Photo Source: Instagram and Crystal
If there was a Travel Crush Award Ceremony, Crystal would get Miss Worldly! The multi-business owner has been to a whopping 114 countries and STILL counting. If you're in awe, shock, envy or all three., don't worry you're in good company. So, how did she do it? Where has she been? What's her take? Keep reading to find out!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?"
My name is Crystal Jackson. I am originally from Voorhees, New Jersey. However, my husband and I currently live in Austin, Texas. I own a few businesses: a Human Resources Consulting Firm (Crystal Clear Consulting Services); a vegan health and beauty company (L’amour Lumière Healing Co.); and a Real Estate Company (Jackson Development Group). Before the pandemic, I used to own a travel agency (Operation Travel).
What inspires me to travel is the freedom and education that comes with it. To me, an airplane symbolizes wings. It gives me the ability to literally fly anywhere I want to explore—kind of like birds do. That creates a feeling of freedom. The freedom to explore different lands, languages, cultures, foods, etc.,
There is also an educational piece to it. It is easy to pick up a book or turn on the news and hear about a place. However, that information is not always accurate. But, to go there yourself and learn first-hand about the people, culture, their day-to-day lives, their struggles and blessing, etc. – that is an education you cannot get in a book. It is also one no one can take from you. When you educate yourself through travel, you will often find that what you heard about a place is, in fact, not always true. You will also find that your experience with that place is far better than what you heard or read about it.
How many countries have you been to? Which was your favorite and why?
I have been to 114 countries and counting. I actually have quite a few favorite countries. My favorite countries are the ones that surprised me the most. The ones that gave me experiences I was not expecting. Those countries are:
• South Korea
What is your most memorable travel experience? What made it so unforgettable?
The most memorable travel experience I had was the first time I went to Switzerland. I was about 28 years old at the time. I decided I wanted to go skiing for the first time on the Swiss Alps. Lord, I don’t know what I was thinking. I went on what was deemed the “beginner slopes.” I think they had a different definition of beginner because when I got on that mountain, I nearly peed my pants. I had no idea how to ski and it didn’t dawn on me to take a lesson. I started going down the mountain with my legs all wobbly and my form all over the place. Next thing you know, I fell. I fell out of my skis and off the ski path into the fresh snow. Two seconds later, toddlers (literally 1–3-year old’s) ski past me, point and laugh at me. They ski past me as if they are my age and have been skiing their whole life—they were toddlers! I couldn’t believe it. After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I got back up and I skied down the mountain—terrible form, wobbly legs, heart racing and all.
Although I was terrified and embarrassed, I learned a valuable lesson—to never give up. Even if you literally fall on your ass and people point and laugh at you, you still get back up and make your way down that mountain—which is what I did.
What was the biggest life lesson learned as a result of travel?
The biggest life lesson I learned as a result of travel, is to never rely on others to do what you really want to do—just do it by yourself. There are countless times when I wanted to go on a trip, and I had a group of people interested in going. However, when it was time to book, everyone had an excuse as to why they could not actually go. Therefore, I went by myself. I wanted to see the world and I didn’t want to let other people’s issues stop me. So, I got very comfortable traveling by myself. Out of 114 I have visited countries; I went to about 80 of them by myself.
How has travel aided in your personal healing?
Travel has given me something to fight for. Prior to traveling I was going down a wrong path due to a lot of childhood trauma. When I took my first solo trio, I realized how vast and beautiful the world was. I felt the freedom that I never felt before. I wanted more—a lot more. I had the travel bug, and, in that moment, I realized I needed to get shit together so I could continue to travel. That is when I started on my journey of healing from past traumas and mistakes.
Where else can folks find you?
I am also on Facebook (Crystal Kaliyma Jackson)
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