Making history and being a Black woman is pretty synonymous these days. While we continue to dominate across industries, we are also starting to make impressive strides in areas that once seemed almost closed off to us. In the case of Detroit native Jessica Nabonga, she set out to prove that we belong everywhere. And she did just that! As the first documented Black woman to travel to all 195 countries, Nabonga is present history that we can cherish, celebrate and shine a light on. We all know how trying it can be to show up Black and a woman in our country, so we want to give her flowers for showing up in the world as our ambassador.
Here are a few quick facts about Jessica Nabonga.
She studied International Development and worked with the United Nations.
Before embarking on her worldwide journey, she founded "Jet Black," a boutique travel firm that promotes tourism to countries in Africa, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Her goal was to change the narrative surrounding Black and brown countries.
Jessica had been to 105 countries when she made her goal in 2018. She managed to see 90 more in a little over a year.
Along with being the first Black woman to visit every country in the world, she is also the first Ugandan.
Now that she's conquered the world, she's giving back to several countries' local artisans to empower their ability to support their communities through her e-commerce store, The Catch.
When talking with Travel + Leisure last year, Nabonga had this to say about the valuable lessons she's learned about how truly similar we all are, no matter our background: "What traveling shows you is no matter if you're Muslim or Jewish, Black or White, male or female, we're all just human beings. And in traveling and talking to people in rural areas in less economically developed countries, you really get that sense of 'Oh, you're just like me. Sure, we don't speak the same language, but you're just like me."
May we never take for granted the path she's laid for Black women present and future to take in every inch of the globe.