The Black Travel Experience : Just like the name implies, we speak to various black people about their travel experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly (if any). No two travelers can be the same so just because it doesn't sound like your own story doesn't invalidate anyone's experience.
P.S whenever Africans also travel, we're seen as black even if some may not want to be identified that way but alas, it's the reality.
Today's guest is Ope. He's a first generation Nigerian - Canadian who's currently into project management but does his thing in architecture too. He says the worst thing that can happen on a trip is he gets killed (morbid we know) but that just begs the question, does every black guy think this way about travelling internationally?
What’s your earliest memory of travel?
Local or international? As a child my only travel experiences were the trips to my home town and stuff.
Out of Nigeria, my first trips were a series of Business trips to Liberia as an “expatriate” architect from Nigeria and this was not long after the end of the civil war. Nigerians were seen as heroes then for the military’s role in ending the war.
At what exact moment or what experience ignited your love for travel?
As an architecture student in UNILAG (University of Lagos), we organized regular tours to Europe and across Nigeria. When our Euro tour was cancelled for failure to get the group visas, we organized a tour of Nigeria where we are able to visit about 25 states on a 16 day long trip. I ended up loving Obudu Cattle Ranch and Yankari Games Reserve and they are now my favorite places in Nigeria.
How many countries (or cities in the country you live in) have you been to?
Can’t remember how many cities I’ve visited here in ON, but I’ve been to 8 different countries apart from where I live. - France, Germany, The UAE, The US, Ghana, Liberia, Mauritius, Canada
What’s your favorite country so far and why?
I’m torn between Nigeria - because of the freedom it gives and Canada because of the standard of living and structure.
How does travel make you feel?
Lool. My answer could put me in trouble.
What’s your travel style like –adventure or chop life and enjoy?
Chop life and enjoy, who adventure epp?
LMAO. Street food or na?
Nah, I’m not big on food, I play it safe
Do you have a travel bucket list?
Nah, I’m spontaneous. I just take my trips as they come.
Which do you prefer, solo or group trip?
Solo, like to fuck up solo no one tells me nothing later
If and when you travel solo, what fears quickly come to mind?
None, fears kill fun. Worst case I get killed. Once on a trip to Florida, was at the beach chilling n drinking, met some guys fishing, we got talking and they said there was a better spot to get more fish, I went with these guys in their car to another secluded spot, these men could have killed me n dumped my body without anyone knowing. So, yeah no fears
If you travel with a group, do you think people are scared when they see a bunch of black guys traveling together?
I don’t really think it’s about the colour of skin, I raise my guard when I see a bunch of guys acting unruly. I usually try to hang with socially responsible people, so don’t really care how or what people think.
What’s it like to travel as a black man, have you ever been stereotyped?
Unfortunately, I find it difficult to notice stereotypes because of my background, I’m probably already immune to it.
As a black male traveler, do you find yourself worrying about how you may be perceived wherever you go?
Never had any reasons to worry yet. I actually get the impression I’m being admired when I notice people of other skin shades stare at me.
As per hot guy abi? Have you had any scary experience while travelling?
None I can think of, except in Nigeria
Care to share?
One time we were travelling and around Warri, some militant type guys stopped us and threatened us. They held us hostage for some hours and threatened to kill our police escort.
Oh wow, that's pretty scary. Any embarrassing travel stories?
Yeah, on one of my trips to Liberia, I used my Nigerian passport. I was put aside because I was Nigerian, searched and asked to pay a bribe. They said if it was a Nigerian immigration officer I would have paid him and they were trained by them. I had mixed feelings about this.
Sigh, Let’s talk immigration. What’s that like for you; easy peasy as per Canadian or does your Nigerian background end up scattering everything?
Using the Canadian passport has a lot of advantages especially in the US and they don’t really care about your background.
The only time my Nigerian background was called out was in Mauritius. I was asked how long I had lived in Canada and how long it took me to become Canadian.
Generally, I’d only use my Nigerian passport when traveling to Nigeria or other west African countries.
Have you ever had a racist experience? What was that like?
None I can think of. Luckily I've not been profiled as a black man either.
Lucky. With the current BLM movement, how do you think that will affect travel for black people?
Funny, enough with the new movement and living in a neighborhood that predominantly has people with other skin colours, I feel people seem to look at us more with compassion and try to be nicer considering the recent outlook on racism towards people of African descent
Does your family worry when you travel
All the time
Where are you packing your bags to once ‘travel is back’ and why?
Like I said, I’m spontaneous so whatever I say can change
Random, who do you think would win in a fight, a polar bear with a rifle or a shark with a laser gun ?
Travel advice for black people?
Be you, and unapologetic, confident but not cocky and have a positive outlook
Any post-covid travel predictions?
People would travel more, we can’t afford to waste the time we have here so live it up