In celebration of Black History Month 2015, Cultural Xplorer is continuing with the annual series of Black History Month interviews highlighting bloggers and travelers of color. This interview series was created to eradicate the long-standing myth that African-Americans and people of color do not travel.
This series features a number of interviews from both men and women of color from around the world who are passionate about traveling and sharing their stories through their writing and through travel videos.
Jazz on Traveling
How were you exposed to traveling?
My dad was a trucker, so growing up my brother and I were often treated to trips to places along the east coast including the Carolinas and I have fond memories of picking the sweetest juiciest oranges off of trees in Florida.
For that reason alone road trips were never a big deal. Getting from point A to point B was just a matter of time.
My mom loved going on trips too. I have an early memory of my mother going away to Aruba and all I know if that she came back darker and really happy.
These days she often travels solo, with family and she and I try to make a point to go away together at least once a year. I affectionately call my mom ‘Mama Urban Traveler”.
So I guess you can say I was exposed to it by both of my parents!
What motivated you to make travel a part of your life?
I think it was a strong influence from my parents. That’s why no one questions my desire to explore and experience places and events as they come up. It’s just a part of (my) life.
What is your most memorable travel experience to date?
Too many to list. All for different reasons. My travels are all peppered with randomness as well. I’m flexible, I go with the flow, and for that reason I have seen and have done a lot.
One that pops to mind is the opportunity I had to fly on Michael Jordan’s private plane, and yes, he was on it.
Simple things like learning how to make roti in Trinidad with my auntie.
The beaches of Cabo in Mexico as well as the shores on Ontario’s Sandbanks Provincial Park with my mom.
Line dancing in Calgary was fun.
Flying to Connecticut from NYC by helicopter was exhilarating.
Eating Lobster for the first time in Halifax was cool.
Attending F1 in Abu Dhabi and Montreal are favourites too.
Those we positive but the most negative experience that comes to mind was how the police treated me after I was hit by a car in a parking lot at a club in Miami a couple years ago.
How many places have you traveled to so far?
I’ve been many “places” but I’ll say that I’ve been to almost each Province, each State, a handful of islands as well as multiple European cities.
In 2014 I was able to go to the UAE which was nice for me to be able to experience a new culture and check off a new continent! In 2015 the goal to visit Australia!
What is the greatest lesson you have learned on the road?
A great dose of patience and common sense are your best friends.
What has been your biggest challenge on the road and how did you overcome it?
Traveling with groups. Groups can dilute the experience if there is no direction. I learned that itineraries help the decision making process and reduce the power struggle between some people who want to dominate decisions.
Jazz on Blogging
When did you decide that you wanted to become a travel blogger?
Perhaps two years ago. I started my blog almost 5 years ago but I wasn’t as passionate about storytelling (with the public) as I was about story sharing, with friends, as I am now. Social media’s growth, sophistication, and the ability to connect people in a meaningful way has been a gift.
What makes your blog unique in comparison to other travel blogs?
My goal is to inspire my readers to get up, get out, and see some world.
The Urban Traveler was created out of my love of planning, my love of experiences and my love of travel.
I’m a 30 something year old Canadian raised by the influences of parents from Europe and from the West Indies. I grew up with Synchronized swimming, Sinterklaas and Soca. A Prime Minister, Poffertjes and the Pan. I am the product of many cultures and I am so very lucky for it.
I write/post everything that inspires me from travel tips, deals, ideas, to the latest hotel, restaurant, bar/club and nightlife hotspots. I share my own travel stories along with tales from similar minded, interesting fellow travelers.
That may sound like a lot of other bloggers but I am just staying true to me and if I make friends (readers) along the way, it’s a bonus.
What are the top three articles that you feel everyone should read on your blog (or watch on your travel vlog site)?
– My experience attending the 52nd Annual Grammys back in 2010. It was one of my first posts and a true account of a typically random but cool experience that was was able to check off of my bucket list.
– My blog’s re-brand announcement because it was a post that expressed the hard work that went into giving my blog new life.
– The third was a toss between about Kanye West’s Tour dancers who performed a Flash Mob on a Virgin Australia flight or a review I wrote on a hotel/spa in Dubai. I chose the hotel because I already shared a personal story above.
It’s not so much my writing but the information that I offer the people that visit my site.
Sometimes it is informative, sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it is beautiful.
Who is your target audience?
She is single and travels often for work or is married with young kids. She is passionate about the things that matter to her and she loves a good deal. She loves to laugh and although she is busy, she knows when to make time for herself.
He loves meeting new people and shares his food! He is single with an eclectic group of friends or is married with a wife and kids that love his wanting to get out of the house to discover something new with them each weekend.
Oh and they BOTH love good great service and know they deserve it!
Jazz on Life
Favorite travel (or life) quote:
The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.
What is something that your readers do not know about you?
In the past 10years, of the relationships I’ve been in, they have all been international except for one. My mom wishes I would change that and tells me every chance she has.
What do your future travel plans for 2015 include?
I just got back from London where I celebrated my birthday with friends at the Knicks/ Bucks game at the O2 Arena (first time). I stayed at the Four Seasons Park Lane and the Grand Marriott Residences in Mayfair. I highly recommend both!
Next up is a RTW trip from Canada – Australia – Thailand – Dubai – Turkey and then back home. At least that is the plan! New York and Bahamas in the next month if not.
Interested in finding out more about Jazz and her travels around the world?