What I discovered traveling the world solo as a black woman

In the wake of devastating loss, a writer finds sisterhood and healing in daring journeys.

PUBLISHED

Sheri Hunter visits the Great Wall of China during a 65-day trip to 32 countries in Africa and Asia.

Sealed in the steel-caged driver’s seat and wearing a royal blue, flame-retardant jumpsuit, I stepped on the gas and whipped the NASCAR race car to 120 miles an hour. Black girl coming through!

I headed toward the frighteningly deep curve ahead on the Chicagoland Speedway, my jaw and knuckles vibrating. I was so out of my comfort zone, my heart was racing as fast as my vehicle.

I had three of my Detroit buddies—Mia, Brenda, and Angenette—to thank for this situation. We met in 2006 at my home church, Christian Tabernacle, in Michigan, forming a prayer group and coordinating new-member and baptism classes. One day Mia cornered us with a wild idea, pamphlets about white-water rafting in her hand. “Let’s do it!” “I’m in!” “What’s white-water rafting exactly?”

We christened ourselves the Dare Divas, and we soon found alter egos doing things we’d never dreamed our fortysomething selves would be doing, like zooming around a NASCAR track, riding a motorcycle, zip-lining in West Virginia, and skydiving.

“Dare Divas Unite!” became our battle cry, our girl code mantra. When fear grips the four of us, we respond with collective encouragement to take the damn dares, scared or not.

It was this sisterhood, this zest for life, that came to my rescue in 2012 when my husband, Mannard, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Our friendship was there for me then; and we are here for each other now, in our current world riddled...

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