When she isn’t traversing the world at the director of the Urban Justice Center’s Human Rights Project, artist Shani Jamila is back in Brooklyn planning her next journey. We finally caught her to get a look into how she does it for this week’s Travel Seven!
Home City/Country: Brooklyn, NY. USA
Occupation: Artist and Human Rights Advocate
Passport Stamps Include: India, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Gabon, France, Turkey, Greece, Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa + over 25 more.
1. My best travel memory so far is… I love to meet with other socially engaged artists, writers and thinkers from the African diaspora,so it’s been great to have the opportunity to connect with colleagues while speaking at global gatherings such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Switzerland, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development in Turkey and the World Social Forum in India. Other travel highlights have included playing mas during Carnival in Trinidad, witnessing master kente cloth weavers at work in rural Ghana, wandering the narrow alleys of the souks in Marrakesh in search of the perfect chandelier and reading my poetry at a Venezuelan festival.
2. My favorite hotel & why…My preference is chic boutique style hotels and/or somewhere with great spa services. The best massage I ever received was at the Sofitel in Abu Dhabi.
3. My must-haves on any flight are…Something cozy to wrap myself in, something amazing to read, something to write down my thoughts on and something yummy to snack on.
4. When I’m on the road, I absolutely hate…Only walking the beaten path. It’s important to visit the most popular sites but also be sure to take the road less traveled and see what fun is in store!
5. My dream destination or vacation is…My dream list is long, but Australia is towards the top of where I want to go next. I’m super interested in Aboriginal art and culture.
6. The three things I can’t travel without are…My travels really inform my photography and collage work—so I definitely need my cameras. Bringing a journal to capture the memories I make while on the road is key. Finally I love to have local connects in whatever country I go to, so if I don’t know someone I check in with my networks to see who does. Having a few names and numbers for people to check in with is definitely on my top three list!
Bonus– a spare duffel bag I pack flat in my suitcase in case I need extra luggage space after hitting up the markets for art, books, jewelry and fabric.
7. The Top lesson I’ve learned while traveling is… Travel really helps me live as my fullest and best self. I make every minute count while I’m overseas, because I know that my time in whatever country I’m in is limited by the date on my return ticket home. But the same could be said for our time on earth, so these experiences remind me to make the most of every day I’m blessed with.