Every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the traveler is Jess Jones. Jess has been writing and inspiring readers with her blog, Journey with Jess Jones, since early 2011. You’ll find a combination of her major passions of travel, photography, inspiration and health/fitness. She is currently traveling extensively in South and Central America, learning Spanish as she makes her way through the Journey List!
1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
Anyone that sets out on a journey to explore new places, meet new people and fully experience a new culture/way of life can be considered a traveler. In my eyes, a traveler needs to take on their own journey (not some pre-determined trail to follow), give themselves up completely to the experience, and fully commit to allowing their journey to unfold as it’s meant to… and of course, have an amazing time along the way!
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
Sailing between Cartagena, Colombia and Panama through the incredible San Blas Islands, meeting the indigenous families, snorkeling, and sharing these moments with like-minded travelers! And to think I was lucky enough to make this trip twice a month for seven months… every single day I thank my lucky stars!
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
I’d have to say, my very first backpacking experience around the South Island of New Zealand. I certainly felt proud of myself. I remember traipsing around with my unscathed, new backpack, organizing the local bus, finding my first hostel, going into the bar alone and striking up conversation… and the sense of satisfaction as the first day came to a close. I’m smiling just thinking of it. And just think, now we do these things without a moment of thought in countries speaking another language.
4. Have you had any travel mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
I have had my share of bumps in the road (namely being robbed more times than I would like to say), but not once has it changed my view on the actual place or the people of the city. It can happen anywhere in the world, and it most certainly happens for a reason. I just believe that each time it was a sign (or slap in the face) that something needed to change. And while I don’t typically repeat places, I wouldn’t say no to returning because of an unfortunate situation.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
I can’t travel without feeling that I am in exactly the right place, doing exactly what I am meant to be doing for this time in my life.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
I’ve always wanted to travel without an end date, and thankfully, I currently am!
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
Patience: I’ve come to learn that not everyone enjoys living quite as fast paced, nor as spontaneous as I am used to, and perhaps I need to revel in the time I am “waiting” for things to happen. After all, I’m a firm believer that ‘life is a journey, not a destination.’
To have an open heart: I’d like to think I have grown rather open minded and like to steer clear of pre-conceived notions, be it of places, people, or experiences in general. BUT over the last 19+ months traveling, I have found my heart opening to these experiences, able to fully embrace and enjoy them for what they are.
Trust my instincts: I believe we all have a knack for making our own choices. Internally we ‘know’ what to do, but too often we don’t listen. I have found time and time again, when my ‘gut’ tells me and I choose to follow my instincts, it rarely leads me astray.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I am of the belief that you CAN live anywhere in the world, you just have to make it happen! I chose to make Melbourne my home for now, but as I continue to travel I have a pretty good feeling I will “live” away. When the time is right, Rio is definitely in the cards!
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
To narrow it to just one seems virtually impossible! I’m one of those people that has hundreds of things on my “Journey List” and I’m quite sure they will not all fall into place, but I am sure having fun watching as the experiences unfold! 1 Place: TURKEY, 1 Experience: Scuba Dive the RED SEA.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Start earlier, never look back, and write it all down!
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.