Hi everyone! It’s so nice to see you here. Let us introduce ourselves and share our travel journalist journey.
World Footprints started when our passion for travel caught up to us. The travel bug bit us early and then it went into hibernation for many years. We walked the conventional path towards graduate school, law school and subsequently corporate America and legal practices. (Between us there are six college degrees–two law degrees and three degrees that were obtained at world-class institutions—the London School of Economics and the University of Michigan.)
Our careers have been stellar–Assistant General Counsel at a University, Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (63rd) and federal political appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, among others. However, we recognized that we weren’t pursuing our heart’s work even though much of our legal and policy work was impactful. We loved advocating for social justice but we knew there was something more we should be doing. That is when World Footprints was formed.
Travel has always been central to our lives. In fact, Tonya only agreed to date Ian after learning that he had traveled abroad. After a two-year courtship, Ian whisked Tonya away to Toronto where he proposed to her above the city in a small plane while another small plane passed them towing a banner that read: “Marry Me Tonya – I Love You”. We held a destination wedding on Bermuda and we honeymooned in South Africa. Our lives have been full of travel adventures ever since.
In 2005, we elected to start a travel agency with a purpose to help people discover the joy of intentional and meaningful travel. We also sought to share our core message of celebrating our common humanity and the stewardship we owe our planet. During the years our agency was open we started doing local and national television segment on travel. A few years later we caught the attention of a top Washington D.C. radio station that invited us to host our own travel program. After a year on terrestrial radio we moved to digital at the start of digital broadcasting. The rest, they say is history…
We’ve been so blessed to have our work recognized by top industry organizations. World Footprints has earned several awards from the North American Travel Journalists (NATJA), the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Award, and the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s “Golden Mic”. We’ve also received an African Community Service Award for sharing authentic stories about the continent.
Individually, we have gained recognition through other pursuits. Ian completed a marathon and half-marathon and he has earned two U.S. National Taekwondo Silver Medals in sparring. Tonya has been recognized as a Top Woman in Travel Media by the Women in Travel and Tourism International and she was honored by the Women Economic Forum as an Iconic Women Creating a Better World For All.
Both of us are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) and we sit on NATJA’s and SATW’s DEIA committees. Tonya also sits on the Advisory Board for NATJA and she’s a member of Women Travel Leaders in DC and The Explorer’s Club.
We feel so blessed to be able to travel the world covering everything from the Olympic/Paralympic Games and sporting events to festivals, White House State Visits, and indigenous communities. We enjoy bringing history to life and sharing unique treasures from the destinations we visit.
It is our hope that our stories inspire, educate and offer a bridge to connect across cultures. We also hope to foster the idea of slow, immersrive and responsible travel.
Open your eyes to see the world a bit differently.