Our mission is to help Black people across the diaspora to reflect, return and be restored through travel experiences, education, and expression.
Since 2017, we have been visiting West Africa – bringing small and large groups to experience the beauty of Africa by learning history; seeing contemporary life; tasting traditional and fusion cuisine; dancing and vibing to afrobeats, drums, live music; visiting museums and historical sites; and experiencing natural beauty from waterfalls to some of the best beaches in all of the continent. And along the way, we’ve met great people and partners – small business owners, young entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, NGO and community leaders.
To restore is to give something previously stolen, taken away, or lost back to the original owner or recipient. Our beloved W.E.B. Dubois wrote, “one ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” It is our desire to support African Americans to return home to Africa where our ancestors once stood and have that belonging to be reflected in their mind, expression and way of life.
Travel Enthusiast. Pan African. Advocate. Strategist.
I WENT TO WEST AFRICA AND FELL IN LOVE…
Nkyinkyim (n. chin. chim) an Adinkra symbol that means “twisting” – representing the tortuous nature of life’s journey.
Since I was a little girl, I’ve had a longing to travel to Africa. When I was a child, my father was an organizer with the American Friends Service Committee. He traveled to the African continent as part of his role with the Martin Luther King Anti-Apartheid Coalition. I’ve always remembered his stories fondly, in my mind imagining the vibrant colors and music, tasting the spicy and rich flavors of the food, and sweeping views of mountains and beaches, and of course, the welcoming people. I was probably about 10 when he told me about a city called Abidjan, “the Paris of Africa!” I just knew that traveling and being in Africa was going to be part of my journey.
Fast Forward. After building a career as a youth advocate, policy strategist and social justice organizer, Africa called me home. In 2016, my vision board captured the life I’m living today. There was a cut out of the words “travel deeper” from a random magazine, a photo of Kente cloth, and words in my own handwriting, “order my steps.” It took many years for me to finally make the journey – and I started with Ghana with my father the following year. That journey was divinely ordered, I met one of our business partners, and my partner for life Guy Fabrice Douo. That same vision board is still unfolding, in part through Travel Deeper Inc.
First, Accra and then Ghana stole my heart. On that first return I was being restored and I had to spread the word! My calling was to help more of my family and friends to travel to West Africa and experience what I had – a sense of belonging and joy. On our first full day in Accra, our driver, Moses, took us to Oxford Street in Osu. As we walked up and down, stopping into shops and taking in the vibe, Dad stumbled upon a shop that he liked, and he wanted me to see what they had. It was a typical gift shop filled with African clothes, trinkets, and art. The shirt he wanted wasn’t in his size and the owner, Guy, let him know he could make one for him. He took our measurements because I wanted something too! We chatted a bit and Guy let us know he was from Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Three years later, I would recall this encounter, and smile… remembering my dad’s words as a child, Abidjan (aa·buh·jaan).
For the next two years, I shared itineraries with strangers and fellow travelers, connecting them with folks that I met in my travels, and planning trips with and for family. At some point, my aunt said to me “your passion is what you spend your time and energy on regardless of compensation. This is your passion.” Guy and I also kept in touch. His business, Zionland Creation, was growing. While based in Ghana, Zionland works with about a dozen artisans from across West Africa. I knew there was a demand for made in Africa products (especially apparel and accessories) in the US – and to be able to source authentic African drip – was a dream.
The wheels began to turn and in the chaos and quiet of the pandemic, Travel Deeper Inc. was formally founded in May 2020. Starting with an online store and vending at pop-ups in Washington, DC, we slowly introduced Travel Deeper Inc. and invited future travelers to learn about West Africa. In December 2021, we began our travel services and since then have curated experiences for 100 people to various countries in West Africa; and have engaged hundreds more through our virtual and in-person events and partnerships.
To me, traveling deeper is more than just the physical travel to Africa, it is also about a generational and interpersonal journey of coming home to yourself. The road there may be stony, long, full of twists and turns, delightful surprises and new discoveries.
I invite you to join me on this most audacious journey. I invite you to travel deeper with us!
Kisha Bird, Founder, Travel Deeper Inc.