Black girl travel magic: Traveler Chimdi taps into the power of storytelling
Chimdi is a writer, videographer, and full-time travel lover. Her mission? Share stories that welcome all women of color into the world of travel. Here’s why travel and storytelling are two of the key drivers in her life.
“Part of the thing that keeps people back is the stories they tell themselves about what they’re capable of. I think travel’s one of those things.”
When it comes to traveler Chimdi’s love of seeing the world and sharing her stories, it all goes back to her roots. “I’m a child of immigrant parents, and they instilled a focus on education,” she says. “I understand that the world is bigger than America because my parents are from somewhere else, and there are different pathways to be successful. That grew in me this idea that anything is possible if I just work hard to get it.”
And work hard is just what Chimdi’s done. After paying off her student loans, she chose to lean into what inspires her the most: travel and storytelling. Her first big trip to Europe was on our London, Paris & Rome tour. “It really opened my eyes to how much was out there and how feasible it was to actually go,” she says. “Once I got a taste of what it meant to travel and discovered the emotional and spiritual growth, I was like, I want everyone, people who look like me, other Black women, other women of color, I want them to be able to get those experiences, too.”
“I want everyone, people who look like me, other Black women, other women of color, I want them to be able to get those experiences, too.”
That first Go Ahead tour of Europe inspired Chimdi to seek out even more adventure—365 days of adventure, to be exact. She spent a full year traveling around the globe with the program Remote Year, and documented it all on her YouTube channel, holdmelike official.
Today, she’s a contributing writer for the travel-centric site Shut Up & Go, where she shares her own experiences as a way to encourage other people to live out their own travel dreams. “A key driver in my life is the power of storytelling and the power of narratives to shape how we see ourselves, how we see the world, how we see what we’re capable of,” says Chimdi.
“A key driver in my life is the power of narratives to shape how we see what we’re capable of.”
No matter which creative endeavor she’s taking on, Chimdi never loses sight of her passion: storytelling. “I’ve really focused on growing my craft so I can tell stories of people being out in the world and living their dreams,” she says. “Part of the thing that keeps people back is the stories they tell themselves about what they’re capable of and what they deserve, and I think travel’s one of those things. A lot of folks see travel as something that’s out of their reach. There are all these barriers they put up in their mind.”
Showing that it’s possible to overcome those barriers is one of the main reasons that Chimdi is so committed to fulfilling her own travel dreams. “The choices you make ripple out so much further than you,” she says. “You don’t even realize the people who will see and be like, ‘Oh, she got up and bought a ticket? I can too!’ Don’t underestimate the power you have to influence people by the choices that you’re making. Don’t block their blessings as well as yours by living in a life of fear.”
Check out Chimdi’s best travel memories from London, Paris & Rome! Plus, subscribe to her YouTube channel, Chimdi Ihezie, to watch her travel videos from tour.