Reflect. Four years ago, I turned 40 and declared to myself (and on my vision board) that I wanted to travel deeper. To me, travel deeper meant finally going to the Motherland, Mama Africa and connecting to the land of my ancestors. I am five generations removed from American slavery and a granddaughter of sharecroppers. But my story -our story- does not begin there.
Return. In 2017, I finally journeyed to Africa with my father, Shaka Kusaidi (pictured above at the Cape Coast Castle). We chose Ghana, the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from European colonization. That journey changed my life forever. A kindred spirit, we traversed the vibrant sounds, distinct smells and colors of Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast. It was fresh and familiar. We danced, learned, ate, laughed, and cried with our trusted tour guides (now extended family). We rediscovered ourselves as father and daughter and as people of African descent, Black people. Our journey was full of contradictions and at times it was painful. Through it all, it was magical.
Restore. 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.” Returning home to Africa, where my ancestors once stood some 8 plus generations ago (we really do not know), I felt a profound sense of belonging. And despite the contradictions, I was being restored. To restore is to give something previously stolen, taken away, or lost back to the original owner or recipient.
After a few more journeys with family members to Ghana and then, Senegal; deepening relationships with new friends I met along the way (and finding love) – I embraced my calling. I’ve teamed up with one of my oldest friends and first cousin, Karima Grady, to launch Travel Deeper Inc. We specialize in curated travel experiences to West Africa, supporting local entrepreneurs, and connecting Black people across the diaspora.
We invite you to join us and reflect, return, and be restored. We invite you to travel deeper.
Kisha Bird, Founder, Travel Deeper Inc.