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Travel and Social Impact Diaries: Coco Classic

Soul and Story exists because of travel. Seeing the world not through the lens of media or propaganda but to be among people of different backgrounds and languages and realizing how more alike we are than not. Travel also exposed the consistent systemic inequalities in the world thus, Soul and Story began as a means to help make right economic and social injustice.

Yet, here we are, in the era of COVID-19. We are all grounded, quarantined to our homes and not traversing borders in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

But still, the lessons of travel remain with us. What we've seen can not be unseen and what we've experienced can not be undone. While, we can't physically leave, we thought it would be both insightful and fun to interview travelers to learn more about them and how travel has impacted their lives. And of course, how they incorporate social good into their travels.

Meet Coco Classic, an expert traveler who has been to a few dozen countries! Coco so graciously took time to answer our questions about her travel life.

So grab a cup of tea or coffee, perhaps a snack (or two) and read Coco's travel diary.

Soul and Story: Describe your travel style.

Coco Classic: I don't have a travel style per se, but if I had to, I would classify it as budget chic. I love home stays and Bed and Breakfasts.

beautiful black woman basking under the sun in vineyard in Valparaiso, Chile
Oh, the travel life is so hard! Coco in Valparaiso, Chile.

Soul and Story: As you know, Soul and Story is all about social impact, supporting local economies and those who are working to make a difference in their communities. Tell us how you incorporate social impact in your travels. Coco Classic: It is important to learn about, respect and adopt, as much as possible to, local traditions. Eat at local restaurants, shop at boutiques, rather than big malls or chain stores. They offer eclectic goods and engage in conversations you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to. For instance, when in Vietnam, we happened upon a shop called "Buom" aka Butterfly. They sell hand crafted garments and I scored a one of a kind hand-made silk kimono. There will never be another of it's equal and we spent at least an hour there chatting up the young lady working there ab out how she came to work at the shop and about her little girl. How else could we have had that experience!?!

Soul and Story: Has travel changed you? If so, how?

Coco Classic: From a young age, I wanted to know something beyond a four-block radius that was my NYC street. My favorite people, My Grandparents, used to cruise all over and when they returned and shared their experiences and the things they saw, I was in absolute awe. Since my first international trip at 17, I've been going ever since. Experiencing different cultures, foods, sites and interacting with those who are so different but yet similar to me, continues to open my eyes. These experiences cant be bought... Well technically they can with a plane ticket!

Soul and Story: What is your best travel tip? Coco Classic: Be as open as possible to EVERYTHING. We have made so many "mistakes" that have turned into AMAZING opportunities. Don't turn your nose up to something because it is unfamiliar.

Soul and Story: What is your favorite travel destination? Coco Classic: By far, it is Paris, France as I have been 8 times and will return in 2021 for the 9th time. There is something so familiar about the culture. Maybe it is my familial French West Indian roots.

black woman in front of eiffel tower in paris, france.
Coco in her favorite place, Paris

Soul and Story: If you could live anywhere in the world, with cost and immigration concerns not a factor, where would you live and why? Coco Classic: WHEW! What a question! Barring language barrier... it would be a toss up between Paris and Portugal. Soul and Story: Post COVID-19, where are you headed?

Coco Classic: Hawaii is booked for July and Colombia in September. Two trips have already been cancelled so I feel like this will be a slow travel year. Porto and Paris booked for February and Athens, Santorini and Dubrovnik September 2021! Soul and Story: How can others follow your travel journey? Coco Classic: I have disconnected from IG for a while but please feel free to add me on FB @ CocoClassic to follow my daily updates for all the amazing places I've been!

Thank you Coco, for sharing your travel diary with us!


About Soul and Story:

Soul and Story is a social enterprise that seeks to share the stories of amazing women social entrepreneurs from Africa and the African diaspora. Women who see a problem in their communities, their countries and/or the world and seek to be the change they want to see.

We help to their impact by bringing their products to market here in the U.S. Doing so, we help them achieve their mission, and when they achieve their mission, we achieve part of ours. We don't exist solely to make a profit, we exist do our part in helping to combat systems, paradigms and institutions that perpetuate oppressive policies and dogma that keep people marginalized and impede them from economic stability and social equality. Join us by signing up for our mailing list here and shopping the handmade, craft items made by our partners in our online boutique.


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