For Courtney Simone, the founder of Adventure in Black, traveling is a form of self-care. Emphasizing how exploring new destinations has impacted her life, she believes every Black woman should show herself some love by exploring the world.
This belief in the power of travel prompted Courtney Simone to create the full-service travel and event agency, which curates luxury experiences for Black travelers. But it’s not just about seeing the world; for her, the purpose of the trips are much deeper. She wants to uplift and empower Adventure in Black travelers—especially Black women—to prioritize their well-being with each adventure.
“As Black women, it’s so much that we take on or take care of and sometimes we just need that time for ourselves to decompress,” Simone tells ESSENCE. “So it’s about being intentional by saying ‘I am going to do something nice for myself. I’m going to travel and go see that thing I want to see or do what I’ve always wanted to do.’ That’s a form of self-care and self-love.”
At the time of our conversation, Simone was hosting a women-only getaway in Greece. AIB trips aren’t usually limited to women, but this time was different. The luxury Grecian experience featured a private wine tasting, visits to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, and historical and cultural experiences.
“Seeing all of these successful women together is inspiring,” says Simone. “I’m glad to be a part of that.”
The idea for AIB was sparked in 2018 after she successfully planned a family reunion in Washington, D.C. She created a detailed agenda for dozens of family members that meticulously infused entertainment and historical outings.
“I really wanted to showcase the history, music, and overall culture in D.C.,” she says. “And it went well. So, I thought if I can get 77 of my family members from across the country to travel to D.C. and to open their eyes to different experiences, I can do it for others on a larger scale.”
Already an avid adventurer, Simone decided to combine her love of exploration and her experience in event planning to create a travel agency that hosted luxury getaways for people who look like her. In 2019, AIB was formed.
“I remember traveling internationally for my job early on, and I would go to these places and wonder where all of the Black people were,” she said. “But we are out here. We are everywhere, but it’s about intentionally showcasing some of those areas where we exist in other countries.”
The Howard University alumna worked in international business at the time, managing global events before becoming a travelpreneur. Shortly after hosting AIB’s first trip to Dubai and Egypt, she decided to focus on her budding travel company full-time, leaving her corporate gig behind.
Since then, AIB has created a new wave of travel, one where Simone and her team say everyone can see the world around them while being “unapologetically Black.” In addition to Dubai and Egypt, AIB has hosted trips to Mexico and Brazil. And on the 2022 schedule, in addition to the recent journey to Greece, are treks to Thailand and Jamaica.
“Every day, I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. “Being able to travel the world and build community.”
AIB keeps travel group sizes at a minimum, allowing for bonds to be built during each trip. Most groups are capped at 20 travelers.
“I want people to know the names of the people they’re traveling with,” she says. “It’s about forming deep connections with people and building community while on the trip. It’s deeper than travel. We are building long-lasting connections and friendships.”
AIB trips cater to all types of activity and interest levels. Although the goal is to show the visiting country’s most popular attractions, Simone and her team also look for experiences that are considered hidden gems.
“We want people to walk away from these trips inspired and encouraged to travel more,” she says. “We’ve had really good feedback about our trips, from experienced to first-time travelers.”
For Simone, the getaways are just as inspiring to her as they have been to the AIB community. Crediting traversing the globe with helping her on her self-love journey, she hopes that through her company, she can continue to offer that experience to others.
“When you travel, you gain a sense of self-love,” Simone says. “You gain a sense of urgency to say I’m going to take care of myself. And there is so much power in that. If I can share that with people, then my job—our job at AIB is done.”
You can view the 2022 and 2023 schedule of experiences via the Adventure in Black website.
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