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5 Black Women Share Why Travel Is An Essential Part Of Their Lifestyles

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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From a renowned dancer to a financial analyst, these five black women make no excuses when it comes to travel. Seeing the world is more than just a hobby. To these ladies, it’s fundamental to their happiness and growth.  

Here are their inspiring responses when asked why they make travel an essential part of their lifestyles.

Simone Sobers, Creator of The Boss Chick Dance Workout

Simone Sobers | Photo by Matt Pendleton for Matt Pendleton Photography

@simonesobers @bosschickdanceworkout

I caught the travel bug at the age of 17. I was intrigued by the idea that there were people living life just like me, in another part of the country, that had their own culture and vibe. This intrigue quickly grew into a passion to see more of the world, and to experience how others lived and celebrated life, what they ate, and how they viewed love.

I took my first of many solo international trips to my birthplace, London, England. I fell in love! Solo traveling as a young African-American woman was daunting but so necessary in shaping how I viewed the world and myself within it.  

Traveling gives me a wider lens to experience life, and use these experiences to influence and piece together the woman I am becoming, the goals I want to chase, and the kind of human I want to be to others. After this first international trip, I made it a goal to travel as frequently as possible and eventually found a way to integrate it with my career as a dancer, choreographer, and dance fitness entrepreneur.

“Traveling is my home and my way of life. It’s my freedom, lifestyle, greatest teacher, and passion.”

I started off touring annually to Europe with my two contemporary dance companies Simone Sobers Dance and Sobers & Godley. Our itineraries consisted of performing, teaching, training, and exploring the city and neighboring countries. Over the past 4 years, I have had a touring schedule of 3 to 4 times a month, averaging about 25-30 cities a year, sharing my dance fitness brand, The Boss Chick Dance Workout, with women around the world. I have had the incredible opportunity to travel throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Belize, Grand Cayman, Turks and Caicos, Honduras, England, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Brazil, Columbia, Turkey, Italy, France, Switzerland, Serbia, Portugal, Netherlands, Croatia, and Monaco. Traveling is my home and my way of life. It’s my freedom, lifestyle, greatest teacher, and passion. 

Nafeesah Allen, Freelance Writer & Independent Researcher

Nafeesah Allen

@theblaxpat

With subpar Spanish and a dream to see the world, I – at the tender age of 15 – set off to study abroad in Spain for my junior year of high school. In the twenty years since travel became more than a hobby or an escape. It is a lifestyle. My husband and I have lived and worked in India, Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa. I completed degrees at two foreign universities. Our third-culture kids have spent their lives in southern Africa. Because our family’s travel is immersive, language lets us make a home wherever we go.

I have chosen to only live in countries where I speak a local language; when I didn’t know one, I learned one. Being a resident (rather than a tourist) comes with a responsibility to know local cultures and to, respectfully, find your place within or outside of them. My family takes on this challenge each time we move to a new neighborhood (albeit sometimes expat and high-income ones) and spend years living in different countries. We have benefited from friendships and gained local knowledge that we never would have known without a second language.

“Home is not a place; it is the community you create.”

These days, people ask if I’ll bring my young family back home to the U.S. “for good.” For now, my answer is no. Living abroad and learning languages at a young age prepared me to seize a world of possibilities. I am thankful to provide my kids this golden opportunity to make immersion travel a norm, not a privilege. Home is not a place; it is the community you create.

April Watson, Senior Financial Analyst

April Watson

@msbigpov

I’ve made travel a priority in my life because I know the world is bigger than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I want to experience as much of it as I can. I enjoy making new memories from all of the adventures like ziplining in Costa Rica, riding ATVs in Tenerife, or walking YS Falls in Jamaica. It might seem obvious, but travel does open you up to understand other cultures and empathize more with their point of views. I think taking the time to talk to locals, wherever you are, is important for your personal growth.

Traveling is also key for me to recharge my batteries. I can get burnt out from working and from my different obligations. I need time to decompress from my everyday reality. Planning a trip can be stressful, but when I’m relaxing on a cruise to the Bahamas or laying on the pink sand beaches of Bermuda I know it’s all worth it. 

“I think taking the time to talk to locals, wherever you are, is important for your personal growth.”

Whom I go away with is also important. Traveling with people I trust like family, friends or a significant other strengthens bonds in a unique way that might not otherwise happen. As much as I’m having fun, I’m also building the foundation of those relationships.

Alexis O’Reilly

Alexis O’Reilly

@theurbanhippie20

My love of travel started at a young age. My family started going on cruises when I was in eighth grade during summer vacation. Later in life, I introduced travel to my husband when we started dating, and soon thereafter, we caught the travel bug! 

“We wanted our son to grow up in a culture surrounded by nature and less “stuff” at his disposal.”

My husband and I love to visit new locations and see how other people live. I think it is important to get out of your comfort zone and try new experiences, as it makes you more well-rounded. While traveling, I love to talk to the locals and find out the places they like to eat and shop. The experience tends to feel more authentic when you don’t just go to the chain restaurants and stores.

In August 2018, our family moved to Nosara, Costa Rica for a lifestyle change.  We wanted our son to grow up in a culture surrounded by nature and less “stuff” at his disposal.  We live ten minutes from the beach and our house is in the jungle. Our son attends a bilingual Montessori school where children from over 20 nations are represented. We have immersed ourselves into a culture that has been welcoming and open to all.  We do not know where this journey will lead but we are along for the ride!

Ayana Miller, Publicist

Ayana Miller

@__ayana____

I decided to make travel a priority in my life because to me, experiences are truly the best gift you can give yourself. Travel gives me the opportunity to take my mind off of the stress of everyday life and allows me to relax, reset and recharge. It is also the perfect way for me to go outside of my comfort zone, which has helped me connect with myself on a deeper level. I am an adventurer by nature, so traveling to different countries fulfills my desire to explore, meet new people and experience different cultures.

Through travel, I have gained a deeper sense of gratitude. Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are to have access to simple luxuries and necessities that we often take for granted. Seeing how people in some other countries live with less, and still manage to find the joy and beauty in life has definitely made me more cognizant to appreciate the things I do have.

“Through travel, I have gained a deeper sense of gratitude.”

To date, I have traveled to 23 countries, including Cuba, Australia, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, Martinique, Colombia, St. Lucia, Curaçao, Costa Rica, Bermuda and St. Barths. My goal is to visit 40 countries by the time I turn 40 (in a few years). I’m hoping I can make it!

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