Today, I sit down and talk to Rachel V. Hill. She was named one of 11 Influencial black women in travel that you should know.
Having her on this show is a dream come true.
She’s going to share her story from retiring from her 6-figure job at the age of 27, to traveling the world for 6 years, to retiring as a travel influencer, to running a marketing agency.
Let’s jump into it:
[02:37] Rachel’s travel journey.
Rachel started travelling when she was younger, going on frequent family trips to explore the US – people always assume travelling means taking trips abroad.
Her love for travel came from reading books about fascinating destinations all across the world.
Through her high school international studies program, she was able to take her first international trip to china, and another trip to Italy.
After quitting her job at 27, she started a travel blog, and started the Rachel Travel brand, working alongside travel organisations understand travel from a black perspective.
[07:34] Leaving her ‘good job’ at the age of 27.
Growing up, we’re always told to get a good job, make good money, and get good benefits. Rachel did just that, and quickly realised that she was not happy.
She left her ‘good job’ to travel the world with no set after-travel plan, and luckily it worked out.
A lot of what people see with travel influencers are the beach pictures and drinking margaritas, but many of those influencers still have jobs to pay for those great-looking Instagram feeds.
[14:18] Advice for people who have a passion for travel, but struggle with the mental state of leaving a full-time job.
Rachel enjoyed her job, but she didn’t like the environment. You need to get honest with yourself about what you really want, and align your life with that. Travelling doesn’t have to happen without a job – “you don’t necessarily need to do one or the other.”
[16:21] Rachel’s South-East Asia trip.
After quitting her corporate job and checking the boxed of everyone else’s expectations, she went backpacking in South East Asia, starting in Bangkok, signifying the beginning of her life on her own terms.
[20:02] Becoming Rachel V. Hill.
After getting her feet wet in Bangkok, Rachel took to further travelling to find a way to soothe her anxiety and depression, and her journey has led her to become one of the top black influencers/women in travel.
[20:55] Working through the anxiety of leaving your home town to another country.
A lot of our anxiety and depression is environmental, so if leaving your home for a long overseas trip is a daunting thought, you can start by exploring your backyard. You can challenge yourself and create your own experience by doing smaller trips at first and then stretching that comfort zone.
Every time you change your perspective a little bit, you’ll want to do it more often.
[23:40] Traveling solo to other countries.
Rachel’s study abroad opportunities helped her become more comfortable with solo travel.
Once she started her backpacking journey, there still weren’t many black women travelling solo after leaving corporate America, and she was determined to be transparent about her unique travel story on social media.
[25:58] “Black people don’t do that.”
Rachel has travelled to over 70 countries. The place where she still has the most problems is the US. While she was traveling abroad, it was less about her being a black woman, but being a black person that the people found intriguing.
As a certified scuba diver, Rachel has only recently started meeting more black certified scuba divers. Culturally, there are things that haven’t been actively encouraged as much as the European concept of taking gap years to focus on travelling.
She is steadily changing the tide to create a travel narrative that is more encouraging for black travelers.
There are a few places where a black traveller might be seen once in a while, if at all. Being the only black person that many people may ever see in their lives, there’s a responsibility to change the extreme social media narratives.
[35:55] Keeping it real on social media.
We’ve been indoctrinated into the ‘best of’ image of travel influencers’ social media feeds. Telling both sides of a travel story, including the good and the bad, is more helpful and valuable for the travel experience.
[37:37] Rachel’s 2020.
Rachel relocated to Mexico in the middle of the pandemic, after living abroad for several years and experiencing a culture shock upon returning to the US.
The US moves fast, and she was used to things moving slower, people being more hospitable, and not having the higher expenses.
[40:30] Has travel changed Rachel?
Rachel’s perspective changes the more she travels, including being able to resonate and acclimate with various cultures and beliefs, and be more sympathetic to a wider range of scenarios more easily.
Planting the seeds for others to do the same, rather than having all the views and followers on social media, is what makes someone a real influencer.
[43:46] What does Rachel’s life look like now?
Traveling for 6 years non-stop, Rachel experienced burnout. As fun as traveling is, it’s still taxing on the body, mind, spirit, and security.
Right now, her life has a lot of resting, traveling within Mexico, and working on her marketing agency.
Her mission is to help others do what she’s done and see what she’s seen.
Rachel decided to put everything she knows into a book, which she wrote to help people get some of those insights and build their own influencer brand from there.
Meet Rachel V. Hill
Rachel is a Launch Manager, and Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, helping travel and tourism brands strategise, implement, and conquer up to seven-figure product launches.
Travel Noir named Rachel 1 of 11 Influencial Black Women in Travel That You Should Know. She is a trailblazing travelpreneur, speaker, and published author. She retired from a 6-figure corporate career at the age of 27 to travel the world indefinitely. In 2019, she retired as a travel influencer to run her marketing agency.
She has over 17 years of experience in tech and marketing, spent 6 years working as a travel influencer while traveling to over 70 countries, launched her own six-figure influencer brand, and authored her book, So You Want to Be A Travel Influencer?
Rachel enjoys cheap wines, luxurious experiences, lavender lattes, reading, and scuba diving.
If you want to check out Rachel V. Hill, visit her links below:
Rachel’s book: So You Want to Be A Travel Influencer?
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