The Worst Part About My Travels As A Solo, Black Woman | xoNECOLE
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The Worst Part About My Travels As A Solo, Black Woman

Comments (31)
  1. Travelgirl says:

    Will never undertand why so many black people FLOCK to travel to white, racist countries. Like what are you expecting? To be treated like a normal human being? HA! There are so many beautiful places whre black and brown is the norm. Personally, I see enough white people where I’m at why would I spends thousands to see the same stuff? Lol can someone help me undertand cause I don’t.

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  2. Mimi says:

    To be honest I can relate to this piece, last year I made the decision to travel and see the world and because most of my friends are comfortably settled into relationships it looked like I’d be doing it solo. My first trip was to Italy, napoli. I was so excited, I literally hadn’t left the uk in 8 years and was determined to see as much as I possibly could. Bearing in mind napoli isn’t a tourist hub so a single black female walking the streets alone I stood out like a sore thumb. I noticed the stares but just assumed it was down to my single black female-ness but noticed that it would get worse when I would stop a local to ask for directions. One guy even insisted on taking me to the restaurant I was searching for and him being significantly older, my God see Staring. Being rather naive I just thought again it’s because I’m black whatever. But even on the trains there would be men staring. One guys stared so hard I was convinced he was plotting how to rob me so I held my mochino tighter and moved across the carriage. Even the hotel waiter who brought my midnight icecream up to my room found a reason to come inside and inspect (probably wanted to see for himself who was paying for my lavish room kmt) but it wasn’t until thankfully my last night there that I realised what they’d all been thinking. I’d just had dinner at the hotel restaurant and as I walked out this one eyed businessman in a suit (no joke) blocked my path to start a conversation. I spoke to him politely explaining I was from London, here for a mini break but was leaving tomorrow, then this man who is Atleast 40 years my senior told me if I wanted to give him a proper goodbye he was in room 156. Now this whole time I’d been aware of several hotel staff stopping to watch our conversation including the curious waiter and I was left red faced and embarrassed to realise that they had all watched this old man propositioning me and were undoubtedly convinced this was why I was staying in their hotel. Ridiculously angry I shouted at the one eyed business man ‘I AM NOT A PROSTITUTE’ and ran for the safety of my room to make sense of the whole ordeal. I reassessed every strange look I had gotten and took them for what they were. 99% of the black people I saw in napoli were immigrants and prostitution appeared to be how the women were paying their way. I haven’t travelled solo since but knowing that is the common opinion of single black women travelling solo across a lot of Europe I think I’ll be better prepared next time I am off to Spain in a few weeks, Barcelona as a matter of fact so good to know before hand. Apologies for the essay xxx

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  3. Vpprinces01 says:

    Ironic that Europe is the number one place people think of when asked about travel wish list. I’ve never really wanted to go. When I think of Europe I think of the birth place of white supremacy, stinky water, unseasoned food, & rapists.

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  4. Fifi says:

    I would’ve expected you to delve deep into why prostitution seems to be the only option for African women in Europe.
    For the lady who screamed “I’m American”, this is one of the reasons why Americans are viewed with disdain. It sounds like an us and them mentality. You claim to be proud of being African when in the States yet use your American nationality as to make sure people don’t confuse you with other African women. What that is xenophobic & racists. Do better!

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    1. MsChar says:

      “would’ve expected you to delve deep into why prostitution seems to be the only option for African women in Europe.”

      Ok prostitution is not the ONLY option for African women in Europe. I’m a UK based African woman and I have suppliers all over Europe for my business. Several of them hire female African Migrants. So there are several African women all over Europe with legitimate jobs. Do not be as ignorant as the idiots that think all black women are prostitutes

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    2. America is not great either says:

      Exactly! Well said.

      (-2)
  5. Bougie Chic says:

    I appreciate your article since I also want to travel solo starting next year. I think it’s very helpful to know it’s not all fine and dandy in these countries. However, I also have to note your reference to your encounter with the West African “specifically nigerian” woman. Maybe it’d have been better to not state this woman’s with so much certainty. And I don’t say that because you said she’s Nigerian which of course, she might not be; but because a little anonymity is a discretion that’d help to not encourage distortive perception much like the ones you suffered in your travels.

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  6. Fatso says:

    This is a problem of any African woman not just African American. The origin of the problem is not the African women you saw on the street corners, but how Africans as a whole and worse still African women are perceived in those regions which results in their general social and economic marginalisation hence they end up doing whatever they can for them and theirs to survive😠😠😠

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  7. roseinweeds says:

    wow. i have never traveled to europe bt would love to…bt man!! this is a scary thgt! i, too, tend to be a solo traveler so it is good to hear these things. obviously being out pass 6p is a bad idea probably! 🙁

    im glad u realized that other perceptions of u r their problem..not yours! they dont know u! n thats unfortunate for them 🙂

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  8. Interested says:

    This aspect of your trip is very unfortunate and unfortunately doesn’t appear to be uncommon.

    However, I believe you’re talking with utter disdain about prostitues, especially allowing themselves to be ‘purchased’. Prostitues sell a service, they as people don’t allow themselves to be purchased to be done with as the customer wants. Street prostitues often have little choice in their ‘profession’, done out of necessity to feed themselves, their family both in Europe and back home. Street prostitutes are at an intolerable level of risk of violence. It’s especially sad that for black African women coming to Europe, opportunities are so limited to them as a group that prostituion is probably one of a tiny amount of limited options. I’d be more concerned about the lack of opportunities for those women than your embarrassment. Dont internalise others’ ignorance as your embarrassment.

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  9. Alexa says:

    Very interesting read, thank you for sharing your thoughts! My husband is from Europe and we went for a visit a couple of times but I’ve never had this experience (the stares yes). I hope we as Black people will continue to break barriers and continue to travel a lot more.

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  10. Just for the record says:

    I’ve traveled all over the world, South America, Europe – East and West, Asia – more than once, more than twice and I have NEVER EVER had that experience. EVER!

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  11. Audrey says:

    I’m black French and honestly I never experienced something like that. I lived in Milan for 6months, went in Barcelona and Amserdam several times, by myself, and I did not have the stares you guys are talking about.
    Why? Probably because I was not wasting my time staring people around me. I just don’t care. According to me, if you had the chance to see the people looks on you, it probably because YOU were watching people as well. Don’t get me wrong, I know they is some dumbass racists in Europe who think that as Black woman you are a prostitute. But open your mouth and speak english (or french) and these prostitute assumptions will disappear. There are also Black people in Europe, mostly in France and UK, but also in Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy. Don’t prevent yourself to go and visit Europe because of racist people. They are a lot of African-European people in there, like myself LOL, who are not racist and, at the contrary, who would be very excited to meet African-american tourists. When I say African-Europeans, i mean people born in Europe from African parents. I say that because American people (without distinction of colour) seem totally clueless about this fact.

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  12. Lesa says:

    Interesting. I’m black british and never gotten this type of treatment in other parts of Europe. I think it’s common in Dubai though

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  13. Tea26 says:

    Barcelona is my least favorite city for this exact reason. I had the chance to visit while studying abroad in France. I traveled by myself and was followed multiple times. Also, on my last day, the owner of the hostel that I was staying at tried to force me to kiss him and drink something he had made. The city is beautiful but I wouldn’t go back.

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  14. FelloWBlackTraveller says:

    THIS!!!! Is exactly why as beautiful as Spain is, I won’t be back any time soon. Being thought of as a prostitute, and stared at consistently, was just TOO MUCH!

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  15. Fellowsolotraveler says:

    I studied abroad in Europe last year and experienced this once, getting asked for a price from a stranger in a car. I dated a guy while I was there and I may have gotten those looks also and not noticed. I was not alone when it happened to me but I do have a fear of traveling alone when I go back and this is the main reason.

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  16. LoudestWhisper19 says:

    Really interesting piece! I do think it’s important for more African Americans to travel. I recently went to Thailand with a group of 8 ladies and while visiting some of Thailand’s most famous temples, the Asian tourists (specifically from China) would move their focus from the temples/statues and start either asking for pictures with us, of us, or sneaking pictures or videos of us. I was so naive and excited about the trip I was completely unprepared for dealing with people who may have never seen black people. It was a weird feeling by the end of the trip we were all really annoyed by the million of request or unsolicited pictures being taken. It made me feel like some kind of circus act. I wish I could’ve spoken to someone to find out more about their knowledge/perception of black people especially coming from America. I think maybe the more we travel the more they will become more aware of our variations and differences.

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    1. Frost says:

      They’ve never seen black people. That’s the perception. If you don’t want to take a photo, just say no thank you. If they hVe questions, answer them. That’s how the ignorant become educated. I never saw it as a big deal, only a lesson to educate.

      (-2)
  17. DeeDee says:

    Man, if that’s the case, then I don’t ever wanna travel to Europe by myself. Doesn’t sound like a safe place for a black woman to go alone, I’d travel with another female friend. What if one of these men who take you for a prostitute try to attack you?

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  18. Bougie Chic says:

    *nationality

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  19. Ebbey says:

    Hi Mimi,thanks for the insight. I’m going to Napoli, Italy and Sicily for my first solo trip and I’m nervous. I hope I do not encounter the same experience, but I am aware of what could happen. I do hope that I enjoy my trip!

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  20. Anya Michelle says:

    Well I’d be like, “And you CANT afford me!”

    But really that’s… hmmm. At least you get to come back home, to sanity!

    it’s never happened to me; all I get is crowds of people, especially kids running after you, yelling “America, America!” HOw do they know! But they jus do

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  21. Taylor says:

    I’m currently visiting Barcelona at this very moment and I couldn’t agree more with this article. I’m with 4 other black women and when we go into restaurants or other establishments in the city we are given dirty looks and at first I could not understand why! I thought maybe the people are just not used to seeing so many black women at once, but no! The groups of black women we see are standing on the corners and propositioning themselves to the men that pass by and give us dirty looks as we go by! Now it all makes sense! It’s unfortunate but we’ve had to become somewhat abrasive when someone stares too long! Dont get me wrong, I love the city it is beautiful and full of history, but the stereotype of black women here is terrible.

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  22. Barbara says:

    Exactly how did you know they were Nigerian if you didn’t speak to them? Just so you know there are plenty of West African Doctors PhD and MD/DO, lawyers, engineers, etc all over this world being outstanding citizens. Meaning just because you’re an American with a college degree does not make you better. Period. As a West African who grew up in America, I’ve seen more than my fair share of prejudice from the black Americans who try so hard to distance themselves from the continent Africa. What happened to you is unfortunate but just like you don’t want one person to represent your people, don’t let a few prostitutes paint the picture for West Africa. Try going to the continent, you might learn something. By the way, we have beautiful cities, beaches, skyscrapers, resorts and people too, it’s not just Europe.

    (-2)
    1. Because I’m Nigerian-American, Barbara. And I can spot my own. It was also further confirmed by a couple locals who I asked. I go to Nigeria in December and wish traveling around Africa in general were as cheap as Europe, but alas.

      (2)
  23. ebony says:

    Omg. Thank you for writing this piece!! I’ve been teaching in Kuwait for the past year and I can definitely relate!!! I have been followed to my home, in the grocery store etc because men think I’m a prostitute! I have to literally scream ” I am an American” for them to leave me alone.

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    1. MsChar says:

      Because an American could never possibly be a racist …. only Africans are right?? *rolls eyes*

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  24. Vpprinces01 says:

    Girl, bye. 1+ 1 does not equal banana.

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  25. Sarah says:

    I hate to be this person but I can’t say I feel bad for you. I’m South African and There’s something about you as black Americans. I don’t know what it is. You claim you hate racism and then come to South Africa and make sure that you ONLY go to Cape Town (our most racist city). I’m starting to think you’re lying about hating racism. Seriously.

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