Thursday, November 1, 2012

Joys and Frustrations of Travel Networking

What I call travel networking is when you are getting advice and referrals from people you come in contact with, either in person or on line, regarding a place you are going to visit. This contact could be from someone who is from that country or has visited that country. For example, before my first trip to Ecuador, I went to an Afro-Ecuadorian site on Facebook, explaining why I wanted to visit a certain black community there. Alexandra, an Afro-Ecuadorian woman living in Germany responded to my post and befriended me. She then introduced me to her mother Gloria who lives in Ecuador's capital--Quito. This turned out to be a very warm contact, which made a big difference in my trip. Gloria not only showed me around and give me advice, but introduced me to her family. To this day, Gloria and Alexandra are still my friends, and to this day, I express my gratitude in more ways than one.

Besides Facebook, I belong to three travel networks. They are, Facebook's Nomadness Travel Tribe, and of course my blog. Every so often, people read my blog about the places I've traveled or have established warm contacts with local citizens. They contact me for advice about the country of interest. After referring them to my contacts in those respective countries, some express their gratitude through friendship, and others move on seeming to forget that I was of any help to them, and I never hear from them again. The latter is just plain self-centered and selfish.

I love it when people get back to me and tell me how things went. I often follow-up with the local citizen of the country to get their input on the individual I referred. This is not only because my reputation is on the line, but because I do care about the people I connect and strongly believe that anyone who is involved in any travel network should have the common decency to at least say “thank you” and share their experience.


  1. Hi! I am a 30 yr old non traditional student attending Winston Salem State University, although i live in charlotte NC. Since a young age i have always been fascinated with not quite sure why. Even as a teenager i would try to immerse myself in the language by watching univision.. Well fast forward and i now have a renewed sense of urgency to fluently speak spanish. I am so glad that i stulmbled onto your website! As s black american female, it was so refreshing to see that there was someone else out here like myself that just has a strong desire for the language, and the people. Im taking some of your tips and have set up a seperate facebook account so i can talk with locals in their language. Im sorry that some are so rude to not even have the courtesy to say thank you. I had to laugh when you talk about people asking you "are there black people in (fill in the blank)...its so funny its like if more of us traveled we wouldnt have to ask such trife questions. Well i just wanted to drop you this line to let you know that what your doing has inspired me and many others..and its good to see a strong black man defying many stereotypes. If your ever in the winston-salem, greensboro, or charlotte area of NC, Let me know! Thanks,

  2. It gets worse than that Bill, I've heard stories of people filming poor Black groups in Latin America for their documentaries, research, etc... where they promise the groups some compensation and footage on the back-end for using their time and invading their lives. Not only do most of these groups never get paid, they rarely get to see the video production.

    1. Andy, I'm not surprised. Three journalists interviewed me for their articles, and none of them kept their promises to at least let me get a copy of the publication; wouldn't even return my phone calls.


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