Tag: abroad

Tips for sisters on ‘hooking up’ their hair when traveling abroad, Part Deux

Late last month, I wrote about the “hair issues” we black women often face when traveling abroad—and promised to offer some tips about handling these when you’re overseas.

When I first traveled to Europe in the late 1990s, visiting a friend who worked on a U.S. Army base in Germany, I was doing the relaxed hair thing, toting multiple curling irons and assorted lotions and potions in my always-overstuffed suitcase. But once I started hitting the road with friends, all those curling irons became a royal pain. What a hassle to constantly be plugging in, moving irons from one room to the other, waiting for them to cool down before you could pack them, etc. And then there was always the issue of “what if it rains?”

Now that I’ve been wearing two-strand twist extensions for most of the past five years, that’s no longer a concern. BUT, I have gotten overseas and much to my dismay, realized that I forgot to pack my favorite olive oil sheen or softening lotion. This, my friends, can be a challenge—especially since overseas trips tend to last for more than just a weekend.

But if you find yourself in a city—especially in Europe—and have arrived sans products, I’ve discovered that black folks and Arabs (who frequently have similar hair textures as ours) often live near the city’s main train station….

Continue 54 Comments January 10, 2010

Nothing like travel—in the United States and abroad—to change a sister’s life

Think back: Have you ever taken a trip that literally changed the trajectory of your life? Or even one that permanently altered the way you think about yourself as an African-American woman–or the world?

Besides UrbanTravelGirl, I also write a blog for Today’s Chicago Woman, a monthly magazine for smart, professional women that’s very well-known to those of us living in the Windy City. In my recent “TCW Travel Connection” post, I write about “Travel as a life-changer,” or the ways in which trips—both here in the United States and abroad—led me to make self-affirming and enriching choices. As I say in the post, “Far from being a ‘luxury,’ travel is often what we need to become more of who we really are.”

I’d love to hear from you: How has travel inspired you to make big or small changes that you know will last a lifetime?

Continue 12 Comments September 5, 2009

“… with liberty and justice (and affordable health care) for all.”

Finally in America, the decades-long debate over health care is coming to a head. Last night, President Barack Obama hosted a prime-time news conference at the White House, where he delivered his vision on health care and answered reporters’ questions about it.

As someone who’s extensively traveled abroad and marveled at the United States’ apparent unwillingness to make affordable access to medical care available to ALL its people, I’m amazed that so many politicians—and regular citizens—think that providing such care is somehow socialist. Subversive. And against the “American way of life.” Well, if having to choose between buying groceries and paying for prescribed medicine is capitalism at its best, perhaps we need to re-examine our priorities ….

Continue 5 Comments July 23, 2009

Learning the language of the locals

I’m hardly a linguist, but I strongly believe that when you visit someone else’s country, you need to speak their language—literally. Not that you need to be fluent in español or français or Arabic or Thai, but it shows a real sense of respect if you at least TRY to start your conversations off with pleasantries and polite phrases in the local tongue. Nothing says “ugly American” (or Australian or fill-in-the-nationality) like expecting those you meet at stores, at the train station, on the street to automatically speak the language you speak at home.

Continue 7 Comments April 12, 2009


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