Everyone needs a little inspiration sometimes to decide what exciting travel destination to venture off to next. From travel clubs and online content curators, the internet is full of inspiration for vibrant exotic destinations to visit. Travel influencers and travel professionals are setting a new standard for how people travel and inspiring them to take their travel experiences to greater heights. 

Travel influencers and professionals are defying odds and changing mindsets with their content, curated travel experiences, and diligent pursuit of more diversity in the travel industry. Check out our list of 2022 nominees for the Travel Noire Inspire Award.

Cast your vote here, now through June 13.

Fletcher Cleaves (The Wheelchair Nomad)


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A post shared by The Wheelchair Nomad (@rollinonfaith)

Living life by the motto ‘where there’s a wheel, there’s a way,’ travel influencer and explorer Fletcher Cleaves has been redefining the way folks travel despite physical limitations. Cleaves became paralyzed from the chest down in 2009 after being hit by a woman who was texting while driving. However, the accident did not stop the young traveler from living his best life; partying in Vegas, swimming with the dolphins, and flying in planes across the country. His story has been an inspiration for people around the world and a living testimony that your body cannot stop you from achieving your dreams and seeing the world firsthand. 

Jeff Jenkins

A unicorn in the travel world, Jeff Jenkins has been changing the way plus-size people are embraced by the travel industry with his brand Chubby Diaries. Similar to the way the fashion industry has embraced plus-sized consumers, Jenkins hopes to bridge the gap between the tourism industry and plus-sized travelers. Jenkins is also encouraging plus-size folks to live life in the now and not let their weight discourage them from having the travel experiences they’ve dreamed of. Chubby Diaries is inspiring plus-sized travelers to live life to its highest heights and Jenkins is showing them exactly how to travel no matter what their size may be. 

Fly Compton


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A post shared by Fly Compton (@flycompton)

Dedicated to introducing more Black and Brown youth in Compton to the aviation industry, Fly Compton Aeronautical Education Foundation Inc (FCAEF) is changing the face of commercial pilots. The organization was founded in 2020 and is helping to diversify an industry that lacks representation of people of color. Black pilots only make up 2.3 percent of the aviation industry and Fly Compton is working to change this statistic one pilot at a time. 

Babacar Thiaw

Photo Credit: Babacar Thiaw

With surfing typically being represented by non-Black faces, Babacar Thiaw wanted to shine a light on surfing in Africa. He’d grown up by the water watching his father scuba dive and began surfing at 6 years old. He always knew he continues his father’s legacy. Now, Thiaw owns Copa Cabana Surfing Village in Dakar. People from all over visit the village to check out Thiaw’s restaurant as well as to enjoy and learn how to surf on the African waves. Thiaw wants to bring awareness to the growing surfing community in Africa and provide the resources people need to hit the waves. 

Sisters Traveling Solo

//www.instagram.com/embed.jsBoasting a global sisterhood of 70,000 plus members on Facebook, Sisters Traveling Solo is a Black-owned travel company created to inspire women. The group provides solo getaways and group trip opportunities and also has a conference that encourages sisterhood and new travel experiences. In 2023, the group has trips to India, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia planned that will continue their mission of creating sisterhood through travel. 


Be sure to check out one of these five inspiring travel brands and organizations. While you’re at it, make sure you vote for the brand you think should win this year’s TN Inspire Award. Voting ends June 13.