About Bliss

author photoI’m the author most recently of One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life–A Story of Race and Family Secrets, a memoir about discovering at 24 years old, after being raised as white in a Waspy part of Connecticut, that my father was born black, a Creole from New Orleans.  One Drop chronicles my quest to discover the history I never knew and the family members I never met, and understand a good bit about the history of racial identification in the United States along the way.  One Drop was a finalist for numerous awards, the winner of the Louisiana Humanist Book of the Year award and named the best book of the year by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune and the best about racial passing by the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival.   I also wrote a book of short stories, called My Father, Dancing, which was a New York Times Notable book.  My stories and essays have been anthologized in Best American Stories, the Art of the Essay, the Pushcart Prize anthology and elsewhere.  I have written for The New Yorker.com, the New York Times, Elle, “O”, More, Parents, and elsewhere.  Four-in-Transit chronicles the ten-month journey of my husband, the professor Nico Israel, and our two kids through Africa and Asia.  You can read more about me at http://www.blissbroyard.net.


  1. Hi

    How did you save the money for the trip? We (my wife and 2 children) are planning a 3 month trip to india, middle east and africa.


    1. Hey Steve: I’m working on a post about this since it’s not a simple answer. But the quick version is we rented out our home and that provides the bulk of our traveling budget. I think a good first step is to assess how much money you will need. We found flights to and within Africa to be quite expensive, so perhaps pick a few countries that you can travel between overland. Many people do East Africa that way. Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia. and Malawi. India can be very affordable — we spent about $100 a day for everything including internal travel for a family of four. But you have to start thinking (and budgeting) like a traveler versus someone on vacation, so looking for the most affordable accommodations, taking buses, eating street food, versus nice hotels and restaurant meals, hot air balloon rides. Of course, you can splurge for big treats, but that might mean traveling for a shorter time or to less places (since visa fees add a big expense too). There’s a lot of great blogs out there with detailed trip budgets according to country that can help with planning. Google is your friend! And lots of blogs with tips on saving too, starting with eating all meals at home, canceling cable and cutting down on phone plan, taking public transportation, etc., not taking a vacation. Many people will spent 3k on a one week vacation in the Caribbean — that is a month in India. I know people who spent a year accumulating frequent flier miles with credit card offers and used them for the Rt tickets to and from Thailand for five people. Check out thepointsguy.com for more information. Good luck. Sounds like a great trip.


  2. Hi Bliss, I sent you an anecdote about your father that I found remarkable; perhaps for you, less so. I sent it through Messages on Facebook but you would have to check your OTHER inbox. If you’re not able to find it–assuming you’re the least bit interested–let me know the best way to communicate that.


  3. My mother’s sister married Lionel Joseph Sissac. I am sure you are related to mu uncle “JOE”.
    Did your father have siblings Pauline, Virginia, Pierre ?


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