The Root of Travel: Travel with Purpose, Plant your flag, and counter gentrification.
by M'Bwebe Aja Ishangi
“I've always said to my men friends, If you really care for me darling, you will give me territory. Give me land, give me land."
— Legendary actress, Eartha Kitt
If you’re connected to social media, you’ve noticed the resent boom in world travel by POADUS (People of Afrikan Descent in the United States). Whereas before, travel was limited within the borders of this country, todays generation are trading their car keys for passports and airline tickets!
A long way we’ve come indeed. Just 50 years ago the only time we’d travel was to see southern relatives by way of the infamous ‘Negro Motorist Green Book’ guide that provided black-owned restaurants and rest stops as traveling through states bore a close resemblance to the dangers our Ancestors faced trekking by foot to the North by way of the Underground Railroad.
The internet has enabled a global reach eliminating the illusionary domestic borders. Coupled with entering the “Information Age”, POADUS are gaining interest in international travel — one that leads to greater things!
A 2014 statistic reported the World Travel Market makes over $90 Billion each year. The hidden jewel of this stat is POADUS account for $40 Billion (or nearly 50%) of it!
We are seeing the world and spending plenty to do it, but it clearly is not enough to just experience. What do we have to show for it?
With gentrification in full swing, the gap in racial economic disparity continues to widen as many face a now forced southern migration — the polar opposite of the “Great Northern Migration” where 6 million POADUS moved from the South to the North between 1910-70 driven by the Industrial revolution that created jobs. The current movement back to the South is an exodus of sorts, not dictated by jobs but rather lower costs of living. I find the colonization of land (gentrifcation) warrants a review of reasons for travel being a vital piece missing from the conversation.
The opening words of Eartha Kitt should resonate with those who travel because it simply is the next level!
Consider the solution to creating intergenerational wealth lay in travel, BUT, travel with a purpose — that being, a measure of countering gentrification is by planting your flag!
Far too many of us travel but miss the opportunity in connecting with indigenous folk. Take for instance the Caribbean. Far too many of us stay in 5-star hotels and resorts instead of linking with our indigenous cousins living there.
I speak of this from first-hand experience. My partners and I created #DuendeNaturál and #BlackLandMatters with an aim to create an ecologically sustainable future by developing an intentional community for our folk on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.
The genesis of this idea came from simply establishing relationships with the locals. You’ll find these rekindled relations far more rewarding when speaking of the numerous opportunities that can be created: from land purchases to the re-learning of natural medicinal plant use — a practice many of us have forgotten living in America.
We should be able to have more than memes and Facebook Live feeds of our travel experiences.
Travel with purpose,
Plant your flag,
And counter gentrification.
I invite you to come to Costa Rica with us this year:
Learn about our Black Land Matters Cooperative:
Each one teach MANY!
#blacktravel #buyblack #sustainability #blackandabroad #CostaRica #Cooperatives #GroupEconomics #Trust #SelfDetermination
M’Bwebe Ishangi is the Co-Founder of Duende Naturál and Black Land Matters