Our Family's 2016 Goals For Traveling While Black
With the start of every new year, of course there is talk of what goals are to be accomplished and when. While the usual has made my list (better parenting and relationship building, grow a business and financial benchmarks), one of my top goals for this year is for us to travel more. Last year between the two of us (solo and together) we hit up 4 US cities including San Jose and San Francisco, CA, Wimberley, TX, and Denver, CO and Punta Cana, DR, for a wedding of one of my besties. That may not seem like much to whirlwind travelers who seem to be in a new country every few months, that was a lot for us. All in all that isn't bad, but I want more. Like way more. My goal for this year that I told the hubs the other night is that I would like to make one big trip (you know that means abroad right?) plus one small trip or 3 small ones this year. I of course prefer the trip abroad but hey as long as I see some new places I have no reason to complain right?
With the rise of affordable travel thanks to information hubs such as Travel Noire, a site founded Zim Ugochukwu, that has pulled the curtains back on how to travel AND live for cheap in places most people have only dreamed. Traveling here and abroad is now an option for many though it still not exercised by most. This is especially true in the black culture. But why?
Travel, in years past was often only associated with the white and wealthy. But as time progresses it was soon attainable for the middle class white family but still a pipe dream for many blacks. I still have family that’s barely been beyond the city they grew up let alone crossed state lines. But if you're barely living above the poverty line, travel is the least of your priorities. Even today as scroll my Facebook feed filled with old high school classmates, many of them still live in the same city that we grew up in only having moved mere streets or neighborhoods at best from their childhood homes. Rarely do I see pictures of any travel near or far. I don't know if they are still holding on to the concept that travel is unaffordable, especially if you have a family. Most airline tickets I've seen are usually $250 or more. Add that up for a family four, then checked luggage, a place to stay, rental car and food, it's easy to understand why many don't do it. But it's not impossible. Then again I am not one to make a definitive claim on if they have traveled or not because maybe they choose to not post that aspect of their lives. I'm just going by what is see and we all know how someone's life can be portrayed on the book of faces.
Then there's us. Before we were married, I had never flown on a plane until the weekend I visited him in Florida where he later proposed on a moonlit beach. Whoop! Whoop! When we were married, we spend our honeymoon in Negril, Jamaica which was my first taste of international travel. Since then, thanks to my husband's career, we’ve had the privilege of having lived in Tampa, Atlanta,(the city where have felt and still feel the most at home) back to Houston and now in Austin. Even within those cities we experienced several moves in the pursuit of better neighborhoods, space or an area pursuant to our lifestyle. We’re absolute foodies, and enjoy patronizing small businesses as well what nature herself has to offer. I have fond memories of driving down the Courtney Campbell causeway in Tampa, with the top down under a starry sky (the hubs an S2000 at the time) with John Legend's “Get Lifted” as our soundtrack. Those nights were so beautiful. Or the side track Saturday's with good friends while pretending be tourists and hitting up Atlanta top attractions like the world of Coke and gladys’ knight's chicken and waffles. In Those were some of the best years of my life. Even now while living in one of the whitest cities eve, we've managed to enjoy what the city of Austin has to offer. From the many hiking trails that we all love, especially our son, and the festivals for just about anything. (Eeyore's birthday for one) and yes I mean that Eeyore. It's a sight to behold. Or the local farmer’s market that has become a weekly ritual for the little person and I while the hubs gets his extra sleeps. In between then and now, we also went to Washington,D.C. for the inauguration of President Obama, experienced the beautiful island of Puerto Rico for our babymoon. If you ever have an opportunity, please visit Vieques, Puerto Rico. Besides the breathtaking views, the wild horses roaming about was the final to touch to already perfect scenery. Combine that with the hubs travel for work which has taken him several places including Montreal and him being a former military brat he's been and seen a lot of places. Hell he was born in Frankfurt, Germany where he spent 8 years of his life. Travel and our family are definitely not strangers. But now as parents, we want our son to experience the same.
While we were somewhat nervous about his plane ride San Jose, CA due to a recent ear infection he handled it like a champ. In fact he has been itching to get back on a plane again soon. Like tomorrow soon if we could arrange it. Boy I wish we could too!! Especially since jas asks to go visit places such as Stonehenge and Big Ben. I want him to see those places. I want to see those places. I want to immerse myself in the cultures of foreign lands, eat all their foods (Okay most of them because I do not do eyeballs. Bizarre foods anyone?) and create new memories.
Travel isn't just for the affluent and white anymore. The doors have been opened for us all. You just have to be willing to walk through it. And spend a little money. I didn’t say it was free. So where do the Washington's plan to head to next? Well, while a trip abroad is definitely high on the list, we exactly narrowed it down to any one country just yet, (I'm waiting to see what travel deals pop up from one of my trusted sites), I wouldn’t mind popping over to Chicago, New York, Portland or Seattle to name a few. While travel for three won't be as cheap as travel for two, it it most certainly doable. And doesn’t involve Walt Disney World, although every kid should go at least once. I’ve been and plan to take the little person one day too. But stay tuned for part two of this post where I share some of my trusted sites we've personally used to find the best spaces and tickets for our jaunts about the planet. Come along with me won't you? There's a whole world to see!!