Credit: Ronnell Perry
I can’t treat myself the way that I had–I must now reckon with my full power and light.
Travel Looks Like Joy
Joy is what I experienced in November 2016 on the breezy beachfront in Juanchaco, a seaside fishing village on the Pacific coast of Colombia. I witnessed the Black community come together to celebrate its Blackness through song and dance. Through their performance I saw youth of that community acknowledge their identity, and assure the elders that their traditions would be carried forward. Oscillating between the foot of the stage and the outer perimeter of the crowd, I got a tingly feeling. Joy came over me as I witnessed love embodied through affirmation of one’s Blackness in Latino culture. I had been searching for this experience for my entire adult life. I came to Colombia to find Black people and witness the way that they live. My intention was to engage with Black communities in a meaningful way–I just hadn’t figured out how until that night on the beach. The joy of meeting my new self through a celebration of others’ heritage left me deeply moved. I was transformed.
[Related Post: Docu-series Negro Explores Afro-Latinx Identity & Colorism]
A Travel Intention
Recreational travel –traveling to get away from the rat-race, or relax can be beneficial. And it can also be limiting. Expanding one’s understanding of the power of travel, and the value that it can provide is key to encountering and creating a transformative travel experience. You must first decide what you want to get from travel–you must first articulate a travel intention.
Transformative travel requires an intention, and often requires significant efforts in planning. Transformative travel will not just happen. It requires the right environment, open mindedness, and the will to be moved. If all-inclusive resorts allow you to be carefree and relaxed, then transformative travel requires you to be intentional and aware.
The key to experiencing transformative travel is to set an intention. It is the “why” to the travel question. The travel question centers around the reason you travel…the type of return on investment that you’d like to see as a result of the money, time, and energy spent traveling (and preparing to travel). The answer to this why will impact the places you go, the people you seek out, and the ways that you engage with a specific destination. And through these engagements, you will have experiences that have the potential to change you–If you are ready to be changed.
5 Steps to Engage in Transformative Travel
Determine the things that provide joy for you and how you might encounter them through travel. Set an intention.
Maintain a willing heart/mind/spirit that enters travel experiences with openness
Let AfroBuenaventura curate a transformative travel experience for you
Follow @afrobuenaventura on IG: Ronnell Perry pursues Black-centered travel experiences throughout Latin America. Inspired by communities descended from African slaves that disembarked at ports throughout the Americas, he aims to place value on people rather than places–learning from the lived experiences of those communities, and seeking to understand the historical context of their identity and the current realities that they must confront. What’s in a name? Afro: descendant of Africa buena: Spanish translation of ‘good’ aventura: Spanish translation of ‘adventure’
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