Photo Source: Sharinda and Instagram
If you needed that little extra push to use your PTO and live your best life, then this is the TCT for you. Introducing the PTO Nomad herself, Sharinda. Buckle up because this TCT is a deep one. We touched on things from America's harmful outward perceptions to overcoming generational trauma with PTO. Sharinda even came with a few travel tips, and advice on where you should and shouldn't book your next trip. Let's get into it!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
I'm Sharinda Williams-Simmons also known as The PTO Nomad and I create travel content to encourage Black full-time and corporate workers to practice work-life balance by way of luxury and cultural travel. I have been to 21 countries (the number of trips I've been on is much higher because I like to revisit places). I love to connect with my brothers and sisters of the African Diaspora and of African Descent along the way. I am a passionate actress, a digital media marketing professional, and a travel journalist/influencer.
As a military brat, I have lived in many places but I would say that my roots are in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the Suburban Atlanta area. Connecting with my lineage and others of the African Diaspora inspires me to travel. I love to see familiar faces in unlikely places. I also find that travel opens up our minds to new ideas and perceptions. My travels have humbled, inspired, and uplifted me simultaneously. Coming from the states we are often taught to have a superiority complex against other nations. The more I encounter the world the more that I see that many other countries are not as dangerous or unappealing as I had been taught, and my perception of wealth as a whole changed. You can be rich in other ways beyond finances; you can be rich with culture, identity, and family as well.
Why is it important to you that you motivate Black, full-time employees to travel?
It is very important to me to encourage Black full-time workers to take control of their time and see the world to help strip away many toxic behaviors that have been passed down through generations of the mistreatment of Black people in working conditions. From the fields to the workplace we were taught that we should keep our head down and work. We are told not to make waves and not to take up for ourselves. We are taught to create the perception that we are the hardest working person on the job by taking on more projects, relinquishing credit for our work, and perfect attendance because we have to prove that we deserve to be there. These actions and not taking time off for ourselves is at the expense of our self-dignity, family dynamics, and mental health. It's important that Black Full-time employees take control of their time and achieve a healthy work-life balance. Additionally using this paid leave towards travel can bring purpose and inspiration to our lives. Oftentimes when we get outside our own bubble of perception and unlock hidden talents and passions. Also, it's a great way to escape and relax in a new environment, bringing balance to our mental health and increasing our quality of life.
What is the most underrated destination you've been to and why should people jump at the chance to go?
Guam! It gives Hawaii vibes with fewer tourists! And you don't need a passport to visit.
What is the destination you would never travel to again and why?
Milan, Italy. I would only travel there for business, it's the only place I have had to be on high alert because of scammers. I was scammed out of my money for my AirBNB because the owner ghosted me. The people were a little off-putting too and it wasn't the best food I have had in Italy. The architecture and shopping are amazing though. Barcelona was not great either, I encountered a lot of blatant racism but at least the food was good LOL.
What is the best-kept travel tip that you think everyone should know?
If you find that you overpacked, bring a big gift bag and put your excess clothes in it, most airlines won't count it as an additional carry-on. You can also use a pillowcase and it can double as something to sleep on during the flight.
Where else can folks find you?
You can find me @theptonomad on TikTok and my digital marketing agency @Mad_dogcreatives on IG as well.
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