In the RV where her family moved to Galveston, Texas, Kay Apkan had a bad feeling.
After traveling across the country since 2020, Apkans are used to being the only black people in certain places, but this time it was different.
"It was pretty scary," he said, recalling the "amusing sights" he got when Confederate flags flew from nearby vans and golf carts.
Start the day better. Get all the news you need delivered to your inbox every morning.
She was worried about her son Aiden, who likes to ride a bike.
"In a place like this…what if he goes somewhere and someone looks at him and thinks he said or did something and then decides to take matters into his own hands?" Apkan said, dreading the situation with Emmett Thiel.
He knew they had to get out of there and they did, but many black families don't always know what to expect or who to turn to on the journey. So Apkan took matters into his own hands and founded the community.
"I want to see us more": The importance of meeting people like you while traveling
"What part of Africa are you from?" : the experience of tourism in black America is different
A safe space
Known to her hundreds of thousands of social media followers as The Mom Trotter, Apkan founded the Black Kids Do Travel Facebook group and nonprofit to "encourage families to see the world and families of color to come out".
When she and her husband sold their house in 2020 and went on an RV adventure with their son, she found several Facebook groups for people who shared their nomadic lifestyle and love of travel.
"However, whenever I wrote about traveling as a black family… 'Did I get here? or 'How are you?' people will always underestimate my feelings," he said. he declares.
At first, Apkan said he felt gassy. "I finally realized it was because they had never experienced it. They don't know what it's like to travel as a black woman," she said.
More than 70% of black travelers to the United States and Canada identified security as very or very influential when choosing destinations, according to MMGY Global's 2021 research report, The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities, which interviewed more than 2,100 passengers of color. two states
"Travelling with children is tough, but when you add in being a family of color, it's even more important to make sure we're all safe and comfortable as we explore the world," said said Courtney and Justin Orgias, who shared the journey with their nomad like O. The family's Instagram adventure told USA TODAY. They are part of the 31,000 people in the Black Kids Do Travel community.
“Having places like Black Kids Do Travel is important because it allows us to support other families who are like us and therefore have similar thoughts/concerns when traveling,” they said. "We can get important feedback from the scene and share concerns that others might not have."
The Orgias, who have two young children, say the group not only offers travel advice and inspiration, but also helps them research potential destinations, pick other parents' brains and feel more prepared. .
Sun, Sand and Civil Rights: Telling Black History at the Beach and Beyond
“They Lead the Way”: How the Buffalo Soldiers Shaped America's National Parks
"It's grown over the years, and every time I go to a band, I'm always happy to see a family say, 'Hey, this is my first time on a plane. This is my first times I stop to fly here. . … It was the first time I took my children somewhere and I would never have done it without this group, – smiles Apkan.
He realizes that these may seem like small accomplishments for those who travel a lot, but "Black Kids Do Travel has adults who have never left their hometowns or postcodes, so this is a very fresh start and the change is so crazy,” he said. "It's a big problem for us."
"Sometimes you have to see someone else doing something similar to you, 'You know what, I got it, I can do it,'" Apkan added.
His family is living proof of that.
In addition to exploring the country in a motorhome, they try to travel abroad at least once a month. Among his favorite destinations are Brazil, Colombia and Taiwan, he liked them so much that he decided to go there. His son Aiden's favorite country so far is El Salvador.
"I also liked the food and the black sand beach," he said, enjoying the surfing, ziplining and other recreational activities.
"When your parents ask you if you want to go somewhere…always say yes because you're going to have a great time," he advised his peers. "Let other children know that you can learn a lot while traveling, especially more than what you see in books."
His mother encourages him to start small, even if it means attending a cultural event or trying another country's cuisine in his hometown.
"You don't have to be on a plane or on a cruise ship to travel somewhere. Get out of your comfort zone. Get in a car," he said. "Maybe next time you'll take a road trip or maybe just a short flight to another state. You only have a short time to get to where you're comfortable."
Make History: First Black Woman to Visit Every Country Shares Travel Tips and Lessons
This is America: The Dark Joy Challenge
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Come Out: This Mom Uses Endless Travel to Inspire Black Family's Journey