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New San Antonio travel magazine seeks to share underheard experiences | Together We Rise

The Buddy Pass is a new magazine that evolved from an existing podcast about the experiences of Black travelers.

SAN ANTONIO — Leroy Adams has been to 20 countries and counting, his journeys documented in a podcast called "The Buddy Pass."

"It's to show and offer true, real authentic travel experiences to storytelling and video production," Adams said. "The other part of it is inspiration." 

As the episodes cranked out, Adams said he couldn't get his travel stories published unless he lifted the Black experience from his copy. 

That was something he wasn't willing to do.

"You're asking me to remove that because your target audience may not be open to such narratives," he said.

Adams says he taught students in China, but not before being turned down in a text where the recruiter said, "the school's administration is looking for Caucasian people... hope you understand. It's China."

There was also an instance where a student named Apple licked his hand in class.

"Turns out Apple's parents told her that I was made of chocolate," he said. "That I was a chocolate bear, because Apple would cry every time she had to come into my classroom because Apple had never... seen a dark-skinned teacher before or person before."

More importantly, he wanted to share the country through his lens with people who would relate to his stories.

The Florida-born Texan attended the University of Houston when he took his first trip abroad. His next trip was to Ethiopia, where he went to work for the Peace Corps.

During his trip to Africa, Adams took an excursion to India, where he noticed a response to his looks.

"The way that Indian people responded to my blackness and my features, and just me being in that space, was so shocking because I saw so many dark-skinned Indian people."

All of this became valuable content for his podcast, which would follow efforts to educate people in other countries that Black life is not like it's typically portrayed in movies and TV.

"At its core, we just want to inspire more of us to travel and see the world and to experience ourselves outside of the American context," he said.

The Buddy Pass' first physical issue was built of content from the podcast. Adams said so many people started asking him questions on Instagram that it seemed like a natural progression. 

Then, the San Antonio-produced magazine put out a second issue in 2022.

"We're everywhere, and we're spending money," Benet Wilson said.

Wilson has covered travel and aviation for more than 30 years. According to her, assumptions about how much Blacks are willing to spend could be part of the problem.

The Black Travel Alliance said that, in 2019, Blacks spent nearly $110 billion on domestic travel, and about $129 billion that same year on international excursions.

"Black people aren't a monolith. We're all very different. We have our different tastes," Wilson said. "We have our different thoughts about things, and with travel it is the same thing. It runs the gamut."

The Pew Research Center shows whites (75%) and Hispanics (73 %) outpace Black people when it comes to international travel.

"Sometimes Black travelers worry about traveling outside of the country because they're worried about racism," Wilson said. "They're worried that, you know, they're going to be looked down upon and things like that."

Adams said his magazine and globetrotting contributors hope to further open the world and shatter fears of traveling abroad. The pages come with tips, recommendations and more.

Adams produces The Buddy Pass in print and online and plans to launch an app in March. 


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