MEET THE EXPLORER is a series where stories are shared by people who come from the Caribbean and have decided to explore beyond the Caribbean lines and find themselves in other parts of the world. Or stories from the ones that explored for themselves within the lines of the Caribbean and established themselves at the place where they found peace and adventure for themselves.
Sharing the latest ‘Meet the Explorer’ story – meet ULyssa Lopes. Born and raised on Curaçao, she now calls The Netherlands home. No stranger to travel, Ulyssa has been traveling with her family since she was young. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for her to travel during the tense COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
I found out about her pandemic adventure, while traveling with her to Asia. And even though traveling the first time together, we had a great time. ULyssa is fantastic company—she keeps things interesting, fun, and effortlessly brings laughter to any journey. So, let’s look how she embark on the pandemic journey.
1. What inspired you to embark on a solo journey during the pandemic, and what was your most memorable experience?
Well, I had the travel bug. Everyone I asked to join me either couldn’t go or was afraid to travel during a pandemic.
My most memorable experience was going to Santorini. Because this was a place that was on my to-go list for a while.
2. Where did you go?
I went on two solo trips. One to Gran Canaria and one to Crete.
I love traveling, cooking and trying out new cuisines, and I’m movie nerd.-Ulyssa.
3. Were there any unique challenges you faced as a woman of color traveling alone during this time? And if so, how did you overcome them?
There were no challenges; I did my research on safe countries to go to as a black woman solo traveler. So, I only had a positive experience at both destinations.
4. The pandemic brought unexpected changes to travel. Can you tell us how these changes influenced your trip and if there were any surprising benefits?
It was nerve-wracking! I checked all the travel regulations and requirements. As well as what the rules were in the countries I was traveling to.
The benefits were that it wasn’t too busy at the airport or at the tourist spots.
5. For other women of color considering solo travel, what would be your key piece of advice based on your personal experience?
I would say to do your research before you go. Check YouTube or Google for tips from other black travelers.
Once you reach your destination, just follow the usual solo travel tips. For example, telling your taxi driver that you’re meeting up with some friends. Or not telling people that you’re here by yourself.
I also stayed in either an all-inclusive resort or a hotel with restaurants and shops near the hotel. So you don’t have to take a taxi at night to get dinner.
Also, get yourself a tripod with a remote so you can take cute pictures of yourself.