Change clothes & go.

Change clothes & go.

We’re sure you’ve noticed the flourishing black travel movement. Hardly can anyone log onto their social networks these days without coming across a pic of a friend or a co-worker abroad in a foreign land. And when that same friend/co-worker always seems to be everywhere but at their permanent residence, some of us can’t help but ask: how does she do it? Word around the internet is you might want to keep that question to yourself.

A couple of months ago I came across this HuffPost article written by travel writer Gloria Atanmo which stated in no uncertain terms, “Stop Asking Me How I Afford to Travel.” Arguing that 99% of people who travel regularly feel the way she does, Atanmo broke down the issue with this question into three points:

  1. It insinuates that traveling is expensive to begin with.
  2. It suggests that you’re too lazy to do your own research.
  3. It belittles the idea that you can actually manage your funds, start a savings account, and allocate money accordingly.

Finding her argument wildly pretentious and overly sensitive, I decided to ask some of my well-traveled friends if they agree. The answer was no, with most of them saying the biggest problem they see with the question is they’re simply tired of answering it, though they get why people keep asking.

Let’s be honest, while some people were lucky enough to grow up in homes where summer vacations throughout the county and maybe even internationally were the norm, for a lot of us, regular leisure travel outside the country is new. While we might be aware of Groupon deals and services of the like, if you’re just opening up to the concept of taking a major travel leap you’re most likely not aware of sites with flight deals and the magical affordability of Airbnbs. And what does one do when they don’t know how to begin a new adventure? They consult experts, i.e. people who do this all the time; people like Miss Atanmo.

It’s not a question of laziness, it’s a question of expertise, born out of a lack of knowledge as to whether traveling is as expensive as one initially believes. I would add here, too, that “expensive” is relative. What one traveler to the next can afford doesn’t always boil down to the same dollars and cents.  And while Atanmo solely spoke to the question of how one affords to travel so much, there are others who are less concerned with the financials and more with one’s work schedule. The inquisitor might be asking how someone is able to travel so much because they’re curious if they freelance or they’ve convinced their employer to let them work remotely for a time, or they just have a damn good vacation policy. Nothing shady there. We all know there are times when people ask backhanded questions, but when it comes to asking how certain people travel so much, I’m willing to bet nine times out of ten it’s coming from a genuine place of admiration and curiosity because the person wants to do the same and they don’t even know where to start. Help a sista out!

Clutchettes, do you think it’s rude when people ask how you can travel so much?

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  • Dr.Rue

    I travel a lot for work and pleasure when people ask me how I don’t get upset or think they’re rude. I just simply explain/educate them about traveling deals and traveling on a budget.

  • FromTokyo

    I travel a lot and I would only say it’s not rude based on the person asking and the context. If they’re asking because they think I shouldn’t be able to (or shouldn’t want to because of the stereotype of black folks not traveling), then it’s rude.