1. What message do have for students who want to travel?
GO NOW. HOWEVER YOU CAN; BACKPACK, WORK ABROAD, RICH PARENTS. :) You will never have as much time to travel as you will as a student. Make the most of it.
2. What are your childhood memories of travel ?
My parents insisted on an annual vacation. We couldn't necessarily afford to jet set with a family of 5 but road trips were a staple. I have fantastic memories of being in cars surrounded by cousins headed to see more family somewhere else. Although my kids have traveled extensively, I think they miss out in not having cousins they can hang with like that. It taught me a lot about the importance of just being with family.
3. Where did you dream of traveling when you were a child?
Everywhere seemed further as a kid. I remember California and New York were places on my list. Africa was so "not going to ever happen" I didn't even dream about it. For me travel dreams were always more about the people I'd be with than the destination per se.
|Heather in front of Buckingham Palace|
4. Did you travel as a child? Yup. (see above) :)
5. What did you learn as a child about the expectation for black people to travel?
I grew up in Canada and whether it was the country or my parents, it never occurred to me that there wasn't anywhere I couldn't go. I believe my kids are growing up with the same beliefs.
6. Did you admire or know of any Black people that traveled when you were a child?
Just my family.
|Heather with her son Ethan|
7. Why should Black people travel?
Because we're human beings and that means we have family all over this amazing planet just like everyone else. Because it opens our eyes to possibilities you didn't even know existed and expands our dream potential. Because the world is too small not to see it all.
8. What was your first trip?
My first trip on my own was to St. Petersburg Florida.
9. How did you plan for it? Online.
I found a great package deal and added a car rental. I was about 22 at the time.
10. What was your experience there?
I loved it. Solo travel felt empowering and knowing I could go wherever I wanted, do whatever I wanted and do it all when I wanted fuelled my love of travel.
a) positive experience -learning to eat alone in a restaurant and be okay with it
b) negative experience- realizing I was going to have to be in charge of my own safety. It turned into a positive and made me a better traveler.
|Heather feeding Kangaroos|
11. Was your travel experience what you expected? and more.
12. How is your travel experience as a Black traveler different from what you perceive as a White traveler?
I'm rarely aware of a difference. Again, I think it's due to upbringing and place of birth. Also, my focus has never been on what another traveler, whatever their race, is doing. I hope they're getting as much out of their experience as I am out of mine. The one place where it felt really different to be experiencing travel as a Black person was Africa. There I wasn't a traveler, it felt more like a homecoming. I can't wait to go back.
13. What is your voice as a Black travel blogger?
Authentically unique, guided by but not limited by my race.
|Heather at Winter Carnival with her son Cameron|
14. Where do you dream of traveling now? Why?
My dream trip is about to take flight! I leave July 2011 for a one year around the world trip with my husband and two children. I'm not aware of another Black family who has done this (if you're out there let me know!) and I'm looking forward to all that it will bring us in terms of learning and experience. We're blogging about the experience (before, during and after) at GlobetrottingMama.com and writing about it (I'm now a full-time freelance Travel Writer) for Canada's largest daily newspaper The Toronto Star and a host of other publications.
15. Anything else you would like to add?
Just that I hope people will read your interviews and reach out if they have questions. Travel has changed my perspective of the world in a positive way. I wish that for more people.