Gabar’s Year In Review: 5 Important Lessons I Learned In 2020

1. The Most Dangerous Place for a woman is in the home

2020 has proven that the most dangerous place for a woman is in the home. Domestic violence kills more women than solo female travel ever will. Whenever I tell someone that I’ve escaped sex trafficking, they assume it happened in Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama or Costa Rica. However, I was sex trafficked in the home. Trinidadians and Colombians always made sure I had a ride home, brought me food if I said I was hungry and carried my backpack if I said I was tired. Forced marriage, sex trafficking, honor violence and domestic abuse all happen within the home. Trust me: you’re statistically more likely to be violated by someone you know rather than a stranger in a foreign country. 

2. Traveling during a pandemic is irresponsible

I haven’t left the US since returning on March 3rd. I believe traveling during a pandemic is reckless and selfish. As someone who documents solo female travel across the African diaspora, I would be remiss to ignore this trend. How could I travel to a predominately Black country and unknowingly infect Black people who have even less access to quality healthcare than I do? Does that sound pro-Black to you? Wherever I travel, I have an obligation and due diligence to ensure I am not harming the Black people who live there.

3. KFC in the Caribbean is Elite

No one eats KFC in the US. So, when my Jamaican-American friend suggested that we try KFC in Trinidad, I was skeptical. This is KFC in the Caribbean. It’s different! She was right. KFC in the Caribbean is in an elite league of its own! I was so impressed! If you’re a foodie, I would recommend Trinidad & Tobago because the cuisine is impeccable. Bake n’ shark, roti, doubles, corn soup so good!

4. Carnival is a Celebration of Black Liberation

Speaking of Trinidad & Tobago: this was the only country I was able to visit in 2020. I had an opportunity to experience the last carnival for the foreseeable future. Trinidad Carnival was by far the most incredible experience of my 20’s. Not only did carnival originate in Trinidad, but carnival is rooted in Black liberation. I didn’t know anything about Trinidad & Tobago or anyone who lived there. Did you know it’s only 7 miles from Venezuela? My airbnb neighbor is a retired government worker who would accompany me until my Uber arrived. He would confirm the license plate matched the one in my app before I got inside. I can’t say this enough: Trinis took such gentle care of me!

5. Creating the Life I want is a Luxury

I am grateful that I spent lockdown in my own place, driving my own car and covered by own health insurance. Creating the life I want is such a luxury. We live in a world where girls are sex trafficked into forced marriages, women are incarcerated for having miscarriages, and child “marriage” is legal in most parts of the world—including the US! In 46 states, it is legal to “marry” an underage girl. This is why I couldn’t turn to the law for protection while I was fighting off forced marriage at 17. Girls in forced marriages experience higher levels of sexual and domestic violence. We are fighting against religions that oppress, violate and dehumanize girls and women worldwide. In some countries, women are imprisoned for removing their hijab. The rights of young girls and women remain in peril under institutionalized religious oppression. I am in this for the long haul!

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I'm a feminist blogger who writes about solo female travel, politics, fashion and the Black experience abroad.

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