18 Influential People Of Color In The Travel Space To Follow

We can all do more to amplify the voices that deserve to be heard.

By Journy Team

5 June 2020

By now, you've likely seen or heard the phrase: "I understand that I will never understand, but I stand." For us, part of what it means to "stand" is to amplify the voices of people of color. And while this list is in no way comprehensive, it's a step in the right direction for everyone to diversify their feeds.  

This cannot be a "blip" in time. The conversations cannot end once the social media displays of solidarity inevitably do. This cannot be a "trend" to latch onto.

So join us in celebrating these 18 fearless travelers. Join us in listening, in learning, and in unequivocally standing with #BlackLivesMatter not just today, not just this week, or this year. But always.  

1. Jessica Nabongo

Jessica in Detroit, Michigan | @thecatchmeifyoucan

In addition to founding the boutique travel company, Jet Black, Jessica Nabongo became—in October 2019—the first documented black woman to visit every country in the world.

A first generation American, Jessica was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan to Ugandan parents. She came to New York to study English Literature at St. John's, after which she taught English in Japan and received a graduate degree at the London School of Economics. Her career path evolved from there as she founded her blog, The Catch Me If You Can, to document her extensive travels.

2. Gabby Beckford

Gabby in Washington, D.C. | @packslight

Gabby Beckford is a Gen Z travel and lifestyle blogger behind Packs Light. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and more—and even gave a Ted Talk on why more people should practice "delusional confidence."

3. Nathan Fluellen

Nathan in Malibu, California (Surfrider Beach) | @worldwidenate

Nathan Fluellen is the creator and host of World Wide Nate, a webisode series that chronicles his travels to upwards of 50 countries across six continents—from running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain to swimming with jellyfish in Palau. In March 2016, Nathan became one of the first sponsored US tourists to visit Cuba in over 50 years. In addition to covering culture, food, and travel, Nathan's content also has a heavy fitness bent. He trains six days a week in boxing, body weight, and core exercises.

4. Kelle Edwards

Kellee in the Amazon Rainforest | @kelleesetgo

Kellee Edwards is an award-winning travel expert, journalist, and TV host who became the first black woman with a show on the Travel Channel (Mysterious Islands, which explores some of the world's most remote island destinations). As a licensed pilot and advanced open-water scuba diver, her adventures span land, air and sea. She spent her early childhood in Chicago's South Side and was raised in San Bernardino, California. To date, Kelle has explored over 50 countries, including areas of North and West Africa, South and Central America, UAE, Europe, and Asia.

5. Janaye Ingram

Janaye in Cabo san Lucas | @janaye_ingram

Janaye Ingram has built a career advocating for marginalized communities—from serving as the Head of Logistics and a National Organizer with the Women's March on Washington, to working as Executive Director of National Action Network (NAN), a civil rights organization that advocates for change in criminal justice reform, healthcare, education, gender equity, voting rights, and economic development.  She currently works as the Director of National Partnerships for Airbnb.

6. Cheraé Robinson

Cheraé in The Bahamas | @sasyrae

Cheraé Robinson is the founder of Tastemakers Africa, a boutique travel agency that organizes unique tours hosted by artists, creators, and makers throughout Africa and beyond. The idea came to her after a trip to Africa in 2014, in which she realized that most travel companies focusing on African tourism were curating experiences that offered a limited scope of African culture and history.

During COVID-19, Cheraé has been focused on a virtual conference series, The Thread, which aims to connect members of the diaspora to highlight and continue exploring Pan-Africanism. She also just launched a podcast, "It Just Got Real," which explores the lessons, struggles and wins of choosing the unbeaten path of entrepreneurship.

7. Erick Prince

Erick in Colombo, Sri Lanka | @minoritynomad 

Erick Prince is a photographer (his Instagram will keep you scrolling for ages), philanthropist, and world traveler who has made it to 93 countries so far. He's a proponent of "slow" travel and chronicles his adventures on his vlog and blog, Minority Travels.

8. Zim Flores

Zim in Japan | @zimism

Zim Flores is the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Travel Noire, an award-winning boutique travel agency that she sold in 2017. She was born in Mankata, Minnesota to two Nigerian immigrants and has since called New Delhi, Greensboro, Bangalore, San Francisco, Dharamshala, and Chicago home. She hosts a faith-based podcast, The Bloom Podcast.

9. Travis Levius

Travis at Palau de la Música Catalana | @misterlevius

Travis is an Atlanta-based freelance travel journalist whose work has appeared in CNN, National Geographic, Forbes, Telegraph, Condé Nast Traveler, and more. He also hosts a travel writing coaching program with 1-on-1 sessions to help aspiring writers kick-star their career.

10. Evita Robinson

Evita Robinson | @evierobbie

Evita Robinson is the founder of NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, an online social community primarily for travelers of color. NOMADNESS has over 20,000 members and was the first of its kind targeting black and brown millennials in the newly-coined "black travel movement." Building off the success of the community, Evita launched AUDACITY Fest, a festival for black and brown travelers, along with allies.

In 2017, Evita gave a Ted Talk that "explores the historical context of African-American domestic travel in the US during Jim Crow, while bridging the gap to what is now seen as the 'black travel movement.'"

11. Oneika Raymond

Oneika in Ghana | @oneikatraveller

Oneika Raymond is a media personality, journalist, former keynote speaker of the Women in Travel Summit at Women's Travel Fest, and host of Travel Channels's One Bag and You're Out and Big City, Little Budget. She's also the author of the award-winning travel blog, Oneika the Traveller and an on-air travel correspondent for NBC New York and CTV Canada. Having traveled to over 115 countries across six continents, Oneika is fluent in English, French, and Spanish (and currently learning German!).  

12. Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström

Lọlá in Stockholm | @lolaakinmade

Lọlá is a Nigerian-born, United States-educated, Sweden-based photographer and travel writer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Slate, Travel Channel, Lonely Planet, Forbes, Fodor's, AFAR, The New York Times, and more. She has authored several books, including Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well and Due North: A Collection of Travel Observations, Reflections, and Snapshots Across Colors, Cultures, and Continents. She is the recipient of the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year Bill Muster Award.

13. Nate Chambers

Nate in Thailand | @mrvagaabond

Nate Chambers spent his childhood between Jamaica, Queens and his parents' hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. He took his first trip abroad as an adult in 2009 and pretty much never looked back from there. His focus, through the blog Vagabond Experience, is on unconventional and experiential travel around the globe. To date, he has visited 150 cities in 70 countries across six continents.  

14. Annette Richmond

Annette in Bali | @fromannettewithlove

Annette Richmond is the creator of Fat Girls Traveling, an Instagram account-turned-blog designed to foster productive conversation around fatphobia while empowering those who identify as fat or plus-size to shed their shame and stigma.

"Representation matters and fat women deserve to see women in similar bodies following their dreams of travel and fashion fabulousness," writes Annette, on her site. "The Fat Girls Guide is a collaborative effort spotlighting content from some of the most influential voices in plus size travel, fashion and more."

15. Rue Mapp

Rue in Vallejo, California | @ruemapp

Rue Mapp is the Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a national nonprofit network that celebrates and inspires black connections and leadership in nature by helping people take better care of themselves, their communities, and the planet. To date, there are nearly 80 leaders spanning 30 states across the US.

16. Karl Shakur  

Karl in Canouan | @karl_shakur

Karl Shakur is an adventure photographer and visual artist based in Kansas. He specializes in travel, lifestyle, and aerial photography—capturing the beauty of far-flung destinations around the world with his jaw-dropping Instagram feed. He also offers photography tutorials on YouTube and sells custom lightroom presets on his website.

17. Rachel Hill

Rachel in Devil's Pool, Zambia, Victoria Falls | @racheltravels

Rachel Hill is a travel-obsessed digital marketer, international speaker, and author behind the blog, Rachel Travels. After leaving her job in Corporate America and "retiring" in 2014 at age 27, she traveled around the world—from Europe to the Middle East, Asia to Africa, Oceania to South America. She's the author of the book, So You Want To Be A Travel Influencer? The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Travel Influencer of Color.

18. Gloria Atanmo

Gloria in the Amalfi Coast | @glographics

After graduating from college in 2013, Gloria booked a one-way ticket to Europe. She had $500 in her name. 70+ countries and six continents later, and she's since built a powerhouse travel brand (blog and e-book included) that's been featured on Oprah, Forbes, Essence, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, and more. Her motto? "Life is short. See the world. Spread joy." She has a particularly poignant piece on our current social climate which, if you haven't already, is worth a read.

For more resources to help you become an active ally to the black community, bookmark this list of books, movies, podcasts, TV shows, article, and organizations.

Rachel Hill | @racheltravels