Photo Credit: Stephanie James
I Quit My Job To See The World, And Now I Have My Own Streaming Travel Show
Colorado Springs native and Hampton alum Stephanie James is the digital nomad behind the forthcoming travel show, Changing Tourism with Stephanie James.
Currently based in Maryland, the 35-year-old works remotely as an admissions director for a tech company. She is also an international poet and singer who has performed in 38 countries around the world.
Stephanie caught the travel bug in 2008, after being selected for an internship with NBC Universal at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
“I was there for the entire month and got to experience a world unlike anything I’d ever seen,” said Stephanie. “After that experience, I came back and worked for a Fortune 50 company (Frito-Lay, Inc.) for eight consecutive years, but during that time I was still traveling to Greece and Italy. I got to a point one day when I just wanted to travel full-time.”
In 2016, Stephanie made the decision to quit her job to pursue her dreams of traveling the world. Though several people, including the divisional vice president at her company, told her she was ruining her career by leaving, Stephanie knew there was a bigger calling she had to pursue.
“I have been working remotely ever since. My first remote job was with a boutique, a woman-owned company that helped Latin American students study in the United States. My second remote job was conducted from London, with a startup company helping women work, live, and travel abroad. My third and current remote job is a tech boot camp that helps people change the trajectory of their careers in the tech arena.”
In addition to her day-to-day jobs, Stephanie has been following her passion as a performing spoken word artist since 2013. Under the name Just A Vessel, she has released two albums of poetry and song titled “My Heart’s Beat” and “Ember.” She enjoys having the freedom to travel, create, and share her work with others across the globe. Working remotely also allows her many other conveniences.
“Spending time with family and friends is one of the best benefits of working from home. I can literally be anywhere with the people I love and not miss a beat at work. I enjoy being able to eat home-cooked meals and being in the comfort of my home while working. Every day is ‘bring your pet to work day,’ and I thoroughly enjoy not having a commute to and from the office. I’ve also really enjoyed the camaraderie created in the co-working spaces I’ve been to, where you meet people from all different countries, professions, and walks of life by working with other remote workers.”
Today, Stephanie has no regrets and is confident she made the right decision by leaving her job to travel the world. She considers travel the best life coach and teacher, and says it has helped her learn patience, build courage, expand her reach, and redefine her ideas of beauty.
“It’s not weird, it’s different. Travel allows you to see that at the core, everyone ultimately wants the same things in life. It’s so humbling to sell a CD to someone who doesn’t speak English because they appreciate your spoken word and song delivery.”
Having had the opportunity to explore so many countries, Stephanie has enjoyed countless meaningful experiences and found inspiration in so many places; from the kindness of the people in Thailand and the peacefulness of Bali, to the amazing food of Italy and Greece and the black sand beaches and volcanoes of Tenerife.
However, it was the Afro-Colombian community she met in Medellín that created the richest experience and inspired Stephanie to create her travel show. Debuting in 2022, Changing Tourism with Stephanie James was created to tell stories that would otherwise remain untold. The show will shed light on the influence that BIPOC cultures have had on different countries, showcasing Black-owned businesses and highlighting restaurants and shops to visit when you go.
“Being a solo Black female traveler, I have ventured far and wide in my 38 countries, but I always try to find a piece of home. We all do. My inspiration for the show was to showcase more areas in the world where people look like me and share their incredible stories with others. I want to allow different communities to thrive from tourism, instead of everyone always going to the same locations.”
Stephanie hopes her travel show will help change the perception that BIPOC people aren’t everywhere by highlighting the influence these peoples have had on the places they live. As a platform for others to share their stories and businesses, she hopes to bring attention to overlooked communities.
“We are still determining which streaming platform viewers will be able to watch Changing Tourism with Stephanie James on, but we will keep everyone posted. Please follow @justavessel22 and @changingtourism so you don’t miss where to tune in!”