Travelling became an accidental hobby that has blossomed into an ongoing love affair and thank God I can afford to feed it, since it is one hungry past time that has me feeding it pretty regularly.
It all started a few months after I moved to Japan. When I was on the JET Programme I would often have blocks of time with nothing to do. I found myself going to the back of the small diary we got and looking at the world map.I started reviewing the countries near to Japan, starting checking them out on the internet, then I started reading travel forums on those countries. All this resulted in me making plans for periods when I was off work to explore places in Japan and those near to Japan.
I remember those days when I would get up on a Saturday, book a room at a Toyoko-inn, pack a small bag, go to the station, buy a shinkansen ticket and go all over exploring for the weekend – oh for those long ago days, that feeling is long gone sadly. I was in a rush to explore as much as I could of Japan because I just knew I wasn’t gonna stay longer than 3 years haha.
The first international jaunt I took from Japan was to South Korea. I was all booked to go off alone until a Japanese friend jumped on the trip. It was great fun and I was officially bitten by the travel bug and travelling only in Japan would not sate it. This means it was back to my trusty world map and journal for planning trips, where I could explore and maximise my budget because I have always been about the budget life. So the trip to South Korea was on spring break so I had 3 weeks of summer to milk to the max to feed my dear travel bug.It was back to researching and cross checking info and I decided a little jaunt around South East Asia was in order. Those were the good old days when I could apply through the post for visas I needed. I decided to do a mix of visa free countries with one I could get a visa on arrival to kinda balance out paying for two visas upfront.
Feeling great in Seoul circa 2008
I found myself exploring Bangkok, Hanoi, Saigon(Ho Chi Minh City), Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the summer of 2008 with a dear Japanese friend of mine. Those three weeks together cemented our friendship. I need to share my stories from this trip and others.
Oh I remember how hot the sun was to the point where I had to don a head scarf to get a bit of shade. This brings back such great memories. (Angkor Wat, Cambodia)
Playing around in Hanoi
I blogged for a few years about life in Japan while on the JET Programme and even had a YouTube channel in the early years, which I deleted some years ago. I never did blog about my travels but this is a big part of my life so why not share about it in this space. Some of the information may be regurgitative since many travel bloggers cover similar content but my experience may resonate with some people I am sure, who like me belongs to a country with a ‘weaker’ passport, who want to travel but give up before starting because of the hassle of getting visas.
I have been perusing travel blogs for years and I notice there is void to be filled by people of my hue from developing countries, who dream of travelling the globe but may not know how to go about it or even feel demotivated because they do not have the means to travel now and feel they may never have it. I am going to be using my space here to share more about my unique experiences of travelling as a black Jamaican woman – everything from applying to visas, demystifying stereotypes of my little island to people in far flung lands, travelling as a black person in African countries I have visited and to others where I stand way out.
This is not a blog where one will find all perfect pictures because I like to be comfortable especially when I am travelling and I am more interested in exploring my surroundings than taking the perfect picture. I only take multiple pictures of awe-inspiring things and me striking the right pose ain’t one of them. Since I travel by myself most of times I often ask others to snap a picture of me and often come home with a thousand pictures of the scenery and ten of myself. I usually get so engrossed in the scenery that I forget to take my ‘I was there’ picture.
Exhibit A LOL (Bangkok, Thailand)
I have much to share about the places I have been and those I will go to because this travel bug is relentless. It just won’t let me go. Since 2008 I have been on quite a few adventures which have seen me exploring some places in Southern Africa, some in the Middle East, Eastern African, bits and pieces of Asia and a few cities in Europe. I have some places in South America in my sights as well as other places that I will visit over time.
Do I have a list? I have never made one but there are particular things I want to see in certain places so I like to work around those. I am also the girl who will fly somewhere to see a friend – if I can afford it I will go. I am a big fan of trying to see at least places in three countries where possible because travelling from Japan to many places is EXPENSIVE. Regardless of this, I do not try to see everything in one place in one go, no, not me, I like to soak up what I can and relax too because I am holidaying as well.
So it seems I have morphed into a travel blogger on this here site but there are other things I like to write/chat about so I will go with my flow and hope those who visit, like, comment and connect with me will enjoy their time here.
It is looking like it is time for me to feed this blogging hobby a bit more too and get on a platform where I have a bit more control and can post more videos and the like. Decisions, decisions, let me mull them over and see what path I take… Thanks for reading as I rambled on and on…