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FunTimes Magazine

Meet Alexis Chateau: How This Black Solo Female Traveler Is Going Against the Grain

Feb 28, 2022 04:00PM ● By Candice Stewart

Black solo traveler and full-time RVer, Alexis Chateau, says that representation is important to remind people that access to the great outdoors in the solo travel community is not exclusive to one group of people. She shares her journey’s experiences with FunTimes Magazine, along with the underlying message of inspiring people like her to take a brave step forward.

Chateau, a 32-year-old Jamaican immigrant, lives full-time in her caravan, referred to as ‘Jasmine’, and moves about every month. In between those movements, she travels with her FJ Cruiser that she calls ‘Samson’, and her cat, Shadow. In a recent interview with FunTimes Magazine, she shares that the #vanlife hashtag is filled with skinny blondes posing with a sunset or beach view outside a van.

“This sells well and will continue to sell well for years to come. However, that is not my style,” she says, alluding to the fact that her style is more so of someone who doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter look.

Chateau says she focuses on authenticity. “I never dress up for my videos. I will roll out of bed and film. I run around in the desert in my one-piece pajamas and if my hair is flying in 15 different directions, it doesn’t bother me. Authenticity makes me more approachable, I think, and that’s what makes me much more unique when compared to my counterparts,” she tells FunTimes Magazine.

“I didn't need representation to officially get started as a solo traveler, but many people do,” she says. “I think representation is also important to remind a certain demographic that we, people of color, have arrived [within the solo and van-life travel community]!”

The Importance of Black Representation

Alexis grew up in the predominantly Black Caribbean country of Jamaica. The matter of representation was not an issue for her. So, when she first started traveling with her RV, representation was the furthest thing from her mind.

“I am a Black woman born and raised in a Black-majority country. I didn't need to wait for the likes of Barack Obama to see Black leadership in my community,” she highlights. 

However, as soon as she hit the road and commenced the documentation of her journey on her YouTube channel, the messages started coming in.

“I'll never forget the first message I received. The person told me, "I didn't know people like us were out here doing these things. I've always wanted to, but I don't know where to start and I've never seen people like us doing it," Alexis explains.

Messages such as that one keep her going to be that Black and female presence in solo traveling and van-life. People want to know that they can do something, and seeing a familiar face, race, and complexion speaks volumes to them.

“My friends begged me to create a YouTube channel so they could see my travels,” she explains. “Ironically, they rarely watch. Most of my viewers are strangers. My family watches everything,” she continues.


Journey to Solo Travel and Van-life

Alexis reveals that during her childhood, she and her family moved around a lot while she was growing up. That, she says, set the foundation for her current mobile nomad life and a preference to be an entrepreneur who ultimately thrives on independence. Her biggest driving factor to embark on her solo travel journey came when she was 25 years old and in the corporate world.

“I was burned out and I decided that I would rather try anything than continue the corporate lifestyle. Climbing the ladder and traversing the ranks of the corporate world remain unappealing to me,” she tells FunTimes Magazine.

Though Alexis made the big move at 25, she tells us that travel has been a big part of her life since childhood. With family members in the U.S., she spent as much time there as her parents allowed during her summer and Christmas breaks.

However, 2015 was the catalyst for great change in her life. She quit her job and decided to travel across her native island to explore parts unknown to her. The rest is history.



 Traversing the Van Life Community

Though Alexis loves it and doesn’t see herself doing anything greater than what she currently does in the van-life community, it has not been without some push-back. 

“The community is not easy to traverse as a Black woman,” she tells FunTimes. “White American men deliberately ignored all my questions when I first started. It was like I was blacklisted before I ever truly began,” she continues. 

“I fell down the ‘conservative-white-woman-posing-on-her-husband's-truck’ rabbit hole and realized sex nor  gender was the issue. The same men who couldn't be bothered with answering my questions were all over their pages, giving women advice for trucks they literally said they didn't even own or drive,” Chateau explains.

She reveals that the folks who connected with her and provided sound advice were almost exclusively Europeans, Canadians, Australians, Middle-Easterners and Californians of all races. People of color from all across the US also reached out to her.

“Gaining traction in the community can also be tough from a social media perspective,” she shares with FunTimes. “I sum it up like this: the people in my niche market don't want to see my face and the people who want to see my face don't care for my niche. While I recognized that, I just continued posting and connecting with the people who really care to connect. After a while, the right people found me and continue to find me,” Chateau says.

Since then, Alexis has come across more Black people outdoors. “I have not met a single one during my travels, but I see them on Instagram and that's awesome! I don't want to be Instagram famous or YouTube famous. I just want to build an engaging community and I want to remain accessible to the people who have questions about getting started,” she shares.

Read about another influential Jamaican woman FunTimes interviewed:

Nicolette Simms: Jamaican Entrepreneur Striving For The Best While Empowering Clients To Do The Same

Having the ability to freely express yourself through fashion allows you to stand out in a crowd and tell your story however you see fit. That is the driving factor for Mrs. Nicolette Sim... Read More » 


The Story behind Samson, Jasmine, and Shadow

“At 16 years old, there was a Red Bull vehicle that used to make the rounds on Saint James Street, in Montego Bay. I was in awe and decided on the spot that whatever it was, I wanted one,” explains Alexis.

It was the first-ever 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser. At 31, she finally bought a 2011 FJ Cruiser with 4WD which boasts almost 200,000 miles on the dash and named it Samson.

Samson, the FJ Cruiser

Jasmine (or Jazzy) the RV was bought a month later.

Jasmine the RV

“I didn't tell my parents when I bought her. Instead, I told them I was taking them hiking. I parked the truck behind the trailer in a suburban neighborhood, introduced them to the RV and told them I was leaving in three weeks. Needless to say, they were stunned. I locked them inside the RV and ran into the house to sign the paperwork with the owner. When we came back out to check on them, my parents looked at me and asked if they could join me. They actually drove with me from Georgia to Nevada in three days and then flew back to Atlanta,” the solo van-lifer shares with FunTimes.

Shadow is a semi-feral cat that Alexis adopted while living in Atlanta.


“He was a wild and timid little thing,” Alexis shares. “Three weeks into my attempts to tame him, I was working when Shadow wandered into the office. He looked me up and down for a few seconds. Then, he hopped on my lap and went to sleep. We have been inseparable since. He has traveled with me via RV, Airbnb, and even tent camping.”.


The Journey Thus Far

The solo-traveler has been to 35 states so far, but most of those were long before she got the RV. With Jasmine and Samson, Alexis admits that she travels slowly.

“I like to sit in an area and enjoy all it has to offer. I have my house with me, so what's the rush? In Mexico, I have only traveled to Sonora and Baja California on wheels. I wanted to go further south in Mexico, but it's a risky move for a young woman traveling alone. The locals have told me it was a bad idea and talked me out of it. That said, some people do it without any real problems,” she explains.

Alexis has traveled outside North America. She has visited Honduras, a few Caribbean countries, and the Maldives.



Tenting it with Samson! 

Key Experiences with Prejudice and Racism

Alexis recalls buying a Democrat flag and a Black Lives Matter flag to ruffle the feathers of some folks.

“When I was in Arizona, the Confederacy tried to intimidate me into leaving. I stayed there for 30 days. My RV was parked next to some [unsavory people] and nothing can convince me that the RV park administration didn't do that on purpose. The space I was given was not the only available spot. When they wouldn't get rid of the stupid Confederate flag, I bought a Democrat flag and a Black Lives Matter flag 10 times the size of theirs. I hoisted them out front. Needless to say, no one spoke to me while I was there,” she shares.

Chateau encountered another situation in Wyoming. There, some bikers blocked her in at a gas station. She chose not to engage.

“I backed the RV out of the spot, whipped it into a three-point turn and went right back out onto the highway. I was not trying to be on the news in a rinky-dink town with no witnesses!” she explains.

Differences between Jamaica and the US

“As a Jamaican immigrant, I have to add that my home is a beautiful country and there is no parallel or replacement. However, I believe that there is nowhere else in the world where you can travel this freely with no borders and incredibly diverse topography,” Alexis tells FunTimes Magazine. 

“The US has a lot of social problems that I never had to think about in Jamaica. For example, I recently bought land to build my tiny home. The deal was great, but I couldn't just sign the paperwork. I had to drive 8 hours with my cat to spend four days in the area and see if I spotted any Confederate flags. When I ran into the Confederacy in Arizona, I was actually there to buy land. So, I wasn't giving anyone the benefit of the doubt this time around,” she continues.

Alexis grew up in an extremely rural, white historical neighborhood called German Town in Jamaica. “I still never had to think about anything like that back home,” she explains.

Jamaica’s motto is Out of Many, One People. So, though it is predominantly an Afro Caribbean country, there are multiple races that exist in the country.


After Leaving the Corporate World and Going the ‘Write’ Way

Alexis, who works 100% online, prefers to set her own rules, and living by a 9-5 job does not fit her way of life.

Though she lives a nomadic type of lifestyle, she is a writer, blogger, content writer, and author.

“If I wanted a 9-5, I could have stayed in Jamaica. Right now, my favorite rule is – don’t text, call, email, or ask me about work from Thursday to Sunday,” she tells FunTimes.

She boasts that her clients respect this rule and it means that she does her client work for only three days a week. 

“When I tell people I only do client work three days per week, they sometimes miss the asterisk. The keyword is client. I often work all seven days. The other four, I'm doing things like working on my YouTube videos, blogging, working on my novels, responding to questions from aspiring adventurers, and the like. I try to stay ahead by about a week because sometimes I spend Thursday to Sunday exploring instead,” she tells FunTimes.

Chateau’s blog originally started as a way for her to document her travels. However, when she moved to the U.S., frustration gripped her. Racism and cultural ignorance inundated her experiences to the point where her writing focused on them.

“My first racial article went viral and my first article on Jamaican culture did too. Needless to say, those are the primary reasons people visit my blog,” she says.

“I still write about travel. However, I have come to realize that the audiences across the platforms I share content on and the audience on my blog are different. People on Instagram and YouTube want to see the story and the experience. They also want travel tips. Rather, people on my blog want to know more about the social issues I encounter and what my thoughts on them are,” she explains.

Read about another influential Jamaican woman FunTimes interviewed:

Author and Founder of BraveSelfStarter Tiffany Trotter with her daughter

Jamaican Immigrant Encourages Bravery Among Children and Adults Through Story Books and Personal Development

How do you inspire children to be brave and go for their dreams? You do so by teaching them about brave people who have accomplished great things in their lifetime! Read More » 


Alexis Chateau PR and black CATashtrophy

Alexis is also the owner of Alexis Chateau PR, an independent public relations firm that focuses exclusively on creating content for their clients. They handle social media accounts, build websites, create logos, and handle other aspects of marketing and communications for their clients.

“Right now, the bulk of our work is copywriting for clients in law, tech, finance, and real estate. We have a team of seven spread across the U.S., Mexico, and Jamaica, including the cat!” she reveals.

For his part, Shadow (the cat) heads the division of the PR company that was created as the in-house publisher for Alexis’ books alongside the provision of marketing services to other indie authors, called black CATastrophy.


The Ultimate Goal

Alexis Chateau shares that she isn’t sure of where else her journey will take her. However, she envisions Australia and Europe as next on her travel list.

“I know my goal is to get more people like me out here. I don't just mean Black people, but also single women and young people. More of us need to understand that working and waiting until retirement to explore and enjoy life is not the only path we can take,” she says.

 Candice Stewart is a Jamaican content writer specializing in human interest feature stories. She is a web content writer, blogger, and budding podcaster.

She holds an MA in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change and a BSc. in Psychology from the University of the West Indies (UWI, Mona).

Follow her blog at, where she shares stories and life lessons through real-life experiences.

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