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Meet Fidel Mahangel of Globe Beyond Yourself in Miracle Mile and Mid-Wilshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fidel Mahangel.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My travel journey started early, I was just 1 year old when my family immigrated from Eritrea to Canada, by way of Sudan. Reflecting on my birthday and the circumstances in which I was born, as I recently celebrated yet another year this month (March), it’s amazing to see how every experience has been for a greater purpose. I was literally born in the middle of a war, where my father was a soldier actively fighting and my mother fled her country on foot (over 600 miles) to find safety in Sudan. This was the context of my arrival; born in a country unfamiliar to my parents who were fighting for independence, my future had a lot of unknowns but my parents didn’t just believe that one day they would have a better life, they literally fought for it!

We made our way to Winnipeg, Manitoba of all places — after being displaced from my parent’s home in Eritrea — we were accepted into Canada and sponsored by a French Canadian woman who became like family to us. Other family members immigrated to Europe and some returned to Eritrea after independence in 1991; which was the youngest nation in Africa until recently.

This early part of my story is why my travel journey is so critical to the way, I was raised and how I view this world. For me, travel is not just for vacations, it’s more than that, it’s a way of life. Not only have I been privileged to travel on vacation with family and friends but I’ve also moved across states for academic pursuits, across countries for better opportunities and even across continents for a better life.

Now, having reaped the benefits of my parent’s sacrifices to provide a better life for us, I’ve had the opportunity to be adventurous in my own right and incorporate travel in all that I do. I’ve somehow managed to incorporate travel into my personal, professional, academic, and volunteer life. Perhaps, the beginnings of my own independent travel journey began when I decided to study abroad in South Africa the summer before my senior year of college.

As the only girl in my family, you can imagine the horror when I told my parents I wanted to leave the country without them! After some convincing, I made it to Cape Town, South Africa and had the most amazing and eye-opening experience with my classmates. As I mentioned, everything I’ve experienced has been for a reason and this was no different. On my way back from South Africa, I happened to sit next to a Cornell University professor (originally from Ghana). Over the long flight back to the U.S., we chatted about life and he asked me about my next steps after college. I shared that I planned to go to grad school next and if it wasn’t for him, I would have never considered or applied to Cornell for my graduate studies. He opened my eyes to the scope of options available to me, even an Ivy League institution which never even crossed my mind considering my background and upbringing. As a result, not only did I apply to Cornell but I got in and graduated with an MPA from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs.

At the time, I didn’t know anyone in my community that studied abroad or even attended an Ivy league to ask for their advice but I didn’t let that stop me. All it took was having an understanding of the resource or opportunity and leveraging my adventurous spirit to go out and take a chance on the unknown like my parents have modeled. Through this approach, I’ve experienced critical turning points throughout my life, including my journey to upstate New York where I studied public service and administration for two years.

I currently live in Los Angeles, where I work in the social impact and philanthropy space all while pursuing my passion for travel and encouraging others to do the same by getting out of their comfort zones. I recently started travel blogging as a creative outlet but mostly to show others how they too can make travel a priority. I found that sometimes all we need is a little guidance and encouragement in order to make our desires a reality and that’s how my travel blog, Globe Beyond Yourself was born!

As an immigrant and person of color in America, I’ve always had a strong desire and passion to share my experiences with others in hopes that they can take my lessons learned and apply it to their lives. Like that Cornell professor I met on the plane, I want to offer something that he offered to me by simply sharing the wide range of possibilities in travel that are available to all of us. I didn’t get through college, grad school or any other new experience on my own and I love paying it forward and helping others in my sphere of influence see their own potential and do the same.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Since launching the blog in July, my major challenge has been finding the time to commit to writing and keeping up with social media to share my travels and stay relevant. As a researcher by trade and planner/perfectionist at heart, my hope is to provide practical guides, itineraries, and inspiration to help readers, especially those new to traveling abroad, feel like they too can travel easily. With so many places I want to write about, it can be overwhelming to carve out the time and space on top of a full-time job and active volunteer and social life. I also continue to travel whenever I can, so finding the right balance to pursue all my passions has been a bit of a challenge. Despite these hurdles, the initial feedback on my blog has been warm and continues to encourage me to create helpful content to the best of my abilities.

Please tell us about Globe Beyond Yourself.
With a professional background in administration and research, I’ve been known for creating amazing travel itineraries based on the needs of a group. From family trips to a bachelorette week in Mexico, I’ve used my skills to create a balanced experience for all that’s fun and relaxing.

As a result, I launched my travel blog Globe Beyond Yourself, to share my travel journey with others while offering helpful itineraries that can help make the travel experience seamless. In addition to my personal offerings, I’ve also used Globe Beyond Yourself as a platform to share other perspectives through the Travel Spotlight Series which features travelers at different points in their travel journey. There are so many reasons and ways to travel and my desire to share this information was in response to the fears and concerns expressed from my own circle of friends on why they can’t or don’t travel.

I coach individuals on how to face their fears when it comes to travel and help them get the most out of a trip. As a strong connector, encourager, and collaborator I love bringing friends together across the globe and changing their minds about travel. I’m most proud of the fact that I’m actually reaching and inspiring others through my travels and resources. I learned that you can tell someone what they should do but when you show them instead, it speaks volumes.

Specifically, I’ve been a huge advocate for solo travel, especially for women of color and have been trying to convince friends and family that they should really try it for themselves! While they would admire the idea of it most felt they weren’t yet ready to take on this type of experience. However, after taking an awesome trip to Belize earlier this year, completely solo, I was able to practice what I preached and show them that it wasn’t so bad (or lonely) to travel this way. In fact, I started getting messages from friends and family who said that they were inspired to take a solo trip after seeing my adventure in Belize! This just reminded me to keep sharing my advice and tips on how to incorporate travel in all that you do because people are paying attention.

My travel goals for 2018 include adding 10 new stamps to my passport; taking more solo trips; and taking more weekend trips abroad. Since January, I’ve visited 4 new countries, taken 2 solo trips and managed to take advantage of a long holiday weekend to go to Belize. I’d say the year is off to a great start and there’s so much more to share on Globe Beyond Yourself!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory growing up was taking road trips with my family! There was a period of time in the early ’90s where my father had to move to the U.S. for work just to support us while we were living in in Canada. As a result, he found something in California and one summer, my brothers and I went out and stayed with him while my mom paid a visit to Eritrea. Considering, I get my adventurous spirit from my dad, he made sure he showed us the entire state of California from one end to the other. We had a blast driving from from Santa Rosa to San Diego, visiting Disneyland, and just living a carefree summer in beautiful California. I carry these fond memories with me and it’s no wonder, I ended up living in the sunny state of California as an adult, a full circle experience.

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1 Comment

  1. Sam

    November 29, 2019 at 03:50

    Hi Fidel.
    Sam here (ex Winnipeg neighbour/family friends).
    Nice reading about your life story, up until the present.
    I’m glad you share the same travel Gene as I do, although I haven’t exploited/ shared it in writing with the rest of the world.
    I admire your courage and in turn, strengthening the courage of othe, young woman the world over.

    Kudos to you and your parents.


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