Collaborative Post

Meet Woni Spotts – An African-American Woman who traveled the whole world

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Mary Church Terrell, the first African-American women to earn a college degree, stated;

“A white woman has only one handicap to overcome—a great one, true, her sex; a colored woman faces two—her sex and her race.”

The world, to a huge extent, is male-dominant. Whether its sports, entrepreneurship, or fieldwork, males dominate every sector. Even though the major portion of the world’s population is female, all major sectors of the world are dominated by men.

It is true that women have one major obstacle in life, and that is overcoming gender discrimination, but a woman of color has to fight both; sexism as well as racism.

Despite the fact that women of color get fewer opportunities in life in comparison to white women, some black women were able to overcome not only sexism but also racism. One such example is of Woni Spotts, an African-American who traveled the whole world.

The world is unaware of her accomplishments because Woni’s online footprint is non-existent. She traveled across all 195 countries of the world without leaving a single trace on the internet. People got to know about Woni after she was officially interviewed when she began uploading her story on Twitter.

The Early Life

Photo by Damian Patkowski on Unsplash

Woni Spotts was born on January 6, 1964, in Los Angeles, California to Roger and Betty Spotts. Roger Spotts was a composer and arranger with dreams to become a musician. His passion helped him become a jazz saxophone player and he moved to Los Angeles. Betty Mosley was a professional pianist, singer, and dancer. Following her parents’ footsteps, Woni entered the field of music and became a musician, songwriter, pianist, and an animator. She attended High School on the East Coast.

She was just 15 years old when, in 1979, her journey around the world began.

Nolan Davis, a famed producer, was Roger Spotts’ best friend. Being so close, Nolan offered Woni a part in his documentary, “Passing Through.” The documentary was associated with a lot of traveling, and this is when Woni Spotts’ traveling spree began.

While she was still a teenager, Woni Spotts traveled to over 160 countries with her the production crew. All these countries were a part of the documentary. From 1979 to 1982, she had covered more than half of the world, which was an achievement in itself.

Before the release of the documentary, Nolan Davis passed away in 1988. It led to its limited release across a few theatres in the country in 1989.

The film’s release was to end Woni’s traveling adventure, but it did not!

Completing the Remaining Journey

Woni Spotts did not want to achieve fame or become popular. She was an individual who was not very fond of sitting in a classroom for “spoon-fed” learning. It is due to this reason; she decided to continue her journey, even after her parents’ demise.

After the release of the film, all her family members got back to their lives and Woni’s father began to push her for college. She was inclined to continue traveling as it was teaching her a lot about life and the world. On her father’s pressure, she did return to school but her heart was always attached to the idea of traveling.

Woni set up a B2B company, an e-commerce website in the year 1999.

The second phase of her world travel began in 2013, in which she visited the remaining 35 countries. While traveling, she considered moving to France or Monaco. Her stay in France was the longest as she was trying to acclimatize to the environment of the country.

In September 2018, Woni’s world travel finally came to an end. It took her 40 years to complete her journey across the world, covering 195 countries and 22 regions, across all continents.

Woni Spotts’ Traveling Experiences

Not many black women have got the chance to travel the world, which is why Woni Spott’s traveling experience is invaluable for the community. These women have to deal with much more than just gender discrimination. They have to face racism which is a major concern for all women of color.

Woni Spotts stated, “Sometimes I am treated like an oddity. People are curious more than racist.”

Another obstacle that Woni has had to deal with was food. She is a vegan and she traveled around the world without compromising on her values. It is something a lot of people fail to do. In countries like Mongolia, she had to use her vegan snacks because people there eat a lot of meat and milk is their favorite drink. The backup meals including protein powders and vegan bars were her saviors when there was nothing vegan available.

A problem for black women traveling in European countries, according to Woni Spotts, was that the people there look upon black women as African prostitutes.

Woni’s favorite parts of the world-travel were her trips to Antarctica, the Canary Islands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Galapagos, Transnistria, Socotra, and Hawaii.

The YouTube Video and the Book

Woni Spotts uploaded a video on YouTube after completing her world-travel. The quality of the video is not very high but the video is for her friends and family members. It contains all her travel documents and she even shared her traveling experience. The video has since then been thrown around various media outlets as a weak proof of her travel exploits, but it is crucial to remember that she made it for her family and friends, not for publicity.

Currently, Woni Spotts is working on a book that will contain all her travel experiences and some invaluable tips for black women who are traveling around the world. She will write a book to help vegans travel without any worries. Moreover, she expects to encourage the travelers to take care of the environment and the animals because she is an advocate of animal welfare and sustainable traveling.

On April 19, 2019, the Traveler’s Century Club awarded Woni Spotts an official travel certificate. The association verifies travel documents and presents a certificate to all travelers who successfully travel across hundred or more countries. She’s also been awarded a proof of travel document from a company registered with a tourism board.