I am sitting in the San Pedro Sula International Airport, fresh off of four consecutive flights to arrive.
I have four and a half hours to sit in the food court with 30 strangers and contemplate how to effectively not take this trip for granted. To consider how to counteract the piles of privilege that allow me to sit here, that give me the very tiny bits of Spanish I can speak and comprehend, that give me the contacts that invited me on this trip in the first place, that made this affordable and feasible, that make me not too scared or too attached to home to leave for three weeks with only a backpack, that got me here.
Ive read a handful of articles about the elitism of travel recently and am ashamed to say it put myself in new light. I’m another white girl that had a picture in front of the pyramids and a picture on a camel on Facebook. I’m someone that got invited to Mexico for Christmas by a cousin. I studied abroad for six weeks in undergrad. I visited Shoshana while she taught in Taiwan.
I did these things because I had access to money, because I had friends and family in other countries. Because I live in a world where international travel is beginning to feel as common as crossing the United States.
The past few years have made me reconsider a lot. I’m thinking about:
- How international travel can be empowering and meaningful in a very different way for my POC friends, especially African American/ Black friends
- How people I love fear or cannot travel abroad due to the potential inability to return back to the states
- How people I love have home countries that they have few memories of and limited access to revisit and to know. I remember the first time my high school friend went to Romania, and the stories he brought home that are a part of him in a way my travel never will be
- How casual myself, my friends, and my family discuss international travel, Here I Go To This Place and how clouded my perspective on travel is when I’m comparing
This post doesn’t approach the topic in a way I’m happy with- the more I read, especially essay collections, the more I realize how badly I want to be A Writer and how much work I need to Get In That Direction… so for now, posting inadequate blog posts in the middle of the Honduras night is the first step.
PS: before I forget, other topics I’m meaning to write about include a) my summer job, b) my future