Travel While Black During COVID-19
Our household has that itch to get away from the mundane quarantining these last four months, like so many other families right now. We feel blessed to have been in situations that allowed my husband and I to both work from home effectively, while our three daughters, under our care and support, could complete the school year successfully with distance learning. However, as we watch white friends and their families travel out of state to lakeside beaches, mountains and cabins, we’re reminded of the ever present stressfulness...of traveling while Black.
Sure our family, seen through a car window especially at night, could “pass” as “belonging” in these towns. My husband told me of a late night bike ride he took out of restlessness, and how certain he was his lighter skin complexion and red ball cap (often mistaken as a MAGA hat he made in the same image to read “Make Racists Afraid Again”), spared him the interaction of two patrol cars he passed by. But hiking through the rural wild, attempting to patronize services like renting boats or bikes, or even grocery shopping in these mostly white, mostly low populated areas, is not something we risk lightly.
I was reading an article the other day about the “Importance of Black Spaces in Wellness,” and “The Importance of Black Birders Week…” on the heels of Christian Cooper’s experience birding while Black in Central Park. I took to Googling vacation spots for our family to get away from the bustling city, boredom of staying-at-home, away from the density of people, and from the “hot spots” of COVID-19. It is almost impossible to find these Black spaces in the escapes we need and seek... places surrounded by peace, nature, safety and welcoming difference.
Before all of this, we made it a priority to travel to Long Island, Bahamas where my husband’s family comes from (the Knowles for those trying to place them), where it is slow and relaxing, the most beautiful beaches in the world, and home to just over 3,000 Caribbeans that treat everyone like family. It is truly a paradise for us.
So, we will continue our search and lay out a plan to hopefully get away from current reality before summer ends. If we do decide to hit the road as we likely will, we will also remain vigilant. And as my best friend’s mother, Mama Cora, recommended to two young Black women hitting the road for a big move many years ago, we will “stay prayerful, careful, and watchful.”
Y’all stay safe and alive out there.
[Pictured: The GoodyMob Long Island, Bahamas 2018]