Category: Talk About

Enjoying the Invisibility #TWB 2

Yesterday, I began writing about my experiences of traveling while black. After recounting my the ten or so issues I’ve had in twenty-five plus years of traveling alone or with friends I thought I would share why I love being melanated and on the road. It gives me a type of blendability in many locations, allowing me to observe my surroundings in peace. The way I see it, as a black traveler you can stick out like a stereotypical German tourist with socks and sandals, or you take advantage of your color and get a glimpse inside.

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Healing Sounds of the Diaspora

In the summer of 1999, while visiting Kenya, two of my closest friends/musical collaborators and I got the opportunity to travel to the town of Goma in the North Kivu province of eastern Congo during the Rwandese occupation of the region in the second Congo War. At the time, Goma was like a ‘High Noon’ border settlement on the final frontier of post-colonial Africa where the extremes of humanity were a daily occurrence. Travel is the most unique and powerful intellectual, emotional, and spiritual educator known to humanity. It is unmatched in its capacity to make us know each other, ourselves and to unlock our greatest potential.

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My Best Travel Buddy

Expat women face issues finding their preferred feminine hygiene products. I was so attached to my brand, I would buy four Costco boxes of tampons every time I landed in the States until I discovered WonderCup.

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Black Like Me #TWB

In this new black travel world, of particular interest to me are the articles and fears of black North Americans about traveling while black. Having been black my whole life and clocking my first international trip at two months, I must confess I don’t get the worry or the issues. Knowing black people who lived in Japan, South Korea, and China they speak of the most overt racism, fetishization, and unwanted touching. Meanwhile, since I tend to stay between Belize and UAE I have very little to report in terms of racially related discrimination. The few instances I have were mostly encountered from other people I considered, black like me.

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Drop Those Pounds in Thailand

By early July 2010, I had flown over 385,000 miles since the start of the year. The constant travel was affecting not only my concentration but also my figure. All those hotel meals and meetings over drinks had me ballooning to the heaviest I’d ever been. By November, I had dropped 70lbs doing Muay Thai. Seven years later I still enjoy the sport.

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Mumbai, London, Barcelona

The trip to Mumbai came first, and within the first two days I had filmed scenes in luxury condominiums and in the slums. A six-story billboard of Donald Trump loomed above the site of a future development. Heavy, omnipresent traffic served notice of the sheer size of a population I would see in mere slices but feel intuitively like the temperature. One might need to spend a month there to have an exchange with the place. Instead, the five days felt more like standing in front of a firehose of cultural content: images, smells, tastes, language. These few photos are inadequate, yet the only evidence I can submit.

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Videos on Internationality


Jose Luis Cardona (Graphic Designer): Transits through the thoughts of communities, cultural manifestations and productive practices, incorporating graphic design as a participatory element and a tool for community strengthening.