Island Girls In-Transit is a new series that features amazing Caribbean women who are pursuing their wanderlust with that signature West Indian passion and pride. We’re an underrepresented segment within the travel community but it is my hope that these stories will serve as a source of inspiration for women throughout the region who dream of traveling the world!
Meet Vanessa Boyce
This month’s Island Girl In-Transit is Vanessa Boyce, a fellow Trinbagonian based in Tobago who’s as in love with our island paradise as I am! By day, Vanessa is a Programme Officer in the Tobago House of Assembly, but off the clock she wears many hats, including that of Co-Founder and Director of CampNation Tobago, a company that specializing in creating exciting outdoor experiences for locals and visitors alike.
Thus far Vanessa has visited 27 countries on 5 continents and she shows no signs of stopping. She’s not certain where her next jaunt will take her, but until then have a read and learn all about her Island Girl travel story!
Describe your travel style:
Minimalistic and adventurous. Unless I am traveling to shop, I travel with carry on only. I have survived trips up to three weeks long with carry on only.
What do you love most about traveling?
Traveling expands your knowledge and understanding of people, culture, history and geography. In school I hated history and geography; however they are the two things about a country I research most before traveling. I love being immersed in a country’s culture, interacting with locals, understanding why their food, music, entertainment, infrastructure etc are the way they are.
One thing you absolutely can’t travel without:
My iPad. I have a lot of Kindle books on it and it makes passing time during flight layovers much more relaxing.
When did you realize you were bitten by the travel bug?
I got bitten when I traveled by myself for the first time in 2010. I traveled to Rwanda for an peace building conference and spent two weeks in that country. We were exposed to a lot of the culture, food and political history of Rwanda that gave whole new outlook and understanding of the country and its people. Traveling alone also forces you to interact with total strangers, learn words in their language and be open to adventure.
Fave travel buddy:
Alina Williams. She never backs down from an adventure and is always open to new experiences.
What’s your favorite destination so far, and why?
I am torn between Rwanda and Vietnam. Both countries’ strongest assets are its people. The people have genuine warm, welcoming personalities. Both countries experienced major tragedy – the Rwanda genocide and the 20-year long Vietnam war. I believe that both countries have grown immensely since then and they understand how important it is to work together to develop their economies. Their growth since their respective tragedies and the pride and love for their country is clearly felt in the people.
What was the best experience you’ve ever had while traveling?
Visiting four countries in Asia over a three-week period. Spent four days each in Thailand and Vietnam, then attended a convention in South Korea. While there I visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along the North and South Korean boarder. There I entered a heavily secured room and for a short time was able to cross the boarder to North Korea.
What’s the most challenging experience you’ve encountered while traveling?
Language can be a major barrier for travelers. My first completely solo trip was to Costa Rica for my birthday some years ago. As it was my first solo trip, it taught me a lot of things to look out for when booking hotels etc, especially when traveling alone in a country where you are not fluent in their native language.
The hotel I booked was in the city. The thing is, there was not much to do in the city. Additionally, since a lot of tourists did not visit the city, most people did not speak English. I therefore had to find creative ways to communicate with hotel staff, restaurant staff and maneuver their public transportation system. It felt very lonely at times but it forced me to practice the language and taught me things to look out for when booking trips.
Furthest destination you’ve ever travelled to:
Top 5 destinations on your Travel Bucket List:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
How you do you finance your travels?
Personal funds. But thanks to credit card miles and Expedia points, I often get discounted flights and packages.
Why do you think its important for women like us, from small islands/third world countries to travel?
Traveling expands your mind and gives you a greater appreciation for what you have at home. It also makes you appreciate cultures more and makes you more open minded.
What piece of advice would you give to a young Caribbean woman who wants to travel but thinks this lifestyle is beyond her reach?
Physical assets can be lost, stolen or damaged but experiences last a lifetime. Learning about new things, people and culture makes you a stronger person mentally and intellectually. Go out and experience new things and live life to the fullest.
Thanks so much to Vanessa Boyce for sharing her Island Girl travel story! She hasn’t officially started sharing her travel adventures online as yet but as soon as she does I’ll be sure to update this post so you can follow her stories!
Like it? Pin it!