In celebration of Black History Month, Cultural Xplorer is doing a series of interviews to eradicate the myth that African-Americans and people of color do not travel and to show you people of color who are traveling the world and making history.
This series features a number of interviews from both men and women of color from around the world who are passionate about traveling and sharing their stories through their writing and through travel videos.
Meet Andrea Adams a.k.a. ‘Travelista Andrea’ of Travelista TV. She is the other half of the ‘Travelista’ team consisting of herself and Travelista Teri, who we recently interviewed. Andrea has traveled domestically in the United States for over 20 years and internationally for more than 15 years. In addition to all of her travels, she has lived in Italy, Spain, France, Los Angeles, and New York. She focuses on unique experiences and lifestyle travel, including culinary and luxury hotels . She has been published in a number of major publications including The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise and Essence.
Andrea on Travel
How were you exposed to traveling?
I initially began traveling with my mom and my brothers on family trips on the East Coast. My mom liked to expose us to beach vacations and trips to the mountains. While in middle school, I started studying the French language. Learning a different language really pushed me to be even more curious about other cultures. I continued with French throughout college. Once I started traveling internationally and speaking my new language, I was bitten by the travel bug and I never looked back.
What motivated you to make travel a part of your life?
I am really driven to lead the most meaningful life imaginable, through my relationships, with my entrepreneurial projects, and my life adventures. I march to the beat of my own drum, always have. And I am really blessed and fortunate to be able to carve out a life that allows me to intersect the various facets of my personality and lifestyle. My goal is to produce content that inspires other women to get out of their comfort zone and see the world through various lenses.
What is your most memorable travel experience to date?
Turkey was a fantastic trip! I saw all the cultural and religious sites in Istanbul, and also jet-setted on the Bosphorous River. Then I saw the most amazing cave structures in Cappadocia, in a hot air balloon ride (my first ever!). I had a chance to meet chefs, talk to DJs, and spend a great time in Bodrum. Turkey is rich in diversity.
How many places have you traveled to so far?
In the US, 30 states. Internationally, 46 countries.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned on the road?
As the Cultural Aficionado of Travelista TV, I enjoy meeting cultural taste makers, designers, artists, and chefs. Therefore I have the potential to meet a new person every hour while I’m traveling! I stay open to new opportunities, new contacts, new discoveries. I am still amazed at how local people love to connect you with their friends and other taste makers when you’re in their city. Just ask and it will be yours!
What has been your biggest challenge on the road and how did you overcome it?
I know this may seem crazy with all the travel that I do, but I can’t think of anything that has been challenging and overwhelming.
I do remember being in Istanbul a few years ago when there were some bombs that went off in the city. We were trying to determine what to do. Some of our friends decided to book the next flight back home. But I stayed, and so did my Travelista TV partner, Teri. We ended up having an amazing trip throughout the country. From that I learned that you have to stay connected to the local people and understand their experiences. Unfortunately street bombs is something that the Turkish have been exposed to on a fairly frequent basis. They continued to go on with their everyday life and I decided to go on with my trip as planned.
Andrea on Writing/Vlogging
When did you decide that you wanted to become a travel vlogger?
I have always loved traveling and learning foreign languages. In college, that craving amplified! Even though I was working in corporate America, I had the good fortune of having roles that were based globally, or at least required a great amount of domestic travel; and had a generous vacation package.
Traveling while employed allowed me to see the world and launch Travelista TV on a shoestring budget. Once I started receiving paid offers, I was able to leave my job.
What makes your Travelista TV unique in comparison to other travel blogs?
Travelista TV is not necessarily a blog. We are a multimedia travel production company, and we started many years ago when travel videos weren’t a trend. Fortunately we began early enough, and so we are sort of pioneers in the digital space. We have a wide syndication network, and have worked with BET.com, TV One, Blinkx, Daily Motion, AOL Studio, Huffington Post, and others. We hope that we’ve inspired other jetsetters through our travel videos.
What are the top three articles that you feel everyone should watch on your Travelista TV?
I have both editorial and a video content on Travelista TV. Viewers should check out the videos from:
Who is your target audience?
Women between the ages of 22-54 who are seeking unique travel experiences, and a local’s perspective. Though I was surprised to see that men make up 44% of the Travelista TV audience! We thought that that number would have been lower since we are so female-charged.
Andrea on Life
Favorite travel (or life) quotes:
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West
“Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama
“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
What is something that your viewers do not know about you?
Not very many people know this, but after business school, I was actually accepted into fashion school in Los Angeles. I didn’t attend, but I absolutely love fashion, design, and art; and with Travelista and some of my other projects, I am able to connect all the dots with travel and fashion. I created the first shopping showcase in Florence, Italy, giving a platform to emerging designers and new boutiques. I hope to continue projects like this.
Where do you plan on going next?
Next week I will be in Milan, Italy, for Fashion Week. In the Spring I will be in Southern California then on to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I will spend the early summer in Sardegna, Italy. After that, I am completely free, so I need to choose a couple of destinations to fill up my calendar for late summer and the fall!
Interested in getting to know more about Andrea? Check her out here: