I’ve been to a lot of places and held a lot of jobs. I’m an entrepreneur, and in my latest role as co-founder of Noirbnb, I lead strategy and oversee technology projects as our team builds a safe and welcoming product for black travelers.
As we grow, I continue to keep two key big-picture questions in mind:
1. Why do we travel?
2. Why don’t we travel?
No one story defines the black travel experience, of course, but I strongly believe travel can help inform and evolve our views, experiences, and even our careers. We all have our own stories around travel.
I’ve personally always struggled to answer the, “Where are you from?” question. I was born in suburban Maryland to a Nigerian father and a Liberian mother. I briefly lived in both West African countries as a child, while my dad was solidifying his career. I finished high school in Baltimore and went to college in Philadelphia. I’ve been to every continent except Australia!
Most of the places I’ve visited as an adult have been driven by my own curiosity, be it Paris as a graduate student, São Paulo as a football fan, or Bangkok as a honeymooner. What has been most surprising and gratifying is how my travel experiences have helped fuel my career. Here’s some of what I’ve learned from my adventures to date:
Here’s some of what I’ve learned from my adventures, to date:
1. “When in Rome” is a way of life.
Too often, people don’t immerse themselves in the culture of the place they’re visiting. When I lived in Europe, I met many American students and ex-pats who moved back to the U.S. within a couple of months, because they couldn’t adjust to a different culture. What’s the point of leaving home, if you’re only looking for an identical home in every place you visit?