Last Updated On October 16, 2020.
I’m happy to be having this chat with my second friend from Jamaica. She’s Jhunelle Jureidini, a full-time travel and lifestyle blogger exploring her home country – Jamrock. And today, she’ll be sharing some of her adventures, her first travel article and a bunch of actionable hacks with you.
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Introducing Jhunelle J
Heylo! I’m Jhunelle.
I was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica some twenty-something years ago and I started http://www.SimplyLocal.life to inspire travel in Jamaica by residents and visitors alike.
Asides inspiring travel and collaborating with brands to share excursions, my platform has so far produced two interactive e-magazines showcasing Jamaican articles and products both locally and overseas!
For the last couple years, my life has been enchanted by wanderlust and this constant desire to travel was sparked by captivating images of places beyond the scope of my room, many of which I learned were within my home country.
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Eh-hem, now that you’ve got the specific idea of who Jhunelle is and what she does, let’s get talking with my guest, shall we…
1. What inspired you to become a blogger?
To be honest, besides finding an additional creative outlet, the push to actually begin blogging was from hope that it would grant me more travel opportunities. I never intended or expected that I would be doing it full-time and getting paid to at that!
It has provided so much more though, like forming meaningful relationships, providing value to local businesses, acquiring experiences and knowledge I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise, just to name a few. I love it and truly believe it has added a lot of value to my life.
2. For how long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging at http://www.simplylocal.life for three years (launched February 2017). Before that I contributed to a former employer’s blog maybe six months prior to starting my own.
3. Why be a travel blogger?
Cliché answer: because I love to travel (which is true), but it’s about the ‘why’. Though most of my travels are within my home country Jamaica, it has been eye-opening learning the stories behind various people, places and products. I feel like travel experiences are worth sharing, because if they can inspire daily decisions for me, they can inspire others too.
4. How would you describe your style of travel and your travel blogging content?
I’d consider myself a budget traveller, with an asterisk. Once in a while I’ll close my eye and buy (i.e., go beyond what I’m comfortable spending), but many of my outings are free or generally considered budget-friendly.
I aim to share experiences in a way that shows my perspective but also allows others to imagine them as their own. In my opinion my content style can be described as visual, digestible and insightful.
5. Briefly describe what you use your different social channels for and what is your dominant channel for you personally.
I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube as SimplyLocal.life. Instagram is currently my dominant channel because the engagement rate and subculture there helps me feel more connected to subscribers on a personal level.
Facebook and Pinterest are top blog traffic referrers for me. Video editing is far from my favourite thing but subscribers have requested to more vlogs so I’m investing more time into my YouTube channel, plus it has great passive income potential.
6. How do you balance your day job and blogging?
Blogging is now my day job lol, and it’s still hard to balance with daily life to be honest. Previously I would mostly use nights after work and weekends to write and gather blog content. I once set a daily goal to write at least one solid article paragraph to consistently practice, feel less overwhelmed and continually make progress. It worked well, I should reinstate that actually.
7. Where do you get your travel inspiration from, who gives you the advice?
Inspiration is everywhere, and for me can come at the most random times. Mostly I get it from my environment and other content creators, both online and offline. I mostly take advice from fellow creatives, family and friends, and subscribers of course.
8. Name the location that was 1. Most fun, 2. Most Inspiring, 3. Most Challenging.
That’s hard to choose! Off my head, I can’t decide on just one place I’ve had the most fun.
Most inspiring was probably an all-natural isolated islet in Portland, Jamaica with a guesthouse surrounded by lushness. It serves unbelievably tasty meals and has an uncrowded waterfall, mineral pool and cave within walking distance.
The most challenging location I’ve been to was probably Cinchona Botanical Gardens, one of the highest of it’s kind in the Western Hemisphere. The hike was four hours each way, through steep [but gorgeous] mountains… and then it rained, hard! It was a test of physical and mental strength for me.
9. What is still on your bucket list?
So many, I can’t remember right now. Parasailing for sure, which I almost did last month but sadly the weather had different plans.
10. Have you had any celebrity encounters while travelling?
It is so normal to run into celebrities in Jamaica I really can’t recall if I have specifically done so while travelling. I met and conversed with Buju Banton on a plane when I was a child, haha. Wish I remembered what we talked about.
11. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself since you started travel blogging?
I didn’t realize before travel blogging how much nature can affect my mood. Sometimes when I’m feeling low on energy or inspiration, being or even just facing outside helps so much!
12. What was your very first travel blogger destination that you produced some content for?
The very first travel article I did was a list of 13 lesser known Jamaican waterfalls.
The first single destination I highlighted was a stay at a cosy cottage by the beach.
13. If they were to ever make a movie about one or all of your adventures, what would the title and plot summary be?
The title would likely be my life philosophy, ‘Trust the Journey’ (which is so fitting for this, right?!). The plot summary would probably have a humourous twist, something like “city girl seeks to find herself through living a simpler life… but only some days though.”
14. What is your most embarrassing moment while travelling?
The first time I went nude in public was on an au naturel islet of a resort. It’s an experience that always intrigued me but wasn’t sure I’d have the guts to do if given the opportunity, you know? I convinced my spouse to go with me, and we stripped down despite our shyness.
We didn’t speak or make eye contact with anyone and separated ourselves to enjoy being naked but not feel self-conscious. Once we got back to the resort however, a couple who clearly noticed us approached and struck up a whole conversation about being on the island.
15. What is a little naughty secret you have not openly told before?!
So far, except for my first professional massage that seemingly got out all the kinks I’ve ever had in life, they all greatly aroused me to my surprise.
16. Do you have any funny stories to tell?
I once peed in my shoe while staying somewhere when my room didn’t have a bathroom attached. I was awoken at 1:00 AM by the sound of pouring rain and pressure on my bladder. I had no umbrella nor flashlight with me to venture to the bathroom outside and as much as I tried to go back to sleep, it was just too much to bear. Luckily it was a plastic shoe that was easy to wash out!
17. What key lessons do you have for everyone based on what you have learnt from the gift of travel blogging?
A few lessons I’ve learned are:
- blogging is not ‘dead’ as many claim,
- hobby blogging is different from business blogging, and
- there’s a lot you can learn about yourself through travel.
If you can’t travel abroad right now, why not enjoy your own local area? Others do.
Many thanks to Jhunelle Jureidini for sticking around for this interview, she replied within 24 hours. Now isn’t that major!
My Key Takeaways
It’s pretty obvious that Jhunelle is a travel enthusiast and with or without the existence of her blog has always been ready to see the world of Jamaica beyond the four corners of her apartment.
One thing this teaches us. Appreciation. Jhunelle appreciates her country home and she’s very comfortable exploring the island.
Many travel bloggers out there blatantly skip this appreciation cycle. And rather than invest time or money in touring their country home, they splurge huge wads of cash on visiting many other countries and places. This isn’t wrong but it isn’t always right either. You decide.
Another key takeaway for me in this interview is Jhunelle’s attachment to mother nature. Unbeknownst to many, we share similar feelings. Okay, ask yourself this. Why is it that whenever you go on a vacation (long or short), you return to work much more rekindled. Nature fixes, that’s what I think.
Finally, Jhunelle talks about writing few paragraphs per day to keep in shape. I believe this should become an everyday practice for content creators, writers and bloggers.
Jhunelle not only answers these questions but gives insights and striking facts that helped make her into a successful ‘travelpreneur’ over the years. As a fellow travel blogger, I’ve worked out my takeaways but how’re about you?
What did you learn from our chat? Do you have a different opinion on local tourism? Kindly let me know in the comments below.
Many thanks to you for stopping by and completing this. In fact, you definitely deserve an accolade.
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