The First Black Woman to Travel the World

Woni Spotts at the Great Wall of China // All images provided by Spotts

Woni Spotts at the Great Wall of China // All images provided by Spotts

 Being the first to do anything in this day and age is an accomplishment. To be the first black woman is another story. Travelling the world is a dream many have not grasped yet, but for Woni Spotts, she has made it her mission.

Born in California and having both her parents in the entertainment industry, Spotts grew up exposed to the wonders of travelling. She fell in love with the eye-opening opportunity to experience different cultures by from a young age. This only fueled her passion for travelling more, and she subsequently set the goal to travel the world.

In September 2018, Spotts reached that goal–becoming the first black woman to travel to every country and continent, including Antarctica, on the globe and was awarded the Traveler's Century Club’s official travel certificate for this accomplishment in April 2019.

Qweens caught up with Spotts to talk about her experiences travelling as a black woman, her favourite destinations to date and her tips on travelling as a black woman.      

When did your love of travelling begin?

I began to love traveling during the '1980s documentary (Passing Through). The scenic Caribbean islands were the first location we visited. I always lived near the beach but seeing beaches in a different setting ignited a wanderlust. 

Spotts on a camel in Petra, Jordan // Image provided by Spotts

Spotts on a camel in Petra, Jordan // Image provided by Spotts

How do you pick your next destination?

I wait for the destination to call me. The Lapland and some Mediterranean islands I've never visited are calling me now. I will revisit South Africa. 

You started in the entertainment industry, how did you make the transition to entrepreneur, then traveller?

I didn't feel I was in entertainment because these were my parent's friends. I happened to be in available and was used as an extra, host, or gopher. It became clear early on that I did not like attention. I was more comfortable helping others in entertainment. I was a personal assistant for a while. I'll always travel. I've always been a natural-born entrepreneur, earning money with childhood ventures and continuing entrepreneurial activities into adulthood. 

How did your childhood and upbringing impact your decision to travel the world? 

My family always travelled, so I feel comfortable visiting countries. 

What do your friends and family think of your accomplishment as its no small feat to travel around the world? 

My friends are extremely happy for me. They pushed me to make my story public. 

Spotts in Easter Island, Polynesia with natives // Image provided by Spotts

Spotts in Easter Island, Polynesia with natives // Image provided by Spotts

You don't typically broadcast your travels; would you consider doing that in the future? Why or why not? 

My personality has not changed. I'm still shy. I will take higher quality pictures, and I will post them on my website in the future. I will always focus on the location, not my presence at the location. 

How many places do you usually travel to in a year? 

I have no specific number. So far, in 2019, I have not travelled anywhere.

 How would you describe your experience as a solo traveller? 

I was an overprotected child and solo travel helps with my confidence. I am a completely different person because of my travel. 

Spotts in Antarctica // Image provided by Spotts

Spotts in Antarctica // Image provided by Spotts

I'm curious, what was Antarctica like? Would you ever go back again?

I love, love, love Polar regions. Yes, I would return. It's like another planet. It's a bit unnerving sailing across icebergs all night and having huge whales within reach, but it leaves a powerful impression. Penguins greeting you is an experience of a lifetime. While the Lapland region has no penguins, the northern lights, reindeer, and scenery are incredible. 

 Would you ever consider moving to any of the places you visited?

Yes, I love Monaco, Santorini, Spain, and other Mediterranean countries. 

What about Mediterranean countries do you love? 

I love the weather, the lifestyle, the architecture, the diversity, the ease of travel to many interesting places.

Woni Spotts video documentation of her travels.