I’m Gabby Beckford, and I teach people how to make travel happen through inspirational, empowering, and innovative travel tips! My Teachable school, the Packs Light School, contains courses, get-started guides, digital downloads, and tell-all programs that break down my expertise in travel: solo travel, becoming a digital nomad, and traveling via scholarships in grants at any age.
I say that I specialize in “empowering edutainment” because I teach my material in a way that is accessible, engaging, entertaining, and always with optimism and good vibes. I believe my students are capable of anything and inherently deserve everything, and I’m here to help them reach their goals.
I’ve always loved to travel, but as I got into high school, I realized that I’d have to find opportunities to travel without my family. I began to learn more about the different types of travel, and that’s when I discovered niche online communities of Black adventurers who were equally obsessed with travel as I am.
In those communities, I realized the extent of privilege that leisure travel has historically been. I learned about the slow and painful desegregation of transportation in America in the Civil Rights movement by young Black patriots not much older than I was. I was introduced to The Negro Motorist Greenbook by Victor Hugo Green, published in 1936—not yet 100 years ago—a resource designed to help Black people simply navigate this country safely. Leisure travel is often reduced to Instagrammable angles and the excitement of vision-boarding your Spring Break trip. But for so many of us, leisure travel takes a lot of active effort, planning, and emotional labor to be leisurely.
For example: when I search “solo female travel tips” on Pinterest, a Black face doesn’t appear until the 19th search result. When I search “digital nomad vlog” on YouTube, a Black creator isn’t shown until the 54th result!
If we can’t find concrete examples of people we can relate to, how can we feel that it’s possible for us, too? To take action on this, I helped cofound the Black Travel Alliance in 2020, a 501c(3) non-profit with the mission of increasing equitable opportunity and representation for Black travel creators. Because more than a teacher or educator, I am a community builder.
When I took my first solo trip to Iceland in 2017, I was the youngest, the only woman of color, and the least experienced on the trip. When I studied abroad in Dubai, UAE, I was one of only three other Black women in the program. Honestly, part of me created my teaching materials at Packs Light School for the past version of me! For the high school student who spent hours and hours Googling “how to travel for free”, “jobs that let you travel the world”, or “how to travel when you’re 17”. It would turn up with no search results, and I used to think I was crazy. But not now! I became an educator so that other young, ambitious women of color might find my school and realize that they aren’t crazy, or dreaming too big. And that while I may have been the “first” in many spaces, I will not be the last.
I’ve created the Packs Light School as a suite of value-packed tools to help you anywhere that you might need on your journey. Need inspiration? My PTO Dashboard and my Go Remote Guide ebook are packed full of resources and information to help you figure out the many possibilities to travel out there, and which ones fit best for you. Need accountability? My Opportunity Tracker Spreadsheet helps you stay organized and productive. As someone with ADHD, this is my favorite way to gamify my search for travel opportunities! And my big ticket course, How to Take $10K Trips… For FREE is exactly that: my tell-all guide of information that walks you from the start—overwhelmed, confused, yet hopeful just like I was—to being able to travel in the same ways I do.
Taking my first solo trip at age 17, being awarded $40,000 in study abroad scholarships in college, and even traveling to expensive destinations like Fiji and South Africa
The more Black and brown people travel and see the world, the more their views of self and their place in the world expand. The impacts of hope, curiosity, community, and knowledge on our quality of life are immeasurable. And the small role that I play is to continue the legacy of educators, innovators, disruptors, and hopeful visionaries before me!