Meet the Nomads – Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

If you’re a solo traveler or just looking for some travel inspiration then check out this blog. Jessie on a Journey was created by Jessie last 2011 to provide travel inspiration to anyone who love to travel. She writes a lot of helpful travel tips, interesting travel destinations, tons of tips about solo travel and more.

Jessie is from New York and has a BA and MA in Communication. She also studied in Australia, backpacked solo in Europe, volunteered in Ghana, taught English in Thailand, hiked in China and more. Get to know more about Jessica and follow her adventures in Jessie on a Journey.

But before you leave this page, check out my short interview with Jessie.

Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

How did you discover your passion for travelling?

“Growing up I always traveled with my parents during the summer — usually road trips around North America or Caribbean cruises. I always loved it; however, I think the first time I really fell in love with travel was when I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. It was so different from anything I’d ever seen and I couldn’t get enough of making cultural discoveries and having new experiences. I was officially hooked.”

What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?

“The most horrible experience I’ve had on the road was getting stuck traveling with a girl for two weeks — well, we were supposed to, but we ended up needing to part ways early — who was the complete opposite of me. She needed everything planned in advance (including the next night’s dinner venue and time), was extremely grouchy, was beyond cheap (she lived on hostel breakfast bread and would order coffee for dinner as well as eat off my plate) and, worst of all, she was rude to any local who didn’t speak English. She actually yelled at the cashier at McDonald’s in Vienna — the one place she would spend money — because the woman got her salad order wrong, bellowing, “Why can’t you speak English?! I said tomato mozzarella salad, not Caesar!” I literally walked out of the restaurant without her I was mortified. I actually wrote an article titled “Notes On Traveling With People You Hate” that includes her…can you spot her?”

What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?

“Oh, that’s tough! There are a lot, but one I’ll never forget was backpacking South America for three months solo. I was so nervous before arriving, but once I got comfortable and starting exploring the cultures and landscapes and meeting other people, I never wanted to leave. They’ve got a really amazing backpacker trail there with awesome hostels that almost always include wifi and breakfast, many with a very bohemian vibe. About once a week I try to convince my boyfriend to move there with me!”

What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?

“That you shouldn’t listen to other peoples’ opinions of a destination, especially if they haven’t been there themselves. Before going to Bolivia solo my friends convinced me my liver was going to be sold on the black market (it wasn’t). Moreover, when I booked a trip to Jordan shortly after the Boston Marathon tragedy people told me I was crazy to go at such a time. In reality Jordan was very safe, at least in my experience. One should also consider the fact everyone’s tastes and experiences are different, so just because your friend hated Berlin doesn’t mean you will. Unless there’s a real threat to your safety in a place allow yourself to form your own opinions.”

Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?

“Well for one when I get tired I make it a point to slow down, pamper myself a bit, splurge on a private room or nice meal, and just veg out. Sometimes it’s necessary on the road. Moreover, when I end up traveling a lot at one time I’ll often take a month or two off and just stay in Brooklyn, where I live.”

“At the end of the day, however, travel is my addiction. When I’m without it for too long I truly start to crave it: cultural immersion, beautiful new landscapes, becoming more worldly, learning about a new place, eating at new restaurants, staying at experiential hotels. That combined with the fact I’m always on the lookout for new stories for my blogs and freelance outlets keeps me going.”

This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?

“If I wasn’t going to choose one of my celebrity crushes — Jared Leto, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz — and I was to choose someone solely based on how interesting they are I’d pick James Cameron. Not only is he an environmentalist and constantly working to make the world more sustainable, but he’s an accomplished film director and producer — not to mention he’s the first person to journey solo to the ocean’s deepest part, Mariana Trench, with a depth of -35,994 feet. He’s just an extremely interesting and amazing guy.”

Where’s your favorite place in this planet and why?

“It’s hard to choose one favorite place on the planet, but if I had to I would say Brooklyn (where I live now). I’m from New York, and have always loved where I lived. I love my neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn because it has a rich experimental arts scene, has tons of innovative farm-to-table restaurants and bars, has some of the most beautiful street art I’ve ever seen, and is near to other funky neighborhoods like Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. Brooklyn tends to also be more affordable than Manhattan, although not always, which I like.”

What’s your best tip for newbie traveler?

I would tell any newbie traveler to try traveling solo at least once. While it’s not for everyone, it’s something everyone should try as it can really help you strengthen your relationship with yourself and shows you exactly what you’re capable of. Plus, no need to compromise your itinerary as you’ll have ultimate control over your trip.

Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

The silliest thing I ever done was skinny dipping and streaking on this nearly deserted island in Australia called South Mole. There was a group of about 10 of us and no police on the island to tell us we couldn’t. It was very freeing!

How do you fund your travels?

Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m lucky that I make money through my website and photography and get assistance sometimes from tourism boards; however, I still travel without help quite a bit and just travel cheaply: CouchSurf, stay in hostels (if I want privacy I opt for a single room, which many hostels have nowadays), eat street food, cook your own meals and litter your itinerary with free activities like complimentary walking tours (many cities have them), hiking, gallery hopping, relaxing in the park, cycling and just wandering and meeting locals.

How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?

I keep myself safe on my travels by using common sense and always listening to my gut. If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. Moreover, travel light and leave valuables at home. The less you have the less of a target you’ll be.

Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

What do you think about yourself?

Some random facts about me include a) I’m obsessed with hot sauce b) along with travel, writing and photography, wine, ASMR, cycling and dance are my passions. C) my favorite color is yellow d) my favorite animal is the frog e) I could live on cheese and chocolate covered pretzels.

Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

“Jessica Festa is a lifestyle writer and photographer as well as ASMR videographer based in Brooklyn, although she spends much of her time on the road exploring the world. She is the creator of the blog Jessie on a Journey, a budget, adventure and solo female travel site, as well as the online lifestyle magazine Epicure & Culture, which focuses on cultural immersion, culinary travel and sustainable tourism. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. ” – Jessica Festa of Jessie on a Journey

Editor’s Note: All pictures are provide by Jessica.

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