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I Manifested My First Press Trip, Here's How It Went

Written on one of the lists that I use to envision my future is a thing I hadn't quite figured out how to do: Get invited on a press trip.

A month ago, I got an email from a business partner that happened to be one of the Black Brazilians that welcomed me to Brazil during my first visit in 2019. The message included an invitation to join an all-expenses paid trip hosted by a consortium of local and national tourism ministries crafted with the mission that travel influencers, buyers, and agencies like mine learn about 11 new itineraries focused on Black culture here in Salvador.

While it may not count as getting "flown out" since I live just an Uber ride away, I did get to spend a week in one of the city's fanciest hotels, and eat at great Black owned restaurants on someone else's dime!

All the fanfare that we experienced while touring made me reflect on how warmly we were received, and how innately Brazilian it is to receive others so well. It reminds me of my college years and the Southern hospitality I experienced in New Orleans. A particular Portuguese word came to mind that adequately conveys all the ways Brazilians show affection and goodness to others.

Receiving a traditional ribbon bracelet called a 'fita' before entering a presentation at Afoxé Filhos de Congo, a local Black parading group.

You know that feeling you get when someone welcomes you into their home with excitement and care?

When they open their arms for a big embrace as they gently usher you past the front door?

When they pull out the good china for lunch and offer you the last piece of chicken?

The Portuguese word for that is 'afeto'.

It is the ways in which folks receive you and show affection through words, Brazilian air-kisses on each cheek, consensual touch, savory foods, lively music, and strong libations.

During the press trip, we visited communities, museums, shops, religious spaces, and historical sites; all with the mission of experiencing what Salvador has to offer in Afro-tourism, and witnessing the presence of African culture in Brazil.

I am excited to live in this city at a moment when Afro-tourism is supported by local public policy and real investment. The goal is to ensure that those to whom Afro-Brazilian culture belongs, actually benefit from local tourism.

We ate, we danced, we drank. We communed over the beauty of Salvador. Brazil's first capital, and the capital of its African heritage: a city full of magic, mystery, joy, Blackness, and afeto.

And while I can cross my first press trip off my list, am definitely down for another, preferably one that requires flying!


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