The Travel Seven: Jessica Odeyemi

Jessica Odeyemi
Home City/Country: Houston, Texas, USA
Occupation: Engineer, currently working offshore near Angola, Africa.
Website/Social: Thriftstorequeen.com, IG: @thriftstorequeenjess
Passport Stamps Include: Angola, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

1. My best travel memory so far is… My travel highlights are usually tied to the people I’m surrounded by during a particular experience. One of my all-time favorite memories is during a visit to Australia with my two best friends. We went on a sailing trip in the Great Barrier Reef which was ironic because I couldn’t swim at the time and was terrified that we had to wear stinger suits to protect us from the jellyfish in the water. I didn’t want to pass up the once in a lifetime chance to snorkel, so my friends helped me to get over my fears to just do it. Suffice to say, it was an absolutely amazing experience. After an eventful day we returned to the boat and spent the night eating a home cooked meal, getting to know the rest of our small group, and hearing the favorite music of our new friends from around the world. I remember laying out on the deck, listening to Drake, looking up at a clear view of thousands of stars that seemed so close and thinking how blessed I was to live in this very moment.

2. My favorite hotel & why… The Dai-ichi Takimotokan in Hokkaido, Japan. It’s a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) and it’s special because it was one of the most relaxing weekend getaways I’ve ever had. I had my first onsen experience here (a Japanese community-style hot bath that’s done in the buff) and once I got over my modesty, I enjoyed every bit of it. I also got this really cool yukata (casual summer kimono) out of the deal. 

3. My must-haves on any flight are… I’m pretty low-key on flights, but I love to travel with extra socks for my perpetually cold feet, my Beats headphones, and a huge bottle of water to stay hydrated. And the latest copy of The Economist.

4. When I’m on the road, I absolutely hate… When people don’t show any appreciation for the cultures of the places they visit. I love to showcase my photos and share all the stories I’ve accumulated as much as the next person, but at the end of the day, I travel to learn. I don’t claim to know it all, but I think it’s important to respect the fact that we are all guests when we travel. Be ready to learn and for cultural exchange. Most importantly, check your privilege at the immigration counter.

5. My dream destination or vacation is… Antarctica! I’m drawn because it seems so inaccessible and mysterious. I love to travel on a budget, but there is this (extremely expensive) 14 day National Geographic cruise that would probably be my first purchase if I ever won the lottery.

6. The three things I can’t travel without are… My Mophie, my iPhone for pictures, and some local currency—I love collecting foreign money and hate relying on ATMs.

7. The top lesson I’ve learned while traveling is… To slow it down. I have sometimes been guilty of being a “country-hopper,” mainly because I’m obsessed with travel and hope to get to as many countries as possible in my lifetime. But sometimes rapid-fire flights and bucket lists can get in the way of why we travel in the first place. I once showed up for a spontaneous solo trip in Portugal on a whim with broken Portuguese and no real agenda. There were plenty of things I didn’t get a chance to see, but it was one of the most satisfying trips I’ve taken in a while. I stayed at a guest house and ate at places recommended by the locals I met during my afternoon strolls. In the end, I came away with a better appreciation for Portuguese culture than any whirlwind itinerary could have given me.

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