Yesterday I got to sit in on a lovely meeting hosted by Dr. De Vida Gill, who is an amazing woman, writer, and creative who inspired me to write this post.
Once in awhile she hosts these meetings and asks us to think about certain questions or ideas that we wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.
One of the questions was “Do you Sing?” which no, I don’t but that’s another post, but another interesting question was “where would you never go?” My first thought was…the USA.
I wouldn’t feel safe in the USA, and I stand by that. Growing up I thought the one place in the world I wanted to go, was to the USA, I wanted to walk on the grass in New York’s Central Park, and visit the bone yards in Louisiana. I want to see Detroit where all the cars used to come from, where Eminem comes from.
There are places that I want to go, that as a child I was convinced I would love to visit, Greece being the top of that list, because I want to go to Delos and see the place were Apollo was conceived.
But now I am starting to wonder if I will ever get to travel, largely because I am a big old baby and I am genuinely afraid of the world.
I am starting to notice that there are people from all over the world viewing this blog (WHICH IS AWESOME HELLO ISTANBUL), but I also feel awful because I want to know more about the places my readers come from. I want to see Japan and China, I want to walk through the streets of Hong Kong at midnight.
I want to see England after a rain, and watch the sun come up in Paris. I want to visit the temples of India, and the forests of Bali, but with the state of the world right now, I think that the thing that scares me the most is the fact that I have tattoos which some places consider a huge no no.
I am the Loud Mouth Brown Girl, I am the girl who doesn’t believe that women should keep their faces and mouths covered, unless they themselves choose to do so for their own personal reasons.
I am the girl who doesn’t believe that women should remain silent, unless they themselves choose to.
I am the girl that will tell any man to go fuck himself, because I don’t much care for men these days. I am the girl who will stand up for myself and fight against oppression whenever I possibly can. I am the girl who doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut when she should.
So can I travel? Are there places in the world that I can go where I with my Black, tattooed, mouthy self will be safe without a security team? Yes, but there are a lot of places that I don’t even know how to pronounce, that I want to visit that I will absolutely not be safe in.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, I don’t know how to fix the status quo so that people around the world will accept me in a way that makes us all comfortable. All I know is that I see the list of places that people are visiting this website from, like Azerbaijan, Croatia, and the United Arab Emirates, and I think “yeah, that’d be a cool place to go, if only I was everything but what I am.”
There are rules in these countries, that I’ve never had to follow because I am Canadian, rules that I don’t fully know because I haven’t studied up on them, that I might consider oppressive, but you might consider protective.
There is going to come a time when I do get to travel and I am genuinely afraid for the culture shock, but I am exhilarated, but I am also excited at the prospect of meeting new people and seeing where I come from. When I say that I mean Africa.
Years ago someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I said I wanted to build a river across Africa. I was….in a deconstructed emotional state, and as a child especially I convinced myself that this was the best way to provide those who were hungry and starving with access to clean water and food. (Cause fishing, duh.)
That tells you how little I know of the world, but I am learning that a river across Africa, would actually displace a lot of people and cause a lot of unnecessary damage to the country. The point is, however, that I wanted to be a part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.
That’s the problem with westerners however, we always think we know what’s best for everyone else, and instead of asking what others might want, we decide for them, as if that somehow is going to change their lives for the best, when in reality, in some places the world would have been better off, if we’d just left them the hell alone.
One of the other questions that got asked (by me) was what would have happened if slavery hadn’t existed. I mentioned that now infamous quote where someone said “If people had left Africa alone, we would have had Wakanda for real.” That has always stuck in my mind, because I wonder honestly what the world would have been like if westerners hadn’t colonized every corner of the fucking planet.
Abu Dhabi is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, and I genuinely believe that’s because they didn’t allow Westerners to come in and destroy everything and take what belongs to them. They locked themselves up and said “no, YOU SHALL NOT PASS”, and I fucking love that.
They have rules and regulations that as a guest you must follow, and if you don’t you can end up being banned from the country, or put in jail. I respect that, they’re saying “this is our home, you’re welcome to visit but don’t trash it.” I respect that, but I am also genuinely afraid that I will accidentally do something that will piss them off.
The truth is when it comes to travel I have a lot of fears, and a lot of insecurities, but I can honestly say that nothing is going to stop me from watching the moon rise in Abu Dhabi along the beach at least once in my life.
If you could visit one place in the world world where would you go and why? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall