Have you ever been so eager to travel somewhere that you just grabbed anyone to go with you? The fear of traveling alone bugs many of us because we believe going into the unknown requires the comfort of another person. I use to feel this way and would make it my mission to find a travel buddy before my trips departure date. However, it only took me a couple of travel buddies from hell to realize that traveling is a very intimate and personal experience. If you don’t have the right person with you, your entire dream trip can become a nightmare. I’ve always thought of myself as the type of person who can flow with any situation, but traveling with the wrong people revealed this interpretation of myself as false. In fact, a few years ago on my trip to Egypt it became apparent to me that sometimes you just can’t go with the flow.
Egypt is one of the most astonishing places I’ve ever visited. Almost all of the natives were extremely welcoming and eager to serve tourist, the atmosphere was unforgettable! Moreover, as an English speaker, it was comforting to find out that many people in Egypt spoke English. Anyway, I learned halfway through my trip that the amount of scrutiny I used to pick my wardrobe should have been used to pick my travel companion. Upon our arrival in Egypt my travel companion who I’ll call Britney started to display a very insecure attitude. For instance, some of the Egyptian men were flirty and would jokingly pay me a compliment and say, “I will give your family 30 camels in exchange for your hand in marriage”. I thought these comments were funny but for some odd reason my travel buddy became annoyed by them and rolled her eyes or made sly, rude remarks towards me about the subject when we were in private and sometimes in front of others.
Sharing a room also became a hassle because our perspectives on cleanliness were different (especially when it came to sharing the bathroom) she made comments about how she refused to utilize the bottle of air freshener or Clorox wipes I had brought to be used between our bathroom usage. She even complained about the size of my breast and butt in the morning when we were getting dressed, comparing my body shape to hers. In essence it seemed that she was finding small things to be annoyed about instead of enjoying the trip (I had never seen this side of her). The last deal breaking situation for me took place in a jewelry store. I was in the process of purchasing a gold charm and having the Jewelry merchant box and bag it for me. Britney stayed in the store with me the entire time until she saw I was going to purchase the gold necklace I had been eye balling. It was at that point that Britney kindly walked out the store. Me not thinking anything of it, I continued to make my purchase because I thought Britney would be standing outside the store waiting on me so we could walk back to the tour bus together, but she wasn’t. I frantically looked around for her in nearby Shoppe’s but I couldn’t find her. I vigorously walked back to the tour bus in a panic to tell our guide that I couldn’t find Britney. But to my surprise Britney was already on the tour bus, seated. When I spotted her she was glaring up at me with an unconcerned look.
Although I was relieved to see that Britney was safe I was mildly upset that she left me without notice, especially when the tour guide had instructed us to stick with our partners as we shopped around the market place. Fortunately, during my trip to Egypt I met other solo travelers in my group who I vibed with and who were more attentive about my well-being just because I was part of the group. I ended up making connections with people from all over the united states, some I still currently talk to. My experience of traveling with Britney to Egypt tremendously broadened my horizon, and struck me with the epiphany that I didn’t need to spend my time hounding friends who were tied down with family and economic obligations about traveling, badgering uninterested family members about trips, or taking my chances and going halfway across the world with an insecure associate like Britney. Instead I could create a space in the travel industry where other African American singles who share the passion of wanderlust, culture, adventure, and exotic activities could get together and explore the world.
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