Welcome back to GabarIskuFilan! This is a solo female travel blog that focuses on travel across the African diaspora. I document my experiences in Black-majority countries in an attempt to learn and support the local economy. In a week, I will be leaving to experience Trinidad & Tobago Carnival which is arguably the largest street festival in the world! Nearly 40,000 people attend every year. It’s very extravagant with its concerts, Mas costumes, and soca music. Soca and calypso were both founded in Trinidad & Tobago.
Carnival-goers marvel at Trinidad Carnival which is hailed as the birthplace of carnival. As a carnival newbie, I chose the most famous and expensive carnival of them all. Very on-brand of me lol. Carnival occurs in many parts of the world including Notting Hill, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Colombia, and Brazil. Check out this calendar of carnivals around the world! I would love to return to Colombia and experience carnival in Barranquilla one day! Carnival is a worldwide celebration of Caribbean identity and Black liberation. If you’re participating, it’s important to remain respectful of its tradition and legacy. This isn’t the place for judgment.
I launched GabarIskuFilan to document my experiences as a solo female traveler in countries with majority Black populations. Traveling has exposed just how progressive the world is. I grew up being told I had to wear these hideous tents or else men would rape me. I went to Colombia solo and wore short dresses and bathing suits yet I returned home unassaulted. Traveling has expanded my purview. There are places where men understand that a woman wearing a bikini does not mean he can rape her. This sounds revolutionary if you’ve been raised in Islam which commands women to cover their bodies to deter sexual assault.
It’s always “DON’T TRAVEL SOLO!” but never “WE NEED A WORLD WITHOUT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE!” That’s why I don’t take their advice seriously. They would rather tell women to stay home (which is statistically more dangerous) than fight for our right to exist without violence. I could not control the clothes I put onto my own body. I was 20-years old when I went to a movie theater for the first time. I was told my wedding would be paid for but not my education. I am so grateful for the gift of financial independence. I’m still not sure how I did it. Fortunately, I live in a country where it’s illegal to kill ex-Muslims.
Traveling is an antidote to a plethora of things. Traveling is an antidote to ignorance. It wasn’t until I started traveling that I noticed how regressive my thinking was. Statistically, I am more likely to be killed by a male intimate partner than traveling. So, why should I be scared to travel alone? Solo female travel is an act of defiance in a world that weaponizes sexual violence to keep us in place. I was forbidden from traveling without a male chaperone yet here I am now exploring the world as a solo female traveler.
I am cognizant of the impact my writing has. People read my blog behind anonymous search engines. My writing is life-threatening. I don’t know how to feel about that. My liberation will always be more important than my fear.
Will I see you in Trinidad & Tobago?