Autobiographical Novel Details the International Travels of a Young Woman of Color
Debut author and traveler Salihah Simone announces the release of her new novel entitled “Transient: A Colored Girl’s Travels.”
Salihah Simone has spent the better part of the last fifteen years living in South America, Africa and the Middle East with brief stints in Europe and Southeast Asia. In “Transient: A Colored Girl’s Travels” she invites readers to experience the adventure, romance, and self discovery of a brown woman in her twenties on the road. Honest from the beginning, Simone explains that her story is not one to be used as a guide. However, she hopes her anecdotes will encourage more women of color to participate in international experiences that have historically been the purview of white women.
Simone started traveling the world with her parents as an infant and by the time she was entering university at seventeen years old, she had already lived as an exchange student in West Africa. So, when a friend called her on a muggy day after college graduation she did not think twice about leaving America for an impulsive trip to Europe.
Traveling through six countries in Europe and North Africa on a $700 budget, Simone revels in the distraction men, dancing, and drinking provide from the life awaiting her in America. After seven months away, a series of impetuous decisions land her back in America without a plan. Calling upon her language skills and art training, Simone rallies finding flexible employment that will allow her to continue to travel.
Slightly wiser, she returns to Europe, West Africa and South America to reestablish friendships and to indulge in a little “amor de praia” (vacation romance). From shooting a documentary in Cape Verde with a deported drug dealer to sipping grappa in Rome with her Italian lover, Simone tells readers to leave the guidebook behind and experience life with the locals. Her traveling companions, other colored polyglots and a couple of quick-witted gays, help to place the story outside the typical female travel memoir.
Simone’s outrageous antics and colorful commentary will often have the reader chuckling aloud in understanding. Throughout the book, she expresses an acute appreciation of the opportunities her American passport and international upbringing afford her.
"Transient” is a unique travel memoir and autobiographical novel because few women of color venture off the beaten path and even fewer write about it. Although Simone’s target audience is young women, the adventures and humor may be enjoyed by teens and retirees alike.
“Transient: A Colored Girl’s Travels” is available in e-book and trade paperback.
Give a synopsis of the book?
“Transient: A Colored Girl’s Travels” is about the adventures, flings, and self discovery that defined my twenties. The book begins with a friend calling to ask me if I want to go to Europe the day after college graduation. Together we travel through six countries in Europe and North Africa on a $700 budget. I enjoy the distraction of men, dancing, and drinking provide from the life awaiting me in America. After seven months away, a series of impetuous decisions I wind up back in America without a plan. Eventually, I use my language skills and art training to find flexible employment that will allow me to continue to travel. Slightly wiser, I return to Europe, West Africa and South America to reestablish old friendships and to indulge in a little amor de praia (vacation romance). From shooting a documentary in Cape Verde with a deported drug dealer to sipping grappa in Rome with my Italian lover, I ask my readers to leave their guidebooks behind as they follow me and my colorful group traveling companions across three continents.
Tell me a little about yourself?
Growing up, I travelled in the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Africa with my parents. As freshman in high school they shipped me off to Cote d'Ivoire as an exchange student to be sure that I could understand how fortunate I was to have been born middle class in America. I studied fine art specifically photography and spent a good portion of my college career doing independent studies in foreign countries. Having been exposed to many cultures at home and abroad it was only natural that I would not be happy sitting behind a desk and living a “normal” life.
Today, I work internationally as a communications consultant for non-governmental organizations and grass-roots campaigns concerned with women’s health and girls’ education. I have lived and worked in over twenty-five countries throughout the developing world.
What was your true inspiration for writing your book?
I was tired of reading travel memoirs by Caucasian women who traveled into the exotic African Diaspora. Of course, there are shared experiences due to our common gender but there are unique experiences that can only happen when you speak and look like the local population. Also, many people encouraged me to write about my adventures overseas specifically older women who thought that my story might encourage other bright young women of color to see the world beyond the States and Jamaica.
Is there a message you want to give your reader after they've read the book and what is the message?
My message is simple—there is a great big world out there and more women of color need to take the time to explore it.