October 04, 2021 0 Comments
Photo Source: Brittany and Instagram
We are almost speechless after this interview with our newest TCT, Brittany. Her story telling capabilities are are amazing; giving readers imagery and detail that make you feel like you are there, seeded with gold nuggets of advice. We've gone through all the emotions with Brittany. We've laughed, we've cried and we've been down right shocked.
We feel lucky to have been graced with the opportunity to have Brittany as our TCT. We couldn't crush any harder and we know you'll be head over heals when you get to know her too. So what are you waiting for, keep reading!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
Hey, BlackTravelBox fam! My name is Brittany, but I also go by Britt, WanderingBritt on socials, and occasionally, Teacher Bae 😂. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and surprisingly still reside here, right outside of Atlantic City. I have to say though, I'm hoping to make an international or West Coast move in the near future.
It's somewhat hard to define who I am, as it's an ever-evolving answer as the days, months, and years pass. In summary, I'd say I'm a daughter, a best friend, an educator, a wanderer/explorer, a dreamer, a fighter, and a lover.
For the past six years, I've been a pre-k teacher in a public school here in NJ, and I honestly love it. It's the career I've wanted since I was young, and at the moment, I couldn't picture myself doing anything else full-time. I have some side hustles though, because we all know how these teacher salaries are set up. On the side, I'm a freelance writer, particularly for education-related websites and blogs. I am also in the process of publishing my own children's book! (So, keep an eye out for that 🙏🏾). My ultimate goal is to work remotely in whatever realm feels right at the time.
Career and career-related activities aside, I also run my ""brand,"" WanderingBritt. It essentially encompasses all my travels, in a cohesive way that allows my social media friends to follow along as if they're there with me. A simplistic sort of story-telling that can be recreated if you feel inspired. I also recently began blogging about my teaching experiences, hoping to give helpful tips and tricks to other educators and parents. Even more recently, I started creating travel itineraries for other travelers or travel-hopefuls to purchase and follow.
What got my love for travel started in the first place? I had a very serious reminder about the longevity of life and how precious it is. In 2016, my mom was diagnosed with stage III Sarcoma cancer, a very rare form that neither of us had heard about. I'm an only child, and because my parents were divorced (and single), it became my obvious responsibility to become my mother's primary caretaker. I had just graduated college, and in the midst of interviewing for teaching positions, I found myself taking my mom to and from doctor's appointments, radiation appointments, physical therapy so she could relearn to walk, and eventually, chemotherapy. We truly didn't know what the outcome would be at the time and left most of it up to God and the doctor's hands. While that was occurring, I received the worst phone call, I've ever received to this day, news that my father had a sudden & unexpected heart attack and had passed away. Whew. My father was a loving and compassionate man and spent his life working his a** off to provide and keep a roof over our heads (as had my mom). Neither of them had taken the time off to just live life in their adulthood, enjoy it, travel the world, and have new life-changing experiences. It was the mundane 9-5 (and typically more than that) lifestyle. That broke me, and I pretty much knew something about my own life had to be different. About a year later, with the help of her doctors, my mom became cancer-free ❤️ (and has currently been in remission for 5 years!!!), and fast forward for me (in 2018), I became newly single after escaping a toxic relationship after 8 years. All of those events combined reminded me how short life is, how much of the world/unknown there is to know and see, and how I truly didn't have an understanding of my own self and badass-ness as a woman. So, I packed my bags, hopped on Google Flights, and two weeks later, left for my first solo trip to Costa Rica, and since then, it's all I've loved to do. Exploring, seeing the world, being reminded how small my mundane problems are, has helped keep me grounded after all this time.
Why is inspiring other women to travel important to you? What is your motivation in doing this?
When I first entered Instagram's Black travel-space back in 2018, I found it difficult to find many spaces tailored towards solo travel, especially for Black women. I feel as though solo travel is an adventure that may cross many of our minds, but to take the actual leap of faith and do it, is challenging. Representation matters in all spaces, solo travel included, and I wanted to highlight that Black women can travel solo, safely, while still maintaining a sense of adventure and fun. I feel like the more you see something represented or portrayed in a positive narrative, the more normal it becomes for us and others. So even if I inspire one woman to take on the adventure of solo traveling, it's worth it to me. As time has passed, I've developed my own travel community/group of friends who make it that much more fun, but my love for solo traveling will always have a special place in my heart. My main goal though is to make traveling more accessible to women, for them to see my own adventures, feel inspired or excited at the thought of doing it themselves, and to go for it! Even if that means recreating my own trip down to the T. Do it! Go for it! Surprise yourself with how much fun you can have in unexpected places!
Share with us your craziest travel story. We want all the deets!
This is a story that if you've been to Thailand, specifically Phuket, you probably share the same sentiment... and probably know where this is going hahah. So, I had been traveling throughout Thailand for about two weeks, and finally made my way to the coastal town of Phuket, which is really known for its party life, Muay Thai boxing, and beach scene. One of the most popular roads in Phuket is Bangla Road located on Patong Beach. It kinda reminds me of Bourbon street, but with a beach at the end, and not nearly as long. All along the road are restaurants, bars, sex workers, and drag queens enticing you to come join their party. You'll particularly find that men and women walk around with these signs giving examples of what their shows/parties entail, aka the ping-pong shows.
Now I had heard about the ping-pong shows, and honestly felt like it's a rite of passage if you go to Phuket, so I had already made up my mind that I was going to one even if it meant me being solo since this was a solo trip. Fortunately, I made some friends while in Phuket, from Germany, South African, and Korea, and convinced them to join me. The promoters will tell you the show is free, which is partially true, but once you get in, you're expected to pay for drinks.. which are EXTREMELY overpriced. You can haggle the prices down by threatening to leave (lol), and you'll notice that as time passes, the drink menu gets cheaper as well.
Ok back to the show itself, mind you these shows are everywhere on Bangla Road, this one, in particular, started out somewhat tame. It started with women putting on a dance performance and striptease... *insert ""that escalated quickly"" meme because OMG, Lord I'm sorry. The next thing I knew, women came out and started shooting ping-pongs out of their privates and into the audience. Ping-pongs? Expected. Shooting said ping-pongs at me? Not so much. I honestly thought that'd be as crazy as it gets... until they brought a goldfish out... You can use your imagination to guess what happened next, but I will say the fish was still perfectly (?) alive at the end, swimming in its little bowl. The show didn't end there, it also involved dart shooting, candles being blown out, and magic tricks. At one point it was just too much for all of us and we decided it was best to make our quick, and quiet exit haha. This was one of those experiences where you can say, ""yep, I did that,"" and never again. Mind-blown is the best way to put it, we literally left speechless, and our group vowed to never speak on it again, so I can't believe I'm even sitting here typing this and admitting to going LMAO.
If you were stuck in one place for the rest of your life, which destination would you choose?
There are still so many places I need to visit before I can make that type of commitment, butttt Jaco, Costa Rica holds such a special place in my heart. It was my first solo trip after those life-altering events I mentioned earlier. Turned out it was just what my heart and soul needed at the time. The culture, the people, the views were everything I could ask for. It gave me peace of mind, it gave me friendship, and it gave me adventure "Pura vida" is really their way of life, and if I had to choose between fast-paced or easy-going... you'll always find me laid up on the beach, with a smoothie in hand, and pups running around next to me.
What is the travel hack that you believe everyone should know about, but not enough people do?
I want to preface this by saying being financially literate is soooo important, don't go into debt to travel. Now that that's out of the way, I can't emphasize enough how helpful travel reward credit cards can be, and that they are not all created equal. I personally use the Chase Saphire Reserve credit card. The annual fee is a lot ($550), but for someone like me who travels often and utilizes the perks, it pays for itself. Some of the perks include the global entry and TSA fee waived, Priority Pass which gives international lounge access, $300 a year in travel credit, 0 foreign transaction fees, and of course more points for travel-related expenses which can then be translated to $$$ for flights, hotel stays, etc. You can even choose to pay yourself back with actual money, but it won't go as far as it would with travel points. They also provide travel insurance, and payout for things like lost luggage, canceled or delayed flights, and car rental insurance.
*Also, an important travel hack, download Google Translate and Google Maps prior to your departure! Make sure you have access to the necessities even when there's no internet service.
Where else can folks find you?
Check out my website wanderingbritt.com for travel itineraries and tips for teachers and parents! You can also find me on TikTok @wanderingbritt. I'm still getting the hang of that though lol.
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