Within the past few years, something has changed for many travelers of color: the reason why they travel. Earlier this year, several black-owned travel companies reported that they saw an uptick in travel after the 2016 election.
The black travel movement is currently seeing a trend towards “a sense of escapism,” Evita Robinson, founder of the travel collective NOMADNESS, which specifically targets travelers of color, told Travel + Leisure. “It’s about safety and acceptance. We want to be accepted, not just tolerated. With this current political climate, if we wanted that, we could just stay home.”
In order to address the new motivations of many travelers, NOMADNESS hosted the first travel festival for millennials of color in Oakland, California last month.
AUDACITY Fest is an event that aims to “create a safe space for travelers of color to share ideas, network with fellow influencers, and use the community as a launch pad to book their next trip,” according to its website. Meetings and talks range between six different types of travel: culinary, self-care, immersive, adventure, budget and luxury.
Between rock climbing and enjoying a mock Biergarten, festival goers attended talks from speakers like Janaye Ingram, one of the leaders of the Women’s March on Washington, and Kellee Edwards, the only black woman with her own show on Travel Channel.
“You never see all these heavy-hitters in the black travel industry in the same place,” Robinson told T+L. “There were history-makers there.”
Although it’s too late to partake in the festival this year, preparations for AUDACITY Fest 2019 are already underway.
When deciding on a location for the second year of the conference, Robinson said the NOMADNESS team was specifically looking at cities who were already “acknowledging and working with the black community.”
NOMADNESS just announced that next year’s conference will take place in Memphis, Tennessee on Sept. 28 and 29, 2019.
Although it may seem an unconventional choice, Memphis was selected not only for its commitment to preserving African American history — see, for example, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel — but on a vote by NOMADNESS members.
Next year, attendees will be able to visit the festival as part of a five-day trip with other NOMADNESS members.