To this day, I still don’t know exactly how/when my bromance with travel started. My parents come from Haiti, and they immigrated to France, looking for a better future. Therefore I was born and raised in Paris, France, a lovely but quite hectic city. As a child in France, we had opportunities to travel in neighboring countries with our classes (e.g. United Kingdom, Italy, Spain), and actually, I think that’s what ignited my passion for travel, and my curiosity for other cultures in general. I loved those getaways with my comrades and my teacher and discovering how people, who were living not that far from Paris, used to eat.

As a kid, during the summer, I went to the US several times; indeed, I have family there: cousins, aunts, uncles. Almost all of them live in New York, so I had the chance to see the Statue of Liberty with my own eyes for the first time at 8. I still remember the culture shock the first time I went there: big cars, big buildings, big roads, big bottles of Coke, ads all over the place in the street, and never-ending ads on TV. I thought, “If I’m shocked by what I observe here in the U.S., a country not that different from France, what is it like to go to Brazil? Japan? South Africa?” I became more curious about other cultures and started reading more.

At 10, I went to Haiti for the first time. This time I was mentally prepared. I knew it would be nothing like where I’ve lived before. – and I was right. But you know what? I loved it. Haiti is a poor country, but I had the chance to live the simple life and to realize how lucky I was to live in France. It also felt so good to meet new members of my family for the first time: cousins, uncles, aunts, and my grandmothers. This trip was definitely an eye-opener.

As I grew up, I still had that passion for foreign cultures, and I still loved talking to people from different background. So after high school, I decided to study English and Spanish at the university. All my classes were in English and Spanish, which proved useful, especially when you love traveling. I’m now trilingual, and speaking multiple languages helps a lot during my travels! You can communicate with a lot more people! I now have a BA degree in modern languages applied to English and Spanish, and a master’s degree in international business strategy.

As I got older, I still had the passion for travel, but at the same time, the independence of an adult. For years, I was saving money, to spend it traveling. At work, I was the go-to guy when it came to travel. People kept coming to me to ask for advice about this city or that country, and I loved it! I was always excited to talk about different places, what to do, and how people behave in that area of the globe.

I probably would have stayed in my comfort zone, my nice 9 to 5, and my vacation every now and then… But the company I was working for decided to lay off employees, they wanted to “streamline” some departments and I had to leave. Before leaving, they gave us a good severance package, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do next: travel around the world for at least one year. Instead of stressing out, I felt like it was now or never. This is also when the idea of a travel blog germinated in my mind. At the time, I already had been to many places: Bahamas, Brazil, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, Malta, Hungary, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and Australia. I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna travel around the world, and I’m gonna document my trip!

So I launched my blog, Been Around The Globe, right before leaving my hometown, Paris. “The blog will be a  good opportunity to showcase my writing skills and to let the world know all the places I’m visiting. It will also be a platform to find freelance gigs, and to give readers travel tips,” that’s what I thought as I left Paris!

I would call myself a budget traveler. I usually sleep in hostels, and I always prefer to take the bus or a train, instead of a flight, even if it’s longer. Hostels are great for meeting people, especially when you travel solo, and I don’t mind spending a few more hours on the road, I have time. I love discovering new cultures and exchanging ideas with the people I met on the road, whether backpackers or the local community. You learn so much. The personal growth is just indescribable. I don’t want to get old, and to be filled with regrets. And right now, with my new lifestyle, I think I took one of the best decisions in my life.

Roobens is a black travel blogger from Paris, France. After working at a comfortable job for a few years, he decided to leave his hometown to travel on his own. His blog focuses on solo travel as a black man.

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