I can bet you a million dollars that most female travelers continuously get slapped with ‘‘who sponsors your travels.”
Okay. Maybe not a million dollars. If I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t be blogging about budget travelling. However, you get my point. The assumption has always been that women cannot travel without the financial help of a man.
My personal experience has always been people assuming that I am dating a wealthy white man. These are just but a few of the conversations I’ve recently had with people that triggered this post.
A while back when I was in a relationship, one of my male friends said:
‘‘Wow. oh you have a boyfriend finally. He’s white. Isn’t he?
I sarcastically affirmed that he’s Italian.
And what do you know? The black king believed me and added ” you always looked like you’d end up with a white dude. ”
My ex is black, not that race matters.
Another time I was telling a female traveller that I would be travelling to five West African countries. The conversation went like this..
‘ oh, excellent are you going alone?
”’ No. I will be travelling with my boyfriend.”
”Is he white?”
Notice the above statements all suggest that there has to be a white man behind my passion for traveling.
If you are wondering where the white man statements came from. Here’s the thing.
If you live in Kenya, especially the Kenyan coast, its common to see slender melanated girls in the company of white men, sometimes the white men are old. I sort of understand where these comments are coming from because it’s normal to see skinny chics with white men.
I’m relatively tall (5’7), slender and I have that melanin thing going on. Also unfortunately or fortunately I’ve been told more than enough times I have the body type that white men seem to prefer.
Special shout out to the thick Melanin sister I met at privee that told me ‘‘ If I had your body type, I wouldn’t waste time dating an African.”
Great, now I have not only have to deal with who sponsors your trip, but deal with which white man sponsors my trips.
These are only two examples. At some point someone sent me an email after I blogged about my solo trip to tell me “I find it hard to believe that you travelled alone because who took all your photos .’ another one commented on my facebook picture saying ” mama protect us from those that lie that their ”uncles” pay for their trips. We see them.”
The uncle comment mind you came from someone I know very well.
Another thing that fuels the assumption that there’s a man behind the scenes is the good old question of who is taking the pictures. If you didn’t know, many solo travellers have perfected the art of taking pictures on their own. Thus this article by wanderlust calls, (A woman that travelled to 25 countries by the age of 25) shows how we take bomb pics on our solo trips. It’s not rocket science.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not playing judgy Judy here because there’s nothing wrong with having someone pay for your trips, but there’s something wrong with people assuming that women can’t pay for their trips.
It’s become so rampant nowadays that I stopped responding to people that ask me who’s taking me on all these trips. I have always blogged about budget travelling and those who read my blog posts know how I afford to travel. I am privileged to have minimal responsibilities and a job that allows me to travel using my leave days.
Recently, a travel influencer, Dear Alyne was accused of dating her boyfriend, another travel influencer, Nas Daily because of his money, travels and fame. What’s interesting is that Alyne happens to be three times richer than Nas. The accusations and malice directed at Alyne became too much that Nas had to make a video explaining that Alyne wasn’t there for the money and the trips. Watch the video here.
We are living in the age of sponsors and blessers. Note the term sponsor doesn’t mean working with brands as in influencer. It mostly denotes a wealthy man (usually old) that pays for a woman’s needs in exchange for sexual favours. In Kenya, many travellers that work so hard to afford to travel get accused of having sponsors that pay for their travels.
Again, this is not me being judgy because whoever a full grown human being chooses to be with is their prerogative and none of my business. It becomes my business when I support myself financially, but someone assumes I’m using a ‘shortcut.’
Why is it when a man is travelling the society presumes he’s rich but when it’s a woman there has to be a man funding her trips? Why is it so hard for us to accept that a woman can work and use her own money to travel? Why does a woman’s travel have to be met with question marks.
Read this article by a Kenyan Nomad talking about the sacrifices most of us have made to make travel a priority.
The assumption is that some African women that love travelling most likely date white men is just wrong. My passions do not determine the kind of man I date. Also, I follow so many Kenyan young men that love travelling either alone or with their girlfriends. See why this assumption is wrong?
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with dating a man despite their race that affords to pay your trips, but it’s wrong to assume all women have people funding their trips.
It would be nice to have my trips paid. Dear future partner wherever you are.
So for those that have been asking, I don’t have a white man that funds my travels. However, if you ever have one for me that is respectful, tall, generous, rich, kind, cute, loyal, non- homophobe and that does not believe in patriarchy, let me know.
So please stop asking me or assuming a white man sponsors my trips. Also, saying I have a body type that a white man likes is not a compliment. Stop that shit too.