Design Your Life

Diary Of A Black Traveler: Ari Feels The Love In Seoul, South Korea

By Travel Noire

Share

We all have unique experiences when we visit a different city or country, but how often does your black identity have an impact on your trip? In our Diary of a Black Traveler series, we ask members of the Travel Noire family to share their personal experiences of being a black traveler in an unfamiliar space. Ari shares what it was like experiencing the vibrant city of Seoul, South Korea as a black traveler.

 

Travel Noire: What was the significance of your trip to Seoul, South Korea? 

 

Ari: I wanted to try a completely new culture and test myself on my first solo travel experience.

 

Travel Noire: Did you connect with the destination on a personal level due to your black heritage? 

 

Ari: I connected with my heritage and my skin color, but it was also unexpected and unintentional. I stood out in this country, as to be expected. But it was incredible to see people marvel at my skin color and hair. To be excited to talk to me about the trips they’d taken to Africa or America. To try to connect with me with music, culture, and history. I’ve never felt as celebrated as I did on that trip and it made me remember why I love being black.

 

RELATED: This Is What It’s Like To Experience Greece As A Black Woman


 

Travel Noire: Did you feel like you were treated differently because you were black and from a different country? 

 

Ari: I definitely felt I was treated differently because I was black and a foreigner, but mostly in a positive way. There is a fair share of racism in Asian countries, but for the most part, people were simply shocked to see me as I walked through less touristy areas. I would get a lot of unabashed stares and a lot of excitement. I enjoyed it.

 

Travel Noire: What challenges did you face (if any) because you were black and how did you overcome them? 

 

Ari: Being constantly stared at was definitely a challenge. I’m used to the ability to become invisible at home, but it’s impossible to blend in there. It was frustrating during the first few days, but I came to enjoy it and just pretended like I was a celebrity. It reframed the entire experience for me.

 

 

Travel Noire: How did this experience help you grow? 

 

Ari: I grew much more comfortable in my own skin, flaws and all. I felt that if I could handle a solo trip to a country where no one looks like me and still make friends, have a good time, and not worry about what I looked like, then I could handle anything back in America.

 

Travel Noire: What impact has your trip to South Korea had on your life?

 

Ari: I don’t feel inhibited or constrained when I plan new trips. I always feel that however many people are unwelcoming in a place, there’s always an equal amount of people who are excited about you and your culture. I think more black people should travel and I’m excited to be a part of changing the perception of us and our culture overseas.

 

Travel Noire: Would you encourage other black travelers to visit South Korea? 

 

Ari: Yes! The culture is amazing and you’ll be treated like a guest! Also, always be ready for a photo!

Share
Travel Noire

Travel Noire

A platform of cultivated insights from a global community of black travelers.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

How To Cope With Your Inflight Jitters

How To Cope With Your Inflight Jitters

If inflight anxiety has you backing out of upcoming travel plans, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.5 percent of the U.S. population has aviophobia (a fear of flying), and roughly 25 percent experience some sort of flying-related anxiety. Here are some tips to help ease the jitters […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Here Are Some Of The Best Places In Africa For The Solo Traveler

Here Are Some Of The Best Places In Africa For The Solo Traveler

There are perks to traveling by yourself, like being able to go wherever you’d like and do whatever you want, without worrying about pleasing others. A great place to venture as a solo traveler is Africa. This continent has 54 countries and some of the most beautiful views on the planet. If you’re planning a […]

Kelsey Marie

Trending Airbnb Destinations To Inspire Summer Travel

Trending Airbnb Destinations To Inspire Summer Travel

A new Airbnb report offers plenty of inspiration for those still pondering their summer vacations. The hospitality marketplace gathered trends based on destinations that have experienced the most percentage growth in bookings compared to last summer. The trend report proves that Puerto Rico is bouncing back with gusto after Hurricane Maria, with three of its […]

Danielle Dorsey