Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of serving as a speaker and panelist at the Inaugural Black Travel Expo. This year’s event was a 3-day conference held at the Marriott Marquis in Downtown Atlanta and was everything I’d hoped it would be AND more.
This is my attempt at capturing what I still have a hard time articulating in words. You know when an event is so aligned, authentic, and right on time in your life that it leaves you inspired and ready to accomplish any and everything that you came for?
The 2022 Black Travel Expo was that. Hands down.
Hundreds of beautiful black people who also have a love of travel as much as you… and in some cases, even more.
Who are thriving in their lives and businesses in ways that still have me inspired.
Some have made the leap to move abroad permanently.
Others hop around the world and come home from time to time.
We all had one thing in common – the experience of a feeling of freedom unknown to most. The freedom of options. The freedom to explore new cultures, new people, and new parts of yourself in the world.
One thing about international travel that I don’t think we hear enough about is the self-discovery aspect. I’ve learned so much about myself on every trip I’ve taken out of the country (and occasionally domestically). Being in a new location, with everything from language barriers and safety concerns to connectivity and mobility challenges, will test your ability to adjust, adapt, and find your place in the world. Navigating the world is a quest in itself, let alone all the things that come up about who you are and the life you want to live all while experiencing an overload of cultural immersion in ways that inspire and ignite you to do more of it.
But back to the expo…
BTE 2022 consisted of two days of keynote speakers, breakout lunch and learn sessions (one of which was led by yours truly), exhibitors, vendors, and sponsored networking mixers. Having the opportunity to connect with so many other black travelers was one of many highlights of attending this year’s event. You could feel the magic of the collective, especially having spent several days together talking about everything from being a digital nomad and expat to owning property in foreign countries.
Other sessions included the black travel influencer roundtable (on which I was a panelist), black men in travel, and the journey toward living abroad.
We closed out the weekend with a Sunday brunch which felt like the extended goodbye you go through at every family function… in the best ways, of course.
Here are 3 highlights from my Black Travel Expo weekend experience:
As I mentioned before, hosting a lunch and learn session on how to become a digital nomad and designing your life around your lifestyle brought me so much joy. During the 45-minute session, we talked about being intentional with your travel plans, shared several methods for taking your first steps in the world of nomad traveling, and I shared a few gems to consider when traveling and working remotely abroad.
Being in the company of like-minded travel enthusiasts is a joy you really can’t describe which is why I enjoyed speaking on this influencer panel. The conversation focused on what it means to be a black travel influencer and the responsibility and privilege of being able to travel to and explore parts of the world most will only experience via social media or the internet. I had the opportunity to share the stage with several successful travel brand business owners who each shared their perspectives and experiences with building their businesses – navigating everything from your online presence to having a healthy relationship with social media.
Many thanks to Kevin Knight, Sharinda Williams-Simmons, Craig Henry, and our ever-talented moderator Tomeka Jones for making the conversation fun!
Black Travel Expo 2022 left me excited about my vision to take up space in the travel industry and even more energized by the beautiful people I was blessed to meet during this experience. Connecting with people who are as passionate as I am when it comes to expanding our horizons, seeing all the world has to offer, and never settling for anything less than a life lived out loud.
Black folks traveling the world? And thriving? Living their best lives? Hopping continents and countries for sport? Building 6/7/8-figure businesses doing what they love?
What a time to be alive.
And last but certainly not least… I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Maurice Foley, Founder and Visionary of this event. You, sir, are a wonderful human being and I cannot wait to support you and this beautiful event in the years to come.
For those seeking black travel brands you can trust, and whose Founders and teams prioritize you having a great experience, here’s a list of black-owned travel companies I got a chance to connect with:
Visit blacktravelexpo.co to plug into future events and networking opportunities. 2022 was an ENTIRE vibe from beginning to end.
Hope to see you there in 2023!