Hello friends and family! Here is my first interview in honor of Women’s History Month! Shar Wynter is the founder and CEO of the first app that caters to the Black expat community. One interesting fact about Shar is that she has lived abroad in two countries: the UK and Portugal.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you to travel?
I am a social entrepreneur originally from Detroit, MI. As the founder and CEO of Xpat, Inc. I created The Xpat App, the first app created for the Black expat community that caters to the unique needs and interests of people of the African diaspora who live abroad. I am really passionate about inspiring people to live authentic, free and abundant lives through travel and living abroad experiences. I currently reside in Lisbon, Portugal where I spend my spare time scrapbooking, exploring, and investing in passion projects. As the child of immigrant parents, I was exposed to international travel from a young age during visits back to my parents homeland of Jamaica. Those visits allowed me to see different cultures and ways of life which sparked my curiosity. That curiosity still inspires me to this day to travel. As a travel enthusiast and advocate for the expat lifestyle my personal mantra is “Go where you grow and never stop exploring”.
How has travel impacted your life and how has it changed you?
Travel has impacted me by giving me a stronger appreciation for my life and it has changed me by elevating my expectations for my future. With each travel experience my horizons are broadened because, as I gain exposure to different cultures and ways of life, it opens up the realm of possibilities that I see for myself and my future.
Where was your most recent travel experience and what did it teach you?
My most recent travel experience was visiting the beaches of the Algarve region in the Southern part of Portugal last summer. Due to travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic, I learned to appreciate living in a beautiful country such as Portugal and taking advantage of opportunities to explore the beauty in “my own backyard”. Prior to the pandemic I sought fulfillment through international travel but after having such an amazing experience in the country that I live in I am encouraged to do some more exploring domestically this summer.
What has been your most favorite travel experience and why?
I’ve been blessed with some amazing experiences so that’s a really tough question. If I had to pick just one travel experience it would have to be my first “Around The World” trip in 2012 where I visited 7 countries (Japan, Thailand, Israel, Italy, Spain, France, and Peru) in 28 days. I had also convinced two coworkers to join me and we booked our trip using Delta’s Round The World program which allowed us to book business class flights for the entire journey using points. It was such an EPIC trip. In addition to having some amazing cultural experiences we were able to travel in luxury for a FRACTION of the cost that it would have been if we would have paid out of pocket. That trip changed my life in so many ways, and I vowed to make the trip an annual thing each year after that. Even once Delta discontinued the program, I stil found a way to make it work.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who want to travel more?
My advice to people who want to travel more is to not wait around for other people to travel and to consider solo travel. Solo travel is not only liberating but it builds confidence in so many ways. It also gives you an opportunity to have a travel experience without the judgement, expectations, or biases of anyone else influencing your experience. I’ve traveled solo to over 15 countries and solo travel is one of my favorites things to do.
What are the must have items in your packing list?
I am “team carry-on” so I pack light. My must have items are my doorstop alarm (especially when traveling solo), my universal adapter/converter, portable tea kettle, headphones, satin pillow case, lysol wipes, and comfortable shoes.
Where can people follow your travel journeys?
@FeetMeetsLand on IG.
Why do you think is it important for black women to travel?
I think it’s important for Black women to travel so that they can elevate their standards for their lifestyles and for how they are treated. One of the most rewarding parts of travel is that it challenges social norms. Being exposed to different cultures and ways of life not only forces you to think about how you see the world but more importantly it forces you to challenge how world sees you and treats you. Additionally, through my travels there’s an underlying sense of confidence and belonging that I’ve gained. This has helped me thrive organically in “foreign” spaces which I think is a really important skill for Black females to have regardless of where life takes them.