Black Girl Wanderer is a series spotlighting the travels and explorations of Black women journeying the world. Black women in all their magic and all their glory wander the earth, sprinkling the earth with their brown and their gold.
Francesca Murray is familiar with the travel game. With over a decade of experience, Murray is a creative entrepreneur and founder of One Girl One World®, where she combines beauty and travel influencing and content creation. She also has a background in on-camera hosting and journalism.
“I started One Girl One World to inspire women of color to live life on their own terms, and today that has expanded into representation in the beauty space as well. I love giving natural hair tips on the go, skincare advice for melanated travelers, and everything in between!” Murray told xoNecole.
Murray grew up in Los Angeles, where she was exposed to a diverse set of cultures and friends from Filipino to Afro-Brazilian backgrounds. She took her first international trip at 18 to visit her Grandma’s Garifuna village in Honduras. This trip ignited in her a deep passion for travel, and a few years later, she received a scholarship to study abroad in Italy.
Her hope is to bring more representation in the travel industry, which was lacking when she was growing up, and starting her career. With over 30 countries under her belt, she has been able to do just that. One of her biggest pieces of advice for those who want to travel is not to be afraid to take the adventure solo.
“I’m a big advocate for solo travel! If I had let not having someone to go with stop me, I probably wouldn’t have been to half the places I’ve been. If you’re nervous about solo travel, start with a staycation in a nearby city or state. Big cities are great because it’s easy to blend into a crowd, and no one will know you’re there by yourself unless you tell them,” she said.
Read more about a few of Murray’s favorite locales and experiences thus far:
Photo Credit: Imani Murray
"I love how rich the culture is. I took a dance class and learned that there are a lot of similarities between their culture and my own as a Black American and Afro-Latina. They move their hips to the rhythm of the drums, and it came really naturally to me. I also enjoyed visiting Aitutaki, a short plane ride away and a literal paradise. The Te Vara Nui overwater night show is an absolute must-see if you want to experience Cook Island dance from professionals! I also highly recommend going to the Muri Night Market for amazing local dishes at an affordable price."
Pro Tip: "Indulge in a massage and spa treatment at Hibiscus Spa at Moana Sands Lagoon Resort!"
Courtesy of One Girl One World Media, LLC
Frequently over the years
"I lived in France for a year after college and completely fell in love with the language and diversity within the culture. Especially in Paris! I’ve been to Paris more times than I can count. People don’t often picture people of color when they think of a typical Parisian, but it’s one of the most diverse cities I’ve been to. I also love French cuisine, especially the cheeses! One of the reasons I enjoy visiting France so much is because I speak the language. I’ve found that knowing the language helps to get a better understanding of the culture, as well as better recommendations from locals! While I thoroughly enjoy the usual attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, I’ve also discovered some cool activities I wouldn’t have if I didn’t know the locals.
"If you love luxury and niche perfumes, you must go window shopping on Rue Saint-Honoré. It’s where all the luxury boutiques are, from Chanel to YSL."
You’ll also be pleased to know that prices are also cheaper than in the USA! If you’re feeling fancy, follow that up with drinks at the nearby Ritz Carlton. My most recent memory is traveling solo this summer. I’ve come a long way from my broke post-college days, and it was a pleasure to be able to explore the city differently. I have a bit of an obsession with fragrances, and France is the fragrance capital of the world. It was so much fun to be able to go from niche boutique to boutique, like Maison Francis Kurkdijan (the house that produces Baccarat Rouge 540) and Byredo, and discover different scents and chat with the employees about their favorite fragrances."
Pro Tip: "I recommend going skincare shopping, which can be easy and affordable since France has world-class products available at the grocery store. Pick up a beautifully scented body wash (one of my favorites is rose-scented from Roger Gallet) body cream, and perfume, and treat yourself to a spa day in your hotel. Afterward, you can venture out for a happy hour and indulge in a glass of red wine while people-watching!"
The United States
Courtesy of One Girl One World Media, LLC
Homebase, more in-depth travel in 2021
"I know this is a wildcard, but I love offering more accessible choices for people who don’t have the means to go abroad yet. In 2021, I made it my goal to mainly partner with U.S. tourism boards to show people that they didn’t have to go far to have a great experience. I went skiing for the first time in Utah, took a road trip to Big Sur in California, and did wine tasting in San Luis Obispo. The memories I have are priceless, and many of them were life-changing! The ease of traveling through the USA makes it worthy of consideration. You can do so many things without a passport. You can see the most incredible autumn foliage in Maine, or feel like you’re in the Caribbean with a trip to the Florida Keys. The possibilities are honestly endless!"
Pro Tip: "Visiting Tulsa for the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I learned so much about race relations in America, and I honestly think a visit to Greenwood should be on every single American’s list, no matter your race or background. Tulsa is also just a fun city in general, with fun nightlife, great food, and a lot of interesting cultural museums."
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Featured image courtesy of One Girl One World Media, LLC