Multi-Year Travel & Black Identity

Multi-Year Travel & Black Identity

Hi Everyone this is Lisa and Lucas Barber from and we are answering a few questions for our friends over at The Black Expat which is a website and magazine dedicated to Black expatriates living abroad out of the United States. Lisa and I have been married for eight years now and even before we got married and we were just dating we both discussed our love for travel and kind of kicked around the idea of traveling long-term and how amazing that would be but after we got married honest we didn’t have the resources to be able to do something like that and then the timing just wasn’t right she got promoted and then I got a promotion she started grad school and I started grad school and when we both finished we took a trip to London and Paris celebrate on and on the plane ride home we were thinking to ourselves what a wonderful time we have but how is just too short and then we talked about the dreams we had and we realized we didn’t have any obstacles stopping us from doing this on a long-term basis. To prepare for our multi-year journey we did two things: we sacrificed and we saved that means all those little things like eating out, buying the latest thing- we really had to make sure to cut down on some of those things that we really probably want to buy and put it toward traveling long term. In addition to that, we decided that it would be best for us to sell our house. Traveling abroad for a couple years, to have a house that you have tenants you have to worry about so decided you know while that may work for some people we weren’t really interested in doing that. We don’t want the hassle or the headache. We wanted a clean break so we sold our house and the money we made from that we also used to fund this journey. Since we already went to the top places on my bucket list which were London and Paris, we decided we’re gonna go with Lucas’s bucket item which was going to New Zealand as our starting point. So we ended up exploring the country and then moved onward to Australia with hopes of finding our way back home. The goal was just to travel slow and to try to experience the biggest range of cultures that we could and then be strategic comes to resources. So being in New Zealand we moved to Australia, Southeast Asia and then working our way around so we save money on our flights but we get to hop around and move to where we like to go. Traveling as a black couple has been incredibly interesting considering that we are both Black and we’re from the United States. For some people that we’ve encountered it has been their first experience interacting with Black Americans which is eye opening for them. So sometimes we get requests to have a picture taken with them- especially when they find out that we’re from New York. Yea that is quite interesting just considering the things that have been going on in our country. As Lisa mentioned sometimes you stick out a bit when you’re in some of these countries. So one time when we were in Sydney, Australia we were just walking around Sydney harbour and Lisa had her afro out and it was looking lush and blush and a lady, a chinese women came up she saw Lisa and she just amazed by your hair so she wanted to take a picture with Lisa leaning in towards her towards her afro like… so it was kinda awkward but you realize that they’ve probably never seen a real afro on a Black person outside maybe the movies or something so you just deal with it. One of the most rewarding and challenging parts of this entire experience is meeting people and building relationships and actually having to say goodbye to them. You get a chance to learn you know the culture, learn about their family and then as a long-term traveler we’re here for an extensive amount of time and then you have to kind of pick up and leave on to go on to the next country but the great thing is that looking back on the country that you have visited you can say yes I actually know someone who lives there so the next time I go to Bali I can visit that family or next time I go to Sydney, Australia I have that friend who’s going to hook me up with the greatest restaurant recommendation. When we committed to long-term travel, we set out with some goals. One of them was to strengthen our relationship with each other. Now I’m gonna stop you there. Let’s not start any rumors like we were you know on the rocks or about to breakup or something like that-it was not the case at all but you realize that you can be better, you can have a stronger relationship so we really wanted to focus on us. Also we wanted to make sure that we experience culture and its fullness. There’s so much rich culture all around the world that we didn’t want to bring our Americanisms with us as we travel and try to just find things that reminded us of home. We wanted to step out of our comfort zone, we wanted to try new things, try to sleep in new places, use different kinds of bathrooms it all adds to that collective experience and that was a goal for us because when we go back home to settle back down we want to be transformed you want to be someone different than when we left home we can only do that by really stepping out and trying new things so those were our two big goals as we traveled. By sharing our experiences with other people we hope that it will encourage people to stop dreaming and start doing. Take hold of that idea that you’ve had for so long and plan, execute and commit to it. It’s something that we had to do and we were just tired of thinking about what we wanted to do and we said you know what we’re setting a date and we’re gonna go with it. So that’s what we’re hoping that people will take away from this and be able to go full-on into the dream and the goal that they would like to pursue. Live it. Can’t encourage people enough to just do that.

7 thoughts on “Multi-Year Travel & Black Identity

  1. so cool to hear your story! we did/ do something similar, by we didn't have the house and did. for 4 months only, but have been travelling since in 3 week stints. love the idea of multi year travel. again, really cool!

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