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8 Travel-Themed Books by Black Authors to Inspire Your Next Trip

8 Travel-Themed Books by Black Authors to Inspire Your Next Trip

Are you looking for travel inspiration? While Instagram and Pinterest are the go-to sources to help plan your next destination, books about other lands may be a better source for igniting your wanderlust. Books by Black authors offer a way to see and experience the world that can’t be displayed through a screen. Through travel stories and memoirs, you can learn about cultures, places, and people that aren’t a part of the mainstream culture.

If you’re looking to crack open a travel book, here are eight books by Black authors that tell of unique and authentic travel experiences. Every page will allow you to see the world through a new perspective. 

  1. Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood

If you yearn to go to Paris, you’re not alone. Many influential Black artists, such as Langston Hughes and Josephine Baker, were drawn by the allure of one of the most romantic cities in the world. Because of their journeys, Shay Youngblood’s main character goes to Paris to seek the same inspiration found by other Black performers.

Black Girl in Paris is a novel based on a young girl’s move to a foreign city where she takes on various roles, such as a teacher, au pair, poet’s helper, and even thief. It is a story of one girl’s journey to discover her true self, which makes the story relatable for anyone looking to find themselves and is not afraid to take risks on the journey of self-discovery.

2. Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Here Comes the Sun is an award-winning book recognized by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, and other literary establishments as one of the best books of 2016.

The story takes place in a place known for its turquoise water and white sand beaches: Montego Bay, Jamaica. With the backdrop of paradise, the book tells heartfelt stories that occur beyond the tourism spaces. Nicole Dennis-Benn writes about two sisters working on the island and their fight for independence and freedom. Amongst their struggle for survival, Dennis-Benn weaves in a love story of one woman to another.

3. From Scratch by Tembi Locke

If you want a read about a love story that blossomed within the vibrant streets of Florence, Italy, then From Scratch is the perfect book. It tells the story of an African American woman, Tembi Locke, who meets and falls in love with an Italian man Saro. As their relationship grows and their bond becomes more robust, they face the challenge of their love not being accepted by Saro’s family. Nonetheless, the couple moves to Los Angeles to start a new life. The book is a classic tale of true love against the hardships of life. The story interweaves many important themes, such as the power of food, connection, and family.

4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There has often been a divide between African Americans born in the United States and Africans from the homeland. Although there is a connected heritage between the two ethnic groups, there are many cultural differences. In Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie boldly explores these themes through the book’s characters. Two lovers originally from Nigeria become separated and end up on opposite sides of the world: Ifemelu lands in the United States, and Obinze gets stuck in London. Readers experience the journeys of these two characters living in entirely new cultures. Although they spent years apart, they are reunited in Nigeria fifteen years later. 

5. Catch Me If You Can by Jessica Nabongo

Did you know that author Jessica Nabongo is the first African American woman to travel to all 195 countries? As you can imagine, she has stories to tell. She has shared some of her most beautiful and adventurous journeys in her book, Catch Me If You Can. What makes this book fascinating and irresistible is the unique and authentic stories Nabongo tells. Unlike some popular travel books and guides filled with things to do while traveling, Nabongo’s book is a memoir of how she immersed herself in new cultures. It’s a story of taking risks and bold ly going in a direction few people have gone. If you need inspiration on where to travel, this book will make you want to see and experience the world. 

6. All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou

While the esteemed writer and poet Maya Angelou lived a vibrant life in the United States, she also lived in Ghana. In her book All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes,  Angelou shares part of her life story of moving to Africa with her son. A continuation of her books I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name, this travel book explores the complexities of being in a country where her skin color doesn’t matter, but her place of origin does. 

7. Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain by Lori L. Tharps

Within the pages of Kinky Gazpacho, readers are taken on a journey of love and self-discovery. Author Lori Tharps tells her story of finding herself in a new country while struggling with the language, enduring racist comments, and falling in love. While the story focuses on Tharp’s life, readers are also introduced to the history and culture of Spain. Those that have read the book relate to the stories of joys and the struggles of fitting in. The book also includes anecdotes about being a Black woman. 

8. Go Girl by Elaine Lee 

Black women carry many titles, one of them being “world travelers.” Every time Black women cross the border into an unfamiliar land, they cultivate new stories. Within the pages of Go Girl, readers can experience some of the journeys of influential Black women such as Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, and many more. 

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