Black Men Traveling Series: Rodney Andrew Goode Travel Creates A Paradigm Shift
I would also offer that once a man is exposed to a positive travel experience, a paradigm shift happens. (hey, there’s a cool hashtag!! #shifthappens)
The Chronicles Abroad team is featuring Rodney Andrew Goode who says travel creates a paradigm shift. He’s the owner of Sankofa Consulting a Health & Life Coaching firm that also offers employment services. Rodney’s also the co-parent of an amazing 17-year-old daughter who is the real love of his life.
What has been your favorite country to visit and why?
I am in love with South Africa. It feels like home. The people are so gracious and welcoming. Everything exudes a strong African culture. And the food is amazing! Even the billboards have beautiful Black people everywhere! Have you ever watched So Africa’s version of Law and Order?
Tell us a little about how your travel journey began?
Interestingly enough, I used to be petrified of flying. I mean petrified! A week from taking to the skies, I would begin not sleeping and experiencing panic attacks. But after really coming to grips with the fact that if I did not get past my anxieties around flying the world; the world would be closed off to me.
The idea that I was living in a world that already had preset restrictions on me and then to have it compounded by my own self-imposed restrictions just proved to be something I could not live with. My life lesson here? On the other side of fear––is your passion. Today, I can’t imagine not traveling. The only anxiety I feel around traveling now is not getting my new passport back in time!!
My first trip was to Hawaii; a gift from my parents. I was in awe of the beauty, of the nature, the ocean, and the food. It was there that I discovered my guilty pleasure; Spam Fried Rice. But the one thing that really ignited my wanderlust was the culture. Hawaiians, despite being a part of the United States, still has a strong sense of cultural identity. Which is something African Americans still grapple with in some way. I love immersing myself in the local culture and cuisine. It makes me feel truly alive.
What has been your experience traveling overseas as a Black man?
I have heard many stories, both bad and good. But my experiences in these places have been amazing. As a man, I believe everywhere I go, I belong and carry myself as such. Now, that certainly does not mean people may not feel a certain way about my presence, it simply means it is invisible to me.
In some places, particularly in Asia, people seem to be fascinated by me. Now it could be my thigh length dreads but in most cases, it probably means I am one of the few black people (if any) they have seen. I am keenly aware of that fact and it’s my duty to represent my people in the best possible light and not be a reflection of the negative images that are often prominent in the media.
Have you ever been subjected to certain stereotypes while traveling?
The most common stereotype I encounter is that I am either a rapper or a sports figure. Now while I am a pretty good singer but I am a super geek with no talent in either of those areas.
Women seem to dominate the travel industry, what do you think holds men back from traveling?
I think this is an interesting question because I don’t know many men who do not travel. Now, I have been on many trips where there were an inordinate amount of women and a handful of men (and frankly, I’ve never had a problem with that). I think most men that do not travel simply because they have a different value system.
They are trying to build their wealth, care for their family, or in some cases attain things that in others eyes measures their value. I would offer, that women travelers tend to value experiences over things while men are often valued by the things they have. I would also offer that once a man is exposed to a positive travel experience, a paradigm shift happens. (hey, there’s a cool hashtag!! #shifthappens)
With today’s social and political climate, how has venturing abroad altered your worldview?
There are many places who welcome us abroad with open arms and frankly, all of us should be considering at some level leaving this country even after all of our valued contributions, we still are not welcomed.
The socio-political climate in the U.S. is a stark contrast to what is going on in the places I have been to these last few years. People look at our current President and no longer think of us as a country fondly. Politically, we have become a punchline.
Nonetheless, I look forward to walking around foreign countries and being approached by strangers who just want to know something about me. Or sometimes they want to know what it’s like living in the U.S. or they simply just want to engage in conversation with someone who is different than themselves. (Just don’t touch my hair!)
Why do you think it’s important for Black men to travel?
It is important for us to travel to see what else is out there beyond the walls (both literally and virtually) that surround this country. There are opportunities for us to live, work, and thrive abroad. I have operated as an expat several times in my life and each time, I’ve come back a changed, enlightened, and a stronger person. Global experience equates to a broader worldview.
It ignites global awareness and a sense of global responsibility. My travels have inspired me to support the digging of wells in Africa, adopting families in Cambodia, and engaging in other humanitarian efforts both at home and abroad. There is an almost spiritual awakening that happens when you allow the world into your life.
After visiting 85 countries, what still leaves you in awe?
I’m a fan of ancient history, architecture, and art. Seeing the contributions first hand of other cultures in any of these arenas excites me. My most recent trip to the temples of Cambodia left me speechless. These massive, intricate structures we built in the 12th Century!! How could you not be in awe!!
What have you learned about other cultures through your travels?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from other cultures is that happiness and wholeness are not always contingent on what we own or possess. There is immeasurable value in who we are and our ability to serve others.
I’ve seen so many people who have far less than we can imagine but their sense of self, self-worth, and connection to the Creator is palpable. They are genuinely happy, now that is something to envy.
What have you learned specifically about yourself after traveling the world as much as you have?
I’ve learned so much…My biggest lesson that fuels me is the need to serve others. We have an obligation to share the best of our selves with others and if you are fortunate enough to be operating within your purpose, there is a social obligation to help others find theirs as well. That’s my mission. I want to help others find the happiness and fullness that I have found.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone, especially men of color and fathers who want to travel?
I’ve often posed the question in my post, “What have you been putting off doing?” to my followers, and the most common answer is travel and the most common answers to “why don’t they?” are “time and money”. My answer to them is to contact me. I would be more than happy to assist them in a step-by-step process for integrating travel into their lives if it is an untapped priority.
If it is a matter of money, assisting them in finding cost-effective ways to explore the globe. I found my life’s passion through traveling. Also, parenthood does not have to be an obstacle to travel. There are so many places that are huge learning opportunities for our children.
I have taken my daughter to many places with me. We’ve done cross-country road trips together, which were huge opportunities for bonding and teaching. Her most recent adventure landed her in Cuba.
Where can our readers find you on social media?
I am on Facebook under Rodney Goode (personal), DatTravelDude on Instagram and professionally (which I am so excited about) beginning in December on Facebook, under Sankofa Consulting. I recently left the corporate world after many years to lead a consulting team that provides Health & Life Coaching services as well as employment services.
I work with clients to help them find their passion to then go from Passion to Purpose to Profit. I’ve learned during my world travels, that when you do what you are passionate about, happiness and personal satisfaction is the key, then money is the by-product, not the focus. It’s life-changing.
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Are you a Black man traveling? We’d love to hear your story. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.