Would you ever book a vacation not knowing exactly where you were going to go until a week before your flight?
If that sounds like your jam, you need to meet Darnell Lamont Walker. He’s made it his mission to bring spontaneous travel to the masses.
What is “spontaneous travel,” you ask? Well, it’s something that Darnell started doing a few years ago when he was looking online for cheap flights to anywhere, and just booked the cheapest flight he could find. He ended up in London. And then Amsterdam, Morocco, Brussels, and the rest is history!
On the latest of his adventures, offerings he calls “Fly With Me” trips, Darnell and 5 others flew to Amsterdam. Only Darnell knew ahead of time where they were off to. About a week before they left they found out where they were going. Instead of the usual months of planning it usually takes, Darnell’s travel companions only had to show up to the airport and trust that they were embarking on the trip of a lifetime.
If you ask Darnell about the kinds of people who decide to take these fly by the seat of your pants’ vacations, he’ll say he’s sometimes surprised at the people who sign up. A big part of spontaneous travel with Darnell is surrendering to the moment. You would think only a certain, let’s say “carefree,” type of individual would be up to the task. Not so, claims Darnell. A lot of people who fly with him are used to planning everything themselves down to a T and are looking forward to relinquishing control of their vacations.
What if you’re the kind of person who needs to have every moment of every day scheduled? Darnell welcomes you to try out his approach to travel. Even one new experience a day can help to open your world in ways you never imagined. Maybe try a new menu item instead of your old standby. Or instead of staying at your usual hotel, try a night in a hostel. If that seems too scary to you, Darnell recommends staying at the hotel but going to spend time in the common area of a hostel. Meet new people who are enjoying the communal vibes of hostel life, and see that it’s really not so scary after all.
Darnell is trying to make it more socially acceptable for everyone to travel, regardless of color or socioeconomic background. Anyone who has the desire to travel should be able to. When asked why he thinks it’s more rare to see people of color traveling around the world, he thinks it’s because of a fear of the unknown, where anything beyond the confines of the community is a scary place. Darnell wants to show these communities that the world is ultimately a friendly place, and to miss out on adventures because of fear would be a shame.
And to anyone out there saying, “Well that all sounds great, but I still can’t afford to travel!”, let Darnell inspire you. On his latest trip, he only asked for $600 per person for the roundtrip flights AND accommodations for the entire trip.
How does he travel on the cheap? By being flexible with destinations. He recommends not having a specific destination in mind while booking a ticket, and simply flying to the cheapest place you can find. Then, once you have the initial flight, you can look to see where is an easy, cheap destination to get to from there. In this way, Darnell has been able to travel around the world on a limited budget.
Embarking on a trip with Darnell is sure to be a whirlwind of fun and new experiences. Will you scout graffiti in Bogota, Columbia, go to a jazz festival in Montreal, or sample exotic foods from a medina in Morocco? Sign up for one of Darnell’s “Fly With Me” trips, and prepare to be surprised!