TM Travel Blog: Danielle

Danielle Noel is a volunteer at Traveling Mercy and currently works as the Deputy Communications Director at Emerge America.


Tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you and why do you like to travel?

I currently live in Washington, D.C. and work in politics to help get Democratic women to run for office across the country. I’m originally from the New York/New Jersey area and I came to D.C. seven years ago to attend college at The George Washington University. I think that my love of travel stems from my appreciation for different cultures. Both of my parents were born and raised in the Caribbean (my mother in Trinidad and Tobago and my father in Grenada) and I have always been fascinated with my heritage. Their countries were previously colonized and the mix of people and cultures that collided on their respective islands is such a beautiful thing. I grew up exposed to African, French, Asian, Indian, and Latin cultures, all in a single household.

Where is was the last place you traveled?

The last international place I traveled to was Paris, France. During my junior year of college at GW, I was enrolled in a one -week study abroad program with my professor, who happened to be President Richard Nixon’s former speechwriter.

How many countries have you been to?

In total, I think that I have been to three or four. Certainly not as many as I would like, but I’m working on it!

Where do you want to visit that you haven’t been to?

I would love to go to London! My family has several connections to England and both of my parents have been several times. I would love to go to the countryside and stay in a cozy little cottage, you know, like Kate Winslet in “The Holiday.” I am also very interested in going to Cuba!

Which place/adventure was your favorite?

Paris was definitely my favorite place to visit!

Why would you recommend this place/adventure to a fellow traveler?

It is as romantic as you would expect. My classmates and I sat and drank wine near the Eiffel Tower and watched it glimmer from the grass. We ate pastries almost every day and the hotel where we stayed was both chic and cute. The Louvre was also life-changing and uplifting to experience. And of course, it was where my love of crème brulee first began.

What is your best advice for travel? Do you have any interesting tips/tricks?

Bring comfortable shoes! That was my one regret in Paris and having to walk on cobblestone roads in uncomfortable shoes nearly ruined my trip. I ended up having to call my parents so that I could purchase sneakers. Just goes to show, being unprepared can lead to unexpected costs.  

Favorite activity while traveling?

My favorite activity while traveling is definitely eating. Food is one of the best ways to really absorb a new culture and experience life in a new country as if you were a native. It is also often the most vivid memory I have of a place long after I’ve gone.

Where are you planning to go next?

Most likely London for a family trip. My mother is dying to take me there and tell me all about her experience visiting family during the summer in the late 1970s.

What do you believe most about the power of travel? How does travel benefit you as a member of marginalized community and/or why is travel important for marginalized groups?

Travel just really opens your eyes and your mind. As a person of color, I think it is even more important for black and brown folks to see the world and experience new cultures. The world is so much bigger than we think it is and there are so many ways to connect with people in other places. Traveling gives you time to consider life, reflect on where you’re going, and truly evaluate all the possibilities for your future.  

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