I got so tired of waiting for others to see the world.
I planned a birthday trip to Australia with a close friend, only for him to postpone it time and time again. Once we agreed on a set date to book it, he realized he forgot to renew his passport. It was that moment I knew I had to go alone. It took so much time planning what to do, where to stay, what area, worried about how I was going to meet people, and how safe I would be as a solo traveling black person.
While I felt it in my bones there was something out there waiting for me in Australia, I didn’t anticipate the amount of loneliness I would have to deal with. No matter how extroverted, outgoing or friendly I am while traveling, experiencing bouts of it is inevitable. Whether it was eating alone at a restaurant while groups around you shared meals, going to new places or seeing what the nightlife was like, it took lots of mental energy to push myself to go activities alone. Yet, I would not change anything about my experience because it forced me to face uncomfortable situations, embrace them and made long-lasting friendships with new people in the end.
As a black person navigating foreign lands alone, it was initially hard being the only one who looked like me wherever I went to. To feel more comfortable, I looked at past experiences to guide me like playing sports growing up and entering corporate America. It re-showed me I’ve already had experiences being the only black person or a few of the only few in the room. Sometimes you just have to roll with what is in front of you, own it and take it one day at a time.
Was I prepared to make deep connections, become vulnerable and fall in love with an amazing woman all in one trip? Can’t say I was! It was surprising how opened I became with complete strangers and the personal stories shared among ourselves. Australia embraced me like one of their own, got free drinks at most places, felt loved, appreciated and like I truly belonged somewhere for the first time in a very long time. At a young age at the time, I wholeheartedly felt I’ve already lived a full life there.
My two-week sabbatical to Australia is the trip that inspired me to start TravSolo, to make solo travel easier for everyone – planning, meeting people and bring back home a story tell loved ones – and have a platform for people to create their own stories through media. For the fact we barely see ourselves represented in travel media we sometimes can’t envision ourselves traveling much growing up.
My trip showed me there is no one way to solo travel. Some people yearn to meet and connect with new people while others want to enjoy their alone time. I was convinced a good amount of people ultimately don’t care about the color of your skin but the person you are in your truest form. I’ve kept the same mentally everywhere I have solo traveled to as a black person and it hasn’t failed me yet.
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He is the owner of TravSolo.com.
Get in touch with him on his website.