Featuring: Jenna Davis, Travel Writer
Jenna Davis is a professional travel writer and social media manager. Jenna works with tourism boards and philanthropic businesses from across the world and has visited more than 45 countries in the past 5 years. When she is not off exploring sustainable ways to travel the globe, Jenna is based in Düsseldorf, Germany helping the English speaking community become more accustomed to the German lifestyle. While still a Canadian by birth, Jenna has found home in just about every corner of the world. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, exploring local neighborhoods and relaxing by the water
Alex: Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Jenna. I was born just outside of Toronto, Canada and grew up with a passion for sports and business. I eagerly completed my Bachelor in Sports Management and started exploring the world as a hobby in 2010. My last semester of University took me to Bang Saen, Thailand where I studied a minor in tourism and environment. I now run my own sustainable travel blog over at www.giveforgranted.com, writing about the simple ways to travel responsibly. Instead of focusing on the far fetched ideas of camping in the wilderness and eating nothing but the food grown from your garden, I focus on the baby steps, helping just about everyone get from point A to point B.
Why do you travel? What are your inspirations?
I could tell you I travel to make a difference in the world and to learn about local culture and exploring history, but the most honest answer is that I travel because I wasn’t born to sit in one place. If I spend too long in a given location, I get anxious, upset and agitated. My inspiration to travel is then to share my incredible and sustainable experiences with others. It is my hope that they too will be inspired to travel responsibly while enjoying the local culture and exploring history. I enjoy staying in local accommodations, hiking through national parks, swimming in beautiful beaches and indulging in local cuisine.
How do you organize your travel plans? Any travel hacks you can share?
I actually start on Pinterest, believe it or not. Pinterest has always been a great place to inspire me. I love the idea that I can create boards of places around the world I’d love to visit. I find most hidden gems on Pinterest and I enjoy the time it takes to figure out exactly where the photos were taken. It’s simple, whichever boards contain the most inspiration, that’s where I’m headed next! I open up a map, I mark down all the locations of the Pinterest photos and I let the road and the local people inspire me on where to stay and what to eat.
Tell me about a person you’ve met or a memory that impacted you the most during one of your trips?
One of my most memorable trips so far was in Bangalore, India as I joined a volunteer project with Leave Ur Mark to help keep children in school and to help inspire women to be comfortable in their bodies. Interacting with the local volunteers and the children at the orphanage really opened up my mind about responsible travel. There are so many negative connotations around voluntourism, and there are valid reasons for that, but there are so many ways when selecting the right voluntourism project, that we can help truly make a difference on our travels.
Aside from the basics, name three items that you always bring when you travel.
1) I won’t ever leave without my trusty first aid kit, the number of times I’ve used it not just for myself, but for others around me, is absolutely astonishing (I’m also a little clumsy)
2) My scarf. You may have heard this before, but a pashmina scarf is one of the most practical pieces you could possibly bring. My scarf has served as a picnic blanket, a towel, a bed sheet, a headdress (for temples) and a jacket.
3) My camera. I can barely leave the house to go to the grocery store without bringing my camera along with me. You never know when a photo op comes along.
What is your motto when it comes to traveling?
While I once use to proudly embrace the “YOLO” motto, I’ve since then learned that you only live once does not help when you wake up with a concussion and stitches in an Indian hospital or you get chased by an orangutan in the middle of a rainforest. I’m now pretty fixated on the go old saying “leave nothing but footprints”.
The best and the worst meals you’ve ever had traveling?
Growing up I was never a fan of Indian food, I always found every dish to be boasting in one flavor — curry. When I travelled to India I realized that this one “Canadian version” of Indian flavour did not do justice for Indian cuisine. The variety of delicious spices in India and the ease of finding vegetarian food is just heavenly. The worst meals I’ve ever had have got to be in the Netherlands (I’m sorry). While I’d love to live every day on deep fried noodles and french fries, it’s one country that I always come home sick from.
Which city do you consider yourself an expert on? Can you share any hidden gems in that city?
While I’ve travelled to hundreds of cities across the world, I still don’t enjoy the idea that many travelers consider themselves experts after spending a couple months in the area. For myself, I’ve got to say Düsseldorf, Germany is one place I can confidently guide anyone around blindfolded. I run an expat blog at www.lifeinduesseldorf.com sharing insiders tips and beautiful hidden gems around the area. Running this blog has allowed me to open up and explore my own city far more than I could have ever imagined. If you’re looking for hidden gems, I’ve got too many to share. Head on over to www.lifeinduesseldorf.com.
What is your favorite travel song/album to listen on a trip?
You know, I actually don’t listen to music all that often. I enjoy hearing the sounds of what is going on around me — whether it’s babies crying, people shouting, horns honking or the sound of birds flying over the ocean — I don’t like to listen to music while I’m on the go.
What is the best foreign curse you know?
While I would have boasted in all the curse words I’ve learned along the way prior, I’ve quickly learned that a lady never swears (regardless of how fun it sounds in every other language but your own).