A Fort Worth woman says travel saved her life, pulling her out of poverty and opening her eyes to the world. Now she's made it her mission to open those doors for others.
To Dianelle Rivers-Mitchell, life is about the journey, from one destination to the next. She's been to more than 40 countries, despite doubts from her own friends and family.
"They go well black people don't really do that and I'm like yes they do," Rivers-Mitchell said. "Black girls travel too."
That simple phrase sparked a business by the same name, leading group trips around the world.
"We don't know that we can have access to something until someone that looks like us tells us we can," said Rivers-Mitchell.
Black Girls Travel Too now has more than 122,000 Instagram followers, people like Kenecia Lashae, who has felt overlooked by the travel industry.
"You don't really see representations of yourself, it's very rare," said Lashae. "So you kind of question do I belong there, would I have fun there, should I spend my money there?"
She's now preparing for her second trip with Black Girls Travel Too.
"It has opened my eyes, it has made me more strong and independent," said Lashae.
That's exactly what Rivers-Mitchell set out to achieve. She grew up in poverty in Mobile, Alabama, until a childhood trip to Washington, D.C.
"I really attribute that trip to saving my life because I started to see people of color totally differently," said Rivers-Mitchell.
Now, through travel, she shares that message with other cultures.
"I get to have a conversation with that individual and tell them what it's like to really be a black person, despite what they might have heard."
The life she lives today, is the one destination, she never saw coming.
"I never imagined," said Rivers-Mitchell. "That's just not how it's written. And one of the most beautiful things that I love about my story is that I'm the author."
Rivers-Mitchell has also started what she calls 'voluntourism,' leading groups to the more impoverished neighborhoods of her travel destinations for a chance to give back while exploring a new culture.
For more information, visit: https://www.blackgirlstraveltoo.com/