For all those wanderers, achieving travel goals adds a major pleasure to one’s life. Especially when you are solo woman traveler with all the countries on your list to travel within a period of 14 months is no joke.
Well, it might sound like a real adventure in a dreamland but let’s meet this wonder woman Jessica Nabongo who is all set to enter the records with her major travel goals. More than entering the records, she intends to be an inspiration and set an example to the woman kind especially the black women. Let’s take a look at this free spirited woman who has been the talk of every news Channel in the recent/lately.
Nabongo is an African – American born in Detroit to Ugandan parents holding 2 passports with an attitude of living a life that weaves her passions and talents together. Completing an undergraduate degree in English literature, she moved to Japan to impart her English skills and further completed a graduate degree at the London school of economics. The vision of changing the perspectives of a black woman and her passion for travel, writing & photography lead to the birth of her well known website “The Catch Me If You Can”. Her blogs lead to the creation of a community, and later “Jet Black”, a travel boutique that curates itineraries to countries in Africa, Central & South America, and the Caribbean. Her work as a travel blogger invited many speaking opportunities around the world.
Nabongo not new to travel; her journey began when she was just 6 and since then she has lived on 4 continents in 5 countries. It’s not easy for a solo woman entrepreneur to make such decisions to travel around the globe; nevertheless her dream to achieve helped her to make travel plans easier. She fell in love with London when she moved there to pursue a master’s degree.
Can u imagine yourself being on 131 flights for over 189,000 miles in a single year? Phew! That’s a number hard to imagine. But is insignificant compared to the experiences in 53 countries out of which 38 were new on her list. Hopping from Sri Lanka to Maldives, South Africa to Mozambique; she spent only 21% of her time at home in the year 2017. The Thought Alone sounds exhausting to just imagine the entire journey, but with just 5 months into the New Year, Nabongo has already visited 9 countries including Botswana & Saint Kitts.
Working with the No.1 Pharmaceutical Company in the US and being the Creative head of her Jet Black, she set up a financial safety net in case she had to return back to the corporate lifestyle. She also states that finding a job abroad or speaking with the American, it might sound too easy but takes a lot of behind the scenes work to be able to work with the United Nations. Her new goal of travelling to every country in the world stroked while she was in Bali, Indonesia a year ago. Since then she has manager to fund her own travel expenses and using miles. Before she turns 35 in May 2019, 89 countries await her list to fulfill her travel dream which will cost her a whopping $133,500. Since it’s not a small amount, she plans to fund 40% of her journey by reaching out to brands for sponsorships. She adds that receiving mails and messages from people all over the world asking her how they can contribute towards helping her achieve her dream has been very overwhelming.
Irrespective of color, gender, or the nationality that one holds, Nabongo is all set to prove that with Africans too are globetrotters! In order to promote this, she uses her Ugandan passport more than her American passport. Even with visa – free countries, she faces issues because of racism. It’s surprising to know how easy it is for one to travel to any corner of the planet with an American passport. But she prefers to use her Ugandan passport to countries like North Korea & Iran which is a challenge with an American passport.
Facing a lot of issues on her way despite being a self – identified African has been frustrating, she adds. Being forced to wait to cross borders, airport immigrations, discrimination especially from the Africans itself are quite unexpected. Serving as a cultural ambassador, Nabongo constantly struggles to see things differently.
She speaks of how Instagram has been a great platform to expand and educate the world. Be it about the racism, travel or food, but she also says that its equally dangerous and disgusting how others use it for their personal publicity.
Coping up with the time zones, Nabongo relies on sleeping pills while battling with the jet lag. However, being a black solo woman traveler can be emotionally exhausting. Striving to balance the work life while travelling might not sound like an adventure. Sometimes she feels guilty for not being able to explore a country like the way she wants as being an entrepreneur holds her back. Ultimately, her goal is not just to tick the countries off her list. The main goal is to interact with the locals, use her voice to help others, change the perception of female travelers.
This Millennial entrepreneur gives us a true thought to our list of travel goals. Isn’t it? If you wish to get inspired by this woman, do follow her on her Instagram page @thecatchmeifyoucan.
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