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Maurice "Moman" Valentine
Home: The Bronx, New York
Job: Web Designer
Longest trip: 3 months through Australia and the South Pacific.
Places visited: Australia/South Pacific (a couple of times too), Western Europe (a couple of times), Canada (many times), the Caribbean, and Scandinavia (a couple of times). Got lots more places to put my feet on, though it will take time.
Favorite country and/or place to visit: My most favorite country on earth is that land of Oz, Australia. I cannot say enough about the place. It was the destination of my first big trip back in 1996, and it was an eye opening experience to the world of backpacking. It also made me realize that there was a world outside the United States, for I was very insular and self absorbed like a lot of my countrymen and women before I took that trip. It also made me realize that there are a lot of good-looking women out in the world as well!
Inspiration for traveling: The inspiration for my traveling began with the transmission of my car croaking. I had to sell the thing and did, after a year. I was so happy to get rid of the damn thing that I took the money and went to Australia for 2 and a half months. I knew only two people down there that I had met in New York, but said "why not?" Bought a ticket and went less than a month later. Best thing I could've done for up until that point I had only traveled while in the military, and while in the service really didn't get to see and meet people in the countries I was training. I was too busy blowing things up and shooting at targets!
Biggest challenge on the road: Keeping within my budget. I usually am pretty good with my budgets now. But back in 1997 I wasn't, and got stuck at a friend's house for two weeks in Surrey, England because I ran out of money (after a three month trip through Europe). I drove her poor mom up the wall, and her and her whole family were happy to see me go. I promised myself to never put myself in a position like that ever again, and never did.
Lessons learned from traveling: Many, many people are curious a plain human trait. What I found unbelievably incredible, is how white people, throughout the world, react to me being a Black American. There is no inbred fear of me when they ask me questions about my homeland. Or no shame in their eyes when they ask about slavery. Or no suspicion when they initially meet me. I found that on my first trip to Oz back in 1996. And it blew my mind. Their curiosity, was genuine and real. And that's what made traveling even more appealing to me.
Biggest sacrifice of the vagabonding lifestyle: A steady, well paying job. I mean, I have friends who are married with kids now. They have a home. Cars. Dogs. The whole kit and kaboodle. When you travel for extended periods of time you most definitely sacrifice your sense of security at home. But, on the other hand, my friends say that they wish they could do the things I have already done... so it goes both ways.
Biggest reward of the vagabonding lifestyle: The biggest reward without a doubt, is the meeting of people and making of friends. I have many friends around the world now. Some have come to New York, and I have taken them up to the Bronx. And yes, they have realized that the infamous borough where I grew up is actually a boring place!! This traveling thang has most definitely made me realize how curious humanity is about itself. How being different is a real trait that should be cherished, not ignored, and how we really are all one people, on one planet.
Advice for travelers: Simple. GO OUT THERE. DON'T BE SCARED. LIVE LARGE.< previous | up | next >