Photo Credit: Courtesy of Vidette Adjorlolo
Kobe Bryant Tragic Death Made This Black Woman Start A Travel Agency In Ghana
Vidette Adjorlolo is the founder and CEO of Sorted Chale, a Black-owned travel agency in Ghana that provides tours around Africa. Located in Accra, Sorted Chale was born after Adjorlolo felt intense sorrow following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, in January 2020.
“I was a 26-year-old banker based in Hong Kong, living what to most people would be tantamount to the dream. Boozy brunches on Sunday, virtually tax-free salaries with a stellar reputation at work. Yet still, I was unfulfilled and wanted more,” Adjorlolo told Travel Noire.
Through the depression and suicidal thoughts, Adjorlolo, a native of Ghana and raised in the United Kingdom, could not stop thinking about the death of Kobe Bryant and the impact he made on our lives. “Kobe Bryant could not have lived a more wholesome life, the man did what he loved and did it to his fullest capacity. Kobe died fulfilled.”
Fast forward to 2022, this travel agency in Ghana has generated 6 figures in revenue. Adjorlolo has been invited to speak at Harvard University and her company has attracted celebrities like Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa and Bozoma St John.
Adjorlolo talked to Travel Noire about her journey from being a successful business executive to opening a travel agency in Ghana :
Kobe’s Death And The Opening Of Sorted Chale
In December 2020, in the middle of the covid19 pandemic, I decided to go against the odds, quit her comfortable job in HSBC Hong Kong, and relocate to Ghana to kick start Sorted Chale, a travel startup focused on providing authentic experiences for diaspora and international communities seeking to explore Africa. The decision to take the leap of faith was triggered by the death of Kobe Bryant. Following Kobe’s death, I was inspired by the fact that he lived his life doing what he loved and valued, yet, I was simultaneously petrified by the brevity of life and the need to live life with urgency.
At 26 my greatest fear was that I would leave this earth unfulfilled. The more I thought about it, the more it became apparent to me that it was time to quit and go on the adventure of building Sorted Chale, a travel startup focused on bringing diaspora and internationals to Ghana. So I wrote an email to my boss and told him that life was too short and I needed to live to my fullest capacity.
By December 12th, I had gathered her savings, packed her bags and was on a flight to Ghana, to become the travel entrepreneur that I dreamt of being.
A Succesful Travel Agency Based In Africa
For many this decision was crazy and made very little sense, however, for me it made all the sense in the world. The world of travel was moving slowly as a result of the pandemic and from a strategic standpoint I felt that by starting Sorted Chale, it would give me leeway to catch up with predecessors in the industry, and that’s exactly what she did. Fast forward 1.5 years later, Sorted Chale has run curated experiences for universities like Harvard, Wharton, Chicago Booth and Virginia Darden. More recently, Sorted Chale has also seen a rise in celebrity guests or “chales” as they like to call their guests, such as Bozoma St John, Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper, who notably tweeted that his “serendipitous encounter with Sorted Chale changed his life”.
Traveling Across Africa
For Sorted Chale, tourism also goes beyond the fun and turnup of Ghana & Nigeria’s Detty December or the historical depth provided by Ethiopia and Egypt. Tourism is also about Africa’s socio- economic advancement. I always ask myself, as an entrepreneur what role do I play in solving big social problems like the underemployment in Africa.
I am aware that Sorted Chale cannot solve all the problems, but it can most certainly contribute to solving some. Sorted Chale’s commitment to solving social problems is reflective in its hiring of young people. Currently, the company has an 80% Gen-Z team and in December 2021, its most peak season, it defied all odds by paying staff a daily rate, that was 20x above the Ghanaian minimum wage for seasonal roles.
For me, if I can live to see as many people travel to Africa as they do South East Asia and Europe, I’d be proud to have been part of the era of travel entrepreneurs who made that possible.
The Meaning Of Sorted Chale
When asked what Sorted Chale’s role in Africa was, I excitedly shared that for her Sorted Chale’s role is identifiable by its name. The word “Chale” in Ghanaian lingo means “Friend” or “brother” (amongst other things) and for Sorted Chale, there’s a desire to see the internationalization of the word “Chale”, across the corners of the earth, since it symbolizes community and friendship. At the core of Sorted Chale is the view that a “Stranger is a friend you have never met before” and their mission is to ensure that everyone who experiences Africa with them, feels the warmth and community they seek to build, whilst also being confident that everything they do on the continent of Africa is sorted.
You can follow Sorted Chale on its Instagram account.