Photo Source: Soraya and Instagram
Hello BTB Fam, we are so glad you've come to join us for another TCT. We hope you are ready to meet this week's TCT. She shared with us her travel inspirations, a step-by-step guide to travel influencing, the reason behind her body posi content and so much more! Introducing… Soraya!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
My name is Soraya aka Soloraya and I am Haitian! I was born in Chicago, IL but I moved to NY when I was 8 years old, so I am pretty much a New Yorker! I work as a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for a non-profit organization with my master’s in Human Resource Management. In addition, I am a Direct Support Professional working with individuals with Autism.
My biggest inspiration to travel is being able to see the beautiful world in which we live in. When growing up, I never had the opportunity to have “family vacations” or travel at all. My mother was a single parent who was diagnosed with cancer, so our priorities were not to travel but to ensure her health and well-being. In addition, my mom couldn’t afford travel either. So, when I graduated high school, I told myself that I will travel the world by any means necessary. It started with me traveling throughout the states and then I obtained my passport in 2014. From that point on, it was history.
My motivation to travel stems from watching others who I am inspired by travel the world and seeing how they showcase their travels. I am a woman who enjoys learning about other cultures, trying new dishes, and immersing myself in each country I visit. I want to create memories, so I am able to share my experiences with others and encourage more African American women and men to travel.
With the rise of people wanting to make full-time travel their lifestyle, there is a rise in people wanting to pursue travel content creation and influencing. How can these people get started?
My first advice is to know your “WHY”. Why do you want to travel? Why do you want it to be your full-time? Once you are able to answer those two questions then you need to figure out your audience. Who is your niche? Who do you want to market to? How can you get your audience to relate and build a relationship with you? When you are thinking about this answer, think about an area in which you know you are good in, whether its budgeting, coaching, single moms traveling, luxury finds, you’re a foodie and want to travel to try out different foods, WHATEVER it is, you take that and make that your focus. For example, I am big on positivity and self-love. This is an area in which I am passionate about because of my own life experiences that has strengthened and developed my confidence in which I want to show women they are able to be and feel confident in the skin they are in, not just with traveling, but in their day to day.
Secondly, do not leave your primary job until you have a concrete plan in place and you have begun your journey. Start saving money and writing out your goals daily. When you can visually see your goals, it will be easier to reach them. Know how much you need to live every month and see how your content creator/travel influence can help you earn that plus more.
Create a separate IG page just for your content, start building your audience and ENGAGE! Engaging is very important. What I mean by engaging is connecting with your followers and responding back to them. You are not Beyonce honey, comment back on everyone who took the time to leave a comment on your page.
Make sure your content is jaw dropping, clear, pops, and delivers the message you are portraying. Please do not post choppy, blurry, low quality content. When you are a content creator, you must put you best foot forward, remember brands are looking at your page so you want to ensure you have top notch quality content.
Be consistent! Post 3-4 times a week, 2-3 Reels, 6-10 stories. (this is not a set rule but this is what worked for me) Stay engaged with your audience and utilize IG functions to help the growth of your page.
Find a social media mentor. They are very helpful and will hold you accountable.
What is your drive in producing travel-focused body-positive content?
I’ve struggled with my self-confidence and my body image for a long time. I hated how I looked and how big I was. I didn’t feel confident wearing swimsuits or certain outfits because of my insecurities and what I was telling myself.
As I began to travel more and started to see how many other women looked like me and was killing the game!!! I said to myself I need to stop speaking negatively about myself and begin to love the curves and beauty I have been blessed with. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I was made to be curvy and sexy honey!
I took that confidence and implemented it with my travels. I pack clothes that makes me feel good and I rock every single piece I take pictures in. I affirm myself daily and uplift myself. I remind myself I am a beautiful queen and I embrace my curves. Ladies, I am very busty and curvy and I do not let society tell me whether or not I can wear certain outfits. If it looks good on my body, I am wearing it. If I feel good in it, I AM WEARING IT. We weren’t made to look the same. We were made uniquely.
Share with us your craziest travel story?
Ah man, I don’t think I have a crazy travel story that was fun. Only one that was not fun.When we plan vacation, the last thing we expect is to experience traumatic events during our travels. Well for me I had a moment where I was disrespected as a Black Woman.
I traveled solo to New Orleans last year and had a blast. One night I encountered a couple who seemed very cool and welcoming. As a solo traveler you will meet people who you will connect with. This couple invited me out to bourbon street and we literally had a lot of fun. One thing led to the next and the woman who I was with spit in my face. There was no indication that she was racist or anything. In fact she kept complimenting me and acknowledging how confident I was. So I was confused as to why she felt the need to spit on me.
This was a moment of weakness, a moment of disrespect, a moment where my pride and dignity was tarnished. Throughout my 10 years of traveling, I’ve never experienced anything like this. Many emotions and feelings were rushing through me. As a Black solo woman we are already a walking target but often times the most people would do is take pictures, spitting is another level. It really hurt me. I am still battling this traumatic experience and I’m in therapy working though it.
How many countries have you visited and which destination was your favorite? Why is this destination your favorite?
I have been to 10 countries and counting. My favorite thus far is Mexico. Mexico is like home to me. I love the hospitality and the food in Mexico. Mexico has so many beautiful and unique cities . You can never be bored!
Where else can folks find you?
You can find me on Tik Tok @Soloraya_ and you can add me on snapchat @SheIsSoloraya
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