Girl Gone International (GGI) is not a travel group. I know, you’re probably reeling after reading that statement, but let me explain.
While it might be safe to assume that most of the women in GGI are travelers or have traveled at some point in their lives, there are countless others who are immigrants, migrants, refugees or have moved countries for a reason other than what one might consider typical “travel.”
See, “travel” can be a loaded word. Historically, travel has been marketed as a luxury for a certain subset of people – namely, those from predominantly white and western cultures. Travel (especially that of the vacation or holiday variety) is often reserved for those with passport privilege or expendable income. You can still see evidence of this in the travel influencer space on social media.
Do a Google search for “holiday travel ads” and you’ll be hard pressed to find many people of color represented visually.
Do a Google search for “holiday travel ads” and you’ll be hard pressed to find many people of color represented visually, and if you do, they’re often serving as props or entertaining the “real” travelers. Just take a look at these ads, for example:
That’s why during the month of April we’ve decided to focus on decolonizing travel. We are going to address why some people call themselves expats while referring to others in their same situation as immigrants. And in doing so, we must acknowledge why those who are called immigrants tend to be treated more poorly than those who are considered expats. We will explore what a tourism industry that grew from imperialist beginnings looks like, and dissect the realities faced by people of color as they move about the world.
Girl Gone International is an international community of women who live, have lived, or would like to live outside of their passport country. GGI is not a travel group — we are so much more than that. And this month we get down to the nitty gritty.
Because words matter.
By Vianessa Castaños
Vianessa is a producer, actor and culture & lifestyle writer whose love of history and gastronomy has propelled her to travel the world…until she eventually landed at Girl Gone International where she serves as Deputy Editor.