Digital nomad Wanda Duncan creates a stimulating environment for women like her.
Share this article
Black Women Travel Podcast founder Wanda duncan has been on the move as a digital nomad for six years. She has been everywhere from Ireland to Thailand to Malaysia and currently lives outside Tirana, Albania. But during his interminable travels, Duncan felt that there was still something missing in his life: community.
So, in 2017, Duncan took his first steps towards building this community. And like so many people do in the digital age, she created a Facebook group. “I saw a few other black women who were like me making their own income and traveling as they wanted and I said, ‘I don’t see there’s room for us,’ Duncan says. “I would like to create this.”
Four years later, the group, Black Women Digital Nomadic Entrepreneurs, has over 2,400 members and is thriving. Duncan is proud of the diversity of people who have joined him – there is a wide range of ages, genders, skin tones and physical abilities. Some women have traditional 9 to 5 jobs, while others own online businesses. In the summer of 2019, Duncan decided to create a full-fledged podcast to bring the conversations going on in the group to life. Now, every Sunday, she uploads a new episode of the Black Women’s Travel Podcast, where she and guests discuss all things about being an entrepreneur on the go.
Duncan’s path to digital nomadism hasn’t been an easy one, but it was a life she knew she wanted for herself. She started traveling perpetually in 2010 after five years working at CNN, and moved to El Salvador to pursue volunteer opportunities. However, Duncan felt that living abroad full-time wasn’t for her at first, and she ended up in Atlanta, working odd jobs to make ends meet. But when the travel bug took hold of her again, she decided to be better prepared on her next attempt. After planning aggressively for a year, Duncan left on New Years Day 2016, and this time the movement was going to hold up. She has not returned to the United States since.
However, traveling the world as a black woman presents challenges. Navigating new racial cultural norms can be a mind boggling experience, and for solo travelers like Duncan it can be difficult to find someone to relate to in everyday life. “I have a sense of how people judge and view me,” Duncan says. “Not to say that [racism] doesn’t exist outside of America, but it’s not the same brand or flavor. In some places, I am first seen as American. Being outside of America helps me see myself more clearly.
A huge part of Black women’s trip, and what made it resonate so deeply with listeners was Duncan’s emphasis on mental health and well-being, as in recent episodes titled “How To Maintain A Trustworthy Relationship With Yourself.” And “How to Believe in Yourself and Get What You Want.” “Over the past six years, she’s carved out a community on the road and online.“ Sometimes you’ve chosen a family built around the workplace, built around the specific city you live in, ”explains Duncan. “It’s not as easy as a nomad. One of the questions I ask every guest is, ‘What has helped you overcome the challenges you have faced? Because it’s real and we have them all.
Robin Tillotson, founder of the tailor-made travel company What i do for me (and podcaster herself), is an avid listener and has been a guest of Black Women Travel in 2020. Duncan’s compassionate character is a huge draw to Tillotson. “She cares about the development and growth of black women,” Tillotson says. “[It feels like] you are taken care of, and for so many African American women who work like a dog and in many cases are not paid properly, so that they can be part of a circle of black women led by someone like Wanda, who is supportive, empathetic and attentive, and really thinks deeply about the content she brings to the group – you can feel the love. You can feel the benevolence of the content she brings to the group.
In addition to the podcast, Duncan also hosts events for band members to help them develop their skills and network. In 2020, it is launching the Black Women’s International Travel Jubilee, an event where women can mingle with other entrepreneurs, content creators and influencers. She celebrated the second annual jubilee last December and presented the very first Black Women Travel Awards. To keep the momentum going, Duncan will be hosting a few Mastermind workshops this month to help digital nomads hone their entrepreneurial skills. But most of all, she’s just trying to create a compassionate and empathetic environment to discuss all the nuances of the journey as a black woman. “I think that’s what I’m good at,” Duncan says. “Create safe spaces and see the best in people. The possibility of people.
>> Next: All true book lovers must visit this New York institution