Photo Credit: Runway Boyz Flight Life Group
Runway Boyz Flight Life Group: The Travel Group Started By Black Military Veterans
After retiring from the Air Force, Ohio-based entrepreneur Kurtis Henry found himself miserable. For him, the transition from the military to civilian life was very hard. He tried therapy and other occupations to change his situation, but the thing that gave him peace and mental stability was a friend saying: ‘Man, you need to travel.’
“This was the best idea I’ve ever had. Traveling overseas, seeing different cultures and constantly changing my environment has brought me peace and some kind of happiness,” military vet Kurtis Henry told Travel Noire.
His passion for travel became so intense that he, after visiting 50 countries, decided to launch an international travel group. Meet The Runway Boyz Flight Life Group, started with his friend Jakarri Stroman, who is also a former Air Force member.
Started in 2009, Runway Boyz was not originally an international travel group company.
“We developed a passion for travel and seeing the world, from completing missions in the military across the globe. After retirement, The Runway Boyz was formed to keep the travel life alive and thriving. Beginning with t-shirts made for each new adventure, the company would branch out into doing all forms of fashion. Traveling is for everyone, and everyone should be able to find something they love in our store,” Henry explained.
“Even the original logo is 4 Airmen on the flight line with one of our planes above. We travel to meet new people, experience new cultures, and see every inch of the world. That’s why, in 2014, I would go on to create The Flight Life Travel Group with Jakarri as a Senior Admin.”
For him, the most important part of this international travel group is connecting the love of travel with the experience of meeting local culture, and going beyond usual tourist sites.
“In every country that we visit and organize our tours, we have connections with the locals. Our clients are those who want to experience how the local people live. What they eat, where they go to have fun, and so on. I really want to share the good feeling I have when I travel with other people in a different way,” Jakkari Stroman said.
Since 2014, Runway Boyz Flight Life Travel Group has taken roughly 300 people to 10 different countries. Brazil, Greece, Thailand, Jamaica, Colombia and Germany are those that Henry considers the best destinations. However, his favorite is Salvador, Bahia, where he fell in love with the Afrocentric vibe, and it’s where found his current girlfriend.
“I go there every six months. The food, the culture and the environment make Salvador my second home.”
After being forced to stop traveling due to the pandemic, Henry said that Runway Boyz travel group resumed its operations in March this year. In September, he took a group for a tour around Greece, where people could enjoy Mykonos, Santorini and Athens.
Before Greece, the company organized tours to Mexico and Costa Rica.
“Before the pandemic, the company was expanding as people started to learn more about what we can offer, which is the spreading of travel lifestyles, and helping people to expand their horizons meeting new cultures and different environments. It worked for me and I hope it works to other people too.”