People look at you strange saying you changed, like you worked that hard to stay the same.”
– Jay Z
Them: “You’ve Changed”
For all the globe trotters out there who are returning from magnificent journeys, the black travel millennials who are experiencing the world but heading home for a bit, the college students who are heading back home after months of exploring a new place and a new culture ( I know it’s definitely bittersweet), and all those who are planning, dreaming, and saving up to do some months worth of adventuring abroad – this post is for you.
Because eventually, you’ll be wondering what to expect when you return back to your normal life, wondering where did the time go? When you’re back home, if you find yourself constantly apologizing when you bring up your own personal experiences over the past few months (I.e. oh sorry I keep bringing up London): Stop yourself! You shouldn’t have to belittle your own growth, feel as though you have to settle nicely back into your old life, or hide the fact that you went on some amazing journeys that you’re proud of just because you’re worried people won’t like this. So in this case, don’t be humble & sit down like Kendrick Lamar says.
Here’s my simple reminder: Be unapologetic about your journeys, your growth, and telling your truth, because if you don’t, then who else will? Your stories and your truths could be the push someone else needs to explore the world, and/or set their own goals no matter what it may be (because traveling isn’t necessarily a goal for everyone and doesn’t have to be). But seeing you accomplish your own personal goal of traveling could be inspiring — I know it is for me. So shine & do it for the culture, & never feel bashful about it.
I’m not the same person I was four months ago when I first traveled outside of the States. Four months ago, I was undoubtedly ethnocentric, my thinking was very limited in many ways, and I was afraid of the world. But now I’ve changed and grown in all the ways I hoped I would and I’ll continue to do so even while I’m back home. And no, I won’t apologize for it either.
In the first few days of being back in the states, I was bashful about my adventures. I didn’t want to be too obnoxious about my experiences, especially when I knew some of the people I would talk to hadn’t had the chance to travel.
Traveling is indeed a privilege, and even within the Black Travel Movement, there’s a lot of privilege that cannot go unnoticed (Check out this dope article on classism in the Black Travel Movement written by ELIZABETH ADETIBA). So I’m not saying you should boast and brag about your luxurious travels and how “cultured you are” compared to others. But I am saying that you shouldn’t feel guilty about coming home a different person (even if it’s ever so slightly): a person with gained knowledge who has experienced another culture. It’s not obnoxious to want to share your stories with others.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us… Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do… It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So no, I will not apologize for being a little bit different from the last time you saw me, and neither should you. Sorry, not sorry!
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