Book Writing Adventures

More Juicy Stuff from Globetrotting Black Chicks:Oneika Raymond on Travelling While Black

By Oneika Raymond

I’ve always had a passion for travel. The thought of jetting off to a faraway land, with its foreign language, culture, and sometimes bizarre customs, has always excited me. Crazy foreign films get an A+ in my book, and I drool over foreign accents and get giddy when it’s time to go to the airport. So, it came as no surprise that when the opportunity came up to study abroad in France for a year during university I leapt at the chance. After all, pourquoi pas? I was 21 years old when I stepped off the plane in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and it was my first time outside of North America.

As a Canadian of Caribbean descent, my previous travel experiences had been limited to road-tripping to visit extended family living in other parts of Canada and the eastern United States. My travels were also peppered with a few trips to Jamaica, the country of my parents’ birth. Life outside of North America was largely unknown to me.

But I learned a lot about life (and about myself!) after amazing year travelling around Europe, indulging in French food, learning more about French culture, and dabbling (just a little bit!) in French men (mais oui!). I realized that I was hooked on this travel thing! And thus began my intense love affair with travel.

It was with a heavy heart (and empty pockets) that I returned home to Canada after my year abroad in France. I knew I somehow had to get back though, and plotted my escape. I then found out about a government program that allowed native English speakers to go to France and teach ESL in the public school system. Eureka! I drafted up my application and was overjoyed when it was accepted and I got my second chance to live it up in bella Europa.

After a second year in France, where I worked as an English teaching assistant in a high school, I realized that teaching abroad was a GREAT way to see the world whilst getting P.A.I.D (a very important word in my vocabulary). So I went back home to Canada and got my teaching credential, which certified me to teach English and French at the high school level. And so off I went.

I never looked back. After a year-long contract teaching at an international school in Mexico, I now write to you from Hong Kong, where I’ve been living and teaching since 2009. Living abroad has it drawbacks, but in general I’ve found it to be incredible. Teaching abroad is generally fantastic as well. I typically travel during all of my school holidays, and I’ve accompanied students on field trips to Paris, Nepal, and Beijing. Not bad!

Sometimes, as the only Black female travelling in some places, I get some unwanted (but usually positive) attention (in Guilin, China I could barely walk 50 feet without somebody trying to take my picture- celebrity status, I tell ya!), but mostly it is positive, and TWB (Travelling While Black) often means you’ve got to develop a thick skin anyway. I just dust my shoulders off and keep it moving!

Besides, nearly 40 countries, 3 passports, and an innumerable amount of memories later, my eyes have been opened to SO many amazing things and I feel positively blessed to have had these experiences. I’m trying to see a lot and have fun doing it. Because, after all, that’s what life’s about, n’est-ce pas?

Oneika Raymond

[email protected]

Follow Christelyn on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you want to be a little more about this online dating thing, InterracialDatingCentral is the official dating site for this blog.