Alumni Spotlight - Black Alumni Chapter

Have Curiosity, Will Travel

Kent State Graduate and Expat Turns Love of Travel into Consulting Business

Rukiya McNair '04 can help you prepare for the journey of a lifetime.
When Rukiya McNair walked across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree in Pan African Studies from Kent State University in 2004, she knew the world was waiting for her to explore. She may not have known at the time that she would literally explore places far and near around the world – and make a life for herself and her family in those places around the world.

Her travels and life abroad led the Pittsburgh-area native, wife and mother of two to found Rukiya McNair Consulting, a firm offering travel and cultural workshops, personal travel consultations for those considering living abroad, a travel blog, and travel planning and organizing worksheets. McNair said she will soon add an online course component to her service in 2018.

Adjusting for the time difference between Northeast Ohio and Thailand, McNair took time to answer some questions about her company and her traveling life.

Black Alumni Chapter: What was the trigger that gave you the spark to take the leap to move and to start your business?

Rukiya McNair: I started my travel consulting business about two months ago. I decided to transition from being a retail business owner to travel consulting simply because I love traveling and living abroad. I also enjoy answering the frequent questions I receive from aspiring expats and travelers!

BAC: How are you able to keep up with the various requirements, documentation and other regulations associated with travel to so many countries?
McNair: There are several online sources to keep up with the most recent changes around the globe. I also refer my clients to these web sites as well for their visa needs when traveling or moving abroad.

BAC: What countries have you lived in and visited so far?

McNair: Combined, I have lived and traveled in about 10 countries as an adult. We have lived in Bali and Jakarta Indonesia, Bahrain, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Thailand. I have visited Jamaica, Bahamas, Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Cambodia and Spain.

BAC: How old are your children and were any of them born overseas during your travels?

McNair: We have two children, ages 6 and 8; they were both born in Washington, D.C.

BAC: What has been the most challenging country to visit so far?

McNair: This is a difficult question to answer because all countries have their challenges, however there is so much to experience and learn in each one!

BAC: How do you feel you and your family have been welcomed by the citizens of nations with few or marginalized black populations? Likewise, how have countries with majority black populations welcomed you and your family as African-Americans?

McNair: Every country is different, and every Black person’s personal experience in those countries will also vary. Generally speaking, we have been treated well in all of the countries we have been to or lived in. Having the blue passport (U.S. passport) is a privilege, and you can definitely feel it when you are abroad. Most places we have been we were treated as Americans first, regardless of the color of our skin. It’s something that takes time to get acclimated to, and I think that says a lot.

BAC: How often do you return stateside and when do you plan to return stateside permanently? 

McNair: I can’t really say; it just depends on when we are ready to go home for a visit. When we were in Bali, we didn’t visit the entire two years we were living there. At this point, we do not plan on ever residing in the U.S. permanently.

To read more about McNair’s travels and her travel consulting services, visit

POSTED: Thursday, January 10, 2019 08:31 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 06:08 AM