Traveling solo as a black woman, especially to places without many black people, can come with risks. I saw this first-hand when I travelled to the medieval city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
As I sat at the entrance to the Old Town, a 50-something year old man approached me out of nowhere. He was dressed in khaki shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and dark sunglasses.
“Hey, what’s your name?” he asked.
“Um, Sheila,” I lied. Well, Sheila’s actually my middle name.
“I was looking at you and was wondering… Are you by yourself?”
“No, I’m waiting for some friends,” I lied.
“Oh, okay,” he continued in broken English, “While you wait I can take you out to lunch, get to know you a little better. I like dark-skinned girls. Very beautiful.”
“No, thank you,” I retorted, “I’m not interested.”
“Are you sure? I’ll take you to a fine restaurant. The best Croatian food. You’ll like it.” he insisted.
That man followed me around the city for two days, popping up in different locations. He even showed up next to my hostel! Luckily, he didn’t harm me, but the incident shook me up. After that, I developed a system to stay safe while traveling solo.
Read her tips for staying safe while solo traveling at melanintravel.com.