the ethical traveller qmooniti

“Every culture really does have something to say; each deserves to be heard, just as none has a monopoly on the route to the divine.” I’ve carried these words with me over the last couple of years. As a lifelong student and anthropologist, Wade Davis’s words, along with the works of anthropologists such as Leith Mullings, Zora Hurston and Roxanne Varzi have long been a compass throughout my academic sojourn. Anthropology is an interdisciplinary subject that is inherently intersectional, global and what I feel is the most relatable discipline on earth; the study of humanity.

To get really specific, anthropology can be broken into four main branches: Archaeology, bioanthropology (human evolution), linguistic anthropology, and socio-cultural anthropology. Though I spent years knee deep in each of these fascinating branches, it was the two latter subjects that captured my imagination. Ultimately, I wanted to learn how to become a more compassionate, open-hearted and kind human, and I while travel is often touted as the remedy to intolerance, racism, discrimination and hate, I don’t agree. If you’re constantly viewing cultures through a westernized, colonial lens, how much decolonization are you really doing? Are you really setting aside your own bias? Are you expanding your boundaries of normalization?

I don’t think so.

Buying a plane ticket and flinging yourself into the middle of a culture different than your own is not enough. There are a few aspects of anthropology that have the potential to take your travel experience from merely educational to permanently altering the way in which you move and perceive the world. Anthropology can help us truly step outside of ourselves and understand our way of being in the world isn’t necessarily the right way, it’s a product of cultural and systemic conditioning.

So if you’re ready to step out and experience the world through a kaleidoscope, here are a few ways anthropology can enlighten, enrich, and engrain new ways of being.

Create Personal Ethnographies

In academic speak, an ethnography is a body of work that examines and explores a particular part of a culture. It could be as broad as how Sicilians behave when they attend the Festival of Spiga in the town of Gangi. The festival is rooted in paganism and pays homage to the Goddess Cerere. Without even knowing the history of this particular festival, taking out a notebook and jotting down precisely what you see, making note of clothing, language, facial expressions, demographics, everything that sets the scene before you is part of the ethnography. Now the key to an authentic ethnography is describing it without biases, without pre-conceived ideas, without applying your own belief system, without judgement. Difficult, right? How do you interpret what you see before you? That comes later. For the time being, practice recording what you see in a first-person point of view.

If you like to journal, you probably already do a version of this. Next time, be intentional and see what ends up on your page. Creating ethnographies are also a fantastic way to slow down, take it all in, and be present.

the ethical traveller qmooniti

Participant Observation

Participant observation is fairly self explanatory; an anthropologist would immerse themselves and participate (by invitation) in an activity, ritual, or the goings on of every day life. At this time, they would be collecting data which they would later incorporate into an ethnography. Like all disciplines, anthropology is going through a process of decolonization. While participant observation is a crucial aspect to understanding culture, there is often a notable power imbalance between the researcher and the individuals being studied. The work must conducted with a spirit of reciprocity, it must not be exploitative, and those being studied must have complete agency.

Here are a few ways you can engage in participant observation as a traveller, in an ethical way:

1. Never take photos of individuals without their permission. Don’t participate in ‘poverty porn’ by only documenting one perspective, and if you are taking photos of impoverished regions, do significant research and provide context.

2. Never take photos and then publish them without compensating the individual you are photographing. Do not be indignant or insulted if someone requests compensation for having their photo taken (even if it’s in a public space). The basis of all cultures is reciprocity.

3. Book your tours and experiences with ethical tour operators and local guides – Like an anthropologist, you are trying to learn and understand a community or culture through their eyes.

4. Do not disrupt or disrespect sacred sites, rituals and spaces. We are guests on eachother’s lands, and should conduct ourselves as such.

5. Reserve judgement and be conscious of your bias – We’re not going to like everything about a culture, but understanding the framework in which it evolved allows us to create a more complete and balanced idea of a particular community or culture. It also helps to deconstruct prejudices.

6. Wait to be be invited and be conscious of the impact of your presence. Not every event, ceremony, ritual or space is meant to be attended by outsiders. Before you attend cultural events, be aware of how you show up in the space. Are you matching energy? Are you bringing in judgement or an open mind (and heart)? Are you being disruptive? These are great questions to ask yourself before you enter any space, but particularly important when you’re participating in other cultures.

the ethical traveller qmooniti

Anthropology combined with tourism has the potential to become the ultimate mechanism for decolonization and understanding, but only when travellers arrive in destination with intention. A core principal of anthropology is ‘do no harm’, so keep this in mind when you’re travelling. Whether you’re visiting a place that is environmentally sensitive or a space that culturally significant or sacred, is your presence a harming or helping? Some food for thought as you dream up your next adventure.

Redefining The All-Inclusive

Cheap, cookie-cutter, loud, and wasteful. These are just a few of the descriptors used to describe the all-inclusive experience. You may have your own experiences; foam parties gone awry, unruly children running about, average food, and too many watered-down rum punches. Whatever your past experiences may have been or your perception, the All-Inclusive concept has evolved over the years to a point where luxury and convenience are no longer mutually exclusive, nor are they confined to heavily trodden destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean. Local communities are architecting innovative tourism initiatives, driving locally-based spending, and creating culturally-focused luxury experiences. It’s time to expand your definition of the ‘all-inclusive’, and learn about these dream-worthy, luxurious all-inclusive experiences. 

Redefining The All-Inclusive
The Singular Patagonia

Patagonia, Chile

For adventure-seekers, the amphitheater of the Andes mountains offers up heart-pounding expeditions by day and a luxurious alpine respite by night. The Singular Patagonia is one of Chile’s most exclusive mountain escapes. Nestled on 30 spectacular acres, guests are treated to the “Complete Experience,” which includes award-winning cuisine, local wines and spirits, daily horseback riding and kayaking activities, and various other excursions. With only 57 well-appointed rooms, the ambiance is rugged, intimate, and delightfully remote.

Redefining The All-Inclusive
Pikaia Lodge

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

After you’ve cruised the Galapagos, leave some time in your itinerary to drop your anchor for a few days at the ultra-luxurious Pikaia Lodge. This 100% carbon-neutral resort lies at the heart of the Galapagos Islands on Santa Cruz Island. Situated between two dormant volcanoes on a private giant tortoise reserve, this sustainable eco-lodge offers guests the unique opportunity to experience a land-focused initiative in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Rates include luxury accommodations, all meals, local wines, land excursions, and expeditions on the resort’s private yacht.

Redefining The All-Inclusive
Four Seasons Tented Camp

Golden Triangle, Thailand 

A geographical and spiritual tripoint, the Golden Triangle is a dazzling, bustling intersection one can’t miss if they’re ever visiting Thailand. The Four Seasons Tented Camp offers sprawling, verdant green landscapes, elephant encounters, breathtaking jungle trails, and the meticulous service you would expect from a Four Seasons property. Guests have various all-inclusive options to choose from, including elephant safaris, and curated cultural experiences. “Chaan Baan” is the land located around a traditional Thai home and where guests of the Four Seasons can observe, help plant rice, and watch the ritual of buffalo bathing. Guests can also participate in traditional clay making, indigo tye-dying, and of course Thai cooking classes. Northern Thailand has long been a choose-your-adventure type destination, and the Four Seasons provides plenty of experiences to choose from.

Redefining The All-Inclusive

World Famous 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, Hurawalhi

Hurawalhi Island, Maldives 

We would be remiss not to mention the Maldives, one of the world’s most beloved luxury, all-inclusive destinations. Despite its popularity, the various islands and atolls never feel overrun or crowded with tourists. For those seeking a more exclusive, ultra-luxurious Maldivian escape, a fort-minute seaplane flight will whisk guests from the busy capital of Male, to the tranquil Lhaviyani Atoll. There are no bad views in any of the five category villas at Hurawalhi Island. Guests can spend their nights being lulled to sleep by the warm Indian Ocean. By day, guests have access to snorkeling equipment, kayaks, yoga classes, sunset dolphin cruises and daily biodiversity excursions. Various meal plans are included, including a fully-inclusive option.

Redefining The All-Inclusive
Daily Game Drives in the Masai Mara

TanguliaMara Camp, Kenya

Steps away from the mighty Mara River, on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, the TanguliaMara Safari Camp invites guests to experience Africa in the most authentic, heartfelt way. The camp was founded by Dominic Nchoe and Jackson Looseyia, businessmen, passionate conservationists and members of the Maasai community. As one of the most prominent Black-owned, operated and staffed safari camps in the region, guests can enjoy African led safaris, game drives, bushwalks, visits to local Maasai villages. With only eight luxury tents, the atmosphere around camp is intimate with a sense of community. Guests are nourished with locally sourced, handcrafted meals and treated to the most spectacular sunsets in the world on nightly sundowners. This style of all-inclusive safari camp focuses on nature and culture, without sacrificing comfort and connection.

Staying at an all-Inclusive doesn’t have to crowded and impersonal. Many of these resorts, eco-lodges, and safari camps are located in some of the most remote places on earth, meaning you have the opportunity to interact with landscapes you’ve only dreamed of. Luxury all-inclusives are also highly customizable, cater to a broad spectrum of travelers, and can also offer a blissful respite, heart-pounding adventure, or an in-depth focus on local biodiversity and culture.

Ready to start dreaming? It all starts with a conversation, so let’s talk.

I’ve been a travel advisor for twenty years, but I’ve been an active Black traveller since I was a young girl, and for the first time in my life, I find myself seeking out destinations where I  feel safe, well, and welcome. Mexico hasn’t always been that place. I think back to a trip I took with my parents when I was sixteen years old. My family was somewhat adventurous in the way they travelled. Instead of flying in for a quick all-inclusive beach stay, my parents rented a car and took a road trip. It wasn’t the local people who side-eyed my blended family. It wasn’t the locals who commented about my braids, nor did they ever ask what a Black child was doing travelling with a White family. I fell madly in love with Mexico, its art, its culture, its food, its music, its grand cities, and its history. But it was how I was treated by white travellers from Canada, the United States, and Europe that prevented me from feeling safe and welcome, ultimately delaying my return to this beautiful nation for over a decade.

Hilton Playa Del Carmen – Adults-Only Resort

Last week, I flew into Cancun to embark on a seven-resort site inspection tour of the Playa Resorts portfolio. Now, this wasn’t my first return to Mexico since I was a child; there have been several visits since. In fact, I spent my 40th birthday in the Mayan Riviera this past February. But this would be my first time travelling with fellow travel advisors. These familiarization trips give us an opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes, chat with staff, explore the properties, learn about the amenities and gain essential knowledge we can pass on to our clients. For my clients, their health, wellness, accessibility, and safety are what are most paramount to them. I want them to feel welcomed, tended to, nourished, and seen.  Playa Resorts did not disappoint.

On Nourishment  

I once flew to New York for thirty-six hours just to dine at all my favourite spots. First, a small Italian eatery in Brooklyn. Next, the Theatre District to sip a Manhattan at my favourite martini bar. The next day, I took the 4 Train up to Harlem to gorge on Jerk Chicken at a hole-in-the-wall spot because it was made by a husband and wife who’ve lived there for fifty-seven years and poured as much love into their 100-year-old jerk chicken recipe as they did their blissful marriage. Food is one of my main inspirations for travel. Food is life. But that’s just it. Food is life. No one should ever have to compromise their nutrition and health by eating food that does them harm. And this is especially true when you’re enjoying precious, much-needed time away.

Five years ago, I developed an auto-immune disease that changed the way I ate when I travelled. I’m now a lactose-intolerant, anti-inflammatory-seeking, vegetarian-leaning foodie; I need LOT’S of options. Every single resort I dined at on my tour (and I dined at all seven!) accommodated every single food sensitivity, preference, and allergy we had amongst our group of fifteen. From gluten intolerant, shellfish allergies, pineapple allergies, veganism, and vegetarianism, every single one of our nourishment needs was not just met, but the chefs went above and beyond. No one was ever made to feel their dietary needs were burdensome, there was no judgment, just a warm smile, a hand over the heart (the Playa credo), and plates filled with beautiful, healthy, delicious food.

Alchemy Classes at the Zen Spa (Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun)

On Wellness

Most think of wellness as directly related to health. Gym facilities, yoga programs, healthy food, and beautiful spas. And yes, every Playa Resort, from the Hyatt Ziva Cancun with its alchemy room where you can learn to mix your own essential oils and healing lotions to the Hyatt Zilara’s exclusive off-property Zen spa that can only be likened to bathing outdoors in the jungles of Ubud, luxuriating is easy here. But as someone with sensory sensitivities, the softer colours, the preference for natural light over artificial, open spaces with plenty of airflow, and quiet spaces to escape when it all feels overwhelming, these are features I look for when I’m looking for wellness-focused resorts.  At one point on our tour, I suffered a debilitating migraine and had to retire to my room. It wasn’t until I closed my curtains at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya that I noticed they were a soft ombre blue, mimicking a beautiful Mayan sunset. I may not have been able to enjoy it from the beach that evening, but it was with me nonetheless. Wellness is a state of being, not merely an hour-long massage at the spa.

On Accessibility

Travel is an ableist industry and always has been. The grand cities of Europe, the ancient sites of the Middle East, and the verdant green rice patties of Southeast Asia; These landscapes are never imagined with travellers with accessibility challenges. Qmooniti and Storied Lands Travel are working hard to change the narrative, blast open spaces, and align ourselves with destinations, hotels, tour companies, and travel brands that cater to and support people with disabilities, both visible and invisible.

Plenty of Zero-Barrier Beach Access at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun

I was pleased to see resorts like the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya with beach-specific wheelchairs so not only can wheelchair users enjoy the beach, they can enjoy the surf. Ramps, elevators, wheelchair-accessible rooms, zero-entry pools, barrier-free beaches, and open dining and common spaces make navigating and enjoying these resorts a guarantee and not merely a possibility. There are also a number of companies based in the region that rent out specialized equipment for those with mobility issues. And to make things even easier, this equipment can be delivered directly to the resort.

The Hyatt Ziva’s and Wyndham Alltra’s Welcome & Cherish Families of All Ages

On Safety

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if Mexico was safe, I’d never have to work again. Everyone has their own definition of safe, and admittedly, mine has been rather loose over the years. I’ve travelled to some destinations and participated in some activities that would likely make some peoples’ hair stand on end (like running around in the wild with African lions or hiking deep into the Sumatran jungle alongside tarantulas the size of dinner plates, giant monitor lizards and whooping gibbons out for my lunch). However, since becoming a mom, my need for safety has increased exponentially. But my definition has also expanded to include places that are not only light on crime but also make me feel welcome as a woman of colour. Yes, Mexico has its issues. Yes, there has been a significant amount of drug-related crime, but rarely is it ever directed at tourists, and if it is, it’s almost always because they have been involved in the drug trade. I’m not justifying it; just providing context. I have yet to feel unsafe as a traveller in Mexico. More importantly, I felt warmly welcomed by the people of Mexico and by the myriad travellers I met along the way.

My brief stays at the Wyndham Alltra in Cancun, and Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya may not have been as relaxing as I would have liked (to be expected on a dizzying resort inspection tour), but I still felt an overall sense of calm and serenity, something this busy, single Mama needed desperately. A final point I wanted to highlight is that the all-inclusive culture in Mexico has changed dramatically. If you’re looking for that typical Americanized, homogenous all-inclusive experience, you won’t find it at Playa Resorts. Mexican culture has taken centre stage at the dining table, in the spa, on the walls, and in the meticulous service, they provide. Playa Resorts ‘service from the heart’ never once felt like a forced, corporate gimmick but rather an authentic reflection of Mexico’s distinct hospitality, pride, and warmth.

Black history is world history, and here at Qmooniti, we honour it all day, every day. We honour it by acknowledging those who marched before us, by proudly standing alongside those who fight with us, and by joining the chorus of change so that today’s work lays the foundation for tomorrow. Learning about our own history is both a traumatic and profound healing experience. For many of us, this journey provides insight into who we are and why we are the way we are. Our stories, languages, traditions, and music stretch to the furthest reaches of this planet. When you’re ready, there are Black history travel experiences around the world that will not only educate us but celebrate and cherish our history. 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Chatham-Kent, Ontario 

After the Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom was the second best-selling novel in the 19th century. And though it’s been held up as one of the most significant books of its day, it’s also one of the most confronting and controversial books ever written about enslaved people. The story was written by a white Puritan who intended to criticize and rally support from her white counterparts. What it did was birth an ugly caricature and fan the flames of internalized racism brought on by staunch systemic racism. What you may not know is that the character in the story was inspired by a real person. Reverend Josiah Henson, a former slave, was an outspoken advocate for the Black community in Canada. The Reverend escaped to Canada through the Underground Railway and established a 200-acre refuge and settlement specifically for former slaves. He was devoted to education, literacy, and creating a community that supported and nurtured Black people. The Reverend’s two story-cabin and surrounding grounds are aptly located on Freedom road in Dresden, Ontario. The site offers visitors a narrative of how slavery deeply impacted Canada.

The Big House – Whitney Plantation

The Whitney Plantation – Louisiana 

Located an hour’s drive from New Orleans, alongside the mighty Mississippi, lies the Whitney Plantation, one of the world’s first museums dedicated solely to the history of enslaved peoples and their legacy. While other plantation tours in the area focus on the ‘great families’ who stalked the halls of great houses, Whitney’s Big House, church, surrounding memorials, and rotating exhibitions share first-hand accounts of those who worked the plantation. Visitors can read stories of love, illness, new life, and death across generations of Africans and their descendants.

Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour, which will take them through several cabins, into the Big House, across the property, passed the enslaved quarters, and through several art installations. But for the full experience, a guided tour with an onsite expert will help you understand timelines and help you understand family and community dynamics across the plantation. Set aside at least two hours for this visit. 

The Black Heritage Trail Includes 200 Sites Across the State of Massachusettes

The Black Heritage Trail – Boston, Massachusettes 

A 19th-century neighbourhood synonymous with opulent mansions, wealthy business owners, poverty-stricken immigrants, and wide-eyed social activists, the northern slope of the iconic Beacon Hill neighbourhood sits at the heart of the Black Heritage Trail. In 1638, Boston saw the arrival of the first Black slaves. After the American Revolution, slavery was legally abolished across Massachusetts, and Boston saw a migration en masse of newly freed slaves across the state and beyond. Northern Beacon Hill quickly became a safe haven for those fleeing slavery on the Underground Railroad and abolitionists who participated in helping them. This Black history travel experience will take you to dozens of historic sites, including Abiel Smith School, the first school for Black children in the neighbourhood and fertile ground for the fight against education and inequality. Another stop you’ll want to make is at the home of Lewis Hayden and Ellen Craft, owners of one of the most prominent Underground Railroad safe houses in the entire country. 

Black History Walking Tours – London, UK

If you’re heading to the United Kingdom in October, you’ll be just in time for Black History Month. Black people have been in the United Kingdom, specifically London, for well over 3000 years, and there are several incredible black history walking experiences that will transport you through the millennia. For a look at comparative history, take a journey into the heart of Brixton from 1950 to 1980, and learn about the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of Black Brixton women who, like their American sisters, marched, protested, and demanded change. Your historian and host will share insight into life as African and African- Caribbean women who led the fight for equal employment, education, housing, and everywhere else Black people were excluded and marginalized. Stepping back further in time, learn about the stolen Ashanti gold artifacts, to the presence of Black royalty in and amongst the iconic William Wallace Collection. Or find how Africans and African-Caribbean people settled and became a part of the fabric of London’s most prominent neighbourhoods.

black history travel experiences

Quinta do Mocho, Sacavém, Portugal

While the United States, Britain, and other nations are well understood to have a deep involvement in the history of enslavement, it was the Portuguese who stole the first African slaves and brought them to Europe in 1444 CE. However, if you’ve travelled throughout Portugal, this significant historical fact, nor the scope of Portuguese involvement in the slave trade is apparent. Quinto do Mocho, a neighbourhood located just outside of Lisbon is home to a significant population of African diaspora from former colonies like Angola and New Guinea. It should come as no surprise, given Portugal’s past relationship with Africa, that this community was one of the poorest in Lisbon. It was built as a social housing project in the 1990s and suffered from high crime and a poor quality of life. Today, you’ll find dozens of incredible murals, art installations, and community historians eager to take visitors on a walk-through to point out and share the rich collective story of the Afro-Portuguese people who now call this place home.

According to the Trust for Public Land, of the 95,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Sites, only 2% of the sites are Historic Sites dedicated to Black Americans. While there are tens of thousands of Black history sites and monuments around the world, they’re often not featured on popular blogs, magazines, or guidebooks. One of the best things you can do to spread awareness is to share your experience with others when you return home. Keep an eye out for upcoming features on Black historical sites and experiences here on the blog and in our newsletter.

worlds most accessible destinations

According to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion people are living with some form of disability be it physical, cognitive, a vision or hearing impairment or numerous other visible and invisible disabilities. But there is no way around it, individuals with disabilities are the most underrepresented travellers across the travel industry, which is why we think it’s critical to highlight brands, products, destinations, and experiences that create accessibility and space spaces for people with disabilities. You deserve to access and explore the globe on your own terms, and to help you do that, here are a few of the world’s most accessible destinations.


Historically, Europe’s megacities have been anything but accessible to travellers with disabilities. Ancient transit systems, historical walk-up hotels, and Roman-era cobblestone streets, these aspects make Europe’s great cities charming but virtually inaccessible to travellers with mobility challenges. Berlin has led the charge in becoming one of the most accessible cities on the continent. The Berlin tourism board committed itself to become ‘barrier-free.’ In 2013, the European Commission’s Access City award was given to the iconic German city. Wheel-chair travellers can access several World UNESCO Heritage Sites, including Museum Island, the Bode Museum, and Schloss Charlottenburg Palace. For travellers who are hearing impaired, English & German signors can be on hand to make the world’s greatest works of hard accessible. Perhaps Berlin should be your next stop from accommodation options to experiencing the city’s parks, monuments, museums, and luxury hotels. 

world's most accessible destinations
Freedom to Explore with Loved Ones (Image: pch.vector on Freepik)


For those with mobility issues, a visit to the Emerald City doesn’t mean you can’t soar 175 feet in the air on Seattle’s Great Wheel, explore one of the most famous markets in the world, or get out on nature trails and jaw-dropping look-outs. Seattle is equipped and ready for travellers who require the easier access. Other popular venues such as the Museum of Flight, Seattle Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture and the Boeing Aircraft Factory all offer access to elevators, mobility lifts, ramps and well designed exhibits. Getting around the city is also stress free with a well-connected train, bus, and ferry system that removes barriers for those who prefer to experience the city independently. 

world's most accessible destinations
Royal Caribbean ‘Autism at Sea’

Caribbean Cruise

For some, the idea of stepping on a cruise ship may seem overwhelming, busy, noisy and crowded. But for those who live with neurodiversity, there is one cruise line in particular that has designed a program specifically for travellers with autism. Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line across the industry to roll out autism-friendly services that addressed the issues and barriers young children and adults face when they travel. Some of these services include priority check-in, early boarding and early departures, all in an effort to mitigate the stress of standing in large crowds, dealing with excessive wait times. On select itineraries, Royal Caribbean runs fully “staffed” cruises, meaning there are professional autism specialists on board the ship who will help organize neurodiverse-friendly activities, offer mental support and provides spaces for respite. 

world's most accessible destinations
Casa Batlló


Sumptuous tapas, sultry Flamenco bars, whimsical architecture and a vibe that can only be described as vibrant; Barcelona is destination like no other, and it is working hard to open its arms to all who want to enjoy it. Wheelchair travellers are able to experience the multi-cultural sea of humanity that is La Rambla because of it’s easy-to-navigate pavement strolls. In fact, unlike other European cities that heavily utilized cobble-stone in their city centres, Barcelona used larger paving stones making it naturally accessible. Historic and exciting sites like the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Gaudi’s Casa Batlló are all wheelchair accessible, with attendants on hand to help travellers who need assistance. How about a day at the beach? Barcelona’s beaches are not only some of the most beautiful in Europe, they’re also rated amongst the world’s most accessible. Wooden walkways leading to the ocean, specially designed sand-friendy wheelchairs, assisted bathing services and ramps leading down to the beaches make it easier to enjoy those Mediterranean breezes. 

world's most accessible destinations
Accessible Seaside Charm in Loutraki

Loutraki, Greece 

If all of those cobble-stone alleyways, endless stairs and inaccessible sites have you wondering why Greece would make this list, hear us out! It’s true that much of Greece has a long way to go in terms of updating it’s infrastructure to accommodate travellers with disabilities, but not all places. Nestled in the Gulf of Corinth sits the seaside town of Loutraki. Known for its therapeutic spas, natural spring and warm breezes, it’s also home to the Sirens Resort, a resort specifically designed for wheelchair travellers and those with mobility difficulties. The mobility-friendly apartments are spacious, come fully equipped, and the resort offers complete beach access with free wheelchairs and sea ramps. Those who wish to spend time exploring the local wheelchair-friendly town and nearby sites, Qmooniti can arrange tours and excursions that will address your specific needs.

world's most accessible destinations
Exploring the World’s Most Exciting Cities on Your Terms

Sydney, Australia 

The City of Sydney is on it’s fifth edition of its “City for All: Inclusion (Disability) Action Plan.” As one of the world’s most ethnically diverse cities, it’s also one of the most visited, with an average of 4 million visitors every year (excluding the pandemic years). It was essential to make this international city more accessible, not for international visitors, but its own community. World famous blogger and avid wheel-chair traveller Cory Lee speaks about one of his favourite Sydney attractions, the Sydney Tower: 

“The view from the observation deck is unlike anything else in Sydney. It has lower rails and binoculars that are on shorter mounts specifically for people who use wheelchairs. The touchscreen system allows easy access to information about different buildings in the city that you are able to see from the viewing platform. All restrooms are wheelchair accessible as well.” 

Sydney boasts hundreds of accessible-friendly attractions, restaurants, accommodations and nature sites. The city is committed to understanding disabilities, both visible and less visible, and finding ways to make the city more inclusive at every level.

world's most accessible destinations

Over the coming months, we’ll be spotlighting destinations, travel brands and experiences designed for neuro-diverse, hearing and sight-impaired travellers, and travellers with both visible and invisible mobility challenges. The travel industry has much work to do to understand disability, to demand change, and to be seated at the table where decisions surrounding accessibility are made. But it’s the disabled traveller community that can move the needle on progress. When you visit a destination, make note of the shortfalls, consider writing or voicing a review about the sites you visit so that others can raise their voice in solidarity. Feedback is critical for progress, and sometimes, a simple comment that can set off a tsunami of change.

For winemakers around the world, tending the vines is a year-round labour of love, a summoning of ancient knowledge, and involves the practice of traditions passed down through generations. Nowhere is this more present than on the six Black and Indigenous-owned wineries we think you should be checking out this fall. In an industry dominated by White and European winemakers, the lands are most often tended to by BIPOC peoples, yet, they are rarely represented, appreciated, or honoured. 

In 2019, Seven Fifty Daily surveyed more than 3,100 wine professionals, and 84% of the respondents identified as white, with only 2% identifying as Black. But the industry is shifting; the Association of African American Vintners reported a 500% increase in Black-owned wineries and Black winemakers in 2020. In this post-pandemic era, with travellers returning to the vineyards in droves, BIPOC-owned vineyards will dot the landscape in more significant numbers. 

The wine industry is also seeing an increase in Indigenous winemaking, most notably in destinations such as Australia, South America, and North America. Indigenous peoples have been living in community with their lands for thousands of years, and many are seeing winemaking as a process to uphold traditions, break barriers, preserve legacies, and educate visitors about Indigenous culture. 

Ready for a tasting? Here are six Black and Indigenous-owned wineries you should check out this fall.

Nk’Mip Cellars – Okanagan, British Columbia 

Nk'Mip Indigenous Owned Winery
Nk’Mip Winery Osoyoos (Model: Enya Graham-Shewish)

Nk’Mip (pronounced ‘Inkameep’) holds the distinct honour of becoming the first Indigenous winery in North America. The winery’s name translates to ‘Bottomland,’ a reflection of the winery’s location at the southernmost end of the Osoyoos reservation. And while 32,000 acres were registered to the band under the Indian Act in 1877, their traditional territory covers nearly 70,000 acres stretching between Canada and Washington State. The winery opened in 2001 as an initiative to preserve and celebrate the legacy of the Osoyoos Band, the Syilx peoples, and their land stewardship. 

The Nk’Mip vineyard overlooks the town of Osoyoos, nestled in Canada’s only desert. Set aside time to enjoy a tasting (or two) at the beautiful Nk’Mip Cellars. Next, wander over to the patio, look over the locally sourced menu and enjoy a sumptuous lunch complete with postcard-perfect views of the lake, vineyards, and town. And finally, be sure to head to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre to explore the ‘living lands’ and learn about the Silyx people and learn how you can up your allyship. 

Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery – Fraser Valley, British Columbia  

black and indigenous wineries
The Chapel Tasting Room, Seaside Pearl Winery

Wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, but a scenic hour’s drive from Vancouver will bring you to the heart of the Fraser Valley. This picturesque region is nestled next to the Cascade and Coastal Mountain range and the perfect place for Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery. This family-owned, boutique winery is the brainchild of husband and wife team Allison and David Zimmerman. Allison a newcomer to the wine industry, is of Trinidadian descent and is an active advocate for women becoming more prominent in the wine business. 

The Chapel Tasting Room is a cozy, tranquil space with beautiful hand-painted ceilings and an elegant ambiance. The room is open year round, and features robust reds, various single-vineyard wines and a sparkling wine. Seaside Pearl’s wines are artisanal so if you love small batch wines, this is a must-see. 

Nyarai Cellars – Niagara Region, Ontario 

The son of Jamaican immigrants, Steve Byfield is one of the most celebrated boutique wine owners in the Niagara region. Born and raised in nearby Kitchener, Steve took an interest in the anthropology of wine. He was curious about the influence and perception of wine within society, and went to live at the Southbrook Winery for five years. He worked as a cellar assistant, and eventually became an assistant winemaker. In 2008, Steve launched a Nyarai Cellars, a ‘virtual vineyard.” Steve has cultivated relationships with local wine growers, and has produced bold red, delicious whites and sophisticated sparkling varieties. While guests may not be able to visit Nyarai, there are often pop-up tastings, food and wine pairing events, and personal tours of vineyards led by Steve that take place throughout the Niagara region. These are experiences that can be curated and booked by the Qmooniti team. 

Longevity Wines – Livermore Valley, California 

black and indigenous wineries

The Livermore Valley wine region in Northern California is home to Longevity Wines, owned by Phil Long and his beloved late wife Debra Long. A passionate home-based hobby blossomed into a small empire, and Phil went on to become the president of the Association of African American Vinters. Phil and Debra launched Longevity because they saw a gap in inclusive wine tasting experiences. As a winery that is a Certified Minority Owned Business, BIPOC wine lovers will find themselves right at home in Longevity’s beautiful tasting rooms. The Club Room offers a beautiful space to enjoy a sampling, and the Barrel Room is perfect for events, complete with spacious seating and a stage for entertainment. If you were thinking of travelling with a small group, this would be the perfect place to connect over a smooth Syrah, velvety Grenache or a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Theopolis Vineyards – Anderson Valley, California 

black and indigenous wineries

No list would be complete without mentioning the iconic Theopolis Vineyards. The vineyard was founded in 2003 by a no-nonsense Texan and powerhouse trial lawyer Theodora R. Lee. Affectionately known as Theo-patra, Queen of the Vineyards, Theodora is renown for her Petite Sirah’s, Rose’s and Pinot Noire’s, amongst others. The vineyard itself is located in California’s Yorkville Highlands in Anderson Valley, just off of Highway 128, nestled on the border of Sonoma County. Theodora makes the world’s best petite Syrah, and many of her other wines have won countless awards since opening. The vineyard throws several high-profile and local events all year long, including their annual Harvest and Bottle Release party mid-September. Theopolis represents the ultimate inclusive wine tasting experience, and celebrates excellence across the Black winemaking industry. A proponent of community, Theodora serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA San Francisco and is the Co-Board Chairperson of the Dallas Post Tribune Newspaper, one of America’s oldest Black newspapers. 

Séka Hills – Capay Valley, California

Founded by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in 2004, Séka Hills is a picturesque winery overlooking Northern California’s stunning Capay Valley. These ancestral lands have been home to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for several thousand years. The nation’s name translates into ‘Home by the Spring Water.’ The Yocha Dehe runs a 24,000 acre multi-crop agricultural empire. Known for their sustainable and organic food production, they’ve set aside 1200 acres for permanent conservation easement. The winery is truly a destination, with two beautiful tasting rooms, a deli, an artisan pantry filled with locally made foods, and vineyard tours. For sustainability enthusiasts, foodies and lovers of soft, fruity, boutique wines, Séka Hills should be your next stop. 

You’ve got the list; now it’s time to start planning. There are far more Black & Indigenous-owned wineries to experience in this growing demographic of the industry, and we promise to spotlight them for our wine lovers in the near future. For more information about visiting any of the wineries we’ve mentioned above, don’t be shy; let us know you’re ready to start sipping! 

Atlantans Myers and Reaves, both 33, formed a hotel ownership group of mostly millennials, partnered with Nassau Investments to acquire the Home2 Suites by Hilton El Reno, Oklahoma, located about 30 miles from Oklahoma City. Their investment into the $8.3 million deal is believed to have earned them the notable distinction of becoming the youngest African American women to ever co-own a property in a major hotel chain. “I never thought by the time I was 33 that I’d be a hotel owner, but I admit that it feels great to have accomplished that at this point in my life,” says Reaves, mom to a 2-year old son.

Check out the full article in the link:

It’s Q4 of 2020 and some of us know where the time is gone but most of us have confused looks on our face and are wondering “where did the time go”?

I’m a bit of both but mostly confused about how this very strange year has managed to go by in the blink of an eye and yet so much has changed so quickly. Travel is happening again but not nearly fast enough or in large enough numbers for the industry to not be losing some of its best people in droves. This is a tough time no doubt and it’s also a very innovative time as well.

Despite the losses in the industry there have been some creative gains as well as we figure out how to manage through Covid-19 and beyond. I’ve been reading articles and watching forecasts and predictions as to where we’ll be in 6 months to 3 years from now. And many say the same thing “we’ll bounce back”! I have faith that we’ll bounce back given zero to half a chance because there’s no industry that understands how to handle change the way we do in travel.

Speaking of change; read this article on some of the big changes that will save time in airports when traveling and may cost you in other ways that will be coming to airports near you or may have already arrived at your nearest airport.

“The most radical changes have the potential to turn airports from hotbeds of frustration into beacons of innovation. Here’s a look at what’s being installed around the world, and a few ideas yet to come.”

What are your thoughts on how you’d like the future of airports and travel to look in order to support your safety and your travel needs?