Travelling the world through the eyes of Oneika Raymond
It is often said that great people venture into the world with open arms and an open mind. Others like Oneika Raymond, do more than that. They hold our hands out of the door to sample the delights, beauty and art of travelling. However, what sets her apart from the hordes of travel writers is the infectious enthusiasm with which she tells the world about her travels on her travel blog – Oneika the Traveller. A teacher by profession her calling has extended beyond the classroom and into traveling to over 80 countries, 7 of which she lived in for months at a time.
What I like most, however, about Oneika’s travel blog is her boldness in going beyond the usual “10 things to do in a place”. If like me issues such as “traveling while black” or “traveling solo” are relevant to you, then you will find yourself engrossed as you browse through this visually aesthetic blog. My all time favourite, which you should view below is a humour filled discussion on reclining airline seats.
Ok….now you are done leaning back, lets get back to all things Oneika Raymond! It is a pleasure to have her on MyWeku Tastes to share with us, her thoughts on a variety of travel issues.
What triggered your interest in travel?
Growing up in a very multicultural environment, I’ve always had an interest in international travel but never really tapped into that interest until I got to university. It was there that I discovered that I could have the chance to study abroad for a year in France… if I changed my major to French literature. Intrigued, I changed my major and spent an entire school year in France. While there I travelled to a few places in Europe and North Africa and was blown away by what I saw. I was hooked after that!
What don’t people know about you that you wish they did.
Hmm, difficult question! I try to be really authentic and truthful in my writing, so I think I’m pretty transparent!
I was once pressured into scraping bits of flesh and skin off a cooked sheep’s head in a Marrakesh square. My sin? I have a try anything once rule. Are you a try anything once kind of traveller?
In recent years I have definitely become a “try anything once” kind of traveller! My personal mottos are “YOLO” and “Why not?” I want to make sure that I live my life without regrets; I want to try to take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. Example: I’m deathly afraid of heights but jumped out of a plane and off of a bridge anyway… LOL.
You have travelled extensively across Africa, are there any peculiarities to travelling in that region?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve travelled extensively (I still haven’t touched West Africa!) but I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to step foot in various countries in the northern, eastern, and southern regions of the continent. The diversity on the continent is simply unreal, from the different cultures and food, to languages and ways of thinking.
Africa is probably the most diverse region I’ve ever travelled to and not the monolith mainstream media would have you think it is.
Your travel videos are a revelation! Could this format be the future of travelogues?
Thank you! The truth is that I adore storytelling via video; it’s so much more vivid and real than just the written word. The audience is right there with you and they can visualize the surroundings you’re in with far greater precision. I definitely feel that video is the future of travelogues and travel blogging.
As a woman and a frequent solo traveller are there specific challenges that you face?
Honestly? I haven’t felt myself to be impeded by my sex at all! The greatest challenge I face is probably from people, both men and women, who think that it’s strange and unsafe for a woman to travel on her own. These attitudes keep a lot of women from experiencing the joys of solo travel, and in the worst case scenario, keep them afraid and at home.
We are big on the cultural intersection between food and travel and street food perhaps captures that relationship like no other. If you had to choose your top three street eats on your travels what might they be?
So difficult to choose, but here goes… In no particular order, my picks would be everything with jerk seasoning in Jamaica– those roadside stalls are heavenly. Tacos and chilaquiles in Mexico– I lived there for a year and couldn’t get enough. And ALL the street food in Thailand! Simply delectable.
What advice would you offer to others interested in getting into travel journalism or blogging?
Write, write, and write some more! Document your travels and don’t be afraid to inject your personality in everything you do. Write for the love of writing. Don’t be afraid to pitch major outlets to get noticed and collect writing credits. Write about the things you care about as well as the things your readers care about.