Traveling & Experiencing is “White People Sh*t?”

“I can’t base what I’m goin’ be off of what everybody isn’t.” – Shawn Carter

That last time I said “that’s white people shit,” was 2001 after listening and falling in love with Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” in Brookes Sim’s bedroom. How could it be “white people shit” if I loved it so much. Then came Avril Lavigne, John Mayer, Norah Jones, and a million others. Hell, the most played right now on my iTunes is Hozier.

When I’m surrounded by questions at a party or in the living room at a cousin’s house about my travels, I expect to hear the phrase at least three times.

Cousin: What kind of things did you eat?
Me: Ah, I had some baby goat pancreas and thymus glands when I was in Peru.
Cousin: There you go doing that white people shit.

Friend: I saw those pictures of you on Facebook walking barefoot through the woods.
Me: Yeah, man. Brazil was dope!
Friend: You ain’t white, boy. Be careful.

Me: *coughing*
Aunt: See, you out there doing that white folk shit, eating out of peoples hands and shit. You better stop that.

I usually laugh it off and my default reply, “well, ok.” Then I’m stuck thinking, “well, what the hell is Black people shit?” Wearing goose downs and Timbs on the beach in Autumn, eating extra well done burgers in Peru, and waking up late for the hotel’s continental breakfast? Naw…that ain’t it.
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1. I’ve eaten baba ganoush and couscous from the hands of complete strangers.

2. I’ve gone days without a shower and slept at a bus depot in Paris.

3. I’ve pitched tents and hammocks high in trees.

4. I go places hundreds of miles from a beach.

5. If I don’t need socks, good. If I don’t need shoes, f*cking amazing!

6. Hostels > Hotels. Couchsurfing > Hotels.

7. I hitchhike and rideshare when the option is available.

8. I believe most people are good.

9. On cruises, I always opt for the “shared table” option, and get to know a few 75-year-old folks and learn their stories

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All of these things have taken me into homes in Morocco, made me friends in Turkey, afforded me free housing, and helped me rebuild my iTunes playlists with some dope music.

When I’m out there, I hate that I don’t see more Black folks in my spaces. I must say, there is nothing wrong with traveling different than this, if that’s truly how you want to travel, but at least experience it to know this is not what you want to do. You may surprise yourself. Aside from saving hundreds of dollars, you’ll also open your mind, destroy a few foolish notions you hold dear, and make some lifelong friends in the process if you do it properly.

I’m a traveler. A black traveler. “I can’t base what I’m goin’ be off of what everybody isn’t.” – Shawn Carter

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Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.

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