There is so much magic to movement and migration. It is more than social and economic survival or necessity, but equally a celebration of free movement and choice. Migration is a chance to thrive culturally.
I proudly stroll cites, sites and sideways, determined to redefine ‘fláneur’ as more than an act of leisure or ambivalence. To travel is a political statement for me. It means I exist. It means acknowledgement. It means I am here. To pivot from place to space is inspiring, and reveals the importance of understanding yourself, your neighbour and the world.
I am humbled by how often I am embraced, and the acceptance of my presence. To travel as a woman can be precarious and is sometimes met with wonder. Having the pleasure to travel often means I have to confront how I am received by others versus who I believe I am. I am sometimes seen as a novelty and admired for my tenacity as a young woman to travel independently.
Growing up, I have never been denied my ability to move, which I now realise, is a blessing, so it always shocks me when people are surprised by my confidence to travel often and alone in the search of art and culture around the world. I am proud to say I am not shackled by the expectations of what it means to be a woman, and the limitations placed on me by an oppressive society.
I move freely and definitely, to show other women in other spaces that they can do so too. There is a shift in the perception of women and this is mostly aided by the growing number of females who travel with no concern about being limited to where they can go because of their gender.
Travel is beyond this. There’s a power in being able to move and mark your experience in the simplest way by traversing new spaces. Movement is more than physical transition: it is a state of mind. It forces you to contemplate and understand that there are many ways of living and being alive in this world. Each of us exists as one of many possibilities. When you are confronted by this, it is a reminder of the importance of humanity. As I travel, I am aware of who I am, how I am seen as much as who my neighbour is, and how I see them.
Bianca Ama Manu