World Traveler Oneika Raymond Opens Up About Traveling While Black
I’m a kind of individuals who inadvertently compares her life to the individuals I see on social media. It occurs each time I see world vacationers who’re carefree and fearless sufficient to dwell out of their suitcases, throwing warning to the wind and visiting the far reaches of the planet. I scroll their footage on my telephone and assume to myself, “that must be me!” Then, “Why isn’t it?”
These days, one of many Instagram vacationers I’ve been watching (and getting just a little envious of) is Oneika the Traveller. Oneika isn’t an Instagram vagabond simply chasing likes (though she will get fairly a number of) — she’s taught abroad, is a full-fledged media persona, and maintains a weblog concerning the locations she goes and folks she meets. While the weblog has loads of recommendation and wistful reflections of lovely locations, its most attention-grabbing part is titled “Travelling While Black.” In that house, Oneika talks about what it means to be a black lady touring overseas and offers her perspective on how she’s handled as an individual of shade.
Actually, after studying her first feature on UPROXX and trying out her IG posts and web site, I received much more jealous of Oneika’s fabulous life. I’ve had minimal expertise touring. This isn’t a results of not wanting to journey, it’s a results of not inserting as a lot worth on it as a result of “Hey, I received payments, am I proper?” Culturally, this appears to be a shared sentiment amongst individuals of shade. Maybe it’s as a result of, usually talking, we weren’t afforded the best lives and utilizing cash to journey seems like a luxurious. Or perhaps it’s as a result of we weren’t certain how we’d be handled abroad, since we already needed to expertise prejudice and hatred at house. Both method, the face of journey is basically white, and that sucks. While there are initiatives like Hardly Home to get youngsters who would in any other case not be capable to afford it “passport scholarships,” and there are websites like Travel Noire that present that there are, certainly, some faces of shade on the market touring, it’s a must to ask your self why that’s essential for our demographic.
Oneika’s weblog raised all these questions for me, so I went to the supply to get some solutions. A Jamaican-Canadian, she already has a really completely different outlook on life, racial relations, and tradition than me, a black American. We spoke about that dissonance, her love of journey, and why she thinks there aren’t extra black faces and folks of shade grabbing their youth by the horns and utilizing the chance to get out and see the world.
First I simply needed to speak just a little bit about what your motivation for touring is?
I’ve at all times been actually inquisitive about completely different cultures and languages. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, which may be very multi-cultural and a really various metropolis, so from a really early age, I used to be uncovered to completely different individuals from completely different locations. And so once I had the chance to journey in College, I used to be undoubtedly actually eager to take action. I additionally come from an immigrant household — my household is from Jamaica. I had a lot of experiences touring to and from the Caribbean to go to household. So I had a passport and I used to be touring, however largely it was on account of household.
I noticed that later you taught abroad?
I did, yeah! I taught in a lot of completely different locations. I’m truly a licensed French Language Arts Trainer. So I taught in my house nation of Canada, however I additionally had the chance to show in Mexico, France, Hong Kong, and in England. In London, England.
Wow. Okay, so abroad, did you see numerous American born and Canadian individuals of shade who have been touring?
It was actually a combination and I believe it’s a must to be actually conscious and conscience of the timing of the yr, and likewise the realm. For instance, I went to highschool in France, and that was my first expertise in Europe and that was again in 2003 and on the time, the those who I used to be at school full time with made up a really various vary of individuals. I had a wide range of completely different races and so forth and so forth. And that’s as a result of France, by and enormous, is a really multi-cultural nation.
Nevertheless, once I lived in Hong Kong and once I traveled round South East Asia in 2009, I undoubtedly felt that there was an absence of black vacationers like myself, and black individuals residing overseas.
Why do you assume that’s?
It could be on account of a lot of socioeconomic elements and likewise the tradition of journey is probably extra put in in caucasian vacationers from North America. To begin with, it must be stated that North Individuals should not have the identical tradition of journey in the best way that say, Europeans do. And I believe that’s on account of a lot of elements — we don’t have as a lot trip time as Europeans, for instance.
However, I believe, with reference to individuals of shade touring, not less than in my particular case, coming from an immigrant household, my household labored actually laborious to maneuver to Canada and to deliver me up there and to have a life there and to get a superb training, so all of their assets have been devoted to that, and to not one thing like worldwide journey. Folks like me, not less than again within the day, we didn’t journey for leisure, or to seek out ourselves. We didn’t go backpacking. If we have been touring, it was primarily to go to household in our house nation. So I don’t assume we actually have that tradition of backpacking, like a few of my white buddies did.
Do you assume perhaps North American-born individuals of shade simply place worth on various things?
I’d merely say that in my explicit case, being a toddler of immigrants from the Caribbean, their focus was not on worldwide journey to go backpacking or for leisure functions. After we traveled internationally, it was largely to return to Jamaica to go to our relations or to go to the US to go to our relations. We didn’t have a tradition of leisure journey.
I can’t essentially communicate to the African American expertise with reference to that, however I can say that personally, as a toddler of immigrants, that was my expertise, at the moment.
You have been saying white individuals would place extra emphasis on touring for leisure, what do you assume would spur individuals of shade to say, “Hey, it’s essential to go see the world!” What do you assume could be an impetus?
I believe that the current black journey motion has actually introduced leisure journey and journey for exploration to the ground, not less than within the African American neighborhood. I believe that on account of social media, and we’ve numerous manufacturers like Journey Noir and No Insanity Tribe — they supply extra photos and extra encouragement and inspiration and knowledge for black vacationers to go on the market and see the world.
I believe in some methods, numerous us have been afraid to journey. Again within the day, it was one thing that was actually unknown to us and it was one thing that not numerous us have been doing on the time. And so I believe that with all of those assets out there, not solely is it method simpler and cheaper to journey now than it ever has been, but additionally seeing extra individuals of shade getting on the market and touring to locations like Russia and Indonesia has actually spurred on, or inspired extra black individuals particularly to journey internationally. And to get out of their consolation zones, principally.
Cool, so do you foresee an even bigger enhance for individuals of shade on the highway within the years to return?
Oh yeah, completely! As I famous earlier than, journey is turning into a lot extra accessible, it’s extra accessible financially, and when it comes to the mindset or the paradigm, journey is throughout us. You see individuals of shade in an Instagram piece for instance and throughout social media, there are motion pictures like Ladies Journey for instance which are actually selling the concept of exploration and going away with your mates, and doing all these types of issues somewhere else, in unfamiliar locations.
I believe that that simply ends in extra individuals having journey on their minds and realizing that it’s one thing they will do, no matter their race.
Do you usually journey alone, or do you journey with buddies?
All the above. I journey alone a good bit and I journey with buddies. I truly simply received again from a visit to Ghana the place I traveled with a bunch of girlfriends, however I additionally, proper earlier than assembly them in Ghana, went alone journey. So, it’s one thing that I do and it’s one thing that I’m an enormous advocate of and I encourage each individual, male or feminine to get on the market and never look forward to anyone else to go along with them.
What do you assume could be essentially the most welcoming nation you’ve ever been to?
That’s actually troublesome to say…it’s actually circumstantial. I believe all nations have the potential to be actually pleasant and it is dependent upon who it’s you meet. I encourage all people to journey in every single place. I simply encourage them to be actually well-informed and to learn up on the conditions within the nation whether or not it’s political or social, I encourage them.
All nations are welcoming or may be welcoming so long as a traveler goes and may be very respectful of the tradition, is conscious of social and political issues which are happening. I’ve been to Thailand 4 or 5 instances, and I’ve at all times had a beautiful time there. I’ve discovered Thai tradition to be extraordinarily welcoming and it’s only a pretty nation to go to due to the meals, due to the historical past, due to the tradition, due to the local weather, due to the seashores. Thailand has such a wealth of issues to supply and, truly, its nickname is the “land of smiles,” so in the event you did ask me, in the event you twist my arm and ask me to pinpoint one nation that I discover to be actually pleasant, I’d say that that nation is Thailand.
However, protecting in thoughts that the onus can also be on you as vacationers to go there with an open thoughts and be respectful and educated concerning the nation, the customs, and the tradition of the place you’re visiting.
The explanation I ask that query is that I do know so far as touring, I’ve seen the older technology — and even millennials — say issues like “How do they really feel about black individuals there?” One other factor I’ve heard is, so far as backpacking and sporting issues and outdoorsy issues is, “Black individuals don’t do this.” Do you assume that’s a foolish assertion?
Yeah, it’s a delusion that black individuals don’t do adventure travel. As an illustration, there are a variety of us who do, however once more, that’s not going to be dropped at the ground, and I believe that it’s actually essential to have the tales these individuals informed and to have their actions and pursuits highlighted with the intention to encourage extra of us to exit and go climbing and rafting and do all these type of journey journey issues that we supposedly “don’t do.” We shouldn’t be restricted or we shouldn’t abstain from sure actions as a result of we expect that they’re not actions that black individuals do.
I’d encourage all of us to get on the market and to attempt various things, and numerous that hinges on the pictures that we see within the media as a result of it nearly turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy: You assume that it’s not doable. You by no means see any photos that present that’s doable, and, subsequently, that type of turns into your de facto actuality. It’s actually essential to spotlight these forms of actions in journey media, in order that we are able to encourage the following technology of black vacationers to exit and do these issues.