Lately, I’ve been feeling nostalgic for an international adventure. Since the age of eleven, I’ve been privileged to leave the country and visit places such as Ghana, Egypt, Italy, Portugal, Wales, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, while also having the opportunity to live in Spain and London as an adult. When I travel and live abroad, I am a different person. I live instead of work. I laugh instead of stress. And I love instead of being fearful. I bathe in vulnerability and opportunity because I am determined to feel the erotic.

As a woman, one of the most important texts that I’ve read in my life is Audre Lorde’s essay, “Uses of the Erotic.” Unfortunately, the erotic has become pigeonholed as purely a synonym for sex, but its power reaches far beyond that one manifestation. Lorde writes, “The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.”

Although an innate force, I rediscovered the erotic when I left the familiar. Living in London, I found scholars within the African Diaspora that I had never heard of before. I met and engaged with countless British and international students. And interestingly enough, I found myself smitten, both intellectually and sexually, by a black German engineering student who re-inspired my appreciation for love and cultural difference.

He looked like a younger version of Boris Kodjoe and spoke like a scientist with the twist of a politician. Sitting on his bed, surrounded by engineering books and architectural models, I stared into his brown eyes and a 6-foot-4 muscular frame caramelized by his intellect. Originally from the small North African country Eritrea and raised in Germany, this foreign black man and I began to converse about everything from dating and sex to international politics and the African Diaspora. Between comparing the black experience of the United States and Germany, we found ourselves recounting similarities and major differences in our cultures, while also laying in bed and exploring each other’s bodies like new territory.

He was the completion of my erotic in London.

Exploring myself in a foreign land meant rediscovering my heart, mind, and body in a context that wasn’t American. I wanted to learn, observe, and date someone that thought, spoke, and dressed differently. Unfamiliar lands, beautiful beaches, ancient architecture, and sex with foreign lovers are the building blocks for personal liberation. After London and eventually Spain, my identity, desires, and vision for my life changed dramatically. I accepted that I was born to be a creative force and likely not going to have a nine to five career. I recognized that I worked best when away from my homeland, the United States. And I realized that my purpose would only come to fruition if I protected my aspirations from the monotony of traditional American life. While I’m not sure when my next adventure will begin, I know that the next time I leave the country, it likely will be permanent. I crave that freedom as a constant force and feel myself becoming brave enough to pursue it once again.

I’ve shared my travel stories with many women and it seems that we’ve all had similar experiences when leaving our homelands for extended periods of time.

Have you ever traveled abroad and rediscovered yourself? Did you find yourself learning from a foreign lover? Was your connection with the erotic re-empowered? Share your story.

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • erilove

    eritrean men are nice too look at it but they are hard head and arrogrant … speaking from an eritrean woman with a lot of experience with eritrean men…