Timothy Hunt (@Timmygotsoul), a Motor City-native (Detroit) who currently resides in New York shares how traveling has been a window and a mirror for him personally — allowing him to continually self-reflect on how to be a better person and examining his privilege.
There have been a couple of instances where I have been called the “N” word by people in other countries as a term of endearment, and I have had to educate them on why that word is not ok.
– Timothy Hunt
Has traveling been a window or a mirror for you? Explain.
Both. It’s a window for me because I know that the world is so much bigger than myself. A mirror, because when I travel, I am continually self-reflecting on how to be a better person, examining my privilege or even being able to travel. Traveling has made me a better person to myself, my friends, family, and strangers I come in contact in my life.
What’s one misconception that people have about traveling abroad while Black?
One misconception that I have noticed about people is what areas of the world they automatically assume are safe or dangerous. When I have traveled certain places such as Turkey, Mozambique, Lebanon, Jordan, Brazil, Egypt, Cuba, Palestine, and a few others, and automatically people say “Oh, it’s too dangerous there!” My first response is, “What do you know about that place?” Usually, their bias or judgment I notice is about a place where there are mainly Black people or people of color. Also, there is a misconception that you are safer in areas in Europe compared to countries in Africa. Go figure.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to someone that wants to inquire more about traveling abroad?
Research the places you want to go in advance. Learn the culture, and be respectful to the culture and their people. Try to have as much cultural awareness and sensitivity to the places you are going. Do not expect everyone is going to speak English as their first language, have American money in another country, or have the same cultural traditions you have. Realize that you’re a visitor and adapting to someone else space, and not think the locals should change to you.
What’s one thing you’ve learned while traveling the world that no one could have prepared you for until it happened?
How much America influence the world, good and bad. There have been a couple of instances where I have been called the “N” word by people in other countries as a term of endearment, and I have had to educate them on why that word is not ok. Usually, they say well it’s in all the songs or videos.
Most memorable experience in your favorite city? Least favorite?
My most memorable experience was probably seeing the Giza Pyramids in Egypt. It was surreal because I never thought I would see that in my life. My least favorite experience has probably in Beijing/Shanghai/Nanjing, China or Sydney & Melbourne, Australia. In China, I just was uncomfortable, because when the Chinese see Black people, they were taking pictures, pointing, and running up to me. In Australia, I went for New Years a few years ago, and I lost my passport. Rich country and friendly people, but I couldn’t leave the country until I got a replacement passport. It ended up working out, and I got a new passport 14 hours before my flight back home.