As June comes to an end, this is my last post for the month but that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to #AmplifyMelanatedVoices. Your girl is on a mission to share as many BIPOC and WOC stories as she can! This week, I’m excited to feature Brittany.
Virtual fitness coach at Brittany Noelle Fitness, the creator of Strong N Fit, and author of Weight Training for Women, Brittany is already a powerhouse empowering so many people out there. Now, she is also inspiring women of color to travel and explore on her new blog: Black Women Travels. Can you say, #GOALS?!
Just like I met Kimberly through the Spark Society (THE place for influencers to learn how to work with brands), I also met Brittany through this incredible community. One of the first Instagram posts I liked of hers was on kettlebell lunge variations. Always trying to find new ways to workout, I was happy to have new fitness content on my feed, especially from a fellow WOC. Finding out that she also blogs about traveling, I was thrilled.
Her post on Top 5 Places to Explore and Exercise in San Francisco – one of them pictured above – made me see the city I grew up next to with fresh eyes. I love the perspective of combining exercise and travel! When we spoke about collaborating, I listened to how Brittany ventured into travel blogging. Realizing her clients struggled with exercising consistently while traveling (I can hella relate, can you?), she wanted to create a space to keep them motivated.
In addition to that, she also wants this space to encourage ALL women of color to get out and see the world. As a WOC who knows our voices aren’t heard as often as others, you know I fully support that 1000%, so read on to learn more from Brittany on her love and life of traveling.
Brittany is a certified personal trainer who loves to travel and educate people on how to live a healthy life while on the road. Her blog, Black Women Travels, features travel destinations, reviews, and tips designed to women of color with their travels.
What is your favorite country you’ve traveled to?
My favorite country that I’ve travelled so far is France. I only visited the city of Paris but it was so beautiful! I fell in love with the immaculate architecture of all of the buildings. I also enjoyed seeing all of the mixed couples and families. France didn’t seem to have the same issues surrounding racism as the United States.
Which country is next on your list?
I really want to visit Greece next! The islands of Santorini and Mykonos look really pretty. Plus the hills will make for a great daily workout. I also really enjoy Mediterranean food and it’s mostly healthy so I plan to eat a lot of it! In addition, I’ve heard that Greece is a wonderful place to visit for a girls trip. My girls and I would love to explore the nightlife together.
What brings you joy and happiness in traveling?
I love learning about new cultures. I like learning about the history of the country, the indigenous people, the local foods, rituals, ceremonies, fashion, and overall way of life. It’s all so fascinating and important to learn in an effort to become a more well-rounded and inclusive individual.
What is a favorite travel memory you have?
While vacationing in St. Kitts and Nevis I decided to get my hair done (in Black woman language, that means my hair was professionally washed and straightened at the salon). After it was done, I decided to hang out in the Atlantic ocean for a bit to cool off. The waves were really mellow at the time and I stayed in the water for about 10 minutes before returning to the shore. The second I turned around to start walking back to shore, a massive wave crashes over me! I was furious and my parents were laughing hysterically. I didn’t get back in that ocean for the rest of the trip (the pacific ocean was on the other side of the resort). Looking back, it’s a funny memory from our family vacation.
Is there something you want to tell fellow Black people about traveling?
Outside of learning the lesson of not going in the ocean after getting my hair done, I learned something deeper while vacationing in St Kitts and Nevis. I learned that Kittitians were not allowed to vacation to other countries at their leisure. Listing “vacation” as a reason for wanting to visit another country, was not a valid enough reason. They had to go through way more provisions and hassles to gain permission to leave their country and enter another country. Why is this?
As a naive girl who was born and raised in the United States of America, I always assumed everyone in the world could travel around the world as long as they had a passport and the money to do so. I never considered myself as being a privileged American with the right to visit other parts of the world due to my passport. There are only a few other countries with the same privilege to travel for leisure to other countries. I had no idea of this until I spoke with a man who was native to the island of St Kitts. So you see, as an American I feel that all Americans should get passports and exercise their privilege as Americans to travel the world and learn about the lifestyles of others.
Specifically, African-Americans and people of color should really take advantage of this privilege. Why? Because of the systemic racism within the travel industry. Because, there are less people of color who travel, we are subjected to more stereotypes and bias. Things like poor customer service, being placed in rural parts of hotels or cruise lines, having reservations denied due to having an ethnic sounding name, and many other issues that are discussed in my most recent blog post. Further evidence to support that there is systemic racism in the travel industry, is that countries composed of non-white BIPOC people, are the countries with travel restrictions like in St Kitts and Nevis. With that being said, as BLACK-AMERICANS we should exercise our privilege to travel since other Africans and Black indigenous people from other countries, DON’T have this privilege. If we as Black Americans/African Americans travel more, we can help to rid the world of stereotypes and bias.
I know that was a long winded answer, but it was truly eye opening to me that people in some other countries don’t have the privilege to travel.
If there’s something you can tell non-Black people to do/not do or to know when it comes to you traveling as a Black person, what would it be?
Systemic racism exists in the travel industry. It’s small and seemingly harmless at times but it still doesn’t make it right. If you notice a person of color receiving different treatment, service, or being asked questions that you weren’t, then speak up. If you hear anyone making comments about a Black family or Black person then speak up. It is immensely helpful when you use your voice to stand up for the Black community when you see instances of systemic racism occurring.
Since we can’t really travel currently, what’s one thing you’re doing to take care of yourself right now?
I have been planning future trips and pinning a lot of locations to my pinterest board! I’m also taking the time to notice all of the cool things that can be done right here in Southern California.
OKAAAAY, Brittany is out here educating us on travel and WE. LOVE. IT. Thank you for opening our eyes to how travel is not a privilege everyone has. Thank you for highlighting the fact that systemic racism exists in travel. And thank you for giving actionable steps for non-BIPOC to help fight against it.
Be sure to read Brittany’s post on Systemic Racism Within The Travel Industry for an insightful expansion on her answer above. We all know that the fight for social and racial justice is not something we will not give up on. Now more than ever, we need to support the Black community especially in areas we may not realize that injustice exists – such as the travel industry.
One very simple way to stand together is to support Black content creators like Brittany and the causes they support, like #PULLUPFORTRAVEL by the Black Travel Alliance. So hit all those follow buttons, like/share/promote their content, donate if you can, buy Brittany’s book, read the blogs, etc. There are numerous ways to help!
Before I wrap it up, remember to comment below or send me a DM on Instagram if you or anyone has a travel tale to share!
With wanderlust and ‘til next time,