As I mentioned in my last post, I had a long conversation with my mother that included remembrances about her childhood and my grandfather. There was something else of which spoke that made a deep impression upon me. That is, she spoke about her travels around the world.
It is a bit strange, perhaps, that my memories of my mother are of old photographs: my mother standing in snow-covered places, my mother amongst tulip fields and windmills, my mother feeding pigeons in a wide and open plaza, my mother on a ship…
My mother in places that I, as a child, never understood how she came to be there or if I would ever see such wondrous sights in my life.
I remember finding and displaying all the coins from the many foreign countries in which she had travelled. Places with strange names, strange languages, differently shaped than the money I knew as a child in Jamaica.
How could one person have travelled so far at a young age? So very far from the island country that served as a birthplace, and where she had both children and husband awaiting her?
Then again, how could she have not? She was teaching us, her children (and even our father), something very important. She was teaching us that no matter who you are and where you are, you should never limit yourself. Think big, dream even bigger, and allow life to take you where you will it.
There are many answers that one could give, or rather, that I could give.
The fact is, I travel because I need to understand that nothing is this life can limit me but my own self.
Not the colour of my skin. Not the kinkiness of my hair. Not the language that I speak. Not the relationships that I have built through blood or friendship.
Perhaps it is selfish. I am certain that culturally, for some, this type of attitude is selfish. For me, I see it as setting an example for the younger generation of my family, who will undoubtedly face a world that is filled with stereotypes, some of which will be aimed at them.
Trust me, travelling is not easy for people of colour, especially in parts of Europe, where the colour of one’s skin can mean a reason to be attacked (again, this is my own opinion).
Travelling, however, is one way of challenging stereotypes. It takes courage to say, “Let me leave everything behind and go somewhere far away.” And that is regardless of race/ethnicity/sexuality/religion/etc… Everyone, I believe, feels some fear when away from what is familiar, and from those who are accepting of us.
When we open our eyes and our arms to the world, we allow ourselves to see beyond stereotypes…Equally important, we allow for the world to see us as individuals. Thus, why should the world not be our oyster?
I thank my mother for passing on the wanderlust that has allowed me to have and to act upon the desire to see as much of the world as I can…I suppose she, in turn, thanks her grandfather, who was a ship engineer.
Until Next Time.
Some YouTube Links of Black Women Travelling:
Babs in Japan: “Love life and Japan” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VLx7Yc0dwU&feature=share&list=UL2VLx7Yc0dwU
Charly in Korea: “Black in Korea” http://youtu.be/mbLVIWNtdzo
Interesting Blog from China: “Life Behind the Wall” http://lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com/
- Jamaica 50 – The Celebration Continues (prweb.com)
- There is no natural limit to a woman’s ability … Yes gurl that’s Me, You, You and You (alexilarose.wordpress.com)
- Fight the powers that be!!! (aic3la.wordpress.com)
- Reader Question: Black Women Abroad (lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com)