Women’s History Month Interview Three: Ashley McDonough, Founder of Melanin on the Map

Hello friends and family, thanks for joining me this week! Here is my third interview in honor of women’s history month! Ashley McDonough is the founder of the travel brand, business, and app Melanin on the Map. One fun fact about Ashley is that she and I work together through Melanin on the Map and we are both HBCU graduates.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you to travel?
I’m Ashley McDonough, Caribbean-American travel lover and the Founder of the first travel app dedicated to minority travelers, Melanin On The Map. What inspires me to travel are the experiences. Out of all the places I’ve been, no two places have ever been the same and I have learned something about the culture and myself in every destination. Traveling opens my eyes to a new world all while humbling me and motivating me simultaneously. It’s important to experience life out of your norm and comfort zone and traveling will allow you to do that time and time again.

How has travel impacted your life and how has it changed you?

Travel has greatly impacted every aspect of my life. From my career, my day to day the way I view the world, I have been forever changed by the various travel experiences I have been blessed to have and forever grateful for it. I feel I am so much more well rounded, humble and open minded having seen so many parts of this beautiful world.

Where was your most recent travel experience and what did it teach you?

My most recent travel experience was in Mexico last week. If anything, this most recent trip has taught me that the world is opening up and people are embracing the new normal of life after Covid-19. Traveling is much safer, cleaner and I’d like to think we all appreciate it much more having lost it for so long.

What has been your most favorite travel experience and why?

One of my most favorite travel experiences would have to be living aboard for a year in Spain while attending Howard University. Looking back I can’t believe I even did it lol, but it was such a beautiful time. Having lived in the dorm, taking all my classes in Spanish and making new friends who are still apart of my life it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I definitely recommend if given the opportunity, take full advantage of studying aboard while in college; there will never be a time like it again!

Do you have any tips or advice for people who want to travel more?

I would say just go for it! Travel is one of the only things in the world that can impact you in so many ways to that magnitude! From the people you meet, culture you’re immersed in or new experiences as a whole. Although it could be scary stepping out of their comfort zone, it’s worth the risk and will teach you more about yourself than you can imagine! My advice would be do your research on everything! Travel smart and trust yourself.

What are the must have items in your packing list?

Must have items in my packing list are : Passport, money, camera, phone, swimsuit lol.

Where can people follow your travel journeys?

People can follow me on Instagram. Always love connecting with fellow travel lovers! We’re a close knit community, especially as minorities. @Ashley_Milani & @MelaninOnTheMap

Why do you think it is important for black women to travel?

I think it’s important for Black women to travel because it’s important to experience life in different cultures outside of their own. As a Black Caribbean-American woman myself, it’s important to go where you’re appreciated and to experience a new day to day!

As much as I travel, surprisingly enough the majority of places I go there are few faces that look like me. By understanding that, and understanding that my presence has the power to change that narrative as well as the perception of Black women, that inspires me to explore even more.

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