Travel Noire creator Zim Ugochukwu talks stepping out of comfort zones, travel apps and how Travel Noire came to be.
ESSENCE: How did Travel Noire come to be?
ZIM UGOCHUKWU: It was born out of frequent encounters I had with people of color who were skeptical about going abroad. While living in India, I was hopping on flights to different countries for less than $50, and I wanted to share my experiences with individuals interested in working travel into their lives. Instead of focusing on me, I empower others to share their stories. Travel Noire is a digital publishing brand that creates compelling resources to help people discover new destinations.
ESSENCE: How can we step out of our travel comfort zones?
Z.U.: If you wait for other people, you'll do yourself a huge disservice. Trekking solo? Start local. Take yourself on a date to a dinner or a movie. Then move on up to a staycation. Book a room at a hotel, grab your favorite novel and spend the weekend enjoying your own company. Next, take a trip overseas, but to a country where English is spoken. After you've conquered these three jaunts, you'll be able to conquer the world!
ESSENCE: Your favorite gear for going on an excursion?
Z.U.: I travel everywhere in my Converse Chuck Taylors. A cool jersey tube skirt, white tee and light parka is my goto casual outfit for those long flights. For shorter ones, I like to dress it up a little bit with a high-low sleeveless tank.
ESSENCE: Can you recommend any useful travel apps?
Z.U.: I travel three to four times a month, so Tripit is a great way to organize all of my flights, hotels and ground transportation into one place. I'm an avid reader. The Oyster app allows me to download books to read anytime, anywhere. It's like the Spotify of books. Because beautiful imagery is a huge part of our brand, we use VSCO to add visual depth to our photos and videos. I'm constantly in and out of different time zones, and I need an alarm clock that still allows me to wake up feeling refreshed—even if I've had only three hours of shut-eye. Sleep Cycle wakes me up depending on the deepness of my sleep.
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of ESSENCE magazine, on newsstands now!