Travel is viewed as a luxury for a wide number of people. It’s a commonly held assumption that only people with access to resources along with a flexible work schedule have the opportunity to see the world.
Additionally, international travel in the western world has usually been associated with white college graduates, which is quite problematic, because travelers are usually the ambassadors of their home country. For example, if people in foreign lands only meet white American travelers, they will assume that Americans as a whole are white. This prevents a true concept of cross-cultural understanding and relationship building. The great news is that times are changing. Here are five Black women in particular who are making international exploration a more viable reality, despite race and socioeconomic status.
1. Ama Marfo
Ama Marfo is the co-founder and CEO of Airfordable, an online platform that enables customers to book flights by using payment plans, enabling people of a variety of economic means to take their dream vacation. Airfordable allows you to book flights at just a fraction of the cost and follow up with a payment plan until the time of your flight. According to Marfo,
“Two thirds of millennials do not own a credit card, over 100 million worldwide are living paycheck to paycheck and last year alone, 33% of Americans couldn’t afford to buy a plane ticket all up front. So the person that I am who always turns challenges into opportunities figured if you could pay for high price items like electronics and furniture on layaway, why can’t you do that for expensive flights?”
Airfordable is making the dream vacation accessible to more people by helping to alleviate economic barriers. Check out their site for more details.
2. Evita Robinson
Evita Robinson is the creator of Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online travel community that caters to miliennials of color who want to explore the world without being the only non-white person in their travel group. The Travel Tribe is considered to be a wanderlust family that plans vacations together, sharing travel tips, and widening the scope of who gets to experience international exploration. Robinson’s endeavor is breaking barriers with 80 percent of the travel community being female and 85 percent being African-American. Some travel destinations that Evita has taken her tribe include: Indonesia, Brazil, Samoa, South Africa and Japan. Visit her website for more information.
3. Zim Ugochukwu
Zim Ugochukwu is the CEO of Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform for POC travelers that currently has 65,000 Instagram followers. Travel Noire is designed for what Zim calls, “the unconventional traveler,” and her company has one goal in mind: “to make international travel more inclusive and representative for explorers of color, in turn, inspiring them to frequently explore new destinations.” Besides providing an online digital community for travelers of color, her company also provides high-end travel excursions around the globe. Check out more at Travel Noire’s homepage.
4. Karissa Denea Johnson
Karissa Denea Johnson’s life changed after a devastating stroke. She took this crisis and turned it into an opportunity to see the world and live abroad. Johnson spent about three years teaching in China and Saudi Arabia, but she didn’t stop there; she made it her mission to visit all seven continents by her 30th birthday. She documented and shared her adventure through her blog Seven by 30 in order to inspire other women to take the big leap into the world of adventure. She took her journalistic inclinations one step further and released an ebook last year documenting her journey to Antarctica: 7 Steps to the 7th Continent. Learn more about her story here.
5. Oneika the Traveler
Oneika the Traveler is a New York-based travel blogger who started her journey by studying abroad and continued as an international English teacher. She was one of the first Black women to gain traction as a travel blogger. According to her website, her blog is:
“Dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering both women and people of color to see the world. She seeks to demystify travel for oft-marginalized groups in a disarming manner — often using her own experiences as a black female who travels extensively around the world to do so.”
Some of the places her writing has been featured in include: the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and BBC. Her passion for intercultural understanding and learning new languages propels her writing and her travels. Visit her website here.