Before I owned my first passport, before I chose a life of seeing the world, before I understood the privilege of traveling, there was my first travel influence: my maternal aunt. A researcher and university professor, she’d travel across Africa, sending me Sankofa bird bracelets, petite dresses made of vibrant fabrics, hand-painted cloth dolls, and other keepsakes that constantly reinforced my young desire to see the world.
There is power in having your first travel inspiration be a black woman.
I could easily see myself in her, unlimited in curiosity, hungry for knowledge, and seeking the wisdom of the African Diaspora. But inspiring me from afar wasn’t enough. Before I was even a teenager, she took me on my first international trip, Ghana, West Africa, delivering the first-hand experience of experiencing a foreign culture and teaching me the connection it had to my own. But also, the journey left a spark inside me to travel again and again throughout college and now as an independent adult.
The women below have ventured to almost every corner of the earth, launching careers based in travel and inspiring numerous black women to just pick up and go. In the world of travel media, it’s not everyday that you witness black women hosting travel shows, international documentary series, or cultural expedition blogs. Thus, these women break the norm and want to inspire you to get your passport, book an international flight, or venture to a new place. They are you, in many ways, ready to deliver the lessons, adventures, and joys of traveling to foreign places.
Andrea and Teri are the founders of Travelista TV, the premiere online travel channel for adventure, culture, cuisine, music, parties, and star-studded events. As MBA graduates of Florida A&M University, the two met as classmates, coordinating their spring break trips to destinations around the world and developing videos of their travel. After receiving positive feedback, they enrolled in night classes on filmmaking, formed partnerships with Uptown Magazine, AOL Black Voices, and Interactive One, and eventually, left their jobs to pursue Travelista TV full-time. Andrea has traveled to over 35 countries, and speaks Italian and French. Teri has traveled to over 45 countries, and speaks Spanish, French, and conversational Italian. Watch past episodes of Travelista TV to see these two travel aficionadas hit everywhere from Mali, West Africa to Croatia.
Evie Robbie is the founder of Nomad·ness, the reality show of one woman, with one perspective, traveling one country at a time. Through these journeys, she explores urban life around the world through art, music, food, local pastimes, and volunteer causes unique to each place she travels. Hands down, Nomad·ness is the travel show for the young traveler, adventurous enough to sleep in a tent at a Berlin hip-hop festival (yes, she did it) or travel in the rain through the ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Watch past episodes of Nomad·ness for some lively inspiration!
Ariana Proehl is the creator, producer, and host of the online talk show Know This!, which features interviews, news, and pop culture commentary with a smart and socially conscious point a view. As a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur, she is a “jill of all trades” with a resume that includes work in non-profit, government, philanthropy, self-help, modeling, and the arts. Currently, she is venturing across the United States on a 16-city tour to expose Know This! viewers to next generation voices doing work with passion and purpose. Her work proves that not every trip has to be outside of the country to gain inspiration. Watch past episodes of Know This! to see what’s going on in your world, right here in the United States.
Dash Harrisis the filmmaker behind “Negro,” a documentary series that chronicles real-life testimonies of the African Diaspora in Latin America. As a Black Latina, she laments that Afro-Latinos have been invisible and often misunderstood. In the series, she explores the history and present attitudes of race, color, self-identification, and social interaction among Latinos from Latinos themselves. Through candid interviews, you’ll see the good, bad, ugly, and absolute beauty of Latinos’ perceptions of their culture. And hopefully, learn something new about this complex racial demographic. Check out Dash’s work at VenusGenus.com. The series’ trailer is coming soon.
Oneika Raymond is the Canadian blogger behind Oneika the Traveller and a language educator. With an intense passion for travel, culture, and language, she’s visited approximately forty countries and taught at international schools in France, Mexico, and China. She’s currently trekking through Central America in route to live in her next destination, London. Oneika is fluent in English and French, but remains a student a Spanish and speaks a few words of German. She offers a “practical” inspiration for living abroad with international education as a career, and posts beautiful photos and compelling descriptions of her travels. Follow Oneika’s journeys here.
Kiratiana Freelon is the author of Kiratiana’s Travel Guide to Black Paris and the blogger behind Kiratiana Travels: Let A Black Girl Show You the World. Prior to graduating, the Harvard alum landed a $20,000 fellowship to travel the world and create a series of travel guides to destinations in the African Diaspora. She set out to countries like Senegal, Guinea-Conakry, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Gambia, which opened her eyes to things you typically don’t see on American TV- houses of strong extended families, gorgeous fabric, and kind people. After four months in Brazil, a year in Paris, working for the Olympics for three years, and numerous other travels, she completed her book and hopes to continue producing “Black” travel guidebooks. Follow her adventures at KiratianaTravels.com.
Tracey Coleman is a storyteller, art director, and travel junkie from South Carolina who landed in New York seven years ago and hasn’t looked back since. The blog Brooklyn Travel Addict chronicles her adventures from Ghana, West Africa to Martha’s Vineyard. She was nominated in the Best Travel Blog category for the Black Weblog Awards, and continues to write with the authentic voice of a newly minted international traveler. Follow her on Brooklyn Travel Addict.
Johnica Reed is a certified jet-setter and go-to girl for global living in a digital world. As a self-proclaimed gadget junkie and early adopter, she was named one of HP’s Tech Tastemakers and works as a cool hunting consultant. From South Africa to Haiti, to China and back, she touts over 200,000 frequent flyer miles each year between clients and creative projects. She also teaches courses for Mediabistro and has been featured in Jetsetter, EBONY, and branded campaigns launched by American Airlines. Currently, Johnica is the VP of Social Media at Buzz Marketing Group. Follow her Tumblr musings at JohnicaReed.com.
Jennifer Poe is the blogger behind Imported Chocolate, your online go-to travel haven. She describes her readers as the college student planning a semester abroad, the girl who just broke up with her commitment-deficient boyfriend, and the employee in a dead-end job that has always fantasized about getting away. In the past, she penned the blog, Hola Morocha: A Black Girl’s Guide to Buenos Aires, which detailed her experience living abroad in Argentina. Currently, she focuses on providing tips for travelers and interviews with women living abroad. Get inspired at Imported Chocolate.
Suhaly Bautista is an environmentalist or “earth warrior” dedicated to advocating for the planet. Recently, she worked with Amigos de las Americas on a volunteer project in Paraguay to empower local youth to express themselves through the arts. She’s currently backpacking through South America, and thus far, has visited Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and more. As she updates her Tumblr with her recent travels, follow her here for beautiful pictures and visual stimulation to pursue your own travel dreams.
Feeling inspired? Which of the ladies above are your favorites? And what’s your new dream destination? Speak on it.