Traveling Tips – Beyond Black & White http://www.beyondblackwhite.com Chronicles, Musings and Debates about Interracial & Intercultural Relationships Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:50:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 23522080 At Last! A Travel Retreat Just for Interracial Couples!! 😍 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/last-travel-retreat-just-interracial-couples-%f0%9f%98%8d/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/last-travel-retreat-just-interracial-couples-%f0%9f%98%8d/#comments Tue, 03 Oct 2017 18:33:21 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=43352 How many years have we talked about, wished, dreamed, and desired a travel event tailored to folks in interracial relationships? I ecstatic to announce that there’s one set for 2018! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Cape Town Reconnect Retreat, organized by our new ad partner, LovingDayRetreats.com. Cape Town, South Africa I’m very […]

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How many years have we talked about, wished, dreamed, and desired a travel event tailored to folks in interracial relationships? I ecstatic to announce that there’s one set for 2018! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Cape Town Reconnect Retreat, organized by our new ad partner, LovingDayRetreats.com.

Cape Town, South Africa

Aerial shot of Table Mountain

I’m very particular about who is allowed to advertise on this platform. We turned down most people who reach out to us. But LovingDayRetreats.com is run by this gorgeous interracial couple…soon to be married in November!!

Details of the trip:

Re-connect with your loved one and join our retreat group as we partake in the rich history and diverse culture of South Africa. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Cape from the Table Mountain Aerial Cable-way. Tour the enchanting peninsula and take a helicopter ride with the group and view the spectacular aerial views of the outer islands and land terrain. Wine lovers will enjoy partaking in our scheduled group wine tasting event. This tour also includes a two day safari at a popular game reserve where the big 5 (Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Cape Buffalo and Rhinoceros) call home.  This spectacular bucket list destination boasts of rave reviews and unforgettable memories.  Disconnect from your hectic routine, and re-connect with your love on this magical retreat.

Cape Town port, South Africa. Pleasure boat ready to sail

Each Day of this spectacular trip will entail a personal activity that you and your love can privately partake in together (see itinerary for details).  Love is the key in our retreats. Designed to bring couples together in effort to focus on each other, encourage each other and enjoy your relaxing down time.  Rekindle your dreams, rekindle your love… Re-connect!

What’s included

  • All Lodging
  • All Meals and Drinks*
  • Winery & Vineyard Tour

    Vineyard landscape at sunset with grapes on vine, in Stellenbosch near Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Aerial Cable City Tour
  • Helicopter Tour

    Horizontal photo of a colony of African penguins, known also as jackass penguins or black-footed penguins, resting on the rocks and sand on Boulders beach in Simon’s Town, South Africa, on a sunny February day. Wide angle, blue sky in the background.

  • Game Safari & Lodge Stay
    2 Nights at Safari Lodge

    Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa

  • Transportation to Safari
  • Farewell Dinner
    Black & White Dinner Gala, and Prizes
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Pass
    Tour Cape Town’s must see sights at your leisure via the Cape Town Hop-on, Hop-Off Open air bus.
  • Couples Activities

So what are you waiting for? A $500 deposit holds your spot! Go…go…GO!

For more information about LovingDayRetreats.com, email love@lovingdayretreats.com.

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Beacons of Beauty: Black Women Who Travel http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/beacons-beauty-perceptions-abroad-black-women-travel/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/beacons-beauty-perceptions-abroad-black-women-travel/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:30:32 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=36368 I’m friends with a lot of black women who travel or live internationally, so I’m not surprised that a Yahoo! Travel article, titled, “In Spain, I’m a Prostitute – Challenging the Perception of Black Women Who Travel” has been on heavy rotation on my Facebook page. In light of Monday’s “Is the grass greener across […]

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Packaged Earth

I’m friends with a lot of black women who travel or live internationally, so I’m not surprised that a Yahoo! Travel article, titled, “In Spain, I’m a Prostitute – Challenging the Perception of Black Women Who Travel” has been on heavy rotation on my Facebook page.

In light of Monday’s “Is the grass greener across the pond?” post, I thought some of you might be interested in what the author had to say.

The basic premise is this: attention, comments and questions that can be perceived as hyper-sexual and, even rude, are unfortunately part of the travel experience for many black women. “Experience has proven that without provocation on our part, we’re more frequently perceived in a sexual way,” Stephens writes. Expect attention, especially when you travel to an area of the world where women who look like you are in the minority. These men (and oftentimes women) will fixate on your skin, hair, shape, confidence and attitude. I liken it to how many American women – myself included – coo over men with accents. (Ummm, hello, Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Hemsworth?)

Even in places I’ve lived where black people are the majority, the men I encountered honed in on features that were perceived as “different”. In one African nation, I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful, graceful women I’d ever seen, and the men there (of various races) fixated on my hair, which happened to be long and relaxed at the time. It was literally a beacon that drew all kinds of unwanted attention.

The idea that men in other countries are more open, welcoming and proactive about pursuing black women gets tossed around quite a bit whenever travel is brought up on BB&W. Stephens notes that while this can be true, the attention oftentimes comes with “speed bumps”. It’s unfortunate, but while most of us pride ourselves on being individuals worth knowing on our own merit, there’s a decent likelihood that we’ll be lumped into the warped image that’s been built up in the minds of some foreign (and, as we have daily proof, some domestic) men. The picture isn’t always the most edifying – as was the case with the author’s Croatian bar owner who divulged that she reminded him of his favorite porn star.

“Cross-country hyper-sexualization of black women has a long history,” Stephens writes. She cites Saartjie Baartman as an early example of how the “exotic” beauty of black women has been exploited internationally. Now, the American media generously plays a hand in continuing the trend.

Case in point – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve argued with people who thought I couldn’t possibly be American. It’s just not possible, since Beyonce, Jay-Z and 50 Cent are the only black people in America. On top of this, I don’t act, dress or look like the few African American women they see on TV.

Just as many Americans depend on images from the news or the internet to form their opinions about people in other parts of the world, those who live abroad use the images and stories we export to form their opinions of us. If we don’t teach them that the odd sampling they’ve seen isn’t the full picture, how will they learn? In some cases, I really believe the same goes for the men we encounter abroad.

I’ve had what I call “paparazzi” moments in Florence, Rio and Cartagena. It’s when individuals or groups of men walk up and, if they’re polite, will ask to take a photo with you, all the while gushing about how much the love black women. Sometimes, all you see is the camera flash and a smile or wave in your direction.

These are moments when I just say, “Thank you,” wave, and walk away. They’re not generally an opportunity to engage, learn or teach.

Then, there are times when you have to seize the opportunity in front of you to change the narrative. While vacationing in Italy a few years back, I was baffled by the amount of attention that came my way. I was standing in the Vatican Square, clothed in jeans, boots and a heavy overcoat (because it was winter there), with a huge camera with a telephoto lens in my hand, shooting pictures of the architecture when I was approached by not one, not two, but three groups of men who propositioned me. With each approach, I got more and more agitated. I finally said to one, “Look, I’m on vacation with my family. I’m not here to fulfill your music video chic fantasy.” He put his hands up in gesture of surrender and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend.” I asked how I was not supposed to find his “offer” offensive. Fail.

The sad part is, I think this approach does work for some men, which is why they use it. I personally know more than a few women – black, white and other – who would’ve taken these gents up on their offers to wine and dine them in exchange for a brief fling.

Here’s the bottom line: simply by nature of being the beautiful women we are, we’re going to draw attention from the opposite sex when we travel abroad. Don’t let the stereotypes and sexualized approaches of some men keep you from exploring – the nations and your options for love. Regardless of where on the planet we may be, we should always use discernment in our interactions with men. Change the not-so-positive aspects of the narrative when you can. Walk away when you can’t.

I also love that  Stephens writes, “… if you are on a romantic mission, don’t choose a mate who fetishizes you.”

Ladies, we know we’re fascinating, multifaceted beings. Our race and culture are only a fraction of who we are. If someone isn’t able to see and value all of us – not just our skin tone, sexuality, accent or ability to stand out in a crowd – it’s best to leave them be. We deserve this level of respect and consideration from the men we choose to engage with – regardless of whether they’re foreign or domestic.

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Eating in Dublin and Swirling http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/eating-dublin-swirling/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/eating-dublin-swirling/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 05:05:42 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=25548   I spent a wonderful four days in Dublin, after 14 months teaching English in S. Korea. So far almost 2 weeks after leaving Mumbai, India and a month after leaving S. Korea, I have been in eternal bliss. I found myself wondering the streets of the thousand year old city with a friend, when […]

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I spent a wonderful four days in Dublin, after 14 months teaching English in S. Korea. So far almost 2 weeks after leaving Mumbai, India and a month after leaving S. Korea, I have been in eternal bliss.

I found myself wondering the streets of the thousand year old city with a friend, when we stumbled upon a restaurant called Bear. I will do another post on Bear soon.  Anyhow, the manager at Bear told us about their sister restaurant Crackbird where they served free range fried chicken….ok so they had us at fried chicken.

Crackbird is an awesome little place that has a very organic and minimalistic atmosphere, but the food, the food is exceptional.

They do not serve soft drinks or french fries here. Instead, you can choose from one of four of their delicious homemade lemonades. We ordered the Rhubarb lemonade and it was refreshingly fantastic, served in a large mason jar.

Then came the fantastic yummy stuff. Reminiscing about it is making my mouth water. My friend and I ordered the soy (glutenfree) fried chicken wings served with thyme honey sauce and the habanero wings.

 

Since they do not serve ‘chips’ aka french fries we ordered the hand-rolled croquettes.

 

All sauces are made in house and the prices are very reasonable. For two people, we spent €25.

If you are looking for a great place to eat out while in Dublin, do not pass up Crackbird, located at 60 Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland. It would be the best thing you ever did.

As for swirling in the capital city of the south, I saw more black people than Irish people–over exaggeration– but let’s say there are many blacks in Dublin. I even saw an Irish lad pushing a mixed-race baby in a stroller. I received a few flirtatious comments and stares, which leads me to believe that Dubliners are indeed open to swirling and black women. The cabbies were friendly and very knowledgeable and the people in general were very friendly and open.

If you are looking for fun in a beautiful place and possibly an opportunity to swirl, Dublin may be a good place. I will be revisiting soon with more of an insight.

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Go East, Young Woman: Coping With Pre-Travel Abroad Jitters http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/east-young-woman-coping-pre-travel-jitters/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/east-young-woman-coping-pre-travel-jitters/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 04:59:17 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=24783 As some of you may know, I've been wanting to go abroad for a couple of years now. I only started actively planning within the past few months. Though I initially hoped to be out the door by fall, it's working out that early spring of 2014 will be my jump off point into the unknown.

Destination?

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Woman and ParisThis is an unusual post for me because it involves talking about my life plans. Outside of rare circumstances, I don’t usually do so on this site. But I think it’s necessary both personally and for anyone else who may be coping with the same thing right now. You never know, so let’s cope together. 🙂

 

As some of you may know, I’ve been wanting to go abroad for a couple of years now. I only started actively planning within the past few months. Though I initially hoped to be out the door by fall, it’s working out that early spring of 2014 will be my jump off point into the unknown.

Destination?

Prague.

Guadalajara.

Riviera Maya.

Kerala.

Rome.

After a bit of planning and calculating, I decided on not one, but TWO destinations next year: Barcelona in the spring and Thailand in the fall.

Ambitious I know for a person who has never been on a plane in her life. But you only live once, right?

 

Confession One:

About that whole never been on a plane thing?

Would you believe it is entirely possible to be SCARED TO DEATH of getting on a plane without having been on one? Yes, it’s absolutely true and I’m already picturing myself running in tears from the plane screaming, “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” to the top of my lungs. Or puking on the guy next to me.

I’m trying to get over this by assuring myself that planes are one of the safest ways to travel and that death and destruction if more likely on a highway. But then, substituting one fear with another doesn’t strike me as kosher.

In the end, I think having spent so much money to make this happen will get me on the plane. Maybe if I can successfully convince them I have digestive issues (which if nausea arises may become partially true…), they’ll let me stay in the bathroom during my plane trips. 😀

 

Confession Two:

Worried I’ll turn out like Dorothy…

 

I think there’s a couple of reasons “The Wizard of Oz” has always been one of my favorite movies. Like Dorothy, I grew up in the country (surrounded by farms and farmland rather than on a farm) where things were ordinary and dull. Though not quite as black and white. And Dorothy dreamed and sang of a far off place “somewhere over the rainbow”. She even opted to run away at one point, but instead ended up in a major coma having a wonderful adventure in a faraway land.

So why I am I worried I’ll turn out like Dorothy?

Well, she goes away and finds out that faraway lands are terrible, that she didn’t appreciate her family enough and that she was happiest being right where she was.

I want to be able to travel, and have an adventure and maybe even a new life abroad. This is what’s in my heart. At the same time I’m worried that I’ll be putting myself out into the world that’s big and dangerous and people are terrible and it turns out everything’s better at home. That would be an expensive realization to come to. A bump on the head and a week’s worth of sleep didn’t cost Dorothy anything!

I guess that was just a long-winded way of saying I am afraid of regretting my decision somehow.

 

Confession Three:

Inability to cope with the “R” word…

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be part of a community with so many traveling black women. Because if I ever just relied on a lot of travel sites and blogs as a guide, I’d swear that nobody anywhere welcomed a black face. It’s almost disturbing how excluded people of color are from programs that encourage free-movement about the world. I don’t know if it’s on purpose (where people assume whiteness = money) or if it’s because these people and programs just don’t get too many black travelers.

And one of my major concerns is how I’ll cope with racism while out in the world on my own. Heck, the process of planning brought me face to face with bigotry.

I was looking for information on Thailand and I happened across this one white guy’s page. This man went on a “blunt” tirade moreso than a helpful explanation about getting work in Thailand. One thing that stood out to me was that he said, “You basically have to be white to have a job here. They don’t like/hire black or dark-skinned people.”

O_o

I’ve seen these types of posts by white Americans before. They declare that X location is entirely racist and that black people are just better off not being there. It’s ironic when you consider the history of imperialism in the Far East and how Westerners exploited colorism in other parts of the world. But I digress less I get way off point.

It was discouraging. I actually considered opting out of the location altogether. Then I clicked on a couple of more related links anyway and I found this and then I saw this:

 

 

Imagine this music playing in the background while I stared at this picture.

It’s a black woman. She has non-permed hair. She is teaching a classroom of students. They are Thai children. ….Someone must have hired her to do so!

The mini-epiphany encouraged me to stick to my guns and go through with attempting to make plans to go to Thailand. One bitter ex-pat on the internet should not get to decide my future; only I can do that.

But it still makes me wonder: Do white people, especially Americans, think they are helping when they tell black people “not to come here?” Sometimes I think it’s well meant, other times I’m not so sure.  It did make me realize that the knowledge and expertise of black women in the international community is what’s most reliable.

And on that note I end with a pair of huge puppy eyes. I’m serious.

 

I really want to ask some questions that I’m counting on people to answer. Because it’s really important and I’d appreciate any and all info. Also, if anyone else is currently planning to travel, it might be a big help to them as well:

1.) What is the best way to cope with being terrified of flying? Window seat or aisle? Should I bring a paper bag? Am I being a big baby and scaredy cat?

2.) If one’s heart is set upon going abroad, what are the chances that they’ll regret it? Also, how does one deal with homesickness? (And a mom that is going to flood the world with her tears when her “baby girl” goes?)

3.) What are some popular travel resources for black women who are looking to network abroad and or find out relevant travel information?*

4.) Does anyone have any travel stories they want to share? Including their very first trip abroad? 😀

 

THANKS!

 

* I believe this was featured in a post way back when, which I will find as I’m currently digging through the travel section. But I’m asking anyway because I think maybe it would be good to 1) have a more current post listing these sites available for reference and 2) give travelistas another chance to toot their respective horns. 😉

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The California Girl’s Guide to Having Fun (and not dying) in New York City http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/california-girls-guide-fun-and-dying-york-city/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/california-girls-guide-fun-and-dying-york-city/#comments Sun, 30 Jun 2013 23:00:49 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=22847 I say "California Girl" to be used interchangeably with any girl NOT from a huge city where no one in their right mind owns a car. For us suburban girls, a trip to New York can be quite the eye-opening experience. Some love it, while some, like The Hubster, hate it for all the hustling and bustling chaos. I'm kind of in the middle. I love to visit, but I dang sure wouldn't want to live there. Unlike the burbs, Manhattan is rich with culture, shopping, and 1,000 other ways to become flat broke and homeless. So here's a few pointers to remember so you can enjoy yourself, not die, or become a penniless pauper when you visit the Big Apple.

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I say “California Girl” to be used interchangeably with any girl NOT from a huge city where no one in their right mind owns a car. For us suburban girls, a trip to New York can be quite the eye-opening experience. Some love it, while some, like The Hubster, hate it for all the hustling and bustling chaos. I’m kind of in the middle. I love to visit, but I dang sure wouldn’t want to live there. Unlike the burbs, Manhattan is rich with culture, shopping, and 1,000 other ways to become flat broke and homeless. So here’s a few pointers to remember so you can enjoy yourself, not die, or become a penniless pauper when you visit the Big Apple.

Find a place to hide

To an outsider, New York is scary. Thousands of people walk on the sidewalk at once and almost never say “excuse me.” In fact, you should just drop that line once you get to the city anyway, otherwise you’ll be saying it every 30 seconds. Then there’s the sea of yellow taxis and those one or two dumb schumcks who have cars entangled in the streets. People passing out fliers. The endless construction. Those distracting and deliciously smelling corner hot dog stands.

It is absolutely a MUST that you find a quiet place to retreat when it all becomes just too much. And unless you have rich friends who can lend you a room to yourself, you’ll need to get a hotel. Problem is, it’s not out of the question to discover that hotel rooms in Manhattan can cost $400+ a night. A. Night. My favorite place to crash is The Benjamin, a boutique hotel in midtown. It’s classy but not gigantic, and the rooms are amazing. Each room has a fully equipped galley kitchen, work station, HD flat screen television, and an ahhhh-mazing bed with a sleep menu. What’s a sleep menu? Sixteen different pillows to choose from: soft, firm, memory foam, body, pregnancy, organic, you name it, they have the pillow so you’ll get good rest before you brave the sensory overload again. The bathrooms are also wonderous, with floor-to-ceiling marble.Screen shot 2013-06-30 at 10.40.41 AM

The Benjamin sleep concierge

The Benjamin sleep concierge

Throughout the remainder of the summer The Benjamin is offering a special, $279 per night. If they give you any guff about restrictions (they shouldn’t but you never know) just tell them Beyond Black & White sent you.

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Travel: Slideshow of Our 10th Anniversary Trip to Newport Beach! http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/slideshow-of-our-tenth-anniversary-at-newport-beach/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/slideshow-of-our-tenth-anniversary-at-newport-beach/#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2012 02:54:17 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=6183 It was fun to go back to the place where it all happened...

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By now, the lot of you have seen this photo:

 

That was taken on April 27, 2002 at the Hyatt Regency, Newport Beach. It is one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL places to have a wedding, or just get away for a romantic weekend. If you clicked on the link to the official site up yonder, you might think it’s some boring business-y place with no pizzazz. They’ve really got to get their photographers on the job.

That’s why I took some of my own shots, 10 years, one day since that picture up top was taken.

This place has a day spa, gym, tennis, volley ball, three large, heated pools, restaurant, ping pong, shuffleboard, bars, hang out spots with outdoor “living rooms,” gorgeous gardens, plus it’s close to the grand-daddy of shopping, Fashion Island.

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