Jessica Kay has both a passion and a passport, and has been travelling the world with both! Just your average 26 year old girlie-girl, who just happens to have a serious case of wanderlust, she is a speech pathologist by day, travel blogger by night, and traveler by long weekends/vacation time!
So far she has been lucky to have beautiful memories of places near and far, including her birthright experience in Israel, a Greek island honeymoon, and a european backpacking adventure, plus loads of fun and relaxation on more than 10 Caribbean islands, as well as highlights in key cities throughout the USA. She is hoping to expand this list in the next few years with Hawaii, Turkey, and Iceland. Oh, and she says maybe a little Bora Bora action as well – a girl can dream right?
What do you love the most about traveling?
Everyone always asks this question and its so hard to put an answer into words! I’ll try my best though (just for you!) I crave newness, more specifically, new (and crazy) adventures, meeting new people, trying new foods, and basically pushing myself to do things I never thought possible. I’m a big nature buff, and the thought of hiking a new volcano or seeing animals in the wild excite me more than ever. Plus, the beaches and sense of freedom isn’t half bad either ;)
What inspired you to start traveling?
All my childhood, I lived in the same house, graduated high school with the same kids I went to kindergarten with, and hardly ever left the country. I had a wonderful childhood, not in any way shape or form am implying otherwise, and went on family vacations to Disney world, California, and the Caribbean islands (along with nearby trips). It was when I finally left the country in 2008 to backpack with a friend in Europe for a few weeks did I truly learn about my desire to see the world. Ever since then, my list of places and things to do had grown bigger than I ever thought, and I find myself dreaming (and planning) trips more often than not.
What is “a passion and a passport” all about?
I decided to launch A Passion and A Passport because I want to show others that travel IS possible all while holding a full time 9-5 job (although mines more like 7-5). I don’t have unlimited vacation days, nor is it possible for me to quit my job and travel the world (unfortunately). I have numerous responsibilities just like others in the corporate world. The site chronicles my past trips and adventures, all while providing helpful tips for the budget traveler like myself.
What kind of travel are you most passionate about?
I would have to say adventure travel, although my terminology may be a bit off from yours. I sometimes tend to be a scary cat, for a lack of a better word, but love to push myself and do the impossible (in my eyes). Recently, I’ve hiked up a mountain, went scuba diving, went camel and donkey riding, and explored an active volcano. I also like laying on the beach though, and animals are up my alley as well.
How do you afford to travel – are you rich?!
Yup- I inherited tens of millions of dollars from my great great grandparents…I wish!! All kidding aside, my traveling is possible like everyone else’s travel. I save. I cut corners here and there. I do my research. I decide what’s most important to me while I am away. I prioritize at home, which means forgoing expensive coffee drinks and buying my shoes from target (they’re actually really cute!)
My biggest pet peeve is when people say they can’t travel because they can’t afford it. Traveling doesn’t need to be expensive. Sure, it can be. 5 star resorts obviously cost much more than a cheaper alternative, such as a guest house or a hostel. But if you want to travel, you’ll make it happen.
One thing which you don’t like about traveling?
I hate luggage, and how ironic- because I usually tend to overpack. Whoops! Thankfully my husbands there to help with the load. I’m going to attempt to pack 2 and a half weeks of clothing, accessories, shoes, and other gear into one suitcase this time for my upcoming trip to Hawaii. Think I can do it? We’ll see!
The coolest person you have met on your travels?
Hmm, does the concierge man at the Hyatt French quarter in New Orleans count? He was pretty awesome- he even escorted us to dinner our first night because we were too frightened by all the craziness on bourbon street.
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while traveling?
While we’re on the topic of New Orleans, I have to say the overall atmosphere on bourbon street, past 4pm, was total culture shock. I honestly thought New Orleans only got super crazy ON mardi gras, but it became apparent that every single night is full of provocative ladies luring men into strip clubs, bead throwing drunks on balconies, and full grown men dressed in Simpsons costumes. Never have I ever experienced this before, even in Las Vegas or in Times Square.
The greatest challenge you’ve faced while traveling?
I’m not good with directions, so when I’m in a country where they don’t speak English (the only language I can understand), I’m basically screwed. Thankfully this happened only once or twice, but of course it was when I was taking 7am flights and had to take mass transit at 4am.
Another thing I have a rather difficult time with is cramming too much into my trips. Since I work full time, and can only go away for 2 weeks at a time, I like to make the most of my days and usually jam pack them with activity after activity. I need to learn to live in the moment and relax a little. Something I definitely need to work on.
Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
I’m not sure if this classifies as funny or embarrassing (you can decide for yourself), but I got trampled by a donkey in the middle of the desert in Israel. I had just hopped off my camel, after riding for a while, and was about to ride the donkey. He apparently had other plans, and the moment I finally got my legs over him, he collapsed. On top of me. It was a sad moment for both of us. Thankfully my leg didn’t break and I was able to hike up Masada and float in the Dead Sea the next day.
You can be sure I didn’t ride a donkey in Greece down the stairs in santorini.
Three things you can’t travel without?
Does my DSLR, point and shoot, and underwater camera count? No? Well Besides photography gear, a bikini is a must, multiple chapsticks are always thrown in my bag, and my kindle with some good reads is always stashed away.
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?
Funny you say that, because they change pretty frequently. As of RIGHT now, (like the actual second I’m writing this), I’m dying to get to Costa Rica, the Galapagos, and South Africa to see the big 5 on a safari. But, like I said, ask me tomorrow, and my answers will probably change to turkey, bora bora, and Peru. :) I want to go everywhere, so it’s a never ending list.
Most practical piece of travel advice?
Trust your instincts, don’t drink water in Mexico (has anyone seen sex and the city?) and wear sunscreen. Okay, so that’s three. All very important though.
Why should people travel?
I feel that seeing the world and how others live really makes you appreciate what you do have in your own everyday life. Engaging with those from other cultures really broadens your horizons not only socially, but on a mental note as well. There’s so much we can learn from others, and from the world itself. I honestly feel the world would be a much more peaceful place if people traveled and interacted more. Most of hate is formed from the unknown (in my opinion), and we really need to learn from each other. The world is a big place, something we need to somehow make smaller. If that makes any sense at all… Haha.