Women’s History Month Overflow: Inez Chimhangariso is Still “Trippin”

Inez A. Chimhangariso is an experienced adventurer and travel coach who started hosting group travel experiences at the beginning of the black travel movement and whose motto is “I’m Trippin”. To Inez, trippin’ is audacious, judgment-free exploration that challenges your comfort zone and unearths new facets of your being.

Known as “International Inez”, she loves immersing herself into new Pan African cultures and has visited over 17 countries across 5 continents.

She is the Founder of It’s Deeper Than Travel (IDTT), a company that disrupted the narrative on international service trips by inserting black travelers into black destinations to travel, serve, and learn. The vision of It’s Deeper Than Travel is to be a champion in the story of how Pan Africans experience each other and Inez has brought that vision to life by hosting events and group trips that combine personal growth, exploration, ancestral discovery, and adventure in the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, South America, and Africa.

Inez was awarded 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year by the African and Caribbean Business Council of Philadelphia, served on the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs, was nominated for the International Community Service Award given by the Young Caribbean Professional Network of Philadelphia, and has been featured in Rolling Out Online Magazine, BlackCelebrityGiving.com, TajiMag, Applause Africa Online Magazine, Heart of the City Radio, and both The Lounge and The Source on WURD 900AM.

In 2020 Inez became a travel coach. Travel Coaching is the bridge between knowing what to do and doing what needs to be done to take the trips you dream of. She believes her life’s purpose is helping black women use travel as a vehicle to connect more deeply with themselves. Through travel coaching Inez is helping them become the woman that takes the trip she wants even when life is life’n and you can find her being an example of that on YouTube and Instagram @internationalinez.

Women’s History Month Reflections:

When you hear the term Women’s History Month, what does it mean to you, and what message can you deliver to our readers that relates to your thoughts?

Women’s History Month means setting time aside to remember, reflect,  acknowledge, and  celebrate all of the historical accomplishments that women of all races, cultures, and ages have achieved in the past. It is also a time to do the same for the achievements that we as women are accomplishing right now, as well as the runway that we’re building for future women to create and achieve things we could never have imagined.

Women’s history month is also a great time to find the evidence of the possibility of your dreams. In the midst of being mothers, being broke, being hurt, being discriminated against and being ignored, women around the world have been making history in big and small ways and it’s possible for you to do the same. I believe we should not just allow ourselves to be inspired by these women but to also use them as evidence of what’s possible for you and as a guide to what you will need to believe about yourself to go after your dreams. 

One thing that I always share with my travel coaching clients is that if you ever have trouble believing that something is possible for you just find one person like you that has done it. This month is the time to use history and the present as evidence of how far we have come and how far you can go. We’ve seen actresses who say they believed they could be in a movie because they saw another actress like them, or politicians who believed it was possible for them to be governor or mayor because they saw an example, or Mom’s who believed they could start a business because they saw another mom do it.

As we are reflecting and remembering what amazing historical accomplishments women have given to this world, one of the most important actions to take this month is to reflect on the history that you are making in your daily life.

Name something within your family’s women’s history that makes you proud, and tell us why it’s important to you!

When I read this question I immediately thought of my great great great grandmother “Madame”. Madame was a business woman who ran her own cosmetology company right out of her home in NY, under the mentorship of Madame CJ Walker. One morning in the early 1940s she took a bus from Fairhaven to downtown Red Bank, NJ because she was determined to buy a stove for her kitchen. This was at a time where black people were never given credit but Madame was bold enough to leverage her business knowledge, ask for what she wanted, and negotiate the purchase of her brand new stove on credit. Just like that my family became the first black family in Red Bank, NJ to purchase something on credit and Madame got her stove delivered to her house that afternoon.

This is important to me because: 

1. I see so much of Madame in me. I am also following my passion by running a business that I love right out of my home and I feel stronger knowing the stock from which I have come. I also feel confident because I know that I am walking the path she laid before me.

 2. Madame represents the lengths black women have taken for decades to improve the quality of their family’s lives. Getting that stove meant she could bake biscuits, cook dinner, and always have warm water to wash her dishes and wash her kids at night. And like Madame I am willing to take risks, do the uncomfortable, and challenge the norm to improve the quality of my family’s life. 

3. It is a reminder to me that one person’s obedience to their purpose is tied to so many other people’s destiny. Madame CJ Walker’s obedience was tied to my Madame’s destiny and my Madame’s obedience is tied to mine. When women own their place in history they give permission for other women to do the same.

Tell us a story about a time you battled a challenge related to being a woman of color.

When I had my first daughter, I remember planning to transition into being a new mom,  continue to maintain my relationship with my new husband, and to dive into growing my business during my maternity leave. I remember sitting on my couch at 12am one evening, mentally and physically exhausted watching a show called Working Moms on Netflix and although my eyes were watching the screen, my mind was deep in self judgment. I was thinking thoughts about how I just wasn’t getting enough done, I should be doing more, how I have been waiting to have time off from work to do all these things and I wasn’t getting any of these things done, and how not performing at that level meant I had lost myself. 

I remember hiring my first life coach and one of the first things she said to me was to lower my expectations. It was such a foreign concept to me that I laughed. The thought of expecting less than what I believed I was capable of and less than what I believed the standard was for someone like me was laughable. However, over the course of the next year I spent with my coach I realized that lowering my expectations was a challenge I would battle for the rest of my life but it was required because setting them extremely high, not reaching them, and judging myself over and over was causing me to dig a deeper darker hole in my self-esteem.

The expectations that we as black women hold ourselves to are high. We expect the best of ourselves at all times, and in all situations. Battling self judgment and allowing ourselves to lower our expectations, allowing ourselves to be a learner and to fail sometimes, and to celebrate our small wins is challenging for us. Overcoming this challenge has been monumental for me because it allowed me to give myself grace. If you have ever heard the saying “treat others how you want to be treated”, I would just like to add “treat yourself how you want others to treat you”.

I have learned to give myself grace and to lower my expectations especially when I am entering into new seasons of life.

Inez Chimhangariso

So I will say that there are a lot of battles that we fight externally in the world as women of color and specifically as black women however, I think if we can learn to take the time to tackle our internal battles, get the help we need, the support we need, and the guidance we need to win those battles, the external world will feel so much less like war.