Friday, 2 December 2011

Travel Inspirations: Lesia and Wendy - Two Jamaican Girls Taking on Europe


black women in bavaria travel
Lesia and Wendy in Bavaria, Germany


It's no coincidence that the first two people that I feature on my blog are Black female travelers! I want readers to see examples of Black woman traveling far beyond the Caribbean and exploring the world past the Atlantic. Lesia and Wendy recently completed a trip of a lifetime, traveling throughout Europe via plane, train and automobile. Hopefully you will find inspiration in there 1,600 mile, 6 country, 10 day adventure.

black women in venice
Wendy and Lesia in Venice, Italy

Lesia and Wendy have been friends for three years, they always knew that they wanted to travel together but didn't know exactly when or where. Recently Lesia's brother moved to Stuttgart Germany and this was the opportunity they were waiting for. Stuttgart, Germany was their first stop on the European Takeover!



european roadtrip route
Their route map. Traveling via plane, train and automobile
After spending a few days with family ( including me, Lesia is my cousin), the ladies rented a fabulous Audi 3 and hit the Autobahn driving through the Alps towards Zurich, Switzerland. They stopped in Zurich for some scenic picture taking and lunch and hopped back on the highway headed for Milan, Italy. They spent a lovely evening in Milan, doing some small sightseeing, grabbing dinner and treating themselves to gelato. After such a long day on the road they had no energy to party, they rested up and prepared themselves for their next destination, Venice, Italy
 black women travel venice
Lesia and Wendy in a Venetian Gondola

In Venice they were greeted by a lovely gentleman at the hotel who volunteered to take the ladies out that evening. After a night of disco dancing until the sun came up they saw all the sites their guide recommended the evening before. The trip in Vienna ended on a high note with amazing pizza, then they were off again. They took the scenic route, driving up and down the mountains of Austria and finally made it to Munich, Germany. In Munich they visited the Dachau concentration camp and then returned to Stuttgart.

black woman with map
Wendy is WICKED with a map

They were in Stuttgart long enough to say goodbye to the family and get some shut eye. They woke up bright and early to catch the train to Paris, France. In the days they were in Paris they did the full Parisian tour, the 400 steps of the Notre Dame, the Champs Elysee, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and even took a day trip down to Versailles, France. On the way back to the States they organized an overnight layover in Amsterdam, the Netherlands to get a taste of the city. They walked along the canals, visited the Anne Frank house and attempted a visited to the infamous Red Light District. Thousands of kilometers and liters of wine behind them, the ladies describe their adventure as “the best trip ever”.

black woman in parisian cafe
Great food and champs fit for a queen in a Parisian Cafe


Trip High Points:
  • While taking pictures of the amazing view in Zurich they met two Jamaican women who also lived in the US. The women were on vacation traveling from Brussels to Rome.
  • Meeting Georgio and Alejandro in Venice, very handsome and scrumptious guides who treated them like queens and took them out dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
  • The bidets in almost all of their rooms. They became huge fans. LOL
  • Lovely conversation in a Parisian cafe with a West African dude who traveled the world and treated them to wine and cheese.
  • Amazing food! Drinking champagne and wine with almost every meal. 

  • Driving through the tunnels of Switzerland and experiencing first hand that there is the light at the end of every tunnel. 

  • Meeting friends everywhere they went, locals, tourist, didn't matter they made connections in almost every city.
  • Driving 189 km an hour on the Autobahn (117 mph)
black woman on top of notre dame
Finally at the top of the Notre Dame in Paris



Trip not-so High Points:
  • Technology failed them, the navigation system went bonkers a few times, luckily Wendy was a whiz with maps.

  • Some creepy guy was following them around the city of Milan at night, they felt a bit uncomfortable but then they remembered they could protect themselves since Wendy knew self defense and Lesia knew “crazy”.

  • Every morning at their hotel in Paris different guests would ask them to get them tea as they both were mistaken for the help. :/

black female view over water
Wendy and an amazing view in Italy

What aspiring travelers can  learn from Lesia and Wendy

  • Take advantage of friends and family who live abroad. Knowing someone in a foreign country does not only have financial benefits but emotional ones. Having a connection in a place that is foreign to you makes it a bit easier to take such a big leap.
  • When visiting Europe from the States take advantage of the close proximity of the different countries. One can easily see multiple cities due to the accessibility and transportation infrastructure.
  • When traveling with friends make sure your personalities and strengths balance each other out. If one person is a good driver the other person should be good with maps and being the navigator. It's about team work. Friends that you can only handle in small doses are not the ones to travel with!!!
  • Set a budget. You have to travel with someone who has similar travel preferences. You don't want to travel with someone who wants to do budget travel when you have a luxury accommodations in mind. Discuss your budget pre-travel and stick to it!
  • Language barriers and cultural differences were challenges that enabled these ladies to discover a new level of resourcefulness. Wendy and Lesia both agreed that there is something liberating about navigating a foreign country.
black women in switzerland
Thanks for the great team for sharing their story!
If you have a story of travel and adventure or living abroad and want to be featured on nicoleisthenewblack.com send an email to nicoleisthenewblack@gmail.com

Also be sure to follow me on twitter @nicolenewblack

12 comments:

  1. Simply awesome! Looks like they had an amazing journey. I eventually would like to travel to the countries they've visited. Well, except for Italy since I don't have a huge interest in wanting to visit the country, but I will be venturing to their final destination later this month!

    And I've never really considered renting a car during my travels. Mmm... I think I'll make that an option in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Nicole,

    I found your blog at the right time. I always wanted to travel and see the world but I was scared that because of my skin color the places where I wanted to go and experience would never accept me. For the past few weeks I’ve been applying to aboard programs in London and then a week ago I found a program in the Netherlands and I applied. This morning I was accepted and literally jumped out of my seat and texted my mother to tell her the good news. But I was still scared… I then read this post and I just transferred over my funds.

    Thanks for the push you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! Really reawakened my love and desire of travel. Ok, that's not really true as the desire never went away. :) But, these 2 women are inspirational. Their adventure looked amazing. A note on the help comments: yeah, I would have lost it and my 'crazy' would have come out. And, my crazy never comes out to play but I know I would have been pissed! Look forward to more inspirational women of color travels.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Diana i know what you mean, renting a vehicle is usually not an option for me since I do not drive standard but they got an automatic and it was fairly inexpensive. THey were short on time, otherwise they would have done the train option or researched car pooling options. The car gave them alot of freedom.

    @Danielle being accepted is overrated :P no just kidding, i understand your concerns and i am glad that this post and the two young ladies could inspire you to find a bit more courage. its not easy and you might face some hiccups but i truly believe that if more black women saw that it was possible more and more of us would get out there and see the world. my friend greg always says something like you are a global citizen, go and meet your neighbors! congrats on getting accepted into the program, maybe you can blog about it!

    @rhona haha yeah it was hard for them to grin and bear it but sometimes you cant spend your energy checking folks. also the travel inspirations wont always be women of color. i have some great people in mind, some men, some white. although most of my readers are black women i like to engage many different audiences. trust me you will find entertainment in all the stories

    ReplyDelete
  5. awesome so happy to have found this job and so proud as a fellow Jamaican expat woman to see these ladies doing something I wanna do next yr. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lovely pix. That's a lot of countries packed into a short time! I have jet lag just reading this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love it! Amazing read and quite an inspiration for prospective travelers like me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @kimvan welcome! yeah jamaicans are all over,so funny they bumped into two while in zurich

    @flygirl before their trip they asked me if i wanted to come along and i was like hell to the naw. i slow travel. but they saw a lot and they really enjoyed themselves.

    @temi get out there girl! there is no time like the present

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awesome feature! Mission accomplished, I'm totally inspired :) Thought I'm scared to drive in new countries, I think I'd want to rent a car...but there's something fun about traveling by foot so hmmmm! It's unfortunate that they were mistaken for the help..I'd probably joke with the guests and make them think just a tad more about asking the next person of color that question randomly!

    ReplyDelete
  10. @theretronatural well being mistaken for the help is better than being mistaken for a sex worker. this happens often. maybe i should link a story about that too. there are ups and downs traveling while black. sometimes it's a blessing and other times it's a liability. sigh

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love to see my country women exploring the world beyond what they know! Good for them. I hope they had a blast, and it seems like they did.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @shells they had a great time, we are going to try and get together in spain this summer. one of the ladies decided to try and teach english abroad

    ReplyDelete