There are always stories to tell from every trip. I mostly share the positive aspects of my travel because as an optimist and a #positivevibesonly endorser these are what come naturally for me to share. However, in this post and moving forward, I will share the imperfect and odd aspects too. Here are a few stories about my strange encounters abroad…
When I visited Denmark I did a day trip to Malmo, Sweden because it’s only a train ride away. We walked the streets to get a feel for the city and in true travel blogger style I was taking pictures and videos of the scenery. While doing so, a frustrated elderly women in the distance yelled at me saying, “Don’t take pictures of me!” I was shocked. I replied, “I don’t want pictures of you!” I’m very proud of that comeback by the way haha! I was really disturbed by that encounter. She was so far away that if she had been in my shot you would not have been able to determine who she is. As a black woman in a country where you are very obviously the minority, my guard was already up and this along with an encounter in Denmark made it worse.
While in Copenhagen, Denmark, I had a strange encounter at the hotel. I shared this story previously in my blog post about Culture Shock Moments in Denmark. I was in the elevator with my mom. A young woman with a child walked in. The child looked at us then started crying and holding on to his mother. Maybe it was the melanin glow or the beads in my hair? I’m not sure. I should have roared.
In Paris, we had lunch at a small restaurant down the road from the hotel we were staying at. Staring does happen and I have somewhat gotten used to it when I travel but I have never been so stared at in my life! I usually just stare back and the person looks away. Not this time! I’m not sure what the motive behind the stares were. That had not happened anywhere else in Paris. To give a better description, three staff members were standing in a row literally staring at us from the time we walked in to the time we were eating till we walked out. And even though I looked back at them and they knew I could see them staring, they did not stop. That was very uncomfortable and strange.
In Greece while in Mykonos, my friends and I spent an afternoon at Paradise Beach. Because we traveled to Greece during off peak season, the beach was pretty quiet. As a black person in certain parts of the world you will get multiple people wanting to take a photo of/with you. This time I was in a bikini and started feeling a bit weird taking pictures with strangers while not fully dressed. So I told them no more pictures and went to sit at the edge of the water enjoying the waves passing over my feet. My serene moment with the ocean was disturbed when my friend shouted my name. I turned around quickly and found the same people I had so no to crouched up behind me taking photos of me! I couldn’t believe it LOL!
Writing this made me think about what lesson I can take and share from these experiences. One of them is that we should be great hosts when we encounter visitors. The impressions made from simple interactions are lasting. You never forget how an uncomfortable encounter made you feel.
Have you had any interactions while traveling that made lasting impressions on you? Can you relate to the encounters I have shared. Let me know in the comments 🙂