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TRAVEL INTERVIEW WITH JASMINE OF JASMINE WANDERS

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travel interview- Jasmine holding a koala in Brisbane, Australia

Jasmine holding a koala in Brisbane, Australia

Meet gorgeous, adventurous Jasmine Stephenson, who’s been out traveling the world since 2007. Clearly an animal lover and vegetarian, Jasmine loves traveling solo, interacting with local people and immersing herself in nature. Hey, “sounds just like me,” I thought when I first began reading  Jasmine Wanders. Yep, aside from vegetarianism, Jasmine and I could be cut from the same pod…

For over a year now Jasmine’s been immersing herself in Latin America. Recently she’s had a couple of temporary set-backs, but she’s already back to her usual adventurous nomadic ways.

 

Today we find out what she’s been up to, where she wants to be going, and her experiences traveling as a vegetarian. Without further ado, Jasmine:

 

Q1. Your grandmother, who you were really close to, passed away recently. My condolences to you. Has this changed your travel and/or life plans? Or are you going to resume your travel life where you left off?

 

My grandmother was always really supportive of my traveling. If anything, I think I’ll try to focus more on helping others as part of my travel experience, because my grandmother was highly involved in service throughout her 85 years on this earth. She was a great role model for me.
 
travel interview- Jasmine horse back riding in Jardin Colombia

Jasmine horse back riding in Jardin Colombia

Q2. At the end of August, you were kinda fed up with constantly traveling, got yourself an apartment in Mexico, and wrote a post, ‘Am I Done Traveling?‘ So, one month later, have you come to any conclusions and decisions about travel and your life?

On October 12th, I’m heading to Mexico City. If I like it, I’m going to start looking for an apartment right away. I might stay for a few months. I think this will become a trend for me, being a short-term expat, making friends, and becoming a part of the landscape. I’m definitely not done traveling – I’m just done with traveling quickly.

 

Q3. You’ve been in Latin America about 1 ½ years already. How much longer do you think you’ll stay in C / S America?

 

That’s a tough question. I feel really comfortable here. I speak Spanish and have really started to identify with the culture. So who knows?

 

travel interview- Jasmine Wanders
meeting a tiger at Chiang Mai, Thailand
Q4. Do you have any ideas or plans about where to travel after Latin America? And, if so, when do you think you’ll head there?

 

If I ever pull myself away from Latin America, I have my eyes set on Africa, India/Nepal, and Eastern Europe. There are so many places I want to see! But I’m still young, I have time to get to them all.

 

Q5. You started your travels through Latin America by visiting Trinidad. That’s a destination not much highlighted in travel blogging circles. Please tell us about it.

 

Well my mom is from Trinidad and half my family lives there now, so I don’t have a traditional travel experience there because I stay with my family and hang out with them. I love it though. For such a small place, it is rich with culture. The music, the food, the people – it’s an excellent destination for those who want to see something truly unique. The French, Spanish, and English fought over the island with each other and against the Amerinidians for years, then brought over slaves from Africa, indentured laborers from India, plus you have Venezuelans, Portuguese, Chinese. It’s a true mishmash – and it’s fascinating.

 

travel interview- Jasmine Wanders
‘kissy, kissy’ at Maracas Beach, Trinidad.   Jasmine clearly loves animals!
Q6. Would you recommend Trinidad and Tobago to others for travel? Why or why not? Any advice you’d give travelers heading that way?

 

Tobago is great for beach bums. Trinidad is great for those who like to party, foodies, and people who are interested in the music there. Both have lots of cool natural attractions, but it’s best to explore in your own private car. Trinidad is poorly set up for tourists unfortunately, so it takes an adventurous spirit to enjoy it.My advice is to make friends with Trinis as soon as you can! And I HIGHLY recommend Carnival, it is the most fun I’ve ever had!

 

Q7. Jasmine, you’re a vegetarian and strong proponent of a vegetarian lifestyle… Please don’t hate me for not being vegetarian! The good news, for this interview at least, is that I can ask you some Qs about traveling as a vegetarian.
Overall, do you find it easy or difficult to travel around the world as a vegetarian?

 

It can be difficult but it’s not impossible.

 

travel interview- Jasmine camping outside of Wellington, New Zealand

Jasmine camping outside of Wellington, New Zealand

Q8. Obviously, traveling as a vegetarian must be easier in some countries, harder in others. In which countries have you found vegetarian habits easy? And in which countries difficult?

 

It was really easy for me in Vietnam, because they make these amazing tofu and vegetable dishes that are inexpensive. In Indonesia, I ate nasi goreng and gado-gado all the time. Italy is easy too. The best city to be a vegetarian is definitely Bogotá, Colombia – they have around 50 vegetarian restaurants. The most difficult was Panama.

 

travel interview- Jasmine feeding monkeys in Lombok, Indonesia

Jasmine feeding monkeys in Lombok, Indonesia

Q9. When you run into problems as a vegetarian, is it due to language barriers or to locals not actually understanding the concept of vegetarianism or to a lack of non-meat foods?

 

All of the above! Some people think that being a vegetarian means that I will eat chicken and/or fish. In small towns, it is rarely understood, so I always make sure I state my needs in a few different ways. But non-meat foods are always available – rice, beans, vegetables, and fruit are staples in many parts of the world.

 

Q10. Have you ever run into a situation where NO vegetarian food was available? If so, where and what do you do in such situations in order to eat? Have you ever had to ‘succumb’ to eating meat just to get calories?

 

For me, being a vegetarian is a moral choice, not just a diet. I would never eat meat intentionally, no matter how hungry I was. In four years of travel, I have always been able to find something I could eat.

 

Q11. What advice do you give vegetarians who want to travel the world?

 

Learn how to say “I’m vegetarian,” “No meat,” and “No animals,” in the local dialect. You can also research ahead of time to see what dishes are vegetarian specifically so you can be on the lookout from day one.
Jasmine  taking-photos-in-Angkor-Wat-Cambodia

Jasmine taking-photos-in-Angkor-Wat-Cambodia

Q12. You’ve got a great travel blog full of personal travel stories, life on the road tales, destination tips and info and beautiful photos. What do you see for the future of Jasmine Wanders in the next few years?

Thanks! I plan to just keep doing what I’ve been doing on my blog.

 

Q13. Finally, are there any places in the world you’re just dying to visit? If so, where and why?

 

There are tons… I’m dying to see Patagonia, India, Africa as a whole. I want to check out Mauritius specifically, Nepal… pretty much everywhere!
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Thanks Jasmine for sharing your personal stories, travel advice and information. Enjoy your continued roaming around Latin America and beyond! Can’t wait to meet you one day. cheers, Lash

 

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