LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — More than 330 travel enthusiasts and influencers gathered in Louisville, September 28–October 1, for Nomadness Fest, a four-day event celebrating culture and travel. The festival is the signature annual event of Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online community of more than 34,000 Black and minority travel influencers and innovators.
Nomadness Travel Tribe and Nomadness Fest were founded by longtime travel enthusiast Evita Robinson.
“I was a three-time expat right after college,” Robinson said. “I had come back to the U.S. after living primarily in Asia. Nobody in my family could relate to me, so I wanted to find my tribe and build a community. It started with 100 people. Within six months we were in Ebony magazine. It was very organically grown, and it came from my personal travels.”
As Robinson’s work caught on, she became a sought-after speaker and won accolades from business and travel magazines, including being named one of National Geographic’s “21 Most Visionary Women Throughout Travel History.” The Nomadness community grew as well, and Robinson began hosting group trips.
“We do trips all over the world, three or four times a year,” she said. “We’ve done over 40 trips. Our largest group before COVID was 45 people. Now we try to keep them smaller — around a dozen. We just finished a Nile river cruise.”
Based on the success of the group trips, Robinson launched Nomadness Fest in 2018, inviting travel enthusiasts, influencers, innovators and travel industry professionals to gather for a long weekend of fun, collaboration and professional development.
The makeup of the festival attendance closely mirrors the composition of the overall Nomadness community.
“We’re about 80% Black women in the millennial- or Generation X-age demographic,” Robinson said. “We are avid travelers and primarily leisure travelers. What I also find interesting about Nomadness is that our demographic is split into five almost equal pieces, from students all the way up to self-made millionaires.”
Many of the travel influencers in attendance — who have built followings creating travel content for Instagram, TikTok, blogs and other online platforms — expressed interest in learning about organizing group travel as a way to monetize their online followings. A well-attended panel discussion titled “Travel Is My Business” introduced four travel influencers who now lead group trips around the world.
Other sessions included “Domestic Travel’s Come-Up,” “Travel Effects of Overtourism and Social Media” and “Wellness Travel for Communities of Color.”
In addition to the educational sessions, the festival also featured numerous social events, industry networking sessions and a day of travel experiences at attractions around Louisville.
“We’ve had a relationship with Louisville Tourism for about two years now, and they’ve been very intentional about putting Louisville on our radar,” Robinson said. “They have done activations with us in feeder cities. Their sales team in particular were so clear on painting the picture for us that it opened us up to giving it a try. They invested. And we started to build relationships locally with the Black community.”