The Founders of World Footprints and Hosts of the multi award-winning World Footprints podcast are not typical travel journalists. Between Tonya and Ian they have acquired six college degrees, two of which are law degrees and three degrees that were obtained at world-class institutions—the London School of Economics and the University of Michigan. Their careers have been stellar—Assistant General Counsel at a University, Delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (63rd) and federal political appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, among others—yet they have chosen a life filled with travel adventures.
Travel has always been central to their lives. In fact, Tonya only agreed to date Ian after learning that he had traveled abroad. After a two-year courtship, Ian whisked Tonya away to Toronto where he proposed to her above the city in a small plane while another small plane passed them towing a banner that read: “Marry Me Tonya – I Love You”. The couple held a destination wedding on Bermuda and they honeymooned in South Africa.
In 2005 they were pulled towards their passion for travel so they opened a travel agency with a purpose to help people discover the joy of intentional and meaningful travel. They also sought to share a message that was important to them–that we all share a common humanity. The husband-and-wife team then parlayed their travel know-how and commentary into travel segments for local network television stations and a national cable show. By 2007 they caught the attention of a top Washington D.C. radio station to host their own travel program. The rest, they say is history…
As travel journalists, the Fitzpatricks have earned several awards from the North American Travel Journalists (NATJA), the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Award, and the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s “Golden Mic”. They’ve also received an African Community Service Award for sharing authentic stories about the continent.
Individually, Ian has been recognized by NATJA for some of his photographic works. Ian is also a marathon runner and he has earned two U.S. National Taekwondo Silver Medals in sparring. Tonya has been recognized as a Top Woman in Travel Media by the Women in Travel and Tourism International and she was honored by the Women Economic Forum as an Iconic Women Creating a Better World For All. Tonya sits on the Advisory Board for NATJA. She is a member of Women Travel Leaders and The Explorer’s Club.
Today, the Fitzpatricks travel the world covering everything from the Olympic/Paralympic Games and sporting events to festivals, White House State Visits, and indigenous communities. They bring history to life, share unique treasures from the destinations they visit—all in an effort to inspire, educate and connect communities around the world through stories.
Under their direction, World Footprints has grown to become one of the most-reputable sources for meaningful, socially minded travel content — encouraging all to leave positive ‘footprints’ wherever they may travel.