My Founder’s Story
Travel Africa with your family!
In case we haven’t met yet — I’m Nessa Rutazamba. Welcome to the Royal Family. I’m the Co-Founder and CEO of Royalcations™. When I’m not online blogging about how I travel Africa with my family, I’m a wife, mom of 2.5 minions, advocate for social and gender equality and uncertified foodie. I quit my job as a Scientist and moved to Africa but not in the typical trust-fund-baby-American-nomad-avangelist type of way. It came with a lot of struggle and sacrifice. I love my career choice and like most people I’m always working on balancing time between it and family. I’ll get into the details of our struggles another time. If you follow my personal Youtube channel or Instagram you may have already heard a few, but right now let me answer your first burning question…
What in the (bleep) made you want to do something so drastic?
I want to inspire families of color to travel to Africa, by visiting and giving to every African Nation. #54CountryTarget
Why I Moved My Family to Africa
Almost 5 years ago I was sitting outside on the patio of my favorite Italian restaurant with my one of my best friends. We were drinking a bottle of Lombardy wine because it was half off bottles on Sunday and I turned to her and said, “I’m going to move to Africa”. She looked at me dead in the face and said, “B!#*h is you crazy? I laughed at her because the way she said it was hilarious. After we finished chuckling I used that as a teachable moment to explain to her what she was missing out on by not visiting.
Do you know how in the Hollywood movies sometimes a man says, “I knew I wanted to marry her the moment I met her”? Well that is also my opening line for my love letter to Africa. The first time I stepped foot onto the #Motherland I was studying abroad in college and went to Ghana. Ironically, my other home girl was on that trip with me. She is an “African American” whose father is Ghanaian and her mother is from the Bronx. It was also her first trip to the gold coast as well. My life and total perspective of the world changed on this trip. It was as if I had a spiritual pilgrimage. I then vowed that I would either move or retire in Africa. It was such an easy going lifestyle and for the first time ever in my existence I blended in and didn’t feel judged by the color of my skin. The food was natural, the men were fine, my American dollars more than quadrupled in value, the lifestyle was relax and I just felt at home. Did I mention the men were fine and muscular?
The Ghanaians were so hospitable and welcoming to me. I’m not just talking about my friend’s family. I mean random people on the streets. The friendly strangers at the market had the best conversations. There were a few times that someone would come up to me and say, [INSERT GHANIAN ACCENT] “I’m so sorry my sistah for what my ancestors did but WELCOME BACK HOME”. It took all of me not to burst right into tears. Everyday of my life in America I always had an unconscious chip on my shoulder. I was always trying to prove I belonged, worried about corporate hindrance at the job, community treatment, and sometimes even fearing for my life simply for being born #HighlyMelanated Well there I didn’t have have all of those burdens and it felt great!!! For the first time I felt like I could live and just be judged based on my skills and character. I didn’t have to worry about the color of my skin. FINALLY!
Fast forward years later and I’m happily married to a Tanzanian super hero. –That’s what I jokingly call him because I believe this man is made from magical star dust and can do anything– He thinks that’s too much pressure lol. Ok back to the point….Eventually we had our first family vacation in Tanzania. Once I returned to the U.S and shared my experience with my friends, family, and co-workers I was surprised at the negative perception that was still portrayed of Africa. I assumed that everyone was #woke to reality. These bad perceptions and misinformation was mostly in my community of Black and Brown people.
Even though as Americans we have #passportprivilege my sisters and brothers put Africa at the bottom of the vacation list, if it is even on the list. For instance, I had some acquaintances that were surprised that skyscrapers existed in Africa. Another person was shocked at the sight of a Mercedes on the road when they saw one of my videos in Dar es Salaam. I then started doing a little research and comparing my observations. I noticed while I was in Tanzania that Black travelers were very few. After consulting with the Tanzania Tour Board they confirmed that only 6% of the travel to Tanzania were Black or Brown and this is not U.S travelers only but globally! So that 6% was mostly Asians. This confirmed that every other race and nationality has seeds and investments planted in Africa. Their intentions may be questionable but they are there because they see how valuable she is. So I made a commitment to be a voice of truth for my people so that they could see what I see and hopefully also make that journey to see for themselves.
Whew child, let me tell you. This journey has not been all cakes and ice cream. We had to sacrifice a lot and cut back on our lifestyle in order to save for the move. We are now apart of the new #BrainGain movement where immigrants and the Diaspora are moving back to be apart of building communities. I will talk about this in detail in a future article but there is still a lot of work to be done in Africa. We all have the skills, talent and capital to invest in her but we have to first see the value.
So after several years of waiting for the right time to move one day we were finally fed up enough with our excuses (and current society), so we decided to start planning the move. We slowly sold a lot of stuff including one of our cars. Our house was a 2 story house with 2 living rooms so there were a lot of unnecessary things in it. At the time it all seemed so important and vital but when it is time to move, reality will set in real fast. It was too much!! My husband and my baby girl came to Tanzania a few months before me because I still had to finish some projects in the States.
I’m currently working on a project with the Ministry of Health to help improve the blood delivery system in Tanzania and my husband has just launched a multimedia and technology training studio called Umoja Tribe. It has been a very busy and bumpy road so far but we are living our dreams. It feels good to be apart of change and I can not wait to share more of my exciting travel experiences. There will be no filters on my journeys. You will get the facts, good and bad. No place is perfect but if you come with an open mind and willing to learn and accept the cultural differences then you will have a life changing experience.
My family is currently living in Dar es Salaam. Ideally I’d love to drop everything and just travel Africa with my family but we aren’t rich enough (yet) to be able to afford that. As a bonus there is so much to see in Tanzania. Also, we have a mission of service we want to fulfill. So I’m still brainstorming ways I can be of service to all of the communities I visit. Instead of just visiting and taking pictures I’d like to give back and contribute in some type of way. I’d love to hear your ideas. If you have some shoot me an email at Nessa@Royalcations.com or simply comment below. With that being said I will leave you with my new motto and some random facts about me.
“JUST SHUT UP AND DO IT” – Nessa
Now, join our tribe of Africa enthusiast by liking our Royalcations Facebook Page and share something random about you or an African experience?