Creating inspiration through travel.
This seems to be the motto these days for traveler and entrepreneur David McC. who seeks to inspire thousands of travelers to see the world and share their stories online.
With a curiosity destined for exploring it only made sense David follow his passion and turn it into a flourishing community of adventure.
Realizing an opportunity in the travel space, he ventured out to challenge the narrative and launched Black Guys Travel Too and Black Passport Stamps to showcase the travels of young African Americans around the world.
We caught up with David in New York to learn more about his journey— here's what he had to say!
To start off, could you give us a brief background about yourself and talk about what inspired you to start traveling?
My name’s David and I’m from The Bronx, New York. I’m an entrepreneur and avid traveler. I immediately fell in love with travel as soon as I stepped onto a plane for the first time at the age of 11. Aviation has always been fascinating to me. As a kid, every time a plane would fly over me, I’d stop whatever I was doing, look up at the sky and stare in amazement. As I grew up learning about airplanes and how they worked, I had dreams of not only being on one, but to also fly one as a pilot. I had airplane toys and all. The first trip I took was to Jamaica. My family’s Jamaican, so they decided to bring me on a trip “back home”. Coming from a big city with tall buildings, traffic, concrete everywhere and a lack of beautiful beaches, Jamaica absolutely stunned me with how different it was from New York. I was partially confused at why the water was blue, why there were so many trees around, and why air smelled like salt; but I was in love with it all.
Because of that trip, I’ve felt an urge to travel to tropical destinations several times per year. Tropical vacations have become my “cocaine”, and I need a “fix” often.
I recently went on two Caribbean cruises, this past January, that totaled 17 days of sailing. See what I mean? And because of that initial trip, the ultimate goal is to move to and settle down in a tropical place. I’ll always be a traveler, but I’d like home to be where the warmth is, year-round.
You are very entrepreneurial from what we've seen. Has travel led you to discover your entrepreneurial spirit?
My interest in being an entrepreneur, the desire to work for myself and build something for myself that will last generations started 6 years ago. I became an affiliate for a travel-based network marketing company and sold memberships to a travel club. As an affiliate, I was also able to utilize the deals received through the company and that helped me really expand on my intense passion for traveling.
Through that travel company, I was also able to learn what It takes to become a successful entrepreneur and I took that new knowledge and started up several businesses and brands of my own. So, to answer the question, I would say that traveling has led me to discover my entrepreneurial spirit.
You've started several brands such as Black Guys Travel Too and Black Passport Stamps, could you explain what inspired these travel brands and its importance to you.
Sure. I initially started these brands for self-promotion. My travel photos weren’t being featured often enough for my liking by other travel brands, so I decided to become a travel brand and feature myself, lol. But the interest of self-promotion grew into a bigger purpose which is to help put other travelers on the map and to help them get exposure for their own brands and adventures. I rarely feature myself on my own pages now.
But other than self-promotion, I created Black Guys Travel Too because I remember scrolling through Instagram and checking out photos of other black travelers, and a common theme I noticed was that most of them were women. I saw many pages dedicated to lady travelers, such as “Black Girls Travel Too”, and I wondered why a “Black Guys Travel Too” page wasn’t created. I knew one would be created eventually and I decided to be the first take action on the idea.
Because of the creation of this page, I receive direct messages daily, from men and women, along the lines of “Wow, thank you for creating this page. This is needed.” or “Man, I’ve been looking for a page like this! Love what you’re doing.” and it feels good to know that I’m having a positive impact on the traveling community by inspiring other black men to travel as well as providing destination ideas to both men and women. I created Black Passport Stamps simply to have a page that features women as well.
The growth of these brands have been impressive did you expect to see these kind of growth or was it a complete surprise?
Thank you! The community that follows this brand has grown from 0 to about 70,000 people within the last two years and the growth continues. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I started Black Guys Travel Too first. The page grew slowly in the beginning and I debated with myself a few times if i was even worth continuing to post on the page or not, but new people kept following daily, even though it was just a few new followers per day. But at around 5,000 followers, the page started to receive about 100 new followers per day because it was really catching on. And then by 10k, I thought to myself “If I keep going with this, eventually big brands will reach out to me for various reasons. I can’t quit now.” And then I thought, "I need to start another page that features women”, and the rest is history. Surprisingly, Black Passport Stamps is growing three times as fast as Black Guys Travel Too and is projected to reach 100k followers by November of this year.
As an experienced traveler - we're curious to know how many countries have you been to and which would you say are your top 3 countries to visit and why?
I’ve only been to 17 countries and Dubai, Thailand and Bali have been my absolute favorite destinations so far. I could go on and on and on about each one, but Bali is my favorite.
1. It’s a tropical environment. Remember when I said I needed to be in a tropical environment? Yea, exactly.
2. Bali is simply gorgeous, from the Volcanic mountain range to the turquoise blue water beaches.
3. Everything in Bali is so affordable compared to United States! You can literally eat and drink until you pass out from over indulging and only pay $10, at most, for everything. In the U.S? I’d spend $100 - $200 before I start feeling like passing out. Renting a scooter for the day is $4 and gas is $1 to fill the tank. In the U.S? We don’t even use scooters. But, if we did, it would probably be $100 per day and to fill the tank, $10. To rent a simple apartment in Bali with access to a pool is $200 - $300 a month.
4. The Hindu culture of Bali is so strong and in your face, it’s hard to ignore or deny that you’re not “home” anymore. Prayer temples and statues of Buddha are literally everywhere. It’s amazing!
Would there be any advice you'd have for new travelers looking to take off on their first major travel adventure?
Yea, the first bit of advice is to ignore the negative opinions about a destination from people that have never been there, or worse, that have never left the country. A lot of people are quick to say, “Be careful! I heard that place is dangerous!” when they have never been there—99% of the time, you’re safer on that trip than your local city. Of course you should travel with caution, but travel with an open mind and positive expectations.
The second bit of advice is to plan most of your trip before you get there. Of course spontaneity is awesome, as well as living in the moment, but have some of your trip planned out so that you can maximize your time while you’re traveling. I literally don’t sleep in when I’m on a trip. I wake up early and go to sleep late, because I want to see and do as much as possible. You can sleep when you’re home ….or when you’re dead.
What's next for you? Where's your next travel destination?
I don’t have any trips booked currently because I’m saving up to buy a house, but I do plan on visiting Africa by the end of this year. Specifically Morocco and potentially Kenya. I’ve never been, but those two destinations look amazing! I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself and I’ll be able to snap a few nice pictures for the ‘gram as well.
To connect with David visit his channels below!
Also make sure to check out our last Venque Traveler interview here:
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