In celebration of Black History Month, Cultural Xplorer is doing a series of interviews to eradicate the myth that African-Americans and people of color do not travel and to show you people of color who are traveling the world and making history.
This series features a number of interviews with 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.
Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon is the writer of the travel blog JetSetSarah who currently resides in the Miami, Florida area. Sarah has been traveling for over 40 years and currently works as a full-time Caribbean travel journalist / international shopper extraordinaire/TV host.
Sarah in Trinidad
Sarah on Traveling
How were you exposed to traveling?
My first flight was when I was three, transatlantic from London to Kingston, Jamaica. I clearly remember looking out the window and remarking to my mother that the clouds were upside down. Now I’m on a plane about twice a month (and I’m still thrilled every time).
What motivated you to make travel a part of your life?
I think I was struck by the magic of travel from that first trip. We take it for granted, but how amazing is it to board a metal capsule, travel through time zones and airspace, and disembark somewhere totally different, possibly on the other side of the world? I’ve always loved airports and hotels so studying hotel and hospitality management at university was a natural choice for me. Writing and making TV shows about the places I’ve been, people I’ve met and all the fab stuff I’ve bought is an extension of that, which comes from my desire to share that magic with people and my need to express myself creatively.
How many places have you traveled to so far?
Not as many as I’d like! I’ve been to most of the Caribbean, but there are still corners of it I want to see. And globally, the places on my lust list are too many to name! I could happily travel for the rest of my life and not be bored.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned on the road?
Most important: Attitude is everything! If you approach people and situations in a friendly, positive way, more often than not that’s what you get in return. Also: When in doubt, buy it! There’s nothing worse than sitting in a place regretting that fab souvenir you should have snagged.
What has been your biggest challenge on the road and how did you overcome it?
I’m inherently organized and “type A,” so it can really irritate me when things don’t go according to plan. But of course things often go pear-shaped on trips so, I’ve learned to be more flexible and to relax into travel challenges. Sometimes what appears to be a snafu is serendipity in disguise.
Sarah on Writing & Travel Blogging
When did you decide that you wanted to become a travel blogger?
I’ve been in Caribbean travel (as a hotel publicist, magazine editor, and travel writer) my entire career. When the magazine I was working for folded in January 2013 I started JetSetSarah.com as a way to continue to share the Caribbean places and “shopportunities” I’m most passionate about.
What makes your blog unique in comparison to other travel blogs?
I have a clear mission for what I do and for JetSetSarah.com: To spread the “gospel” of the Caribbean online, in print and on air, showing people that we are SO much more than just sunny skies and sandy beaches. The region is so diverse – the people, topography, language, culture, music, food (and shopportunities!) can differ from place to place – and I want visitors to enjoy all of it. Sure you can spend your day lying on a Caribbean beach (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) but you can also hike a volcano, swim with pigs, make your own perfume and (literally) go to Hell! So when you go to the Caribbean I want you to come back with more than just a tan; I want you to come back with memories that will last a lifetime, as well as an amazing authentic souvenir. That’s what JetSetSarah is all about. I’ve lived and worked in the Caribbean for more than half my life, so JetSetSarah offers true insider intel and my unique point of view.
What are the top five articles that you feel everyone should read on your blog?
- Five Caribbean Things To Do Before You Die
- The Caribbean You Don’t Know
- Shopping in Jamaica
- Five Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in the Caribbean
- My Dirty Little Jamaican Secret
These five posts give you an idea of what the site is about as well as my unique take on the Caribbean.
Who is your target audience?
Anyone who loves the Caribbean and/or loves to shop. If you want to find out what to do, where to stay, or what to buy in the Caribbean, JetSetSarah.com should be your first stop.
Sarah in Anguilla
Sarah on Life
Favorite travel (or life) quote:
My grandmother would always encourage me to make the most of every opportunity I was presented with because you never know if you’ll have the chance again or how long the experience will last. I apply her advice not only to travel (I rarely turn down a trip) but to my entire life. My knee-jerk reaction to anything new is always “Yes!” And I’d rather regret doing something than NOT doing something.
What is something that your readers do not know about you?
Hi, I’m Sarah and I have a teaspoon addiction. If I go to a hotel or restaurant and the teaspoon on the table is particularly appealing, somehow it finds its way into my handbag. I’ve amassed quite the collection, “liberated” from hotels all over the world.
Where do you plan on going next?
In the Caribbean, I have my eye on Guadeloupe, Dominica, Mustique in the Grenadines, and Harbour Island in the Bahamas – all places I’ve not yet seen. Globally, I dream of doing a luxury tour of India; après-ski in a mountain lodge in Switzerland; and spending my way through the annual shopping festival in Dubai.
Want to learn more about Sarah? Check her out here:
Chanel, you sure picked the right person for this interview!