The underlying hegemonic nature of tourism academia has been steeped in the structures of colonialism and a cycle of normativity. As tourism educators and scholars, it is our responsibility to challenge these norms through pedagogical design, research practices and community collaborations. Using narrative ethnography as the lens, this chapter tells the stories of two early career academics and their interpretation of academic culture. The overarching purpose of this chapter is to identify how the structures of colonialism and this cycle of normativity frame the experiences of two womxn critical tourism scholars. Through a critique of the tourism industry and higher education, the authors discuss the barriers of access and academic jargon, providing an alternative view of the academy and its role in the larger tourism landscape.