Millennial Travel Podcast

USA Road Trips & Gen Z Travel with Gabby Beckford, from Packs Light

Matt Wilson
January 16, 2024

I'm excited to talk with Gabby Beckford, the Gen Z travel blogger, content creator, and marketing strategist behind Packs Light. She helps send her young audience around the world completely free via the funded travel opportunities she shares in her Young Travelers Network. Her words can be found in publications such as Lonely Planet, HuffPost, Essence, and Business Insider. Her mission is to empower young people to seek risk, seize opportunity, and see the world.

Today, I’m thrilled to increase the representation of people of color here on The Millennial Travel Podcast.  Not only is Gabby a bi-racial female, but she hails from Gen Z, and is an already successful 25-year-old! 

I got to speak with Gabby about her blog Packs Light, her success on TikTok, her recent USA Road Trip, and the challenges of her quitting her job to become a full time travel blogger just before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

My favorite part about the conversation was that Gabby is about more than just travel--she is an opportunities coach and has a members only community where she guides people to apply for opportunities like scholarships, fellowships, jobs, travel opportunities, awards, and more.  As Gabby told me, “half of life is just showing up.” 

She gives tips for traveling in the new normal, on her USA trip, how we can increase diversity and inclusion in the travel industry, and how she became mindful at such a young age. It was a real pleasure to get some tips from this Gen Z travel leader! 

In the rapid fire round I ask Gabby: 

  • Her favorite piece of travel gear--packing cubes
  • Her movie to watch on your next flight-- The Hundred Foot Journey
  • Place to revisit- Stockholm, Sweden
  • Place she’s never been but is on her bucket list- Santiago, Chile

Connect with Gabby: 

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or Spotify.

Direct support for The Millennial Travel Podcast comes from The Millennial Travel Guidebook: Escape More, Spend Less, & Make Travel a Priority In Your Life

Auto generated transcript for Millennial Travel Podcast interview between Matt Wilson and Gabby Beckford of Packs Light.

00:00:00 You are now listening to the millennial travel podcast with Matt Wilson.

00:00:06 What's a podcast listeners? Greetings from the four corner regions of Colorado. I am excited to escape the cold in Austin. You might have caught my breakup letter to Austin, Texas. Where I don't know when I will be back but time to get out and explore lab to check out Arches National Park to Canyonlands Lake Powell and really excited about that. Got my daughter over 11,000 feet yesterday. I just four months of age so excited to be out on a good old-fashioned. USA road trip. So I'm coming to you with another episode of first, I quickly wanted to tell you that we do have some openings for our socially distanced under30experiences camping USA.

00:01:06 Trips got some room left out there in Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Zion and Bryce, Canyon to name a few. You can check those out at And if this is the first time that you were hearing this podcast, two of, you will know that your list listening in on the live different podcast. In a special series, the millennial travel podcast which I've officially spun off and is available on iTunes where I'm going to be putting out even more travel contents. Really excited about that about tripled our downloads here on the live different podcast in the last month. And yet just want to say thank you all for the support. Of course of the book, The Millennial travel guide book which I've been overwhelmed with. But yeah, just wanted to say thank you and now let you know that this next episode I know I kicked off.

00:02:06 The millennial travel podcast series with 4 interviews of four white men and how boring is that, obviously that was not intentional. But we are here with a young woman from gen Z and as you will hear more, she is a travel blogger of color and that is so important to get that representation here on the podcast too. And that I'm just thrilled to share with you all about what she was able to to share with me. So without further Ado, get ready for a special episode of the live different podcast from the millennial travel series.

00:02:53 Hello, everyone and welcome. I'm your host, Matt Wilson. And today we are here with Gabby Beckford. She is a gen Z, travel and lifestyle entrepreneur, who specializes in travel tips, writing marketing and seeking opportunities. She did her first solo trip to Iceland at 17 years old and never truly came back home. I'm really excited to talk to yabi because first of all my first trip was to Iceland but about ten years later than she went in life. So I'm really excited that she got a start at a very young age and has been helping other people pursue these types of opportunities ever since. And I am a millennial entrepreneur personally and jenzie already has their own class of travel bloggers and

00:03:53 I was just, you know, it's like one of those things where you co what's this generation doing and of course, I need to pay attention to this 30. So, anyway, Gabby, I'm thrilled to talk to you and you have inspired so many people and Empower them as well with your tedx talk and all this great stuff. So without further Ado, Gabby, welcome.

00:04:21 Hey, Matthew, you so much for that. Warm, welcome. I'm happy to be here. You're hot. You're very welcome. And to your, you're just putting out so much good content, but I'm happy that it is more than just your typical travel contact. If I can describe it to people like that because there are a million blogs that tell you what to do in XYZ destination, but you're really encouraging people to pursue opportunities in an unconventional way you follows an unconventional path yourself. It looks like an inside yet. Now you're you're encouraging, not just encouraging, but also coaching people to do so yourself. So anyway, congratulations on that.

00:05:12 Thank you. Yeah, I just from a young age, have always rejected the status quo, I guess. Like, I've always wondered why I had to pick up all these loans in college. I had to go into credit card, debt to travel, like, who said that? I had to do that. So that was just my motivation for looking for other options to start. I mean, on your website, you talk about how you won more than $75,000 in scholarships, including $40,000 in Study Abroad. Scholarships and, you know, you went to the United Arab Emirates at no personal cost and you graduated with a math degree completely free. So I would love to, I mean I'm jealous because well I I graduated with a what would be considered small amount of student debt in the United States and that was and which to start a business.

00:06:12 When you're already $25,000 in the hole is not an easy thing to do. And this, this looks like, you know, that it looks like this. Then allowed you to be able to go and take risks, that you're doing now, where other people, you just need that steady paycheck. If you have the kind of debt that we're talkin about it and some people if it's hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, could you walk us through a little bit on your mindset and how you decided to approach these opportunities? Yeah, like I had said, I I see your debt in high school before. I even got the college cuz I just hate feeling limited like that, or trapped like that. I hated the thought that it could live by my life though. Financial Freedom is always in something that has been a priority to me. If I had thought that I was going to graduate with a hundreds of thousands of dollars.

00:07:12 Have gotten a degree at all. One of the reasons I even chose to go to colleges because they gave me a scholarship before I like, as I was applying like free, what is it pre approve me for a solid shape that later. Okay. Cuz I really get, I would rather not have a degree and go to YouTube University, then have that so that's what got me. Motivated options. My dad is the one who is still doubted me, he is a first-generation immigrant with Marine Corps since he was seventeen for 23 years. Like not being didn't get as much as much education as he could funded by the Marine Corps. So yeah. So he is just like, don't never owe anyone anything that I had to live like that.

00:08:12 I know now. Yeah, I applied for it and I want it. I go to the ceremony is like four people, and I wish more people have applied and I was like, yeah, it was. What do you mean by that? And he's like, I mean, not to say you didn't have a great application, you deserve it. But we had more spots for the scholarship and you were just one of the only people who applied, so little bit of my head cuz I was like, oh crap, this is awesome. Like, because I thought I just have to show up, like, I don't really have to be counted for the smartest, or rich, or anything to to, like, get this whole thing. I have to show up, like, I can definitely do that cuz I've never really felt like I had a special talent or like, scale or anything that made me unique, but I can definitely show up to some stuff like I'm motivated.

00:09:12 So that's why I started applying to. I fly to 200 scholarships my senior year cuz I was like I'll just show up. Wow. Wow, that's the battle is, is just showing at Yogi Berra, Yogi Berra, the baseball player, not the not the cartoon. Is that half the battle was just showing up. Is that what he said? Half the battle in life. I'm not, I'm not sure, but I've always said. Who said this, too, but luck is just opportunity meets preparation, and I definitely have just force myself to be opportune enough. I'm just in so many places that something's going to happen, right? Right. Well, I was way off because it was Woody Allen who said just showing up as asked about. Also, it's like 90%. So there was a lot to unpack there for your dad from

00:10:09 I mean Dad was born at in Jamaica. Jamaica.

00:10:16 I went, I think once or twice with him when we were younger, I haven't been as an adult and I really want to go back, but it's funny that Jamaica's one of the only places that are allowing Americans in right now to the covid-19. Like, you know, if this is a time, maybe this is a sign to go back to, I'll try to keep us on our current topic. But a little bit later, I would love to pick your brain. On some places for people of color, want to discover their Heritage and and stuff like that to travel cuz it's so important. But I want to stick with what we're talking about right now opportunities and you are now you're encouraging other people to do the same and and just show up. But I want to go back to what's your parents instilled in you and again, when you decide

00:11:16 Like I saw on your Instagram, I mean you're all over social media and you have this, I believe it's a downloadable Excel spreadsheet for people who are trying to show up and they're trying to eat, you can explain the spreadsheet. It's the opportunity spreadsheet that you have and it's just like a system of follow-up. It looks like, but you systematized this now for yourself. Could you, could you share that with others for me? Yeah, I think maybe it's just an experience or not that confident. And when they applied to any opportunity, whether it's a job or an internship or to be someone's Apprentice, whatever. Like, oh my God, what do I do? What do I do next? If I apply, what if they don't respond, what then, what do I do? It's just so many what if it gets overwhelming, and then they end up doing nothing which turns into not showing up, which is

00:12:16 Maybe I don't like like to show up. So I really tried to make the thought process as smooth as possible, so that when you come upon an opportunity or not just instantly overwhelmed by the house, it's just like, all right, what do I do? I'm going to fly, whatever the form, or email, whatever it is. I work with, like, hosting people to pitch things like that, come and fly. Now, what make sure that you put the dated and the type of athletes have type of opportunity is and then you wait a week and if they haven't followed up, if it's an email, then you can follow up with them if its submission form. I have like a different branch process where if you've done for me, if you can follow up with any point of contact, if they had to make sure my application was received and really said about this opportunity, I have had some extra info in case you need it. Thanks to things like that. Like so that no matter what the opportunity is, it's so clear, the ways that you can make yourself. Just obviously the most logical choice for.

00:13:16 For the opportunity and that people remember you and even if you don't get the opportunity that you're memorable and that's one of the reasons why I have the spreadsheet to is that you can color code every type of opportunity and you can look back at September and say, oh there's a lot of green in this. That means I applied to a lot of fellowships and then all those green ones, have green next to them, which means that I was successful. I should find more of those things like that. I'm so really. You have. Yeah, you just have every question that you can have the opportunities in my, even being successful. Maybe that's one thing people like, I feel like everything I do want to fly more. Look at your spreadsheet. What does it say? Actually, you were successful ones who are the five things you apply to. So you're being doubtful for no reason, you should keep applying things like that. And yeah I just think that data. That's why I have the math degree. They just never lies and it just so valuable to have

00:14:16 From going through some of your social media, this morning, that stuff, that you've been applying to personally and then you'll feel share it with the people who follow you, but you mention scholarships, you mention fellowships. But what else is out there for people to apply to

00:14:34 Oh my God. It's really infinite. And that's why I get so excited as people like, well, I'm too old. I don't want to see what you have is not for me. And like, all right, let me bring up the list, there's International competitions like some competitions or design competition. There is a national conferences, youth conferences like career field conferences, exchange programs, fellowships job positions, obviously internships leadership programs. I'm in international business incubator right now. I just got accepted to like yesterday, just really. I mean anything, you can think of crazy, but like, photography contest entrepreneurial contest, start up. It's just literally infinite. I started off in trouble cuz I want people to travel. And then the more research I did, I was like, oh, this is a poetry contest, but the winner gets to fly to Rome for a week and speak at a conference. So,

00:15:34 Well that's great. Yes speaking engagements are big one that you can apply to and different Wards as well. A lot of people don't know this but these big list that you see under30experiences has has made one recently, the Inc. 5000, it's literally the fastest 5000m growing private companies in America in, and they list the five thousand of them. But it's something that you need to apply for and sure that they'll reach out and ask you to apply. If they, if they've heard a few cuz they want the list to be prestigious and all that, but there's a Ward's for, as you said, poetry. But if you yet your writer or a blogger podcast,

00:16:23 Book awards brightest. I just finished writing a book and but there is all sorts of stuff that you can apply to. And it's it's a way also, for ProPress, but also credibility. And you're at least the title was about dilute or the topic at least was about to lose signal confidence, and it seems like you just caught me, sure, half the battle is showing up but you also have a mindset that you're going to win. It seems, or at least you. Maybe you had to coach yourself through this and a lot of people don't show up, right? Because they don't think that they're going to win or they think I'm just spinning. My wheels issue of this is a waste of time. So what do you say to to people who think like that?

00:17:16 Is it makes me so frustrated when people think like that makes really sad, actually confident like are the most talented or are the most motivated are most likely to win. It's usually the people who have every reason to be confident that are not and there's so much behind. Usually it comes down to other people telling you that you're not like you shouldn't be so content, don't be cocky. Especially being a woman. You get like well she is she's a big head, she's bossy. Should we get a lot of that stuff? So I really try to tell people that the lack of confidence is 90% in your head. Whether that's from being told that you should be confident, are your own self-confidence issues, whatever intent of it, 10% of it may actually have to do with actual life, maybe, 10% of it is you're literally not qualified. Maybe you're not going to get accepted because you are literally not qualified but not

00:18:16 If it's in your head and it really comes down to me, if it's in my head you can still feel it, you can feel anxious and scared and having side and things like that. But it's just in my head, I can choose to ignore it, I can choose to be terrified and still apply and like the physical. I don't know the reality that I am capable and Abel and deserving and like qualified. All that stuff doesn't change too cuz I'm scared of it. So I I've always had the mindset that I deserve great things because why would I not like why would I don't deserve great things like to believe that I do. But

00:18:58 Yeah. It's just it's just if you can maybe through experience, you find that. If you ignore the voices in your head to do things anyway, you buy it. Buy Spirit by the day that will show you like, at the one in twice, and fifty times. And now, I have my own business and now and you're still have the same fears, but you're just successful. Anyway, you have three things popped into my head, I don't know what to ask for, okay, I'm going to, I would like to go back to something that you said subtly but that women who are the start of four as Sheryl Sandberg would say who leaned in Vegas can be perceived as bossy or you didn't say 50 but you know, you could you talk a little bit more

00:19:58 But I I certainly feel it. Meaning I feel it from women around like my wife struggles with this, for example. So what is it about our culture? That makes things right? With our women raised differently? Perhaps, or perhaps your parents just said, no, I'm going to teach my little girl to do this and she's, you know, it doesn't matter if people think she's bossy. So, could you talk a little bit more about that? Why that's it? A lack of a better term, a thing in our society,

00:20:39 Yeah, that's that's so tough. I mean if you ever want to get like real real deep into it, you really going to get deep into it. If we have lived I mean the West has lived it like patriarchal society for thousands upon thousands of years like a b c. I I think it's because I'm in Jesus if you were the strongest guy in the village and everybody else and now you're the winner. Like that's just kind of like a primal like caveman type thinking out of the strongest. Boom, boom, like I'm in charge right. And now bronze may not mean as much if I have more money than you or if I'm smarter than you. So now he's kind of evolved away from Bruce strength and into like thoughts which women are super super good at like

00:21:39 We have many ideas were very emotionally intelligent and it where and all that stuff in. Like the best way for people who are in power to keep their power is to diminish those things. So women are so emotionally intelligent and how come they're still self-aware. How come they can express their emotions? I hate that shitt. So I'm just going to call it being emotional as being weak and being intelligent is being bossy and being a leader in. Women is a negative thing, the Violetta leader, and then it's positive thing cuz cuz caveman punch Rock. Like, it's just

00:22:12 It's like a it's like a I don't know if it's like honestly it's a defense mechanism for men to keep feeling like men is how I feel. So tell him it like in grade school the best way like people who want to feel better about themselves off and put others down. That's kind of what we're saying. Here's the same exact thing instead of uplifting male, patriarchy, and male male culture, I guess it's just easier and kind of lazy. But as you said, my parents, thank God. I don't know how I got. So lucky to have two parents by dads from Jamaica. My mom is like white white from the, from the rural parts of California, but they got together and both of them somehow agreed that. Yeah, we're going to teach our kids to be bad. Bitches. Me and my sister grew up like gutting, fish. And don't worry about your hair and things like that.

00:23:12 Anyting traveling like yeah, just all that stuff. So, I just got lucky that, I never had the voice in the back of my head or the I mean, very upfront in my face. My parents are family telling me girl sent you that girls take up less space girls are quiet know my parents, like you up just be a force and we'll do what we can. Also I am looking forward to. Thank you very much. It's it's, it's really been amazing and my wife and I have even said boo and not in a bad way but she's going to be bossy, right? Because she tells us exactly what she need to know. She's a baby. There's only so many ways that she can communicate with us and we don't say it in a bad way, right? That she's going to be bossy, but we we really hope to raise to a confidence assertive young women.

00:24:11 Young woman and I wanted to ask you it in there. You said something. Also interesting, you did say, you know, caveman punch Rock and it is about the patriarchy. And I totally agree with all of that. But also women cutting down other women and they'll be a lot of fat and on social media recently, there was a trend or I, I don't know what you call it, but you make a video and then you send it to your your friends and you encourage them to to post and the theme. If I'm getting this correctly was I'm a woman and might have been just a woman for women of color. I'm not sure. But it was that we don't tear down other women and we come together and we'll use our power.

00:25:11 Collectively rather than in competition with each other. So, maybe could, could you talk a little bit about why that exists in our society as well? Cuz you've you elaborated so nicely on the first part of to hear about why that exists within women.

00:25:34 Yeah. Unfortunately we don't have enough patriarchal society whether it's right or wrong and women who like you said, just kind of default to cutting down other women instead of working on themselves and bring themselves, up are still a victim of patriarchy. At the end of the day, it's not, it's really not.

00:25:54 A woman problems but the proximity to maleness and specifically white male this is still perceived as successful in like a positive thing in the country. So weak I mean on social media and then young people take me home take me home because I like yeah I like trying to I don't know, like Pet Meds, you go and try to make men feel better about the negative things they say about other women. And honestly it's just a defense because it's a thing it is to hear women trying to appease man so that I can be accepted by men not realizing that you may be a victim of that yourself. So it's not not saying that it's a bad thing to be insecure in general. But good, the deflection that the like,

00:26:51 I'm going to pick on other women is, is not.

00:26:55 Is. Yeah, it's just honestly being a victim of the patriarchy. And then I like being friends, like the ones, you mentioned, because their women who do it subconsciously like, oh, she's a bitch. I don't, I don't think further than that but seen translate that they can take. Maybe I said that out of insecurities and not

00:27:12 That I actually hate her now that I think about it. I don't actually think anything about her. It was more about me and those Trends help women who may be stuck in that mindset because of their environment to see that really interesting. And okay, Gabby. So you just turned 25 years old and I will tell you when I was twenty-five years old. Well, first of all, I hadn't been to many places at that time, I was working. And, you know, how to call the Jen doing the traditional past because I had my own business, but still chasing the things that you chased. When you're 25 I have, I wasn't traveling where I didn't understand mindfulness, which you really seem to have really seem to have embraced. And you just seem very aware from the things that you just, of course, explain to and that again, that you share on.

00:28:11 And maybe the world and I hope the world has evolved so much in the last ten years since I was 25 or 24, whatever. But

00:28:25 if you know what mindfulness is, of course, becoming more popular and a topic that many more people are are into and has to write. But how did you become to understand these Concepts and be mindful yourself?

00:28:46 That's a really good question, I think.

00:28:51 I've always been very aware of myself in my own experience in life, so I maybe it will feel when I was in high school. I always felt like I didn't fit in a side of her high school, but I was like, I used to travel so much and I'm in this really small town, like Confederate flags everywhere and only care about football and stuff. Like, I was like, I was aware that. Yeah, this isn't really my vibe. And I think that being aware of my own self and might, how I was feeling has translated into being aware of how other people are feeling, and being aware of what I like. And don't like any. I just really starts with yourself and then it's education. I, I've never had an issue with Googling things or fighting a book like I'll just post, I think. I remember being a senior in college and posting on Facebook and saying,

00:29:50 I really want to make sure I have the best college experience. What book should I read and people will suggest eight books and I'll buy one from Amazon. Just read it. So I have never had a fear of asking questions are taking advice or yeah, criticism from other people and that just adds to it. Just the more information that you can funnel into yourself. Just helps you. I just said this yesterday, I forgot who I was talking about my reading books and that kind of helps. You save time, in learning, if that makes sense that you can trial and error in your love life, and that may take a year olds or 10 or whatever to learn that lesson. But if I can learn a lesson from other people's experiences that kind of thing for the time. So I'm definitely a proponent of

00:30:42 Sucking it as much information as possible for you, good for you, and thank you for sharing that with the with other young people because I wish I had this information when I was in my early twenties but the world has evolved in and people like yourself for taking advantage of. Oh yeah. Really grown. Grown up with, for the most part, and we're seeing just positive change in the world. It seems I missed all. Of course the darkness. We're all feeling right now. We're talking right now on September 4th of 2020. And yeah I mean like I think a lot of us would just like to fast-forward to 2021 real quick be done with this year but and and I swear we'll we'll get some more light Topics in the in the podcast in a few minutes but

00:31:42 Gabby, you're you're very unique person. It seems, I mean, you just mentioned and of course you you breezed over it. But I do want to ask you in and I swear we won't talk about racing and all of it, the heavier stuff. The whole time because you have you have so much to offer on the the super fun part of traveling and all this. But so you've mentioned that your biracial and also from the south where there's there's Confederate flags around from Virginia that I am. I getting that right? First of all, for the past, almost 10 years, okay? Cuz one of the things that was definitely, I need to is what it's like in the travel industry in particular, which is just

00:32:37 I mean, it's mainly like there's so much colonialism, it's mainly targeted, it started for people. I mean white people for 4 and the original Travelers, right? Were most likely men who were, I mean, okay if you if you want to talk to find the food and the women were at home with the kids and maybe for sitting and and stuff like that, but, you know, this of course, but still is mainly aimed at people who come from really privileged backgrounds, but where we're seeing a shift and we're also starting slowly to see a shift in the travel industry. So, I'd love to hear just what your experience has been as a woman of color in the tree.

00:33:37 Industry.

00:33:40 I like you said, I was going to disagree with you, but then I actually agree with you, that I'm pretty unique and I definitely think I don't

00:33:51 I don't have the standard perception of being a woman of color in the travel industry. Number one because of that door has no confidence thing. Like there's so many things. I'm sure that I filter out or ignore or choose not to dwell on that other people don't have the privilege of breathing over and that's because of my skin tone in my hair texture and all things like that. So I don't have the standard experience by any means but my periods has been and it's the other thing. Sometimes I can't tell if people are being sexist or racist or ages, or there's so many, so many ways to be like, I don't know when I get a little bit of prejudice and like things are you thinking right now? But my experience has overall,

00:34:45 From my followers been really positive. I don't get he comments or like weird messages or anything like that very often. And he knows, like I said, maybe, it's because my brain is literally, I will do what I need to do and be positive about it and I maybe that's it. But in terms of community, I really have a great day. I love that. I do get the occasional

00:35:14 white guilt followers will message me and be like, hey, I'm so sorry about slavery, but I'm like, you didn't help me end racism and I just kind of things like that which are just uncomfortable, maybe that's more that I I in mine. I've done a lot of people who try and fail to be inclusive or a diverse, and it's the kind of awkward and uncomfortable and I don't really get as much hate or aggression. Yeah, in my experience, but in terms of working with Brands, it's definitely been limiting. I've been pitched firebrand1 X Lily pitch by Brandon hop on the phone, and I like your Instagram and they're like, oh, so what are you like a student? And then like, oh no, I meant like I didn't give your hair curly in this instance, it was straight before and had to have that discussion, like things like that. Just

00:36:14 A lot, a lot, a lot of ignorance has been. Yeah, well, first of all, my condolences, but I'm sorry to hear that. There's people out that life out there in the world like that, but if we focus, I guess just on Solutions. Do you have any ideas on how just how people really? Okay, could be people in the travel industry. We're just Travelers in general. Can try to support an end, be more inclusive and perhaps spend their money in the right places that support of more equal and diverse travel experience.

00:37:13 Yeah, absolutely, that's that's what I was going to say and follow up is that that's why I do what I do and that's why I'm so public with my life and my travels. I was saying, I'm actually the one of my friends on social media, at least job, my other friends loves to represent black travel orders, that experience that I just told you about. Maybe someone else could not, could not have said, it would have been just terrible. So I think I have the mindset and the whatever privilege and confidence to be able to be like, yeah, that was messed up but I'd rather take that that have someone else take that. So that's why I do. What I do is representation. I think that's a huge part of it. I always tell Brands when they asked me, to even ask me a lot recently representation in your marketing is important. What do you think it is? Or not like, oh well we do so much behind the scenes. Why does it matter if we have a black person?

00:38:13 Marketing it does, it just does because what good is it? If it's behind the scenes to not have any diversity, it seems like very intentional and a lot of energy to say only by people but say no to her only black person come in for the shoot, it's just weird. So yeah, diversity in marketing, I just mentioned this to somebody that no matter where you go, you may go to the Fountain and think there's no black history here. Like what are you talking about? And if you just do a little bit of this, a little bit of effort, you're going to find out that someone a black inventor was born there and has a history there or a huge Civil Rights Movement happen. There that sparked. The largest civil rights move. I just can't find that in Farmville Virginia. Very empty, literally Farm Thai place and they had a small

00:39:13 High School Roblox High School in the 1950s, that had their first like lots of students and stuff, for better education and better access education in Farmville in that little spark, the Civil Rights Movement, you go to Farmville in fine, if it's there. So I always say, it's look for black history to find it and it's really not like this. I call it story and not just his story. The story that we were, we get sold and businesses or money to small black businesses, especially now they need it, and I had to have this conversation with someone yesterday to be, kind to Black Travelers. When you see them enough, people go out of their way to be unkind. So and then I follow up with that with an asteroid that says and don't

00:40:08 Adult only do it so you can get a. Thank you. So if you see a black traveler get on a tour bus and y'all going to group trip and there's no the black people and you see them kind of stand there and they're like all right where am I going to sit as used to have no idea how much anxiety, simple things like that are you can just do the smallest things to be like, yeah, sit next to me. How are you? Hey how are you doing a black person? Who is by themselves, or feel out of place? So I always say when in doubt just be super nice and if you don't get the thank you or the response that you think you deserve then.

00:40:45 Yeah, you need to think about why you think it is her that I'm so happy that you said that because somebody right if the classic as you open the door and and somebody's walks through and they don't know, why did you open the door? Did you do it out of the kindness right? Or did you do it because you were looking for that instant gratification so encouraging people to just be kind, regardless, write shocker? Yeah. It's and then we have to think, like, oh well, as you said, I'm so much better than that person because I'm polite, right? Like a person, like a bad day, that's really. Where they think the white saviorism comes from just the term. Is that like you do something nice and you hold out your hand in the first was like, what? Like will I just did something I so

00:41:45 What do I get? That's not how it works at all and I'm glad you said that too. Is that a black person traveling? You don't know what the heck? They could have gone to any traveler. Honestly, you don't have a date. They had a flat tire or whatever, but, especially being black. Like, I could have just been like, hurled insults and stuff, and now, someone holds the door and I'm supposed to be like so much. Maybe I can't say thank you to everybody for her and she has the same last name as a Mexican drug dealer and guess what? The last name is Garcia. So guess what? They? Harass a lot of people through through the car. Whatever? Right. So they

00:42:45 Airbags like yeah, she probably should get a little pass if she's a little grumpy or something, not that my wife is ever cranky but you know I mean you just don't think of what it's like for for other people. So yeah, thank you for telling everybody that and a great tip. So I want to get to I guess some of the lighter stuff I had lined up thinking about wanted to to ask you. And one of the things that well is very topical, of course, has our friend covid, who is sticking around? Covid is, is lighter than racism, I guess. But, you know, the, The New Normal and you just got back from a road trip, I am currently on a row.

00:43:45 Trip. And if it had been in my opinion, if it had been a month or two or three of quarantine, right? I I would be under I would be understanding right? But now we're talkin about. We're going on 6 months and there are a lot of businesses that need our support and a lot of people who need to work and people who just need to get out because it's not healthy for people to be in quarantine and we do need Vitamin D. I'm not saying we all need to go to the same Beach and crammed in there and or go out dancing and grinding up on each other, right? That's totally unacceptable for right now, but it's socially distance, to travel and places, especially to rural starts, which by the way, don't get, I know, you know this, but for the listeners, don't get as much obviously, don't get as much.

00:44:45 Economic traffic to finances. All of this world tourism has always needed our support. And yeah, I would love to just hear a little bit more about your road trip that you just got back from. And one of the things that you said online was you probably never would have taken a trip like this. If it wasn't for covid, but you're happy that you did. So yeah, I looked for you for you to tell us about that a little bit.

00:45:15 Yeah, I just wrote the title of an article yesterday that I'm going to ride this cold. I hate road trip, I hate domestic travel. So hear somebody to week road trip went and I brought my friend Grace, who did all the driving. So I paid for all the gas in it and like snacks and stuff. I really hate driving. So, I've never been interested in a road trip to do a cross-country road trip, and I just have been, if I'm going to send $500, I'm going to fly to London instead of La the same cost. While if the US will be, here I go by. I was just like that person and I attribute part of it to being young with our other part of it. So, just being privileged that I could have a passport that lets me have countries like that and

00:46:12 That I have the like the know how to not be terrified to do, go to a new country, things like that, but then covid hits and I and I talked about how I was an extra saying that I quit my job and I'm going to travel the world. So it was an extra saying that covid shutdown. Literally the Travel Inn events industry. Very very personally. I felt like so I had to deal with that emotionally but they once I got past that this is a new normal delusional confidence. If I say, I'm a flexible adventurous traveler, I really feel like I have to live by that and doing a road trip and it going locally with something that maybe was at the bottom of my bucket list. But now I feel that thing upside down. So of course, proved myself, completely wrong, had an amazing time did things that were that I would have thought were only possible across the other side of the world, but they were only two hours from my house. Change my complete perspective, I was eating frog legs.

00:47:12 It had tasted really good that were in Giles County. This is so good. I'm still very confused by that. I was kayaking through Mount, like, big mountains on both sides of me in Virginia. That looks like it could be in Sri Lanka. Just looks like, like, either one of those Blue Waters with the time of the big tower in rocks, on both sides and Thailand's, like something I am so glad that part of me is like a God I was so dumb. But the other part of me is that is is glad that I did it and glad that I am able to prove myself wrong and like it cuz it's yeah it was incredible. And in like you had mentioned the small businesses and smaller World, destinations really do. Need our help, they were all so, so, so nice. Another thing I was worried about was raised in like, all right, the black girl in the Asian gong to be in the middle of the country. Or are we going to be okay? We we actually were it was very surprising to me. I don't think I would have been able to go out there on my own for that reason. Is that

00:48:12 Anxiety would have stopped me but we had a great time in some of the most virile Parts like border or in Kentucky. And it was just a really great time. ATV and course, back riding Winery, drinking rock climbing at, just everything outside. Like you said, socially distanced, I felt safer there than I did at Target, and it was three hours away. It was just, it was just awesome. I highly recommend it proved yourself like I did to myself. That's really cool. That you said that you were secure safe for your safe or out in his nature. Way safer out in nature that you are going to Target. Or I heard my brother said. All right, I got to go, I got to go to the grocery store. I was like, 2 to go to the grocery store like we have Amazon, but yeah, it what I think you had an article on this, or you have such good contact also.

00:49:12 What people can do? Oh, I think it was Instagram or you probably tunicate it to different places and I saw that you had a very nice rundown of how people can keep themselves and others safe while traveling post-pandemic. So, could you give some quick tips to our listeners? Please

00:49:34 yeah, definitely like you had said,

00:49:40 Being socially distant going out into nature road, tripping over flying. There's really no need to fly anywhere that's within, like I said, 500 miles, it's a quick drive to bring your own cleaning material so I can only talk for Virginia, but our state is doing the best best best. They were handing out mask that like restaurants. They're really great. So carrying around PPE, keeping your social bubble small. I travel with my friend Grace, who is one of my best friend? And I know that she hasn't been in the clubs recently and I know that she hasn't done anything, maybe now is not the time to take on a 10-person road trip with 9 acquaintances. Maybe it's the time to go with your family or small groups. And I I've seen things that the national parks are getting overwhelmed trash and stuff and like just like the traffic has been hard to deal with. So please, if you're going to be outside,

00:50:40 Beard beard decent human being. Please do not put your shoes back on the ground. I will come find you, we need this. We cannot afford to have them close national park because there's nothing left for us. So, please be a good person and clean up after yourself. And, like I said, I'd rather fly to Malaysia then drive 400 miles. But if you were to be surprised, just how much there is near you national park at the Four Corners region of the United States. But it's south west Colorado, and there were so few people. There, it was incredible and yet we don't all have to go to Yellowstone, right? And there is also I believe I've heard of a report of a new, a new

00:51:40 Car reservation system that supposed to come out so people can take ya. People can look out for that and I've also heard that because under30experiences this fall is going to start to run some Yosemite trips but our guides have been out to Yosemite and seeing that it's been half full and they've said that, you know, you never get to Yosemite Valley in know, there's always traffic and in the summer time and so they said the animals were coming out. And yeah, they've never seen or why is life? So he really, really, there's opportunity. And we have such a massive country here in the United States to explore that we are. We're really lucky in that way, right? Imagine being quarantined and very small country, where there wasn't a lot to be able to go out and you can get away from people. So yeah, we're definitely Lucky in that regard.

00:52:38 Yeah, I have also seen similar to the car, rental systems RV, rental systems like that. And that would be great. Maybe I've only heard that the national parks out here are getting to overrun because like Virginia, very, very City in there that you only a few near us. So we definitely rushed the same National Park. But if you're out in the midwest in the, in the west, yeah, there's so much room. So if you find an RV that you can take and if you have the flexibility to work from home, which a lot of us do the right now. I would die to be out there. I just had a friend Jeff from chubby Diaries. Do a road trip around like Mount Rushmore and oh my God. I'm just driving and I just drive in DC traffic. So I did forget that life could look like that. Even for space away. So yeah it's just shock yourself with the things that the country has

00:53:38 Wrap up fairly soon here, but I wanted to ask you something that I think it is really great that you started, and it's the young Travelers Network. And I'm, I'm so sad to hear. I am too old for the young Travelers, Travelers Network. And I said, dang, but from what I can see, is actually very welcoming place and a really great resource. So could you tell people little bit for about that if they want to check it out?

00:54:13 Yeah, so I have the young Thomas Network on Facebook. You can search that it is a but like you said, it's really not my job. They usually just join, but it's definitely the, the mission of it is to find people in a certain life phase and have them be able to relate to each other without having like, my dad be like, you're dumb. You know what? I'm not like that. So it's supposed to be for young people to share their worry about. How am I going to tell my parents? I want to travel after quarantine like this. Pandemic is our biggest dream ever. Like to tell me that I can't travel like me cuz I like, how can I talk to my parents and they just have people share advice for that. So I I've Loved when conversations like that, go off.

00:55:13 I have been, I really try to carry a very purposeful intentional community and that's why there's a slim and it's private. I don't have a thousand people who are really needing the help and really communicative and stuff and have 10 million people and it took over on with, like ad. So yeah, it's a really nice group, everyone's super nice in it. I love F. I have like this thing where everyone post an introduction post, they post photos and people, I was just so excited to join and connects out. We have a live chat, every two weeks. And the last one I think was on who has the craziest travel story in this? What am I friends actually from VCU. She did a Fulbright Grant and studied in Russia and she had this crazy story where she like got kicked out of his stuff and yeah, it's

00:56:03 Is it pretty fine Community? I love it. I love it. And I have the interview people from within my network. And yeah, there is a 19 year old who decided to drop out of college and move to Antarctica, and be an architect photographer. And she just tell the story like whatever. And there was a girl who like a terrible car crash when she was in Asia and how she was scared to fly on planes and stuff for a long time. After that, the how she overcame that like, they're just young people giving such a crazy. And I just tried to Rally them all into one Community to share that. That's, that's awesome. And I know you have another another Community where you actually go through. And I don't know if coach has the right word, but you hold people accountable to apply to all these opportunities that you mentioned. So they could find that as well.

00:57:00 Yeah, that is my packlite 365 membership and called 365 cuz every day all day every year we should be opened opportunities coming to us and you can find that pacs light 65. It's a monthly membership, 15 bucks a month. But like you said, it's accountability. Everyone keeps telling each other accountable and you get access to the master list, which is where I share. Right now, I just kind of this morning. I have like, 40 grants and programs, and scholarships and stuff to travel. And 87%, it completely funded, like, completely you apply and they say, yes. And they fly you out and hotels and program, and everything. So, they're just say hi. I love it because it helps me travel accessible to the people. That just may not be accessible to otherwise. And the great thing about it is this pandemic, it's crazy. But a lot of these programs either have you if their days were in 2020,

00:57:59 21 or they just moved all of its 2021. Anyway. So you'll be traveling in 2021 but it will still be free and awesome. So yeah. To do a couple quick rapid fire questions.

00:58:15 Yes, let's do it. All right so I am going to well it's a rapid fire. A kind of hot seat around so I'll ask you. Just threw some really simple questions and you can just spit out. The first thing that comes to your mind to. All right.

00:58:31 So, what is one piece of gear that you cannot travel without?

00:58:39 Oh, I have a secret. Those little bags. Those those packing packing bags. Do I get it? I get it. So there is there a special breed with the with the packing cubes. Okay, Gabby up a movie that you would encourage everyone to download for. Well, the next time they need to sit on a bus or maybe in the backseat of a friend's car.

00:59:12 The 100 foot journey that you would love to visit. If you got stuck in Groundhog's Day and you just had to do this one day of travel over and over again. Where would you, where would you wake up?

00:59:35 Stockholm Sweden, amazing. Oh my God. I have not been paid. And last question, I need to know a place that you've never been on your bucket list.

00:59:51 Santiago Chile. They have they have the biggest pool in the world at Delmar de Alfonso or something. At the biggest pool in the world. I definitely want to spend 15 minutes trying to get to the middle of it is 21. And I'm going to find this pool.

01:00:17 I know that you're going to go before I never mind it's okay. Well I will let you know how it is but I won't give you directions. I'll give you a let you find that on your own because that is half the adventure. If if I understand your travel style correctly and it is now, definitely go and send me pictures to make me jealous that forces me to go for myself. Awesome, a lot of fun. As I've mentioned, you are all over social media, and if people want to reach out to you connect to out, we already gave them URLs, which will be in the show notes at Millennial travel podcast., yes, we will allow Gabby who hails from gen Z on to Millennium travel podcast. Calm, but we'd love to know where can people reach out to you if they want to interact?

01:01:18 I am super active on Instagram by stories are super candidate will save you with my crazy hair when I wake up in the morning. So message me on Instagram for sure, if you really want to interact and get advice from all sorts of young Travelers, it's it's really great. Awesome. Thanks for doing what you do. It was really pleasure to talk to you today.

01:01:42 It is great to be here. Thank you again. Matt, this was so fun.

01:01:48 Podcast listeners. Did you enjoy that Unique Piece Of Travel content? If so I got a couple ask for you, if you are not already a subscriber to the live different podcast, I would really appreciate that. You just have to hit the button. Subscribe and that believe it or not, helps boost me in the rank there on Apple Store Stitcher or Spotify or wherever y'all are listening. So I would really appreciate that. And if you go over to rate and review, of course, if you can I would be super appreciative. But if you can go over and search Millennial travel podcast, the Apple podcasts store that would be awesome as well. And if you could do the same that would help me kick off where I'm going to be adding exclusive travel contents. I'm not just going to be

01:02:48 Long interviews yet. I'm going to be posting the relevant podcast but I got a ton of awesome podcast fingers and it finally. If you liked all that good stuff you are going to love the millennial travel guide book available on Amazon, Audible and Kindle all that I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for your support. Go team.

01:03:18 I don't know why I said that that was done next week.

Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30Experiences and Author of The Millennial Travel Guidebook: Escape More, Spend Less, & Make Travel a Priority in Your Life. He is host of the Live Different Podcast, Millennial Travel Podcast, and formerly Co-founder of He is committed to helping people live more adventurous lives.


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