Thank you, next (destination)
It’s 2020, and these women are breaking down barriers and inciting change throughout the travel community to remind us that travel is for anyone and everyone. From using social media to build powerful communities to global meetups and thriving businesses, no avenue is off-limits when it comes to radically shifting the travel industry.
Customer Feature: Melany
Solo Travel Inspiration: I was traveling alone for the first time. I didn’t want all my memories to be of scenery and landscapes. Flytographer enhanced my holiday immeasurably. Silvia was kind and professional. Her photos captured exactly my joy in Amsterdam! I am never traveling without Flytographer ever again!
My husband died 5 years ago. I’m 57 and all my friends have partners. I was tired of waiting for someone to be free or interested in traveling with me. I decided to go alone! I went to Amsterdam to see tulips and windmills. I had the best holiday of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling! To paraphrase Alain de Botton ” Being closely observed by a companion can inhibit our observations of other people. We have to make ourselves seem more normal to fit in and it stifles our curiosity ” Every single day I went where my curiosity led me. I saw centuries old churches, famous paintings, and, yes, tulips and windmills! I was filled with joy and Silvia at Flytographer captured it perfectly. When I’m an old woman in a nursing home, I will looks at these photos and remember my bliss.
Social Media Change-makers
It’s no surprise that Instagram influencers are changing the social media game. While it feels like everyone is using Instagram to document their travels and lifestyle, there is still a noticeable lack of diversity.
Travel blogger Lee Litumbe of @spiritedpursuit is a breath of fresh air. As the daughter of Cameroonian immigrants, she uses her platform to not only to share her travel experiences across the world, but to also create visibility and representation to those in her community. Many of her captions document her journey with an intimacy and realness not often found in the highly-curated online world.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what holds us back from pursuing the things we want in life. Is it fear (failure, embarrassing ourselves, what will others think), anxiety (will I be good enough?), financial limitations, or just a lack of motivation? When I reflect on the things that paralyze me, a lot of it is rooted in the former. But the thing I have to keep reminding myself is that fear and anxiety are just illusions. What a waste it would be to hold back from rising to your full potential because you were too scared.” – Lee Litumbe
Jessica Nabongo, founder of a boutique travel agency and @thecatchmeifyoucan, is working to become the first black woman to visit every U.N.-recognized country in the world. Her goal? In addition to documenting her colourful and connection-based travels, she aims to increase the visibility of black travel.
“It is 2020 and Africa is in Vogue. For me, Africa is the only imperative and I will work tirelessly to shine a light on her immense beauty in all of her glory. I started @globaljetblack in 2015 after encouraging a friend to honeymoon somewhere on the continent and subsequently planning what he told me was the best trip of his life! My goal when I started Jet Black was not only to promote tourism to African countries as well as countries outside of the continent with large diaspora communities, e.g. Central and South America and the Caribbean. The mission of Jet Black was also to change the narrative about these countries.” – Jessica Nabongo
Changing the travel industry, from solo to family trips
Solo travel is an increasingly popular way to see the world for those who are tired of waiting around for a travel partner, but for women, there is still a major lack of safety and accessibility. Kelly Lewis, founder of Go! Girl Guides, was travelling across South America and found herself wishing she had had someone to give her tips and the inside scoop for certain situations. These guidebooks were born as a beautiful, informational and motivational resource to help women venture fearlessly into their next adventure as a solo traveller. With a focus on women’s health & safety, as well as pictures, recipes, motivational essays and more, these guides have given many women the confidence to travel to incredible places that previously felt off-limits.
“I think women are used to thinking that things are off limits for them, when in reality, anything is possible. We’re used to being told what kind of life we should dream of, and what kind of future we can expect for ourselves. When we dare to break that mold, people think we’re crazy, or dangerous, or that we’ll get ourselves in trouble abroad.” – Kelly Lewis
Customer Feature: Asrar
Solo Travel Inspiration: Photos of Budapest always inspired me to want to travel there. I went solo and fell in love with this beautiful city… The buildings, the people, the vibe, the LOVE….
Favourite Memory: Walking around the streets of Budapest…. watching the people pass by…. Locals and tourists… Feeling the vibe of the city while exploring the history of it.
Dana was just great… A day prior to the shoot she checked the weather and when she found out it would be raining with a storm she suggested that we move the shoot to the next day… She was extremely friendly and made me very comfortable during the shoots. I LOVED every single photo she took of me.
Amie O’Shaughnessy saw a chance to change the travel industry for families by creating the company Ciao Bambino, a luxury travel planning service for families of all sizes and ages. Her goal? To create a fully customized vacation itinerary so families can enjoy meaningful cultural experiences together and create lasting memories. Ciao Bambino uses real-time updates from clients on what they love most about their trips to continuously refine the recommendations and resources they use.
“Our mission is to inspire and empower families to travel through information on our website and our bespoke planning service focused on designing trips for families with kids of every age and stage. We personalize every client experience around the ages of the children and the objectives for a particular trip, and our wide array of vetted family-friendly resources enables us to plan incredible itineraries around the world.” – Amie O’Shaughnessy
Customer Feature: Louisa
Solo Travel Inspiration: I was inspired to take this vacation because for the first time, I was traveling to Europe alone. I had some time off and wanted to take full advantage. My favorite memory from the trip was the amazing people I met while eating dinner with a local family and taking a Portuguese cooking class. I had so much fun discussing so many different topics and bonding with people around the world. Though I was traveling solo, I hardly felt alone.
Claudia was fantastic. Being a fellow photographer, she knew how to direct me and we had an amazing time bonding over some similar experiences. She was so personable and the photos turned out wonderfully! I highly recommend Flytographer.
Building community through travel
Evita Robinson is one of the many millennials who hopped on a plane and moved to a foreign country to experience living life as an expat. After teaching English in Nagato, she realized that she didn’t see many other twenty-something black girls teaching in Japan. She decided to step up and create the Nomadness Travel Tribe. With now more than 20,000 international members, Evita’s focus is on reclaiming the narrative of the black traveller. The Tribe’s online community is thriving, and this growth has led to nearly 100 meetups across the globe to connect these international members.
“Our mission is to show the world that travel has no racial, gender, religious, economic, or interest limitations through our community representation and relevancy. We were first to represent the millennial travel demographic, and we are always looking to innovate our sector of the industry.” – Evita Robinson
Customer Feature: Luz
Solo Travel Inspiration: I decided to go to Rome to celebrate my birthday; I travelled solo as I wanted to be lost in this amazing city; I wanted to explore it and feel it as much as possible and it was amazing!!!
I had the great opportunity to be photographed by Sonya; since the first moment when I saw her pictures I felt in love with her work; her art is exactly what I was looking for. She is an amazing person and easy to work with; I felt like I was taking pictures with a friend; she made me feel very comfortable the whole time and gave me lots of directions, she is super fun and sweet.My pictures turned better that I could imagine; they are very artistic and I loved them. I highly suggest Sonya to anyone looking for very memorable and out of this world pictures. THANK YOU SONYA!!!!!
Vivan Zhang, Rebecca Russell, Becca Ramos, Farin Nidel and Serita Wesley came together to create On She Goes, a digital travel platform and podcast working to help “women of colour travel more confidently, more adventurously, and more often.” Covering everything from solo travel to volunteering to road tripping, these women have created more than just a travel-loving community. They’ve created an empowering resource that reminds us that travel is for everyone.
“I believe that the more information women travellers have, the more likely we are to take that step towards solo travel. That said, I believe we still have a ways to go, especially in the framing of solo travel for women being seen as some type of revolutionary act when, in reality, all women — particularly those of colour — have learned to navigate various spaces with our race and gender intrinsic to how we interact with our surroundings since birth.” – Rebecca Russell
Capturing magical memories
When our Founder & CEO Nicole Smith (photographed below) had the idea to start Flytographer, she was on a trip to Paris with her best friend. She realized that the best souvenir you can take away from any heartfelt experience abroad are the memories, captured in time. That was the inspiration for Flytographer and our main mission to this day – to capture magical memories around the world.
The travel industry is ever-changing and ever-growing, and there are countless women working tirelessly to make travel more accessible to everyone. Are you inspired to take your next trip? In the words of Evita Robinson, “Just start. That’s my advice for so many people. Don’t expect that everything is going to be perfect and curated. Don’t lose yourself in all of that — just start. Perfection is a journey and it’s also an illusion.”