A list of books by POC travel writers you might enjoy:
I Wonder as I Wander by Langston Hughes
This is a classic in which Hughes offers a close glimpse into his fascinating life. He traveled and lived all over the world, and wrote about his many adventures in far-flung places like Cuba and Japan. What’s particularly fascinating about Hughes is that he traveled during the 1930s, when being a wanderer of African ancestry could often prove perilous.
Video Nights in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer
Pico Iyer is well-know for penning tales about fascinating places, but we would argue that Video Nights in Kathmandu is one of his best pieces of travel writing. In this book, Iyer documents his travels through Asia while taking note of the impact of westernization on various countries and cultures, which often has negative consequences.
Hola Morocha! A Black Woman’s Adventures in Buenos Aires by Jennifer Poe
At the young age of twenty-two, Jennifer Poe decided to move to Buenos Aires with not much more than a copy of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, and the number for a local hairstylist. In Hola Morocha! Poe tells of her many adventures as she struggles to adjust to the culture and fit in in a country where she always stands out.
Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun by Faith Adiele
Meeting Faith is much more than a travelogue, it’s a commentary on faith, meditation, and embracing nonviolence in the face of constant racist aggression in the USA. In this great book, Faith Adiele goes from Harvard to transforming into, wait for it, northern Thailand’s first Black Buddhist nun.
An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie
An African in Greenland is a book made for those who dream of big adventures. As a teen in Togo, Kpomassie picks up a book on Greenland and decides to one day travel there. It took him 8 years to achieve his goal, but Kpomassie ended up spending a long period of time in the country in the 1960s, learning and living with the local Inuits. His book takes a look at the good and bad of Greenland, and lays it bare for the reader in a unique way.
US(a.) stands out from other travel books not only because it’s comprised of poetry, but also because it doesn’t necessarily involve travel to far-flung places. Many expats can understand the feeling of strangeness that accompanies you when you return to your home country, and Williams tackles this in his book. After four years abroad, he returned the United States to write about what it means to be American, as well as culture, race, and American disconnect.
Tell us which are your favorite travel books, and why!