About Alyssa Writes

Alyssa writes, travel blogger, black travel blogger, travel inspiration, alyssa james, freelance writer

Hey, I’m Alyssa!

I started this blog in 2011, just after deciding that I would skip out on my meticulously planned future to teach English in the French Caribbean. I remember feeling so afraid that people would judge me for not doing what was expected of someone with the opportunities I had. I was supposed to graduate, get a good job, buy a house… You know — adulting.

On top of that, I had this ridiculous idea ‘we’ (read: black folk) don’t travel.  It just wasn’t something ‘we’ did. Don’t get me wrong, my mom took us on plenty of vacations: Disney World, New York City, the Motherland Jamaica. We did tourism. But long-term travel and backpacking? Nah… We may be Travel Noire-ing it up now, but the most of the “travellers”, backpackers, and travel writers (because what the heck was a travel blogger?) did not look like me.

I lived and worked in Martinique for two years. I lived in London for two years, working at an agency and eventually quitting to work for myself as a freelance writer. Today, I’m back in Toronto having enrolled in a Master’s program in social anthropology and boy do I love using my brain again!

heathrow airport, black travel blogger, alyssa writes, expat in london
My final hours in London, UK

What This Blog is About

In a general sense, it’s about living and travelling abroad. Specifically, this blog is about living authentically and inspiring people to chase their dreams. After I read The Alchemist, I realized that if I continued doing things because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be doing, I would never be happy. I decided to stop living by other people’s definition of success. I decided that I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me (thank you, Zadie Smith!).

That’s why I’ll never say you should travel a certain way to be a ‘real’ traveller. I’ll never say you have to quit your job to travel or write. I know that I have specific privileges that have allowed me to live and work abroad for the last five years.  So I’m just here to share my stories, my successes and failures, and my (quite blunt) advice based on my own experience, in the hopes that I can encourage someone out there to follow their dreams — whatever those may be.

Quick Facts About Alyssa

picasso photography, bucerius kunst forum, hamburg, alyssa writes, about alyssa, black travel blogger, fenster zur welt
Channelling Picasso at the Bucerius Kunst Forum in Hamburg, Germany

Name: Alyssa A.L. James

Current Location: 14.6415° N, 61.0242° W

Study: Honours BSc. Psychology & Equity Studies, University of Toronto; M.A. Social Anthropology, York University

Job: Freelance Writer & Blogger

Languages: English (native), French (fluent), Spanish (suspect), German (suspect)

Favourite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy

Favourite Book: The Alchemist

Random Facts: I’ve had at least 24 paid jobs. 25 now! Like 27? || I have five tattoos. None are travel-related.

Favourite Quote

People need to see that, far from being an obstacle, the world’s diversity of languages, religions and traditions is a great treasure, affording us precious opportunities to recognize ourselves in others.”
– Youssou N’Dour

New here? You might enjoy a look through the major themes and best posts on my blog.


The map in the background of my new logo is courtesy of Nicolas Raymond via Flickr– CC Licensed for reproduction with modification on 6 July 2016.