The Travel Seven: Elmeka Henderson

Name: Elmeka Henderson
Home City/Country: Philadelphia, USA / Currently residing in Tokyo, Japan
Occupation: School Psychologist
Website/Social: www.raisingvagabonds.com / @elmazing
Passport Stamps Include: Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Peru, France, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Macau, Japan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Oman, India, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia…and counting. We’re headed to Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia and Indonesia before the end of this year.

1. My best travel memory so far is… When we were in Zambia to see Victoria Falls. On our walk to the Zimbabwe side, my son saw that you could bungee jump or zipline across. On our way back to our hostel in Livingstone, he convinced me to do it. He wanted me to do the swing, but we need up doing a tandem zipline across the Zambezi River together. It was amazing to see the river from that angle and I was so proud of him and his bravery. We were really high up and I was terribly afraid of plummeting to my death and being eaten by crocodiles, lol.

2. My favorite hotel & why… The Shangri-la Barr al Jissah in Muscat, Oman. Probably the most expensive hotel I have ever stayed in, but it was a welcomed treat for myself on my way back from my mama’s solo trip to India. There were three pools and it sits right on the Arabian Sea. You can go from sitting in your room to walking maybe 100 yards into the ocean. It was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever feel as spoiled as I did those couple of days.

3. My must-haves on any flight are… Compression socks, music to fall asleep to on my phone, saline nasal spray (those flights are so dry). Also, Lush’s Lemon Fluffer cuticle cream. I use it as a concentrated hand cream that really helps me get through long flights after washing my hands.

4. When I’m on the road, I absolutely hate… Forgetting things. I prefer to have everything I need and try to avoid buying overpriced items while away from home. But I always end up forgetting stuff tho!

5. My dream destination or vacation is… Taking my son backpacking through Central America. It’s always been my dream to start in Panama and work our way up to Mexico and then hop a plane over to Cuba to end the trip. It’s gonna happen one day.

6. The three things I can’t travel without are… My Nikon D90, my iPhone, and oregano oil. I love eating local foods wherever I am and oregano oil helps my stomach adjust when things don’t exactly work out.

7. The top lesson I’ve learned while traveling is… I’ve learned that travel isn’t always glamorous. It doesn’t always look like the Instagram photos from those you travel envy. It isn’t always comfortable or anything that you expected before you got there. Sometimes it breaks your heart with disappointment. But. Traveling changes you in a way that is immeasurable. It leaves its mark on you and changes your consciousness. Changes your heart, your body even. Whenever I travel, I take something with me, something from that country sticks with me. And if I’m lucky, I get to leave a bit of myself behind.

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