Feature Friday | Jo from Wander with Jo
Meet Jo from Wander with Jo.
I strongly believe that people who love to travel are the best kind of people. This series will introduce you to some of the amazing women travelers with whom I have been fortune enough to connect. Women travelers who are overcoming adversity and crushing societal norms are a huge source of inspiration for me and I believe their stories will inspire you as well.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? Where are you based? When and how did you start traveling?
My name is Jyotsna (aka Jo) from Wander with Jo. I am from the capital of India – New Delhi. I started traveling at a very early age and was hooked on wildlife travels. Jungles were my favorite and I used to head to the lovely national parks of India every month. It had a lot to do with the fact that my dad is a wildlife tour operator. These initial travels fueled my wanderlust and I started exploring new places and destinations, alone and with friends. Soon, I quit my boring corporate job and turned into a full-time globetrotter and part-time freelance travel writer.
What is the most unique place you have ever been? Share with us an off-the-beaten path location that we may have never heard of! What made you decide to visit this place?
Sweetwaters in Kenya. It is an amazing jungle retreat in basic tented camps. It was very close to a watering hole where animals abound to quench their thirst. It is no wonder I choose this place as I love animals/ wildlife/ nature and wanted to explore new locales, something “more” than just visiting Masai Mara and Serengeti (though, they are great, no doubt).
What is the most beneficial lesson you have learned from traveling solo?
That you can handle all your problems yourself. In life, we face a lot of ups and downs and the best way to deal with the “downs” is relying on others. I have always been too “emotionally dependent” on my friends and loved ones. I know there is nothing wrong with that. Though, as a solo traveler you learn that you might face unexpected hiccups and being on your own, you must deal with them on your own. It makes you stronger and more confident.
When you decided to travel solo for the first time, were the people in your life supportive of your decision? If not, how did you overcome this?
Well, to be honest, in India traveling is not a priority for 90% of the people. So, traveling as a solo female is even harder. It goes against all orthodox beliefs. In India, there are no gap years, no long vacations from work, so there is basically no “Scope” to travel much except for a quick weekend break here or there. However, I am lucky to have a very supportive and unorthodox family environment. So, it wasn’t very hard when I decided to pack my bags and set off on my solo adventures. I was myself a bit skeptic about my decision, initially but it was the best decision I ever made (apart from quitting my job).
Have you ever traveled somewhere that you did not feel safe as a solo female traveler? If so, where?
Actually, yes and no. There was some times in Bali (like if you are walking back to your dorm at 3 am after a party), and Colombo (walking at night alone on the beach) when I felt tad insecure. However, it could be just the night and the usual human fear of being alone. As such, I faced no issues anywhere so far (Touch wood).
In your travels, you have likely come across many kind people. What country has the most friendly locals?
Indonesia. By far, it tops the list. People are so nice and friendly. Always smiling and willing to help. At first, I was really thinking “Why are people so nice, there’s something wrong here.” But after a few months there, I realized that people are actually super nice. Kind of hard for me to believe, but so true.
If you could share one piece of advice with a large group of people, what would it be?
Always scan your importance documents like passport, visa, drivers license or any other form of ID. For security reasons, you should always have a copy handy on your smartphone. Also, in case of any misplaced passports, it will be that much easier to get a new one.
Be sure to check in every Friday to meet other awesome women travel bloggers and future friends! If you follow a female travel blogger that you love, please send suggestions my way so that I can reach out to her! If you are interested in being featured yourself, please shoot me an email: [email protected]