Jessica Nabongo and Tayo Rockson share their experience as Black travelers on Let’s Go Together.

By Tanner Saunders
Updated July 11, 2020
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Left: Elton Anderson; Right: Courtesy of Tayo Rockson

Jessica Nabongo and Tayo Rockson have seen a lot of the world. And on this week’s episode of Travel + Leisure’s new podcast, Let’s Go Together, Nabongo and Rockson join host Kellee Edwards to discuss how Black travelers see the world and how the world sees them.

For Nabongo, who grew up in Detroit and has been traveling since the age of four, it’s safe to say travel experiences have had a major impact on her sense of identity. In 2019 Nabongo became the first documented Black woman to travel to every country on Earth.

“One thing that I will say about all of my experiences and visiting every single country in the world is that, everywhere you go in the world, you're going to meet people who are incredibly welcoming and incredibly friendly,” Nabongo told Edwards. “And I hope that what other Black people see from my journey is that you should feel comfortable traveling anywhere you want to go.”

For Rockson — a New York-based expert on cross-cultural communication, diversity, and inclusion who has lived in the U.S., Burkina Faso, and Sweden — travel has given him an opportunity to experience and communicate with people from around the world, hearing and learning about their points of view while also sharing his own.

“You can meet people at their level when you learn how to communicate across cultures, right? Everybody at their core wants to be seen, heard, and understood for who they really are. And then, you know, there are bad people everywhere and there are good people everywhere,” he told Edwards.

In the episode, Nabongo and Rockson, who both have African roots — Nabongo’s parents are from Uganda while Rockson’s father was a Nigerian diplomat — share their experiences with the continent and its people. They also share why people should visit.

“I love hanging out in Lagos and Accra and Dakar and Nairobi, Joburg, they're just amazing cities,” Nabongo said. “So, if you're thinking of going to Paris or Budapest or Amsterdam, why not go to a Lagos, a Nairobi, or a Kampala?”

Throughout the conversation, Edwards, Nabongo, and Rockson also discuss issues and misconceptions Black travelers face, their own personal travel goals and bucket lists, and projects in the works to continue to strengthen and diversify the Black travel community.

Hear more from Jessica Nabongo and Tayo Rockson on Let’s Go Together, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.