Travel

The reality of travelling as a woman of colour in 2023

Written by Travel Adventures

“The more intimidating moments have been when groups of men in other countries have shouted at me in the street or made lewd comments. There have been several instances when I’ve had ‘hey Japanese’ or ‘Miss Korea’ or ‘ni hao’ yelled at me, and I’ve been approached or even followed. Those moments are scary and deter me from ever wanting to travel alone, but I do think that is a largely female experience – being a woman of colour just adds another layer of complication to it.”

What are your biggest concerns when travelling?

“Safety is always the biggest thing, especially as a woman, but there’s also an element of prejudice that can come with being a woman of colour that I worry may also put me in danger. Thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with anything that serious while travelling, as I’m usually with other people. Still, it’s certainly a concern I have about having to travel alone, especially as it’s something I’m doing more of for work.”

Positano Amalfi Coast

Positano, Amalfi CoastGetty Images

What’s the most inclusive, welcoming destination you’ve ever travelled to?

“I would have to say Italy – I’ve travelled all over the country, been to different regions both central and in the countryside, and only ever had wonderful interactions.”

Kirthanaa Naidu

Kirthanaa NaiduKirthanaa Naidu

Kirthanaa Naidu

Kirthanaa NaiduKirthanaa Naidu

Kirthanaa Naidu

Kirthanaa is a stylist, cook, and creative consultant

What has been your overall experience travelling as a woman of colour in 2023?

“On the whole, in the past year, I’ve felt very welcome in most places I’ve been to. Of course, there are times when I’ve feared for my safety, especially while travelling alone. I actually went to Sicily this year for my first-ever solo trip – it was relatively safe, but there were moments when I was out late on my own and couldn’t help but overthink about my safety.”

What are your biggest concerns when travelling?

“My biggest concern is definitely safety. I think that translates into how I dress, and it’s something that I think about a lot. I’ve had occasions where I don’t feel comfortable wearing what I want to wear as people follow me or shout at me in the street, especially if I’m not with a male friend or in a big group of people. It’s sad that just by expressing ourselves in how we dress, as women, we might attract attention that we might not want to. I don’t think it ever overtakes my ability to enjoy my time away, but it’s definitely something in the back of my mind.”

What’s the most inclusive, welcoming destination you’ve ever travelled to?

“Earlier this year, I visited Indonesia. It’s a country that is very hospitable: people are very welcoming and smile at you – that in itself makes you feel very comfortable and happy to be there. Also, being in a country with people of colour (not that that always makes you feel comfortable) lends itself to that initial feeling of being at home.”




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