Hello family and friends! Here is my final and sixth interview in honor of women’s history month! Avery Atkinson is an international speaker and travelpreneur. One fun fact about Avery is that she and I both are graduates of Hampton University, and she has a scholarship available for HBCU students in need of passports to go abroad. Here is the information for it below:
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspires you to travel?
I’m happily unemployed and have worked for myself since college. (Go HU!) As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve been blessed to build my career around travel and wellness. What inspires me to travel is how short life is. Everything changes so quickly and nothing is ever guaranteed, so I’m inspired to travel, learn, and grow as much as possible while I am able to experience it. I also feel like I owe it to my ancestors who traveled by force and not freely. They fought and survived and now we have the opportunity to see the things they never could.
How has travel impacted your life and how has it changed you?
Travel has literally changed the trajectory of my life. My first international trip was to Canada (which is still on of my favorite places to go) when I was about 11/12. I knew then that I wanted to explore the rest of the world. Eventually, expatriated from the United States, moved to South Korea and have been building my life around travel and cultural advocacy every since. And I couldn’t be happier!
Where was your most recent travel experience and what did it teach you?
My latest international experience was to the Bahamas. I learned that when history is celebrated in its entirety (the actual good/ bad/ugly) pride and respect regardless of conditions aren’t forced. There was such a realness and freedom in hearing the men talk about the plight of their grandparents and the women beamed as they spoke of the contributions they’d made. Obviously the area surrounding the resort wasn’t fancy or a big city, but the contentment and the happiness from the people we spoke to was moving.
What has been your most favorite travel experience and why?
Oh, that’s hard! I’ve been really blessed to have amazing moments whenever I travel. I think largely because I’m open… I almost expect it! But let’s see, perhaps when this elderly man sat next to my friend and I waiting on the train in Fukuoka, Japan. He used my friend as a translator to tell me that he was so honored to meet me and would never forget my Dad. He was so happy that America would pick a Black President and that Japan celebrated with us… He then gave me his last tomato as he thought I was Malia Obama!!! Now, I usually get Oprah because usually the frame of reference in Asian countries are shrunk down to Hollywood (which is a whole other discussion) but Obama’s daughter!? Definitely a memorable first! Side not: He was super cute and so very serious that I literally didn’t have the heart to burst his bubble. Just graciously accepted, bowed, and walked away.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who want to travel more?
DO IT! Honestly, there were places on my list that due to climate and civil change tourists can no longer go. Also, even if everyone bails, go alone! If you wait for everyone you may be the one that never shows up. Lastly, REMAIN OPEN! Every trip will be different and every person experiences different places differently. So enjoy yourself, smile, and be open to all the goodness that the universe has to offer! God created a big beautiful world for you to discover and explore. We are all students (not owners) of that world. Travel like you’re learning, because you are.
What are the must have items in your packing list?
Aside from the basic toiletries & under garments, I’d say electric outlets/plug converters, Baby Wipes, Essential oils (or something scented), Hair Products, & SNACKS! I typically layer my clothes so I can pack lightly and add to my collection after I arrive.
Where can people follow your travel journeys?
I can be found @ladyaglobal across all social media. And you can download a free travel tips guide from my website http://www.ladyaglobal.com
Why do you think is it important for black women to travel?
Black women are the beginning of life itself. We gave birth to the first travelers. It’s only fitting that we see what God had birthed into Creation through us by traveling. There is not only reclamation of the sacred but also a freedom in laying down the unspoken responsibility of explaining, working, “being strong”, and all the other things society puts on us. We can enjoy the luxury of just being. Also, we get experience how the rest of the world sees us. It’s nice being treated like a celebrity.