10 Things About Your Passport No One Will Tell You (But I Will!)

A good friend of mine is making the voyage to Europe in a few weeks. His birthday is in days and I kinda talked him into letting me get him a passport cover (you can get the one I choose here). It is the one thing he hasn't gotten and I feel like it is one of the tokens of travel that makes it all "real". This is someone I've known since childhood so it's fairly easy to know what he likes. However, I found myself asking him basic questions trying to gauge his style of travel. This is his first trip abroad and he asked me to use my best judgment. As much as I love being that person for him and many, I realized I was just as confused as he is now. I remembered that no one told me anything about my passport. I almost failed you too. So here goes ten great things to know about your trusty passport…

Traveling While … Black Part II (Last Revised June 10th 2021)

UPDATE: This post was originally written in August of 2014. This was a catalyst year for change in discussion of race in America. For some that year might be 2016 or 2020. But for me it was 2014. When I read this now, knowing what I know today, even knowing what I knew just months after posting ... I wish to scrap it. This is an archive of memories, a time capsule so I am not keen on just erasing things from this space. But I will fess up to not liking what I wrote and feeling as if I was trying to make something feel better than reality. It appears as if I am one of those colorblind individuals and my actions later on like marrying a German and living in Europe sort of back that up. I am not colorblind nor have I ever been or plan to ever be. I am hyper aware of my race and its dynamics especially when moving about the world. This ring on my finger or apartment in Germany doesn't give me some sort of pass nor does it shield me from anything. However, perceptions of who I am or what I am about are still problematic even more so today. Instead of challenging the views of someone who was in a different place at a different time please consider the changes in society as well as personal growth on my end. I am mature enough and have had too many experiences to align with respectability politics while abroad. However, I do realize people struggle with this concept even domestically in the bonnet gates and code switching conversations that are happening today. I wish that we could just be ourselves everywhere at all times and not have to stay on code or fit into whatever box. The reality is that is impossible for so many but as I now proclaim to be a global citizen I move different. But hey even Oprah couldn't get into the Hermes store in Zurich. You feel me? 

Allow me to generalize for a moment - which type of Black traveler are you? Are you the first in your family to go or do anything rather - i.e. finish high school, go to college, get on a plane? Are you the affluent type who has always traveled and you are numb to the experience of travel and or being a "Black" traveler ? Are you the nomadic gypsy in between jobs and school taking a hiatus or leap? Are you the hard worker who rewarded yourself with a once in a lifetime opportunity? Maybe you are none of the above but who are you anyways? What do you convey as you go about the world with a suitcase? Sadly, the first thing you would be is your color. It is your first impression and everything else is secondary - thats life. Just imagine, what if race and colorism don't play a role elsewhere? What if your nationality always proceeded you? Which would you rather be judged by? I'll tell you when you're getting on the Paris Metro, who you are speaks louder than words and may have nothing to do with your being Black.

Traveling While … Black Part I

A year later I realized the importance of having traveled as a young, Black woman. I began to think about the few of us who do get the opportunity and how it's typically for alternate reasons than leisure. I understood that my particular experience was 180 to the ones of those who have a week long school trip or a short lived military tour. To be Black and travel for travel sake is a luxury most never get to have. I cannot help but wonder what the issue is. Does the desire to travel stop at the mystique of getting a passport? Do we feel we do not deserve it? Do we consider those who do get an opportunity to travel, even if short lived, to be lucky? Do we have hang ups about being the one person who gets to do it? Do we attempt and never get to go? At what point in life do we give up going at all? Is it ever too late to travel?


The Things I Lost In The Fire (A Conclusion to the Story)

I won't mince words. I write a blog and it's my opinions and views on what occurs in my life. However, people always get affected by what affects you (hmmm…).That is how blogging works. That is why my blog is unknown to many. She found my blog. I never expected that to happen. Her response to it… to throw away everything I left in France. Oddly enough it was after a great deal of communication about my possessions. A conversation I didn't initiate. I didn't want to be bothered with her. Yet I didn't expect her to stoop as low once she realized we were done. I wish I could say that was all. It would make me feel so much better if she retaliated with just throwing my stuff into the Seine. The problem is she didn't stop there. I don't feel as bad as I did when things originally happened. Now I just feel like I made a series of bad choices. It's hard to talk about. I feel violated. Surely, I lost material things but I like to think I lost so much more.

I Went Back "Home"

I time traveled a bit and chose to return home … temporarily. It's been about two weeks since I went back to Florida. I thought it would set in motion a concrete plan to return permanently. Instead, the trip made me re-evaluate a lot of things. I had a great time. Again, traveling with little to no expectations. I also saw too much. Now there is great uncertainty if going back is even the right thing. I am questioning my willingness to return and my overall happiness if I do. I feel I may get trapped "Redemption Road" style and never go on to fulfill my dreams of not being there at all.


The Debt Collector

I am in debt. I've always been. Since the ripe age of 19. If anyone would have told me what that debt would do to impair my life I probably would have made better choices. The debt hinders me in so many ways and there seriously is nothing to do about it. Sadly, I don't even have anything to show for it. I basically have one lambskin belt, several pieces of mediocre costume jewelry, a 5pc dinette set, a lot of photos and a reeling mind. That to the tune of just shy of $15,000. I wish I could just pay it all off and be done with it. However, its not that easy. The majority of my debt keeps growing. No matter how much and how often if I don't pay it in full it continues to increase. The reality is I bought crappy clothes, a $300 set, took out a $5000 private loan for school and went on a world tour with a selfish bitch. The odd part is I had the cash money to pay for all of that. I chose to "build my credit". That was the only advice I was ever given.

International Affair/Homecoming

In Iceland I dealt with the same uncertainty as Paris. I was being led by a travel app that was suffering without internet. The time was changing and there was a complete communication haze. I was also sleeping whenever I had a moment which put me on edge. Basically when I got off that first plane I was to transfer to another. I had no clue where to go and Icelandic was not a language I wished to deal with. When I entered Reykjavik I was dehydrated and irritated. No matter how hard I tried I could never see where I was supposed to go real time. So in my stupor I walked a different direction than everyone else to look for clues. It wasn't until I heard an unfamiliar clicking that I realized what I'd done.

Why Did You Unfriend Me??

I realized this message belonged to a specific person months after I returned home. I had never scrolled up to try to figure out who it was. When I did I was looking for something entirely different. I'd forgotten about it. So when I found it again, I took the screen shot because things correlated to present day.

This is the first and only person to notice they were deleted and say something. They turned out to be the main person who started the everything in the first place. They turned out to be a person that continually aggravated several situations. I didn't know it was this person when I received this message. The reality is I didn't know who this person was and at the time I had no way to respond. I was in an airport with no service. I tried to reply a million times and I simply couldn't. I kept thinking whoever this was would get a million desperate messages from me beamed down from whatever server way too late. I don't know if that happened or not. The reality is I traveled four countries in less than 24 hours. I came home. I slept. I forgot.


Oh Facebook … Connections and Cut Offs Via Social Media

Social Media can be a gift and a curse. No matter how you use it, there is always some way for it to bite you in the arse. It all starts out beautifully. You only see it as a way to communicate and connect. Soon it's a problem. Well it can be a different problem for everyone and I'll get into that. Just know that social media is a window. All of your online activity is just a window. You have the ability to look out and see other things but your personal online identity is on the other side. You are vulnerable when that thing is open. Not everyone should be privy to that space. Someone may come inside, you could get hit with a rock, rained on or the ultimate burn - a bird could poop on you. Just be aware that the window goes both ways and not everyone is who you think they are and vice versa.