Another installment of Traveler’s Spotlight on Jay Travels. This spotlight features Flo. Flo enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family and meeting new people.
Quick Info on Flo
How Often Do I Travel
3-8 times a year
Where to Next?
Mallorca, Spain. I might go to the Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago – possibly Norway, Kazakhstan, Angola and Greece.
Favorite Travel Gadget
Definitely my camera. But I really need to take the time to take a photography course. I would love to have beautiful sunset and night pictures.
Paris for the holidays and Hong Kong.
Go to Outer Space if You Could?
DEFINITELY!!!!! Let me know where to book and I will be the first on the list!
Playing the piano: jazz and classical; Reading: novels, magazines, essays; Sports: swimming, hill walking, surfing (sort off, I am terrible, but I don’t care I enjoy myself!), flying planes (well I have done it only once, but this is something that I am planning to learn in a few years.) and learning Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.
What made me laugh in Vietnam is that people stare at you when you are a foreigner. Nothing in this was bad, they were just curious I guess! And everybody smiles at you! We went to a Buddhist Temple to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year. There were these 2 little 8 year old boys who lived in the temple that followed making fun of us as we walked around! They probably thought they were discreet, but I could see them hiding each time I was looking toward them! Kids! They were making fun of our Non-Vietnamese faces! Our entire group was French but from very diverse backgrounds including Vietnamese, Algerian, Moroccan and Caribbean. So I guess that we were very interesting for those two little cheeky boys! When we left the village on our bikes, the neighbors applaud us, I have no idea why but I felt like an international popstar! Lol!
And the last but not least point is the driving! This is something in Vietnam! One must not be afraid! I would be terrified of riding a bike in the West but in Vietnam I do believe that they are used to driving in such a mess that makes them better drivers! You have to be a skilled driver to learn to avoid people! Crossing a street there is also a skill to have! The best way is to go blind! If you hesitate you will NEVER cross, and people will avoid you anyway so it will be fine!
I really enjoyed my trip into Vietnam – it was my first time traveling to an Asian country. From what I have been told, is less touristy than other South East Asia countries.
Where have you traveled Internationally? If you describe that location in a single word or phrase, what would it be?
- Martinique, Caribbean – FAMILY TIME: My 1st time on a plane at two and a half years old! We went to visit my mother’s family who is from the island.
- Guadeloupe, Caribbean – FAMILY TIME: We had some family relatives on this island.
- Dakar, Senegal – FASCINATING: My father’s family is from Senegal. I went there when I was 6 years old. I actually celebrated my birthday there! It was a really different experience from the “western” birthdays celebration!
- Marie- Galante, Caribbean – CHARMING.
- Sousse, Tunisia – ENCHANTING: That was my 1st and only time in North Africa. I just loved it and felt at home!
- Lloret del Mar, Spain – PARTY: That is a cheap holiday spot for young people in Europe. I have to admit that I have not done a lot of cultural activities, I partied a lot instead!
- Nha Trang, Vietnam – EXCITING: That was my 1st time in Asia, so I was pretty excited! Also, the sister of my grandmother lived there for 7 years! So it was like following her on her adventure!
- Miami, US – SUNNY: The sunshine there was incredible! I just loved the light there.
- New York, US – AMAZING: I got a summer job in a youth hostel to improve my English. The whole team came to improve their English as well. That was my 1st real international experience. My colleagues were from the US, Israel, Nigeria, England and France.
- Houston, US – BIG: That was just for work, and I have to admit that it is the only place I have visited that I really didn’t like!
- New Orleans, US – CHARACTER: The food, the people, the music, and the architecture were fantastic. And being a French Creole, I could relate to a lot of these aspects of New Orleans as well. I could even understand some “Cajun”!!!!
- The North Sea – UNDESCRIPTIBLE: Working as an engineer on oil rigs, I love taking the helicopter to go offshore. It’s an interesting challenge as a female adapting to an all male environment – but that could be another article!
What are the Top 3 destinations on your Bucket List?
This is so hard to choose!!! I would go to the “Moon” if I could! Seriously, if I could I would take a trip to outer space!
The North Pole
Has any trip changed the way you think or act – whether politically, socially or otherwise?Coming from a multicultural background, I do not think traveling has changed me in this sense. Also, I always make a point of not forming an opinion before visiting a country. The Media and other people’s experiences are only small “points” of a country’s description, so I try to keep an open mind when I travel to other countries to ensure my ideas are based on my own experiences. And even after a trip I rarely get a strong point of view. I know that I have just spent a holiday and not a lifetime in a foreign country. Plus when you do not speak the language that is an even bigger barrier.
I would say that the only thing I feel that had changed is my view of my home country, France. I tend to compare. But again I am always open to other ideas and point of views. I believe that this is how you learn about others, by being exposed.
Have you ever experienced a problem when traveling (passport, victim of crime, etc.)?I have been lucky enough so far, so I haven’t had any bad experiences.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten when traveling?I would not qualify my experience about eating in Senegal as “strange”. It was the first time that I was sharing a plate with the rest of the family, and using my hands to eat. Actually I liked it! I was only 6 years old, so eating without a fork and a knife is a child’s dream!
What was your least favorite travel experience and why?I apologize to the people of Houston, but I really didn’t enjoy my time there! I am just talking about the city though, not the people. I enjoy walking and the way the city is laid out – it is very difficult to walk, so I couldn’t. I understand that this is hot, humid and big, but I still like to have the choice! And I did not like the architecture as well. It is very important for me to see either nice buildings or nice landscape, I did not see any of that in Houston.
What kind of vacation do you prefer, adventure, nature, backpacking, luxury getaways, shopping, relaxing, other?I am the type of person who enjoys everything I have the occasion to do. I have been in luxury hotels, I loved it, I also enjoy backpacking. All for different reasons. I would say that luxury hotels are very comfortable, but I tend to meet more people and ending up doing more things when I backpack.
But if I have to be logical, I would rather go on adventure trips while I am still young and fit! Actually one of my dreams is to go to the rainforest in South America to walk and canoe the Amazon river.
What’s the best thing about traveling? What’s the Worst?
- Best – Three things come to mind;
- See the things that you have just seen on TV or in books – which was like every two minutes in NY!
- Meet local people and travelers who are also open minded.
- The entire preparation of the trip, the excitement and the travel to the destination itself! I would actually say that nowadays we tend to just go from A to B, without enjoying the travel itself. I have once read about a lady who went from France to New York by boat, about 10 years ago. She chooses the boat over a rapid flight because she wanted to have the same feeling that the immigrants who would leave their country and arrive in the US full of hope. She thought that to fully enjoy New York, she had to deserve it after a long trip. I found this idea very poetic!
- Worst – Having to pay for it! Also, the trips never seem long enough!
When you’ve traveled internationally, did you prefer to do things that are familiar (French food/activities) or go outside of the tourists areas and see how the natives live?I do not want to do anything that is familiar to my culture(s). I tend to do the touristic bits because you have to! But I mostly try to get out of the tourist path and see how the natives live. Of course I know that I will only see a small part of their lives, as sometimes I do not speak the language or I do not stay long enough to fully experience all of the cultures.
Do you look for French citizens when you travel? Also, do you try to ‘blend in’ or don’t think about it.I usually don’t. But if I meet a cool French travel buddy, then I would hang out with her/ him.
I don’t think about blending in, as I am pretty aware that I am spotted as a tourist!
Do you have any travel tips to share?I do not know how it works for the US, but I have found out that usually it costs less to organize my trip on my own, rather than to use an agency. The first reason is that I feel that I am already gone a little! And also, I have seen that when you take holidays packages you end up being with your fellow country people in the same hotel! I do not want to be far away from home to only hear French around me!
Any parting shots or Shout outs?To you! It’s a great blog! And I don’t know if you can make publicity, but I really like the website skyscanner.net. It compares flights and give you several options to organize a trip.