Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
From Peru to Mexico to Alaska you can follow Kelsey Adams and Fitz Henley a.k.a. Couple of World Citizens on their adventures around the globe. On any given day you can find them scuba diving, sandboarding or hiking through the mountains, and the pair who also happen to be models, typically look damn good during their activities. I met up with the duo, who recently announced that they’re expecting their first child to find out how they met through social media and what’s like to be a travel couple online.
How did you guys meet?
Fitz Henley: We met on Instagram. I was liking a few too many of her pictures and she was reciprocating a little bit. Then we had a chance to meet in real life in Williamsburg; I was on my bike and she was on her way to a shoot. She wasn’t interested, and after that I didn’t get likes for months [laughs].
Adams: I eventually messaged him during fashion week in 2016 because I was bored, then we went on a date at this restaurant Negril and the rest is history.
What’s it like getting to know someone’s digital footprint first, and then meeting the person?
Adams: I had a 100 percent wrong perception of him. I was just focused on myself and definitely did not date male models. Then when we finally met, he was just more intellectual than I thought — the conversation was great, he was adventurous and he was also country, like me [laughing]. I wouldn’t have guessed from his photos.
Henley: I was also a bit off in my perception of her, I thought she was an Instagram model but when I met her we had a conversation and I learned she had a corporate job and was running a law firm.
What was your first trip together?
Adams: We went to Culebra, a small island off Puerto Rico and this trip was actually what led me to quit my job. We were camping on the beach and it was the perfect place to clear your head. It got my life into perspective and made me realize to live for my happiness above all.
People say that traveling together is a good test as a couple, would you agree with that statement?
Henley: For me, if I’m going to be in a relationship she has to travel. To be honest, it was kind of a test aside from just a vacation together. I’ve been traveling to Culebra for 15 years and I know there’s not that much out there. I go there to snorkel, hike, and spearfish, and I’m camping out the whole time. I knew it wasn’t a resort kind of trip, but this is my style of vacation. I needed to know she would be good with that. The first night there was a huge tropical storm and she was able to hang. The topography changed, a lot of foliage was gone, so my normal campsite was gone. The first night was tough and I was nervous for her — I didn’t want her to be like “this guy has me here like in the movie Castaway.”
Adams: I was a little bit nervous since it was a strong storm but the next morning the sun came up bright and early at 6 am, so that was beautiful. There were a few more storms but that first one was the worst and after that, I got kind of used to it.
Who shoots your photos?
Adams: We mostly shoot them of each other. Sometimes we just ask people who are around to take pics – with more or less success [laughs]. The only time we had a photographer take pictures of us was in Peru because we were there on a photography retreat with photographers everywhere.
What has been your best and worst travel experience?
Henley: Best and worst was Central America – we went to southwestern Costa Rica where I had stayed previously with an indigenous tribe. It was very remote. We were driving across the country to Panama, which is already fraught with issues in itself, but there also happened to be a country-wide strike going on. We would get to a town and sometimes sit at a border for three hours. During that trip we went from town to town, beach to beach, wave to wave. There’ no lifeline there like in a resort. Also, when I was in Panama in a small town, I realized that one of the border agents previously had forgotten to stamp my departure so it looked like I never left the country. Then the agent on this current trip didn’t want to let me in they thought I might be a smuggler but really someone just forgot to stamp my passport.
Adams: My worst was when I got sick in Peru. It was the best and worst, we would do amazing stuff like go sandboarding in dunes but every day I was just so sick. I always had to pull myself together because I didn’t want to miss out on anything but it was hard.
What are some of your recent travels/brand partnerships? How do you decide to collaborate with a brand?
Henley: I’m a spokesperson for the National Parks Foundation, and I get a lot of opportunities to travel, mostly domestic. Working with the parks is amazing because they immerse you in history, for example, you get to see where Fredrick Douglass and the Buffalo Soldiers went, or you get an in-depth look at mountains and glaciers. We’ve also worked with tourism boards, so we get to see most scenic places on earth.
Adams: In Mexico, we went to Tulum and I helped promote a travel brand called Sterling Retreats which was through an old photographer friend of mine. It promotes black travel, and it was cool to encourage black people to go to places they’ve never gone to before.
You’re expecting – how does this affect your travel brand? Will you be traveling with your baby?
Adams: I definitely plan on traveling with the baby. I was in Alaska and Mexico pregnant, and want to go to at least three more countries before the baby comes. Now I do however have to think about things differently, food for example. I can’t afford to get sick because I can’t take medicine, it would harm the baby.
What are the best and worst things about social media?
Adams: Although social media plays a large part in my life, I also really like my privacy. I’ll post street style photos but intimate details of my life, I don’t share that. That’s how I keep balance.
Henley: Obviously you have a platform where people can see what you do, but life has ups and downs, so we don’t post a lot of the downs. Our brand is travel, adventure, and good vibes so that’s what we show in public. We usually post on the good days and hold back on the tough days. We do ask the community to help us out when we’re struggling, you can do that on social media. For example, when my dog died, he was the reason I got out of a serious rut in my life. He was part of my every day, and people supported me during that time and that helped lift me out of that situation.
What’s something you would like people to know about you that isn’t visible on social media?
Henley: Most of the day I speak in gibberish. We’re nerds and have our own language. Another thing is, I’m a big crier. I think crying is a human emotion, a necessity, however, it’s frowned upon in some circles. I went to a retreat that focused on black men sharing their emotions and now I’ll cry if I see a baby or a kitten, if it’s a sad moment I’ll shed a tear. People would be surprised to find that out about me.
Kelsey: People would be surprised to find out that I’m a huge gamer, I love PlayStation. I’ve played on every platform since Atari which is from before I was born.