Episode 8 │ Told My Fears to Shut Up (WANDERLUST REVOLUTION)
Updated: Feb 12, 2022
"I told my fears to shut up and just kept going. When you experience things on your own, you're able to build your own perspective." (Sirrita, Episode 8)
This week, we've got another brilliant Black woman whom I met in James Madison College (Michigan State University)! A self-described social justice educator, Sirrita Darby hails from Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from MSU, she returned to her hometown working for Teach for America and has been teaching in the city ever since.
During winter break of her freshman year at MSU, Sirrita participated in a study abroad program in Dubai studying sustainability and development. The topic of the program fit with her interests as a political science major, and she was eager to learn more about this particular Middle Eastern locale after having lived among Middle Eastern communities as a child. Studying abroad in Dubai not only exposed her to traveling internationally, but also molded her into being more steadfast and purposeful, which allowed her to face the challenges of her second semester of college with more confidence.
Later on during undergrad, she went to the Dominican Republic with Alternative Spartan Breaks to help support a school there. Compared to her previous experience abroad, this time Sirrita was more involved with the local culture and community since she was not in a touristy area and the purpose of this experience was service-oriented.
Decolonizing travel, especially for Black people.
Sometime after graduating and starting her career as an educator, Sirrita took her first solo international trip to Greece thanks to a flight deal that she happened upon. That excursion prompted her to research flight deals and travel hacks so that she could travel more for less. Since then, she's been to nearly 30 countries. But Sirrita wasn't content to keep the goods to herself. Armed with a passion for uplifting fellow Detroiters, she founded Wanderlust Revolution, a non-profit organization and travel website aimed at decolonizing travel, especially for Black people. With it she shares travel tips, writes blog posts about her experiences, and also distributes passport support and study abroad scholarships multiple times a year.
Currently, when she's not discussing travel online, traveling, or planning trips for herself and her son, Sirrita empowers her teenage students as both an English teacher and mentor. Earlier this year they published a book entitled Forbidden Tears, which features the students' writings about pain, trauma, and identity. She noticed that her students' complex experiences and feelings weren't being properly addressed within the school system, so she used the book as an opportunity for them to express themselves publicly. Together they also recently started a non-profit called Detroit Heals Detroit, which will embark on addressing social issues within the city through healing sessions and other community-oriented activities. Sirrita can be found on Instagram (@wanderlust.revolution) or her website (wanderlustrevolution.org), and she can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to listen to this episode, "Told My Fears to Shut Up (WANDERLUST REVOLUTION)" for more! And don't forget to check out the resource list below!
Dubai in the UAE: The Globalization of Consumerism and Community (Michigan State University)
Danielle G. is the creator, host, and producer of Young, Gifted and Abroad. You can find her other writings at DeelaSees.com.