Tag Archives: community

Holidaying vs. Travelling : Busting the Myths (SPOILER: You Are A Traveller. Probably.)

I tend to document my travel adventures here, rather than the human drama which is the detail of daily life; paying bills, washing clothes, mentally preparing for and winding down from work, answering and sending ‘serious’ emails.  It’s not a value judgement, just evidence of me having my head in the clouds.  However people somehow seem to forget that my travel adventures are not actually my daily life.  My 9-5 wholly funds my fun (how I budget for travel is for another post).

As free-spirited as I may be, I do not live on the road nor out of my backpack.  I simply like being on the road for short periods, and I therefore maximise the potential of every bit of holiday I get.  You, dear reader, can do the same should you choose to.  There’s a big lie going around which makes people feel like adventures are out of their reach:  Going on holiday is not the same as ‘going travelling’.  This is simply not true. Continue reading

A Black Brit Heads to Brooklyn

New York City

New York City (Photo credit: kaysha)

Well I’d be lying if I said my trip to New York had gone according plan. It’s fine though, I didn’t have a plan to begin with.

I merely had the time off work from Thurs eve, and had to be in Washington DC 3pm Monday afternoon. When I arrived in The Big Apple and what I did was pretty flexible.  My plan consisted of catching up with old, beloved friends, and seeing Black New York. You see, while some may sing the Sinatra track when drunk, my friends (and fam) were more likely to do Ja Rule and Fat Joe impressions.  Until Jay-Z and Alicia Keys paid musical homage of course.  So cos I’m like, special, for me they might as well call New York Malcom X-town.  As for years I’ve grappled with his ideas, and had his words lift my head, (and having done all the ‘sights’ 10+ years ago on a school trip) I wanted to see the Malcolm X museum, or get closer to him somehow when I was in his hometown. Continue reading

Caribbean woman from London? Or Londoner from the Caribbean? How the identity/location shuffle made my head spin

The Early Years

I am a South London girl born and raised and proud of it. Forest Hill, Brockley, Crofton Park, Catford and Lewisham made me the woman I am today.   I had a relatively happy childhood there, and made lifelong friends in those schools and on those streets.  Growing up as young black girl there, it was fairly normal to be asked ‘where you’re from’ as my thick South London accent and use of Multicultural London English quickly gave me away as a local. I therefore grew up describing myself as ‘from Barbados and St Lucia’ and had loads of friends who were Chinese, Ghanaian, Turkish, Jamaican, Trinidadian, also Bajan or St Lucian, Dominican, Montserratians, Greek Cypriot, Sri Lankan, Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese, from the Indian diaspora (you know, East African, South African, Trinidadian/Guyanese Indians rather than Indian Indians) when you asked, but sounded as English as I did, and were also born in the local hospital.

We were all Londoners, but we were from somewhere else too and the only time there was any tension was during the cricket (well there wasn’t any really, no one except our parents really followed cricket, although all the black kids learned to chant 375 and 501 at appropriate and inappropriate occasions).  And again, no one considered it disloyal to back whichever black team made it to the World Cup, be it the Reggae Boyz, Soca Warriors or more recently, the Black Stars. And Brazil cos they had Pele from back in the day.   It was expected.  Football was where the last vestiges of Pan-Africanism could be found when I was growing up.  This was before the 2002 World Cup, when black players en masse got picked for the English national squad; before that it was Paul Ince, Ian Wright and Sol Campbell only*.  We repped them, but not the team.  But I digress, I was from Barbados and St Lucia growing up, until A-Level Sociology.  There, a friend and I decided to embrace our full identities as Non-Practising Afro-Caribbeans and Black Marxist Feminists. I kid you not.  It was a bit of a mouthful, but we finally had a title which reflected our Caribbean roots, and London-based lives.  And then I moved to Thailand. Continue reading

Six Tips for Coping With Being Billy/ie-No-Mates (for now)

It ain’t easy being the new kid in town.  I’ve done it a few times now though, and have a few key things I always try to do when I’m at settling in level 2.  You know, arrived, unpacked, started work/uni, and starting to get integrated into the community…

1) Smile at absolutely everyone all the time.  But not like a crackhead.  Continue reading