Assata Sherrill shares some of her adventurers while traveling. Generally, people travel for pleasure or just to get away from the everyday but, Assata travels to learn about other cultures and she has graciously decided to share with us a small glimspe into her world. If you are captivated by her narrative, there will a book available in 2021 along with pictures. Assata's stories will be published in this magazine, from time to time. It will be your good fortune to check back monthly. AOTCE
Assata Sherrill in Ghana
Artists On The Cutting Edge: Hello Assata, How are you today?
Assata Sherrill: I am well, thank you. I hope you are well and in great spirits this day.
AOTCE: Today we are going to talk about the how and why you began to travel. Firstly, our readers would like to know why you decided to travel and what prompted you to do so?
Assata Sherrill: Having relocated from the industrial midwest Detroit, Michigan to the Coastal Atlantic Islands of Maine, with my last child of four, graduated from high school and headed off to college in North Carolina, and like her siblings before her, I assumed, would not return home. So I decided to sketch out my life dream of travel to Africa, not knowing, I would become entangled in the web of addiction in travel. I didn’t know such an addiction even existed. However, after my first journey overseas, I was addicted, even before I returned home from Nigeria, which was mesmerizing and hypnotic and forever etched into my soul. The addiction of travel, had burrowed unimaginable feelings of my existence. Later, I would arrive home, unable to sit still, unable to sleep, feeling foreign in the country of my birth, I sat in the center of my living room and sobbed uncontrollably. I would later travel to Europe, Asia, back to Africa and the North America Territories (not exactly in that order).
AOTCE: What form did you decide to travel?
Assata Sherrill: My form of travel was flight, however, I also utilized trains as well. Did you use a travel agency, etc or did you just strike out on your own?
No, I did not use a travel agency. I personally made most of my reservations for travel and accommodations, some were made by acquaintances I encountered abroad. The majority of my accommodations, I resided with families or couples who were part of the ‘couchsurfing.org’ (CS) app community. If I were unable to locate available openings in the CS community, I booked hostels or hotels, (which was infrequent). Also, during my travels, I was introduced to family members or acquaintances of families that lived in the area I was headed, and was invited to stay in their homes. Outside of the USA, it is considered a hospitable act-of-kindness to host a traveler, so locating a place to stay was the least of my concerns. In Thailand, the family built a house for my arrival. Thailand is by far, my favorite and most relaxed, country traveled.
AOTCE: Overall was it a good experience?
Assata Sherill: Yes, Yes, and Yes. In hindsight, even my worst travel disasters (and there were many), were monumental lessons, of learning experiences, about the realities of life.
AOTCE: Were your hosts generally good to live and provide you a great experience of their country?
Assata Sherill: Yes, my host were eager to offer me language lessons and directions, explaining how to barter when shopping before paying for any product or service, how to bathe, lessons on how to hitch-hike in rural ‘South Africa’ (in area’s public transportation was not provided). There are always lessons and information to learn when traveling. I was taught a new kind of patience, and kept my ears and eyes open, always ready, for further lessons and instructions.
AOTCE: Would you encourage others to travel and why?
Assata Sherrill: Absolutely, I encourage others to travel with a vengeance lol. To take the leap into an unknown culture and country. Approach with calm patience, curiosity and an open mind.
I love people so much, to see their minds open up, to the spectrum of continuous ideas travel will offer; from family values, cooking, storytelling to artistic designs … this is what travel offers. The thrill of learning while traveling, is mind boggling, which becomyour own private sanctuary of memories during the rest of your existence on earth. Memories of your travels, what you observed and learned (you thought you had forgotten) will crop-up into your mind unexpectedly throughout your life. Your history, designed, by you.
AOTCE: What was your favorite destination? General information for now
Assata Sherill: Asia. Every waking moment was filled with a smile of exotica, and sensory overload. The thrill of it all, at your fingertips, responds to your curiosity and inquiry.
AOTCE: Were your views about life changed because of your travels?
Assata Sherrill: Yes. Not only was my views about life changed, travel changed my lifestyle. Family and friends see me or talk with me, and think they know me, but they don’t. I’m no longer the person they used to know. My conversations with people today has changed drastically, due to the knowledge acquired from my travels. I still love and remember them, however, I feel such a disconnect. I can’t go back in time and be the person people remembered.
Arriving home, unable to sit still, unable to sleep, feeling foreign in the country of my birth, I sat in
the center of my living room and sobbed uncontrollably I sobbed until there were no tears left. Then I just sat there, so grateful not to be interrupted during my breakdown. Home is a country so foreign to me now.
Then I just sat there, so grateful not to be interrupted during my breakdown. Home is a country so foreign to me now. I called up CS friends inquiring about these feelings I was having. I was instructed to talk with folks who have traveled, I did, and it helped.
Countries on my bucket list have been accomplished. But I can’t cross them out, that would be like crossing out love, families, friends, beauty, etc. I have this need to revisit every country I resided in, just to be certain, the love I experienced, was real and still there, waiting for me.