We are always on the look out for great stories of black women doing great things. Luckily we have only the look in our own back yard. One on our regular readers PhillyGirl has just successfully challenged her dissertation earning her Ph.d.
We at Beyond Black and White wish to extend our congratulation on her achievement and to share her story.
Dr.Burks has graciously consented to submit the following article. We hope you enjoy it and will visit her blog:
Philly Girl Travels, http://phillygirltravels.blogspot.com/
Any one else with something we should know about please let us know we would be happy the spread the news.
How International Travel Changed My Life
Dr. Karlin Burks (PhillyGirl)
My life changed for the better when I took a leap of faith and traveled on my first international trip to London for New Years 2013: ALL BY MYSELF! You may have heard this before and it certainly was true for me; international travel frees your mind. My time in London opened my eyes to the possibilities of dating, working, and living beyond US borders. When you travel internationally, particularly as a Black Woman, you truly begin to understand your beauty as a WOMAN: NOT just as a Black Woman. Men see you and treat you differently and it is an empowering experience. I also wholeheartedly believe that international travel, whether solo or not, helps you to become more courageous, take more risks, and begin to embrace the motto, “I CAN” over “I CAN’T!”
Before my pivotal London adventure I was at a crossroads in my life. Do I stay on my current, safe, path and endure an uneventful life full of monotony, single-girl routines, trapped in a job I yearned to escape? OR do I dare to try something different and take a leap of faith? The answer for me was simple: I jumped! Now, just one year later, I hardly recognize my life.
- Single-Girl No More – I got engaged in Paris! Who knew you could find true love on the Internet? But thanks to EHarmony, I did. The Black Woman negativity campaign trying to convince us that we are unlovable, unmarriable, and if over the age of 40, have better luck being killed by a terrorist than getting married is HOGWASH!! Black Men may not be interested in us in America but you can certainly follow in my footsteps and EXPAND your search. I chose not to confine my relationship search to a certain race, choosing men based on character not color, nor did I restrict it only to within US borders. As luck would have it, my hubby-to-be is African from London and thankfully not tainted by the Black Male conditioning afflicting Black Men back in the states.
- DOCTOR Kay – I successfully completed the Long, HECTIC journey of obtaining my Doctorate of Education to become the first DOCTOR in my family!!! It was because of my Doctorate program that I took that pivotal trip to London as a treat to myself for not quitting the program and for not letting fear get the best of me. My thought was, “if I can find the courage to keep pursuing my Doctorate, I can certainly travel to London on my own!”
- Expatriate – I secured my first INTERNATIONAL job AND MOVED OUT OF THE COUNTRY to the MIDDLE EAST. I am currently working in an international school as an Administrator. The money is great and the job is so much less stressful than back home. But, it’s still a little weird for me to say, “I live out of the country!” Just two years ago, the furthest I had traveled from the US was Canada. International travel and working internationally had been a dream of mine for a long time ever since I started encountering stories about other BW living out their dreams overseas. I kept thinking, I’m single, no kids, what do I have to lose? If I don’t like it or it doesn’t work out, I can always come back home. So, I went for it and I’m so glad that I did. Living in Qatar has opened my eyes up to the world not to mention the great travel opportunities it has afforded me.
- World Traveler – World traveler may be stretching it a bit but I have added 5 new passport stamps in the past 12 months. I have traveled to United Kingdom, France, Greece, United Arab Emirates (Dubai & Abu Dhabi) and of course Qatar. I used to think international travel was SO expensive but with each trip, I was always able to stay on budget. I think for most Black Women, international travel is about the perceived cost and about getting over the safety fears of being out of the United States. But now that I am living and working in Qatar, I can honestly say those fears are not a concern and I truly have no desire to return to the US. Sure, you miss family and friends but there are so many places to explore and so many more friends to make; I think it is a reasonable trade-off.
- Writer – I have always wanted to be a writer. Now, thanks to my new found courage gathered from my international travels and the successful completion of my Doctorate, I am! I started my writing career with my blog, Philly Girl Travels, http://phillygirltravels.blogspot.com/ and have just completed my 100th post. I am also excited to be putting the finishing touches on my first E-book entitled: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Completing your Dissertation: 7 Success Tips to get you to DOCTOR!
Admittedly, International travel is not for everyone. I still have friends questioning my sanity for moving out of the United States. But for me, this experience has enriched my life a hundred times over. You know how people always ask you the question, “If you knew then what you know now…” I can say with 100% certainty that I would have traveled internationally starting back in college and would most certainly be living my dreams out in another country. One of my favorite quote sums up my feelings: “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams, talk you out of pursuing yours – Anonymous”