#1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get the travel bug?
Hi! My name is Mochum, a Black French woman. I was born and raised in Paris but my roots are in Cameroon. As my parents left their home country in a quest for a better future, they became my very quintessence of “travellers.”
Due to my dad’s job, we moved countries a few times. As I grew older, we started to travel abroad for holidays and this is really when I started enjoying travelling.
At 20, I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone and travel alone. I started locally in France; then little by little, I gained enough confidence to travel to further destinations.
#2. What inspired you to pursue your career and how did you get there?
I did an internship during my studies at a bank in budget & controlling which I enjoyed a lot and so I decided to study in that field. After graduating from business school, I started my career in finance but I always knew that I was not going to do that forever.
#3. Please tell us more about your recent travel project of visiting ⅚ African countries in less than 6 months?
When the pandemic hit, I started to reflect a lot on myself, my career and my dreams. Even though I knew that I was not going to work in finance forever, I was not expecting to have such a shift in my life so early. It took a loss in my family for me to decide that I needed a break and explore more on the thoughts I had during the lock-down.
I felt that I needed to reconnect with the continent in a very slow and stress-less way so I looked at my finances and estimated that I could travel for about five months comfortably. I told myself that if I am to relocate to somewhere in Africa, then I should consider a few countries. Then I landed on: 'five months, five countries.'
I started with Senegal, then Ivory coast, Benin, Ghana and Rwanda (eventually added South Africa for my birthday). It was a life changing experience. A slow travel to explore the soft life in these countries and to answer my main and crucial question ‘Could I live and enjoy it in here?’
#4. What's your secret to finding awesome black owned holiday stays for your website?
Ironically, Black-owned holiday stays are not quite the norm in the countries I have visited, which is surprising considering African countries.
Instagram is a very rich source of findings; I sometimes write directly to people to ask them for recommendations or just look at specific accounts. Finally, I ask locals when I visit for additional recommendations as well.
5.How did you plan each trip? As you have been experiencing slow travel, what have your learned, loved and disliked in each country?
I did not do too much planning as this was a really slow travel, not focused on tourism/vacation but rather on living an experience as a ‘resident’ if I can say. The only things I had to plan were: finding info about visa, booking an accommodation for the month and buying my flights tickets.
I have absolutely loved this way of travelling honestly, it allowed me to rest, to plan my day-to-day, to exercise, to explore and to meet new people, all of that, with intentions.
I have learned that its essential to take time, to slow down, to listen, to communicate, to clarify in order to appreciate things and people.
Since I was focused on capital cities (or main city) where I have spent most of the time, I’d say I have loved Dakar, Cotonou and Kigali for their architecture and their strong African identity, I have loved Abidjan and Accra for their people and food.
I was not a fan of the food in Dakar, I felt that Kigali and Cotonou were a bit small and too chilled cities and maybe I disliked seeing how Accra is being gentrified.
#6. Do you still feel excited about booking flights for yourself and taking a break from your routine?
Always! I truly love planning spontaneous (or not!) adventures.
#7. What's the one thing you wish someone had told you before embarking on your African travel epic adventure?
Probably that the idea I had of Africa was extremely cliché. That unfortunately a lot of foreigners are abusing and corrupting the governments and people. Many industries and key sectors do not even belong to the people. It was quite a big (negative) shock for me.
#8. What are your top 5 countries to visit & why? What are your favourite activities while travelling?
In Africa, I’d say the five I have visited because they were all amazing in different ways. You will learn about history, ancestral religion/cults, you will see diversity in the people and food as well as many regions to explore for getaways or leisure.
I love granting myself a nice getaway: a bit luxury, maybe a nice view or a SPA experience. I always take time to visit a museum or go to an art show.
Outside of the African continent, I have loved the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Greece and Portugal.
#9. What are you top 3 safety tips for black women solo travelers?
One: travel only to “Black-friendly” places
Second: avoid saying you’re solo travelling
Last: always buy a SIM card with data and share your live location to family.
#10. What are your top 3 tips to travel more in Africa in 2023?
One: If you can, travel while working (if you are a digital nomad), this will allow you to secure cheaper flight tickets/accommodations during low season.
Second: Avoid travelling solo so you can save a lot on your budget (accommodation) and travel more destinations.
Last: If you are not an experienced solo traveler, I recommend you reach out to travel planners, this will truly ensure you better rates, experiences and safety.
You can also watch the Youtube version of the interview here
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