This Expat is taking her passion for travel to the next level

Melanin Travels Magic is an online travel tour operator providing Group Tours & Travel planning services to the African and Carribean diaspora worldwide. Founded by marketing consultant Christina Belloge, the company specialises in Black heritage tours in countries with a major afro descent population. Melanin Travels Magic aims to primarily encourage the diaspora to reconnect with its heritage as well as get enducated and empowered by it.

Ok, what makes this tour operator any different from what you’ve seen before?

Melanin Travels Magic specialises in black heritage and leisure group trips. This means they have a strong focus on connecting travellers with the local culture. This can be through visiting villages, favelas (Brazilian shack or Shanty town or slam), landmarks and cultural immersion through fantastic experiences and historic tours.

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Photo by Christina Belloge

Christina’s love for travelling goes back to when she was a teenager. Her dream was to travel while studying languages. “I always wanted to have an international career, learning languages and travelling to get to know people”. Christina was introduced to travelling while in High school in France. “We used to take discovery trips to Europe with your class”. Prior to that, her trips mostly consisted of travelling to her native country Guadeloupe to visti family. These rituals got her hooked on the experience.

It’s therefore no surprise that Christina has spent the last 14 years moving around Europe. Her expat journey began when she moved to London at age 22 to be with her British boyfriend.

“When I first moved to the UK, I had to start from scratch and learn the basics, as it was my first time not living with my parents. I had to find a job and a place to live. I had to learn how to cook and take care of myself. My boyfriend soon left to study in Birmingham and I stayed in London having to navigate the big city alone.”

“I eventually found my way, and in just a year, I became fluent in English, which helped me tremendously. For the next few years, I bounced between the U.K. and France as I worked on a Double Franco-British Master in international trade, and then landed a job at a start-up after graduating“.

One of her fond memories as an expart is when she moved to Gemarny. “In Germany I got the best expat experience as my company at the time, a major German fashion retailer, provided an agent who took care of all my admin needs.

I felt a big sense of national pride and found the people to be straight talkers, which was a shock at first. Overall, I really loved my time and took advantage of a romantic trip to Hamburg, the Cologne Christmas market and Berlin cultural museums!“. These types of expereinces have encouraged Christina to take her passion for travel to the next level.

Photo by Christina Belloge

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So why start a travel business during a Pandemic?

It’s very challenging because of all the travel bans in UK & Europe and Canada“, she says. “The only market still travelling is the United States.”

Despite of these challenges, Christina was motivated by the Black Live Matters movement following the death of George Floyd last year and the Black Business renaissance movement that is happening in UK. The awareness around developing and strengthening the Black community via business ownership has been popping recently literally. Therefore I decided to launch melanintravelsmagic.com with both the vision to leverage my passions for travel and black history as an empowering and healing tool for the black diaspora.

I was also influenced by the Afro American #blacktravellersmovement and the need for African and Caribbean diaspora to uncover their history and culture.

Christina believes in passing on her passion of travelling. For her, its a way for people to connect with the rest of the diaspora, contribute to black economics and grow their sense of self value by understanding how connected we are as afro descent people. With Melanin Travels Magic they get to learn about common cultural traditions, history and value the privilege they have in the Western World to make a difference by leveraging education and business opportunities.

Looking for your first destination post lock down? Or maybe you need some help planning it…You can connect with Melanin Travels Magic via the following links

MTM IG:  https://www.instagram.com/melanintravelsmagic/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/melanintravelsmagic

You Tubehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBhfQOHR78xo5gF8IjqfQRw

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/melanin-travels-magic/?

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