are assumed to be either prostitutes or "the house girl". Nevertheless, let us not forget that discrimination and racism exists at home too and it should not hinder us from going where we want and having meaningul travel experiences.
Interesting read. This partly explains why Greece is broke and in dire need of a bailout. If they have such disregard for tourists in the midst of their crisis I can only imagine their treatment when things were presumably good. Most of those Greeks know their history though and how most of their civilization came from ours.
I hear you Nikki. Hubby and deal with this all the time, but it doesn't change our love for travel. The world needs to be educated and we also have much learning to do. Heck, even Oprah had to deal with foolishness for crying out loud! That said, this is GOD'S CREATION and I am His child – no-one will keep me from my own playground. Currently, I'm trying to decide between Australia and a Mediterranean cruise. Neither will be inexpensive so I've got to make my mind up soon 🙁 It's a beautiful world out there. Happy Travels!
I think more AAs need to travel outside of the US..heck travel to the other hemisphere. I would LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE to do so. Want to be on that 'travel to a new country every year' status lol. Bring that awareness yet. And like others have said DO YOU! They are gonna stare regardless.
and uh Nikki..Kokoretsi. I started to lose myself when you proceeded to describe the dish. Sweet Baby Jesus.
@whit Brazil has the largest population of us (blacks) outside of Africa so you won't be alone!
How about traveling while Black in a Black region. My experience in Barbados was the worst. At the resort where I stayed, most of the Black staff treated me rudely. In the dining area I asked one of the staff where the beverages were, she turned her back and mumbled. Thinking I was being oversensitive I asked again and she snapped "we will bring it to you I said!" Then she turned and continued her clucking over some of the many Europeans in the room. Conversations at the reception area between staff would often stop when I came thru, and they would stare at me openly. When shopping in Bridgetown, a bum walked right up to me (past a group of Whites) and made an ugly comment. I was a quiet, young conservative woman and truly shocked to be the object of so much negativity around other Black people. I talked to a young lady who I met there, she said there is often resentment and jealousy when they see Black people who apparently can afford to travel.
Luckily I put that behind me and continued to travel and have fun (inc a canoe swamp tour in the Louisiana backwoods with alligators, a few gay friends and a southern belle guide-one of my funniest experiences), and I would LOVE to see Morocco this year.
Thats right! Let nothing stop you from doing what you want to! I went to Italy and Greece and didnt notice much racism, but I did have a few people that were fascinated with my hair and complete strangers even touched it! Lol It didn't bother me much… I just realized that some people have been living in one place their whole life (just like in the US) and never have the chance to see or interact with different kinds of people. In fact, they were shocked/confused when I said I was from "America" they would be like "No, your from Africa?!" It was hard for a lot of them to understand. But I enjoyed my trips and plan on going back with my husband!
Sorry to hear about all the awkward stares and eye rolls. They were probably mad because you looked so damn FAB in that trench coat lol.
As for my next next vacay the hubby and I will be heading over to Europe in May for about 2 weeks. I'm hoping we have a very enjoyable experiences as most of of or previous trips have been to various islands in the Caribbean.
I think should join us in Rome and Paris next so they can get a double dose lol. Enjoy the rest of your vacay as your trip looked amazing thus far.
I am feeling this. I love to travel the world, and I don't mean a neighboring state or "the islands". We need to see EVERYTHING! God gave us this planet and we need to see what is over there, and over there, and over there too. Do the damn thing Nikki! We only live ONCE! Keep that trip to Miami I am going to Moscow!
Nik, I promise you crack me up! LOL @ *slow clap*!
So, yeah, about "first class" international flights. We haven't always had it like that. The first time we traveled abroad as a couple, we went to Paris and Italy. Let's just say that the flight was akin, to what I would imagine, to be a jet-powered "slave ship." It-was-terrible. I didnt have enough room to move, breathe, twist or even cuss! There were people of every denomination, bags, food, kids, et al. And, good (or even decent) hygiene was only a hopeful-wish. There was no sign of a flight attendant for what felt like days. I vowed before God and all his good saints that I would never roll across the pond like that again (if I could help it).
Add to your bucket list the British Airways A380 experience. Life.Changing.I.Promise!
It is very disheartening that blacks command little to no respect around the world! I wonder why this is the case WORLDWIDE and when and if things will ever change. My gut tells me that its something deeper than the mere fact that people don't see enough of us, as they have preformed views already. Sad.
Montreal, Toronto, Curacao, St Lucia are great places for a relaxing and romantic getaway. I had wonderful experiences in each of these places.
Where to go depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for.
Are you trying to vedge out or do you want to physically push yourself? Canadian Rockies for a hike or hiking up Blue Mountain in Jamaica, for example vs. an urban vacation (i.e. Greece, Paris, London).
TurksnCaicos, Tahiti/Fiji- great for scuba diving (or snorkeling, if you dont want to go low).
So many places to go, depending on what you want to do.
Hubs and I went to Bora Bora for our honeymoon. The locals were extra happy to see us, our fellow travelers on the otherhand…not so much. We were often met with looks of WHY/HOW are they here!?!?! One random guy(i do mean random,we were just walking next to them) ask us what we did for a living. I'm sure he didn't believe I am an engineer and hubs a manager at a huge IT consulting firm…basketball player, football, drug dealer maybe but not coporate professionals. We just laughed and walked to the best overwater bungalow Four Seasons could offer…i'm just saying hubs did that. I won't mention how many times someone jumped in front of me in line. I guess i'm invisible. You know if we speak up its automatically our fault so we just chilled. We are visiting London Paris Barcelona and Venice in May…i'm sure the Venetians will have the stank face. I'm just gonna do as usually have extra fun and walk around like i own the place.
Cool pix Nik! Do you boo! Don't let the haters interfere with your good time. 🙂
Montreal was a blast. Hubby and I went for a jazz festival in the summer. It was a virtual melting pot of everything and everyone. We blended right in.
Parts of Europe are on the bucket list — France, England, Italy…and now thanks to you, Greece!
I never comment on blog posts, but I had to for this! I just returned from Scotland and I was shocked to say the least when no one wanted to return my Texas-sized smile as I stepped off the plane. The mess only got worse during my stay…on my last day a friend asked a waitress to clear the dishes away from our table and she muttered something about saying please…ummmmm…where dey do dat at??? The experience was lovely and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it made me realize the exact same thing…black folks, especially those of us with good sense, have to get out there and literally show the world who we are. I know I'll be filling my passport over the next few years!
PS you look A-MAZING!
Oh no they didn't! So glad you shared your experiences with us! I went to a more rural part of Mexico in the mid 80's when I was a kid and a lot of those Mexican ppl had never seen a black person before and they stared something awful! Mouths agape! lol. The farthest I've been from home is Paris which was cool. People there are not friendly but nobody was unnecessarily rude to me. I plan to travel everywhere I can go and Greece is def on the list! :-). Where else should you go? I vote for Australia and Switzerland
First of all, let me just say the pics are GORGE!!! thanks for the visual, I feel like i'm on vacay with you 🙂
Now..for the onlookers…whew chile!! i've experienced that right here in America, so I can only imagine how it is overseas, turnt up huh?? Sigh! I always say a slight prayer for the ignorant, and after my amen, I keep it moving.
My next vacay will be South America. Well…it won't be a vacay really. I applied for an externship with a NGO that will go to South America in the summer to deliver backpacks to children who do not have. And also to visit the schools in the area. I haven't been accepted yet, but i'm praying it into existence.
In the event that I don't get the externship, i'm heading to Cuba for a week with my best friend. It's been on my bucket list for a while and we're finally gonna do it.
If you get a chance, i'd love for you to visit Malaysia for me lol. After my summer travels its gonna take me some time to get my funds together, and since you're so good at detailing your trip, why don't you travel for me and let me know all about it? Sounds like a plan right? well get to it! lol.
Enjoy the rest of your trip Nik. 1Luv
Thanks for sharing your travels with us. I have always wanted to see Greece. As far as how you and your hubby were treated during your trip, I think it is partly due to ignorance, but maybe, it could also be the negative images and portrayal of blacks that people from other countries have become accustomed to seeing. I remember when my hubby and I lived in New Zealand; we became close with a particular family so they felt comfortable with asking us questions about our culture. One of the questions that through me for a loop was, “why is it that you all do not speak like JJ or Martin?” I thought to myself, “wow, is that what they think of us?” I cannot remember how I responded, however, I was not immediately offended, but do remember trying to educate them that JJ from Good Times, and Martin from Martin, were characters. What is exported to other countries through movies, television shows, the news, as well as music videos is what shapes other cultures perception of our culture.
I was just thinking about this in the bed this morning. We have got to get out and see the world. Let people know we exist. Get out of our own cities and neighborhoods. I plan on seeing a lot more of the world this year.
Going to Beijing in March. I can't wait. I'm hoping I'll be too busy fighting back tears after seeing the Great Wall and The Temple of Heaven to care if people are staring. I am wondering how I'll wear my hair for the week though. I want to spend as much time sightseeing and as little time with my hands in my hair as possible! Greece is my dream vacation though. I'm definitely giving you the stink eye right now.
Looks like your in Athens, Nikki?
I went to Thessaloniki and had similar experience. All of the Black ppl I saw in Thessaloniki were West African, male, and selling bootleg stuff on the street, no joke. So people had no clue what to think of me bc I didn't sound West African and I was female. As far as I could tell, people were just confused, in awe and couldnt peg me. But for the most part, it wasnt negative like your experience. It could also be because I was with a group of racially ambiguous, white skinned people, and a native greek.
The best/ weirdest responses was a family that treated me like a celebrity, literally freaked out when they saw me, start exclaiming, and asked me to take multiple pictures with the family. They wanted me to leave my friends and come hang out with them. Lastly, my friends and I saw Black mannequins in a store front. I stopped to playfully pose with them and a guy came and posed with me, like I was a mannequin. Def a "cray" experience.
@ Rhonda C… *slow clap* @ black kids with passports in first class. Get it boo! Let me get up in first class… Imma act a fool!
Thanks for sharing your experiences! Hubby and I are reading them together and cracking up at the similarities. Love you guys!
I ran into the eye rolls regularly while I lived in Japan. It was very disheartening.
We are in the midst of planning the next va-cay. Destination TBD. We always pack it up in March. And, we take the kids with us…..Black kids with passports (in first class) receive the longest/hardest stares of all. You will soon experience this first hand when you start traveling abroad with Gia.
As far as my travels, my philosophy is "have passport – will travel." And, that I've done — Caribbean (All over but I enjoyed Aruba -before Natalie Holloway disappeared and Curacao are my favs ), Canada (All over), The States, yep just about all of them (but a few fav's are Maine (best bed n breakfasts, art deco for days, and fresh lobster in abundance), Alaska and Cali must drive Rt 66), PR (conquered the entire island), Brazil (All over but must check out Rio J, Sao Paulo and Santiago esp during Carnival), Austria (Vienna), UK (all over but I still tip my hat to London), Paris (great place to smooch – wink-wink), Italy (all over but my fav is Venice), Prague, Budapest, Slovakia……. will stop now but could go on.
My bucket list wish is to step foot on every single continent before the lights go out. Spain is probably up next!
Thanks for sharing Greece with us. It is also on the bucket list!
Im studying in buenos aires for the spring semester to get my spanish game up. I plan to be fluent, but i heard black people are scarce down there and mistaken for brazilian prostitutes. I always thought it was a compliment when i was told i "look brazilian" but I guess we'll see in BA! But yes more black people should really take the opportuity to travel espcially in college. We need to redeem ourselves from the negative portrayals that hollywood sells to the world and if we want to stay relevant, world travel is absolutely necessary. Im mostly doing this semester abroad to show my family and younger siblins that they can do the same and the world is their oyster!
Nikki you speak the truth and those pics are the truth! Thanks for sharing!!!
It's been great reading about your travel experiences and seeing your pictures…
I co-sign much of what Annabel said. Too many AAs in particular WON'T and DON'T travel (outside of the typical spots like the Caribbean) because they're afraid of encountering racism. It really truly does depend on where you go AND even then you can't let yourself get too sensitive or oversensitive. When you realize just how awe-inspiring so much of the world is…it just makes it even more of a crime that anybody would be scared away from exploring it.
In Europe I've been to London, Madrid, Barcelona, and the south of France. I will say the last time I was in Madrid (2009) I was mistaken for a prostitute on at least two occasions…but I was staying in a super-touristy area (Puerta del Sol) and there were a fair number of black women on the stroll, so to speak.
Another thing I've found interesting is how some white Americans behave when they think no AAs are around or looking. I won't go into detail here but I don't think this is unique to Europe.
Still, the bad things are HUGELY!!! outweighed by the good things. So keep on traveling!
For the past 7 or so years, I made a commitment to travel to one new country a year. At first, the reactions would frustrate me. Now, I just accept it as part of the experience. When the people in China wanted to touch my husband's locks, I chalked it up to their lack of exposure to black people and to locks. Bottom line – it's not me, it's them and it's definitely not personal. And it's part of the reason I spend my money traveling instead of on expensive toys – for a brief moment, I want to get some insights into how others view the world.
P.S. They LOVED my hair.
I have a good friend that is Greek and she travels "home" often. She told me that if I get a chance to go that people will stare and may even ask to touch my hair. She said that there are not many black people over there and that the small village where she is from, many there have NEVER seen a black person. I can't wait to visit, it's on my list and since I have been told more than once – the treatment over there will not be a surprise.
Your pics are beautiful!
For my birthday last year I went to Germany and it was an experience. Like you I stood out like a sore thumb but make sure to represent!! I really liked Germany so if you haven't been add it to your list.
I live abroad and have encountered some of the situations you describe. Like you said, I think being present and just "doing your dang thing" is the best way to open up the world to us and open up ourselves to the world. I've been to places like Thailand and Morocco(which I highly recommend you and the hubby add to your travel list), where people have stared and sometimes followed me… Those events don't bother me as much as the eye roll or the side eye, because I think stares can sometime just be curiousity. Once in Thailand I went to buy a bottle of water at a Kiosk and the girl points to me and says Black… I was rearing up my eyes for the roll and then she smiled and said in broken English "You so beautiful", giggled and blushed.
The important thing is to not let oneself become to sensitive to other's reactions. Living in Europe, I know there are times when I don't always see other Black people and my expectation that people can be close-minded can lead me to over interpret someone's behavior as racist, when in fact they could just be miserable at their job or having a really bad day.
Okay, enough ranting! Enjoy Greece! Love the new hairstyle you are killing it! Weeerk! P.S. – Have you let out your inner PJ in Greece and tried to purchase any new products?
I want to climb Mt Kilaminjaro and do an Eastern and Southern African tour.
(Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa) – and Ethiopia when things are more stable in that area.
Other places on my list include Cape Verde, Maldives, Borneo and Turkey and Morocco.
I gave up a long time ago trying to 'rep' for large groups and just do me. Life is way too short and there are too many narrowminded people out there. There are also tons of wonderfully supportive and kind people, so I tend to focus my energy on experiences with them.
I've done Europe several times, West Africa, Middle East (inc. Israel) and parts of the Far East.
There is so much to see in the world and sooooo much fun to be had.
It looks like you are having a great experience. Thanks for sharing!
It's amazing the different experiences you have traveling in the US or out of it. My longest journey was to Japan last year (want to go back soooo bad!!!!). I studied abroad for a semester. It was the biggest shock and hugely encouraging when I realized that there was a community of Africans not only living in Tokyo, but running businesses (nothing huge, the kind of thing you see here in the states). I wasn't that special in Tokyo, but my church has a sister congregation in Tokyo and I went with them to Mt. Bandai in Fukushima. It was a super rural area and a completely different atmosphere than Tokyo. The people who worked there stared at me and asked me if I was American. Then the Japanese version of the girl scouts came to stay at the same inn that we were at and the little girls actually stopped and stared. Like a legit wide eyed, 'OMGoose! Look at her!' stare. No one was impolite, but I felt like I was on display, ESPECIALLY when I was at the hot spring. It was just the women and girls from the church (not the girl scouts), but the little girls were all staring at me, and I hurried up and washed and jumped into the spring(did I mention everyone was naked?). A couple of the little girls were mixed (blackenese is SUCH a gorgeous combo) so I guess I was the first black woman they had seen that…ahem…close. It wasn't a terrible experience, just weird. I loved Tokyo and I can't wait to go back and go explore other countries.
Thanks for sharing! Greece is definitely on my list and your pictures make me want to go right now. Although, I don't know if I would be as classy as you in dealing with the attitudes of the locals. I spent a semester in Seville, Spain and have spent a few days in London and Paris. I'd have to say the worst attitudes were from the French. Talk about rude. Seville was wonderful! I never felt unwelcomed – everyone that I encountered was friendly. Most of the stares I got seemed to come with a smile, as if to say – "look, a black person! Wow!". Anyhoo, I'm glad you are enjoying yourself, keep the pictures coming! By the way, how on earth are you coping without Gia?? Hubby and I are planning to take a trip for our 10 year anniversary this year, but I'm struggling with leaving my little ones for more than a week. Help me! *Sorry this was so long*
Yeah, I was wondering how that part of your vacay was going…
Thanks for letting us know. @ Anon 10:21, I've heard similar stories of TWB (traveling while black/brown) in China.
The story I was told as a high-schooler when my teacher was planning an optional class trip to Greece was that some people would either assume that a black woman was either a celebrity and may try to kidnap her or a prostitute. I heard the latter about being a black woman traveling in Spain. Sigh. Overgeneralizations, I know. I still plan to travel to Europe one of these days, but I plan to be judicious about where I go, especially with all the angst there right now over attitudes toward African/Middle-Eastern immigrants.
I hate that all over the world, it seems like people assume the worst about us. But it's our world too and there's no need to sit idle b/c of a little side eye. #rantover
By the way, I've enjoyed the photos; thanks, CN!
One of my abroad expeiences: I got called FAT every where I went in Jamaica, "gul yu FLUFFY", "you can't get that (cute t-shirts so buy the ugly ones, just buy) because you FLUFFY" fluffy, FluFFY, FLUFFY! Do you got to call it out erry time. I had a blast there but IJS!
You should backback the outback in Australia! I'd love to hear your Aussie stories.
@anon, I understand that frustration! On New Years Eve folks were asking to take pics with us too… what.the.hell.
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My next travel plans are domestic because I still need to renew my expired passport. I am going to Orlando in March. My parents are from South America, so I definitely think you should make the trip there. Whether it be to Venezuela, Brazil or Guyana (where my parents are from <- they speak English there = added bonus), you should go, I can assure you that you will have a great time!
What kind of camera are you using Nikki? beautiful pictures. I wish someday I will have the disposable income to travel EVERYWHERE.
Ahhhh…these pics are just ahh-mazing! As an undergrad I studied Greek for my foreign language. I keep saying I want to go…wait…what's stopping me? Hmmm…
your pics are amazing and you're absolutetly right! more of us (blk folks) need to leave the USA and explore the world, it's such an interesting place. im currently living in the caribbean with plans to travel to south america (Buenos Aires) during the summer. enjoy your travels.
I am happy you shared this! I travel international AT LEAST twice a year, Spain this coming March and Mexico and China in 2011. I had a hard time with the staring, touching (MY HAIR), and camera snapping of me in CHINA. I dont think I would return… They seemed disgusted and scared of me… I wasnt how I wanted to spend my f'king vaca.
Venice Italy or Barcelona. I've always wanted to go and I will someday!
YOU BETTER SAY THAT! Hubby and I are over here standing with the one fist in the air. Yes, girl!
I can't even answer the questions proposed 'cause I'm so fired up (in a good way)from this post.