Meet Travel Blogger and Travelista, Janelle Thompson. April 16, 2019 | Jhaelynn Elam
It’s Travelista Tuesday again! This time, we’re delighted to welcome Janelle, a Barbados native, CEO and executive director for the Insurance Association of the Caribbean, and frequent travelista! She has bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Political Science, as well as a Masters in International Relations.
Sizije: You have a Masters in International relations, so obviously you’ve studied the world as well as traveled it. So, how would you describe your travel philosophy? Is it to see the world? Connect with those not like you? Escape?
Janelle: I want to see the world. I tend to feel limited if I don’t get to go places to experience new things and people. I enjoy broadening my knowledge of the world. Everywhere is on my list to go; every single place is on my list!
Sizije: That is a great philosophy! During your travels, what has been the most insightful / life altering experience for you?
Janelle: I like to travel with open mind, but I conduct research before to prepare. No particular event sticks out as particularly life altering, but just experiencing different cultures is insightful and helps you to cope and realize the position you have. Traveling has provided a better perspective for me about many things in life.
Sizije: Yes, traveling definitely has a way of providing perspective. What do you look for in a new destination? In a travel companion? Where are you off to next?
Janelle: In a travel companion, I look for someone easy to get along with. You do not want to travel with any one that will drive you crazy (LOL). So, I choose them very carefully. I like to travel with people who have similar tastes, who are relaxed and chill, and people who like to plan things since I’m not a planner beyond plane and hotel. Honestly, I’d say about 60% of my trips are solo trips. As for choosing a new destination, there are quite a few variables that I consider, among them are timing and ticket prices.
Sizije: What lessons have you learned from your travels that you have applied to your daily life?
Janelle: Traveling has taught me to be open-minded about life. I’ve learned to experience things for myself before just accepting other people’s opinion about them. I’ve learned to just try things and see how they work out. Your experiences may be different than someone else’s.
Sizije: That’s all so true, those are such valuable lessons. What’s been your most challenging experience while traveling and why?
Janelle: Language barriers always make for challenging trips. But usually when you go somewhere and they don’t speak your language you can use technology or always find at least one person.
Sizije: Yes, a language barrier is definitely an obstacle. Speaking of challenges, what travel advice / tips to make traveling a smooth process?
Janelle: Book early! Also, “brand loyalty” and traveling with one brand/airline helps to stock up points/perks for future trips. Using a travel agent is always helpful, they often have tricks under their sleeve. Also, don’t go broke traveling! Save toward travel and don’t run yourself in debt to take a trip. You’ll always have a better time and have no regrets after when it’s a debt free trip.
Sizije: Thanks for those great tips! Here at Sizije, we’re merging food with travel, so we have to ask: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten during your travels? Where were you? Restaurant? City?
Janelle: In Singapore, it was the peppered crab and curry crab. In Belize, it was the ceviche. And in Jamaica, it’s the jerk spiced foods.
Sizije: Thanks for sharing! What’s been your favorite trip so far and why?
Janelle: Any trip with friends has been great. I really enjoyed Singapore; the food is amazing, you feel safe, it’s beautiful, and there’s a lot to do and see. I’ve visited twice and there was still a lot more to see. Everyone’s just living in harmony, it’s perfect!
Sizije: Looks like we need to add Singapore to our travel list! Have you met many people on your travels that you keep in touch with?
Janelle: Yes, there have been some that I’ve kept up with and I’ve visited a few people. I’m really aiming to create my own community and network.
Sizije: Speaking of community and networking, do you think Barbados would be a good trip? Would you be open to connecting us with the local scene?
Janelle: Yes and yes! The best time for parties is the last week of July for our Carnival, which is called Crop Over. The main carnival day (Kadooment Day) is always the 1st Monday in August. There’s good food year-round in Barbados.
Sizije: What’s a staple dish/something we must try?
Janelle: You should try the macaroni pie! It’s a local dish as well as the coucou and flying fish. Pudding and souse, rice and peas, there’s plenty of good food! You should definitely also try roast breadfruit with fillings.
Sizije: Thank you for sharing with us Janelle! We appreciate your time and input for this Travelista Tuesday feature!
Follow Janelle's journeys on IG @Bajantraveljunkie