USA & Canada | People & Stories

10 black travel influencers shaking up the industry

Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the United States on 19 June 1865. And since it’s also known as Freedom Day, it feels like the perfect time to spotlight Black travel influencers you should be following on social media, from the first Black woman to travel to every country, to surfers, pilots, photographers, marine scientists and more.

Black travel influencers you simply have to follow

Kellee Edwards (@kelleesetgo)

Pilot. Journalist. Scuba diver. It’s safe to say Kellee Edwards can do it all. And it’s no surprise her adventurous spirit is worshipped by her 153k Instagram following.

To get a flavour, she is the first Black woman to host her own travel TV series – Mysterious Islands – uncovering secrets on the world’s most remote islands. This saw her venture deep into dangerous Indonesian caves, pilot an aircraft in Alaska’s Aleutian Chain and free-dive at Jeju Island (South Korea). And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also the host of Travel and Leisure’s podcast: Let’s Go Together.

About time you clicked follow?

Danni Washington: (@danniwashington)

Danni Washington truly cares about our oceans. She created Big Blue & You with her Mom – the only ocean conservation non-profit to be founded by African American women. It supports environmentalists (especially those of colour) and works to decolonize the natural world. The Miami-born marine biologist is also the first African-American woman to host her own science TV series – ‘Xploration Nature Knows Best’ – which explores how nature inspires scientists to create technological advancements . And she hosts a podcast for women in ocean science: 21st century mermaids. Need we say more?

Ciara Johnson: (@hey_ciara)

‘Blackness has no boundaries’

Ciara Johnson

Originally from Houston, Ciara quit her job to travel solo and quickly became the ‘Solo Travel Queen’ she is today. Her adventures take huge strides (literally and metaphorically) as she journeys the world, reversing Black travel stereotypes every step of the way. Including those that Black people cannot swim, climb, ski, skateboard, backpack, do yoga and more. In her own words, ‘I hope the travel & outdoor space can continue to challenge the biases and assumptions that are placed on Black people.’

Nathan Fluellen (@worldwidenate)

Nathan Fluellen is the spearhead of the Black surfing community. And one of the most recognised Black travel influencers. He hosted the ‘largest gathering of Black surfers in history’ on 4 June 2022, driven by his belief that the ocean is for everyone. Full of awesome surfers, big waves, high fives and uplifting music, ‘A Great Day in the Stoke’ on Huntington Beach Pier was a booming success. Nathan says ‘to witness so many Black people excited to see surfers compete, practice yoga and take surf lessons was phenomenal.’

A swimwear brand owner, awesome surfer and Black icon – you’d be foolish not to follow Nathan. As well as watch his TV show, ‘World Wide Nate: African Adventures’, on his travels in 60 countries.

Sam Muchai (@muchaii)

Sam Muchai is one of the world’s most talented photographers. His aerial shots use drones (and occasionally helicopters) to shine a light on African places, cultures and communities. His stills show African life in all its beauty and variety – and inspire African people with a warm feeling of identity. As well as others to travel to places they perhaps haven’t thought of before. We recommend you get cosy and scroll through.

Hermon and Heroda Berhane (@being__her)

‘Being Black, deaf + women is not a problem to us – it’s the perception that is the problem

Hermon and Heroda Berhane

Twin sisters Hermon and Heroda are deaf, but their voice is louder than most. Based in London, they’ve developed an adoring following with their infectious big smiles, travel tips, ultra-cool fashion sense and openness to discuss their deafness and keloid scars.

Nasir Fleming (@_breakingthedistance)

Nasir Fleming’s Instagram feed @_breakingthedistance is making its mark in the LGBTQ+ travel space. The New York-based, freelance travel writer (he/they) posts jealousy-inducing photos and dreamy videos from many locations. Inspiring his audience with wanderlust on any day of the week. At just 21, Nasir is one of many Black travel influencers to look out for. And definitely follow!

RELATED CONTENT: A guide to San Francisco’s fascinating LGBTQ+ history

Jessica Nabongo (@thecatchmeifyoucan)

Meet the first Black woman to travel to every country in the world: Jessica Nabongo. It goes without saying you’ll want to get your hands on her recently published book, ‘The Catch Me If You Can’ (14 June 2022), which tells her story and reveals huge amounts about the world’s unique countries and cultures.

Jessica also owns a luxury travel concept, Jet Black, which aims to show travellers the best of Africa and more.

Jeff Jenkins (@chubbydiaries)

Easily one of the most charismatic Black travel influencers. Meet Jeff Jenkins, owner of @chubbydiaries, which champions plus size travel and body positivity. He encourages people of all shapes and sizes to just go for it and fulfil their travel dreams. In his words, ‘I help Chubby People travel the world!’

Jeff is also Chairperson of Black Travel Alliance, started in 2020 to ‘encourage, educate, equip and excel Black travel professionals’ and redefine what it looks like to travel. Have you clicked follow yet?

Did you enjoy meeting these remarkable Black travel influencers? Tell us who you’re excited to follow in the comments below!

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