A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas or travelling and the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? The whole travel life. The coming and going frequently, the moving towns often and regularly. The face that we will rarely if ever live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. Soo when I meet people who share this passion and understanding I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them. I find myself drawn to these sorts of people even if I've never even met them in real life, enter Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The whole wide World of blogging has given me the opportunity to (virtually) meet people I would never have if it wasn't for this passion project I have.
If you need a coffee fix, a puppy fix and especially a wanderlust fix, then Joy from A Jaunt with Joy is your girl! A new York state transplant to California Joy's aim is to encourage more women to get outdoors (safely) and travel (safely too). She has been around the world (at least once if not more) and doesn't shy away from back country camping, backpacking trips and cruise life either (she's worked on a few too). No matter what she is doing it, she does with, cliche as it sounds, Joy! Find out just what excites her about travel and how she believes it's changed in September's edition of WanderWomanWednesday.
Alright, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
I’m Joy, the face behind the travel and outdoor adventure blog, A Jaunt With Joy. I mainly blog about nature destinations and female empowerment in the outdoors. Whether that be preparing for your first backpacking trip or knowing what gear you need, or having an eco-conscious mindset while traveling. I’m a former wildlife biologist and now work a day-job at a doggie daycare. On top of my blog, I also side hustle as a travel agent and seasonal cruise ship staff. I’m from upstate NY, but have been living in Northern Cali for 5 years with my park ranger boyfriend and our pets
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I love reptiles and have a pet snake who’s longer than me! He’s a red tail boa named Scout, and sometimes I put him around my shoulders and take him on walks. He even has his own instagram stories highlight, because so many people are curious about him!
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
I grew up with a mom who loved to take my sister and I on road trips. She was an army brat, born in Morocco, lived in Turkey, and moved all over as a kid, so listening to her stories was always fascinating. In high school, my Spanish Club had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and volunteer with the Sister Island Project. I fundraised HARD and I was able to go! We stayed with host families and ran an arts camp for local kids, and I was hooked on travel after that. I actually loved it so much, I went back the following summer!
How do you decide where to travel to?
Well unfortunately, yet understandably, COVID-19 has cancelled a lot of travel this year. So that puts a bit of a limit on my adventures. I’ve just been camping indoors and roasting marshmallows in our fireplace.
But when I CAN travel, I like to peek around Skyscanner for cheap flight deals or filter outdoor attractions on the Roadtrippers app for local adventures. Sometimes, as a seasonal cruise ship crew, I can request which ship I want my next contract on, and that will determine where I travel to. Reading through blogs and watching travel-related YouTube videos is a huge help in deciding, too!
What is your travel style?
Backpacking, camping, and road tripping are some of the best trips I’ve taken. I don’t mind staying in hostels if I’m solo, but I prefer unique lodging or quirky Airbnbs, especially if they’re eco-conscious. On almost all of my trips, I try to make sure to incorporate 3 things : finding the best coffee and sweets, visiting some kind of outdoor landscape or wildlife area, and searching for a hot spring.
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
Morocco, Norway, and Komodo Island. I love Moroccan-inspired interior design, Norway ticks all of my epic nature boxes, and Komodo Island because I used to work with a komodo dragon and fell in love with the species.
Is your full-time job travel writing? If not what do you do to fund those travels?
Not quite yet. I recently took a hiatus from blogging to focus on learning how to film and edit YouTube videos, and boy that is a LOT of work when you’re teaching yourself! My end goal is to build up my A Jaunt With Joy brand to be able to work fully online. But at the moment I work as a kennel attendant at a doggie daycare, and basically fund my travels by playing with puppies! Previously mentioned, I work on the side as a travel agent and I also seasonally work on cruise ships with kids.
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
Not all places that are negatively shown in the media are actually bad. In fact, most of those countries aren’t nearly as dangerous as the news portrays them to be. Do your research and be careful, but just go and see for yourself. The kind-hearted people will easily make those places some of your favourites. Oh, and always save more money than you think you’ll need!
Best & worst travel moment?
My best travel moment was on New Year’s Day of 2018. I was working on a cruise ship and we anchored at New Caledonia, a tiny island in the southwest pacific. It’s actually an island known for the amount of unique lizard species it has and for it’s epic snorkelling and dive spots, so it’s been high on my radar for years! I never thought I’d actually get to go here, let alone snorkel with a green sea turtle, swim with cute stray puppies, and basically have the best day ever!
My worst travel moment was in Costa Rica during my wildlife sanctuary internship. I was stung by “the world’s most painful insect”, the bullet ant, while participating in a healing circle of all things (go figure). I was actually stung 3 times by 2 bullet ants and almost went into anaphylactic shock. A week later, I was attacked by the sanctuary’s 3-legged rescue Capuchin named Tarzan. One year later, I’m backpacking Central America with my boyfriend and we stop here to volunteer. Guess who became best friends with Tarzan? My boyfriend’s a traitor lol. But thank God no bullet ants were seen.
What has been the best animal experience you’ve ever had while travelling?
I once had a seasonal job working up in the arctic of Utqiagvik, Alaska (formerly Barrow), as an Aerial Camera Technician to track marine mammal migration and presence. One morning I woke up to see a pod of Beluga Whales swimming close to shore! It was insane! I’ve also gotten to see Humpback Whales bubble net feeding in Juneau. Google videos of that. So crazy!
Do you think social media has changed travel, and if so, how?
Social Media has FOR SURE changed travel. Some of that change is for the better and some unfortunately is for the worse. I think it’s encouraged a lot more people to get out and see the world, experience new things, and discover cool places they never would’ve known about. But in some cases, it’s done a lot of harm to certain economies, infrastructures, and natural landscapes. For example, a sudden influx of people visiting an “instagram hot spot” could lead to overcrowding, large amounts of trash, and environmental damage. Some places have even closed down due to too many people flooding in for photos. I could go on and on about this, but I’ll just say this one thing. Be responsible when it comes to geotagging your location on the gram.
Famous last words for all the wanderers out there?
I hope you’re not all struggling with cabin fever and missing travel during quarantine. Now is the time to explore your own city or state, to stay local and not take what you have or where you live for granted!
To keep up with Joy on all her jaunts near and far check out her social handles below
Facebook: A Jaunt with Joy
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