A Rendezvous of Rovers
If we can’t get together in person, let’s do it virtually!
Meet Jameela who founded Diary of a Serial Expat
This week, on our third interview, we’re featuring Jameela who I have to thank as one of the travel bloggers that has really reached out to me and become my friend. It’s one of the great benefits of being a travel blogger!
Where do you live now? Tell us a little about where you are from.
Right now I’m in Zawia, Libya, I’ve been there for about 18 months. Before that I spent 10 years in the UK. I was born in a small town in the centre of France.
What inspires you to travel? What types of places call to you?
I’m not exactly a traveler in that I don’t get to visit many places or countries that much. I’m an expat, which means that I only travel in order to settle in another country and I stay there for quite some time. Places that called to me depends on opportunity for work mainly but I do like hot, even very hot countries, a beach not far is always a bonus, I’m more a city person rather than countryside, for the rest I’m happy anywhere that I don’t know, I love the discovery process. I’m a serial expat, when I settle down somewhere I know it’s only temporary and that I’ll move again, the length of time depends on the country. I stayed 10 years in the UK but that was too long, I got really fed up in the end, I’ve been in Libya less than 2 years and I’m ready for another adventure already.
Describe your travel philosophy for us.
I like authenticity more than anything: I like to meet real people and get to experience (not just read about or see from afar) their normal everyday life. Getting out of my comfort zone is a source of great knowledge and I enjoy this very much. It’s not always easy and I do rant against some things or other from time to time but I wouldn’t do it any other way. The tour things where you follow other busloads of tourists to take the same picture that you can see on the internet anyway is not my thing lol.
Everyone always asks the impossible question of what is your favorite, but just tell us a couple of places that you just love or surprised you, or a place you find yourself going back to, and maybe a place that was a little disappointing and didn’t live up to its reputation.
There are two places that call to me for different reasons.
The first one is Cardiff in Wales, my home if I ever had one. For someone like me, home is like in the saying, where my heart is. And Cardiff is the place that calls to my heart, I lived there 3 years, met some incredible people who have truly changed my life, I felt at peace, I enjoyed a lovely, settled, harmonious life there. I would go back again if I had nowhere else to go.
The Second is Tunisia, I fell in love with the country, its people, its way of life from the very first time. I went back 2 other times after that and every time strengthened my attachment to that country. My husband and I are now saving to build a little house there and eventually I will end up there. The most beautiful city I have ever seen is Sidi Bousaid in the north of Tunisia, it is quite extraordinary because of its colours, a deep shade of passion blue and clear white, on a background of turquoise seas… I just can’t get this place out of my head. I’ve already decided my house will be white and blue too.
Cairo in Egypt however was a huge let down, the city is OK and the pyramids totally worth the trip but I hated the way people there treated us as mere milking cows and no more. As I said above, experiencing real contact is essential for me and in Cairo I was treated as a rich tourist and every smile was to extort money from me, every greeting was the start of a money deal… that really spoiled my trip and unfortunately that’s all I can remember now.
What is one funny, embarrassing, cute, or even frustrating anecdote from your travels?
We always travel as a family and my two children have been travelling long before they could walk. My youngest son first crossed border when he was 2 weeks old, the oldest when he was 3 months, then 7 months and at least once a year ever since. They are so used to get on a plane it’s like taking the bus for them and I find it funny. Ask my oldest son about airports, customs, passport, visas, nationalities and he’ll answer like a pro, even though he is not even 5 years old. I always joke that my children will score good grades in Geography.
Other than travel blogging, what do you do to remember your travels? Do you buy souvenirs?
I move too much to buy souvenirs, I don’t have a proper house to keep them in and they take too much space in the suitcases. I do take pictures though, I can share them easily with my family and friends. Besides as we spend so much time in a country there are always loads of everyday items to remind us of this or that place.
What is your next destination and what are you looking forward to doing there?
This summer I would like to go the UK to visit some families and friends, and we’ll hop to Tunisia for a little while before that, it’s only a few hours drive from Zawia. I wish I could go to France too as it’s been a long time. In the last 2 years, summer holidays have been taken up by moving procedures: out of the house, out of the country, waiting for re-entry visas, moving into a new house… very little time to relax or spend real time with my parents in France. Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in a week there this year. After that, we still don’t know… I’d like to be out of Libya but we don’t have anything quite suitable elsewhere at the moment.
Finally, if you could inspire someone to start traveling, which place would you recommend to him or her as a good starting destination and why? Are there any places that you wouldn’t travel to your first time out and why?
Wow that’s a hard one… let me think. Depends on budget and what people are looking for really. I would recommend Tunisia anytime to anyone as it’s a “mild” country, between traditions and holiday resort where you can experience a large variety of landscapes (beach, mountain, desert, oasis…) as well a different climates too. There are so many things you can do there, no matter who you are I’m sure you’ll find something to satisfy your curiosity.
I want to thank Jameela once again for being such an inspiration and great blogging friend. I would highly recommend you like, follow, and find out all the she has to offer in her great travel blog: Diary of a Serial Expat. Other ways you can connect with Jameela are: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, and Twitter!
If you would like to be featured on Rendezvous with Rovers, please drop me a line!
This post is linked up with Sunday Traveler! Go check out all the wonderful travel blogs!