Her talk says it best, but it took no time to learn from her a sense of the challenges, risks, and history of black travelers. Nor to sense her passion and inspiration to meet their needs--her needs--and her growing success doing so.
Her venture is Nomadness Travel Tribe: an online social community for global travelers with urban backgrounds seeking like-minded fellow travelers to connect with--the first to target diverse millennial travelers in the newly-coined 'urban travel movement'.
Joshua Spodek: What is Nomadness Travel Tribe and why did you start it?
Evita Robinson: Nomadness Travel Tribe is the first international travel group targeting millennials of color.
I started it in September 2011 because there was a void in the industry. I was a three-time, 25-year-old expat looking for community of like-minded travelers who looked like me and shared my wanderlust.
No communities served my demographic so I started it and that is how Nomadness was born--my answer to an unserved community I was in.
Beyond solving my problem, it answered the call for tens of thousands of others around the world. We started with one hundred members. In six years we've expanded to 17,000.
JS: Since it emerged from personal experience, what revealed the disparity to you? Did you always see it or did something cause you to see it?
ER: I was part of the disparity. I am not just the leader of Nomadness, I'm an active member because this is my community: I relate to the people, the conversations, the struggles, and the wins we have as a worldwide community of travelers of color.
Mass media ignored us. The travel industry marketing wasn't targeting us. So I took the lead in bringing us to the forefront by telling our stories. I saw it because I lived it.
When you are directly affected by the disparity, you don't need to seek it, you live it everyday.
JS: Can you clarify, is Nomadness's goal to change how your Tribe behaves or does it already travel and you're trying to get media and the travel world to catch up? ... Or both?
ER: All Nomadness members need is a reason. Our travel and buying behaviors are on par with avid travelers around the world.
It's about getting media and the industry to acknowledge our presence, relevancy, and buying power.
JS: What do you offer that the industry lacks?
ER: Diversity, and an authentic voice on this side of the travel aisle.
JS: What response have you seen from your customers and from the industry?
ER: At six years old, it took about four and a half years for the travel industry to realize we weren't a fad. It took years to get taken seriously for strategic partnerships and sponsorships.
In the last 18 months, we really started to crack ground with them.
JS: It sounds like destination marketers are missing making money serving this community. What do you offer travel marketers?
ER: As an influencer in the space, I offer authenticity and knowledge that even their best marketing agencies may not be able to provide.
I offer over six years of expertise in this demographic, as well as being the catalyst of what is now known on social media as the black/urban travel movement that now has many communities feeding it.
To infiltrate these corporate spaces and get them up to speed, I book keynotes (domestic and international) that put these insights on stage, as well as seminars for BOTs and Destination Marketing Organizations at CultureMeetsCorporate.com that does the same in a more intimate setting.
JS: Another inspiration for me is leadership and the environment, which includes reducing pollution and emissions from flying. Here's a tough question: Is Nomadness addressing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions?
ER: We presently don't. With that said, I'm no expert in this arena and would be open to learning more about potential options that even out our effect on the environment while allowing our members to experience the world.
JS: Thank you for responding. I'll follow up, but that's a later conversation.
ER: Thank you too!