If you haven’t yet come across Sojourner’s travel blog, then I’m happy to introduce you both. As you’ll read below, this world traveler has a knack for writing and shares her travel stories on her own page, Sojournies. In this week’s interview, I’m lucky to have the chance to hear from Sojourner on her journey and what fuels her wanderlust. Read on for her take on balancing school and travel, traveling the world as a black woman, and what to do with all the safety advice for wandering women. Thank you, Sojourner, for sharing your travel tales with Suitcase Six!
Tell us about yourself?
Hey! I’m Sojourner and I love pancakes, family, wine, chocolate and traveling. I graduated from Bradley University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology, Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies before moving abroad as a Fulbright Scholar to teach English in Logroño which is in the northern region of La Rioja (aka Spanish Wine Country). Prior to Fulbright, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain the spring semester of my junior year which fueled my desire to return abroad. Now back in the USA working a 8 to 5, I feed my travel craving by writing on my blog Sojournies. It’s a mix of travel, lifestyle and food! I’ve been journaling since I learned how to write, so now I’m an open book (literally) on the web.
Why do you travel?
Traveling has become one of the most important things in my life and always has been constant. I have family from Michigan to Georgia and California to Pennsylvania, so as a child I was traveling for holidays and summer vacations yearly. I’ve grown to international travel after two stints in Spain, getting lost, excited and frustrated along the way. It’s by no means easy and as a black woman with an afro some days and Marley twists the next, I feel like a walking cultural landmark at times. However, I would never let that stop me from seeing the world. I travel to explore. I travel for the many generations of family who couldn’t. I travel to learn. I travel to see the beautiful and not-so beautiful areas of the world. I travel to experience other cultures. I travel because it’s where I feel at peace. My name is Sojourn-er so it’s not that surprising right? Hahaha.
How do you balance work and travel?
For balancing between work and travel, I would say plan ahead. Before I leaving on the weekends when I studied abroad, I finished my homework before I left. The same for teaching. I would plan lessons for the following week beforehand because I knew I would be asleep on the bus back to Logroño from the Madrid airport. As for blogging, which is my current “traveling,” I write ahead too. I like to put out a post a week and I do so by writing multiple posts at once. I also use Hopper and stalk The Flight Deal on Facebook to catch good prices for when I know I’ll have longer holiday breaks. Planning ahead is key.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your travels?
The best lesson I’ve learned from my travels has been to expect the unexpected. Even with the perfect itinerary or picturesque destination, something can always go wrong. Go with it. Embrace it. You can’t let that deter you from living your best life!
Oh gosh! I have so many. I would say one of my favorites was crashing a wedding in the Rif Mountains in Morocco. I was studying abroad in Granada, Spain that semester and part of our program was the Morocco Exchange. It’s a non-profit that uses exchange programs to enhance intercultural understanding and dispel stereotypes between Western and Islamic cultures with a homestay experience in Rabat and trips to Tangier, Sale, the Rif Mountains and Chefchauoen. We talked about politics, education, oppression, movies, racism, alcohol, religion, music, etc. with Moroccan college students and I had an adorable, 3-year old host brother for the 7 days. In the Rif Mountains we were visiting a Moroccan family of the program (who had the BEST couscous) and the locals in the village invited us to dance during a pre-reception of sorts. It was the most unexpected thing ever that TripAdvisor or any travel blog could never tell you to do. I felt soooo carefree! I will never forget it.