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Life and Work with Ayanna Arms-Norment and Nathalie Faustino-Kuglen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ayanna Arms-Norment, Nathalie Faustino-Kuglen.

Ayanna, Nathalie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Hi, together we are called the Nappy Nomads. We’re two best friends on a mission to see the world. We started traveling together almost a decade ago and have hit 17 countries so far. Traveling has allowed us to see the world, experience new cultures, and languages, all while ballin’ on a budget.

Our first adventure was to Hawaii as a graduation gift and from that trip, we vowed to never stop adventuring. From Hawaii, we backpacked in Europe, partied in Ireland, cooked authentic pad thai in Thailand and have roamed many more beautiful places in between.

This next coming adventure is our biggest one yet! A one year trip around the world starting in Greece. After country hopping in places like Africa, Germany, and Japan we will be settling on the beautiful island of Bali. Our plan is to start a non-profit that encourages and fosters cross-cultural exchanges between students in Bali and students here in the U.S. Our hope is to inspire the youth to look beyond themselves and embrace another culture and language in a more tangible way. We’ll be setting up a guest home in Bali as a space for travelers to come, share meals with us, speak about life and travel and explore Bali in a different way.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
What do you mean by smooth? It hasn’t been smooth or easy but the value that has come out of just taking the leap to do it has been amazing. We have both grown so much as humans by facing the challenges of starting a business, leaving behind your home and family and entering into an unknown world. There have been many tears and frustration but they have been equally matched with triumph and support.

Our biggest obstacle was funding. Like um hello how and the heck are we going to afford to do this. We can’t work traditionally while traveling and with little start-up capital, we have really had to buckle down and get creative. One thing we started doing was hosting monthly supper clubs as a way to raise funds.

Our advice to young women is to remember the enormous power and potential you hold. Tap into it while you’re young and haven’t been tainted by life and be tenacious in fearless in all that you do. Beyonce said it best “Who run the world? Girls!”

Please tell us about Nappy Nomads.
The easiest way to put what we do is to take away people’s excuses for not traveling by leading by example. We have managed to travel the world for next to nothing and we want to share with people how they can do it too. One way that we are starting that conversation is by hosting our Tastebudz events which is a curated monthly supper club. We connect strangers with one another over a meal and good conversation.

Each Tastebudz features a different cuisine, a topic of discussion and of course wine. Our last event featured a Nigerian/Mexican fusion and the guests discussed race and representation or lack thereof.

Our mission is what sets us apart and that is to build authentic community within young black and brown people globally. We want to create representation on a level where it doesn’t currently exist. It is one thing to scroll past a picture on Instagram and its another thing to share a meal with someone who you are assuming is culturally different from you. We want to create a space to breakdown those walls, start at a dinner table and end up in a different country, in a new place and hopefully with a new appreciation of self. Traveling has the power to change your life forever. It’s freaking magical.

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
I think we can both attest that our childhoods greatly affected our view of success and also how we have obtained success. Nathalie grew up with a father who valued travel and ingrained that value very early in her life. The value of travel to a developing mind helped her understand how to live, work and coexist with all types of people.

For Ayanna, the lack of that value in her family partnered with the unique opportunity to travel at a young age with friends opened her up to the possibility. She has always tapped into the notion of there is always something more out there beyond her little bubble. She attributes her success to the hardships she has faced and for the love and support of friends and family that have encouraged her to believe the sky is the limit.

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Myah Climax

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