How One Woman Went From Being Stranded On Vacay To Earning $1.3 Million Through Her Travels
Photo Credit: The Passport Abuser

Photo Credit: The Passport Abuser

How One Woman Went From Being Stranded On Vacay To Earning $1.3 Million Through Her Travels

black owned business , solo travel , travel influencer
Ayah A.
Ayah A. Oct 14, 2022

Shakeemah “Keem” Smith a.k.a. The Passport Abuser is a travel influencer from East Orange, NJ. She has visited 62 countries solo and is the creator of the Travel Like A Bawse course, which has generated over $1.3 million in revenue to date.

Prior to venturing off on her first solo trip, Keem traveled three times a year with friends.

“I always loved to travel because it provided such an adventurous escape from the everyday 9-5 rat race,” she says.

Little did she know, an incident that would take place on one of those girls’ trips would soon lead her to a life of solo travel as well as a new lucrative entrepreneurial endeavor.

Photo courtesy of The Passport Abuser

How it all started:

In 2016, while on vacation with two friends in Amsterdam for her birthday, Keem was left stranded without warning.

“I told a friend that I thought her boyfriend was using her. I noticed that for the rest of the night she didn’t speak to me. When we arrived back at the hotel, she said she was gonna chill downstairs in the lobby while I went to the room. She then asked my other friend to stay downstairs with her for a drink.”

Keem woke up the next morning on her birthday and noticed that they weren’t in the room. When she called them to see where they were, they informed her that they had gotten a new hotel room somewhere else.

Photo courtesy of The Passport Abuser

Learning from my mistakes

“I immediately hung up and blocked both of them on Instagram. I never spoke to either girl ever again. Waking up in the hotel room stranded on my birthday felt like it was the worst day of my life. I had no idea it would be the experience to push me over the solo travel fence. I didn’t choose solo travel. Solo travel chose me. I started my solo travel journey the following year and never looked back.”

Keem’s first solo trip in 2017 was to Paris, France. Since then, she has traveled to 62 countries alone, including some of her favorite destinations like Antigua and Barbuda, the Maldives, Bali, and Thailand.

Sharing photos and videos from her trips on social media, Keem began to receive many inquiries from other women asking about the ins and outs of solo travel.

Photo courtesy of The Passport Abuser

Helping other women:

“So many women were reaching out on a daily basis about how they could achieve the same results. In 2018, while visiting my 34th country, South Africa, I decided to create my online solo travel course.”

When she first started traveling, Keem never imagined being able to monetize her travels. Now she has become a successful entrepreneur by doing what she loves and sharing insight on it. Travel Like A Bawse has helped 10,000 women from 14 different countries achieve their travel goals.

“Travel Like A Bawse is my nine-week online course that teaches women how to ace their first solo trip, and also how to master solo travel safely, confidently, and without draining their bank account.”

“Everything that it took me 62 countries and years’ worth of experiences to learn, students can learn in just nine weeks, making their solo travel transformation a lot easier than mine. I teach women how to build the confidence to travel solo, how to do so affordably, safety tools, and even provide daily FaceTime calls on every woman’s first solo trip.”

Photo courtesy of The Passport Abuser

Debunking misconceptions

One of the things Keem helps her students do is push aside the misconceptions and fears that have been instilled in them by the media and naysayers who have tried to dissuade them from traveling alone.

A common misconception Keem commonly encounters is that travel has to be expensive and drain all your funds. In her course, she teaches various ways to save for travel and see the world affordably.

“One of the things I did when I had a 9-5 was put flights on layaway to stay within my monthly budget. I also made my own breakfast and lunch to save more money.”

Photo courtesy of The Passport Abuser

Making solo travel comfortable:

Two other big misconceptions she often hears are that it’s unsafe to travel the world as a female solo traveler and that it’s lonely or boring to do so. Keem says that is far from the case as she has had some of the most epic experiences of her life during her solo travels. When it comes to safety, she offers several tips to help women stay safe while traveling alone:

  • “Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a FREE service for U.S. Citizens to enroll with the local U.S. Embassy in every single country you visit. Send them a copy of your itinerary prior to arrival and store the U.S. Embassy’s number in your cell before the trip in case of emergency.”⠀
  • “Use ride-sharing apps whenever possible. No yellow taxis. Why? Because the activity of both you and the driver are being tracked. Otherwise, you will not have any reference info such as name, reviews, or license plate number at your fingertips.”
  • “Keep ur stuff in the backseat with you when being driven around. Just in case the driver tries to overcharge or you start feeling uncomfortable, it’s easier to exit the car with your belongings.”⠀
  • “Ask your hotel staff or Airbnb host what the local scams are. In Brazil, we were told that kids will ask for $1, and when you pull out your wallet, they will snatch it and pass it off to an adult waiting nearby.”
  • “Have a solid method of transportation when visiting another country. Taking the train in Paris is cute, but if you don’t read French, or miss your stop, now you’re lost, you probably look lost, and now you’re just an easy target.” ⠀
  • “Have multiple forms of communication with the hotel staff or Airbnb host. Let’s say you lose your key while partying in Madrid, Or let’s say your driver can’t find the address, having an email address won’t help you at that moment. Have another form of communication with hotel staff, such as a local number or Whatsapp.”

Photo courtesy of The Passport Abuser

Learn more:

These are just a few of the tips students learn in Keem’s class. To learn more about safe and affordable world travel, click here to attend her free masterclass or click the link in her Instagram bio at @thepassportabuser.

Related: Pelumi Is The Solo Traveling Nigerian Woman Doing World Travel Her Way

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