Today’s travel blogger interview is with Jacqui Cooks of The Jax Blog. Jacqui is a global traveller who has bad luck with bags in London. Read on to find out why.
What is your name?
Jacqui Cooks aka Jax
Which country do you come from/call home?
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I was 3 or 4. My parents and I were on an international flight to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins in Australia from South Africa.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I’m currently a weekend warrior and armchair traveller 😉 I used to live abroad but returned home a few years ago. Having started my own company recently I take as much time off on the weekend as I can. Sometimes, I travel as part of a campaign being invited to stay at properties.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I pay for all my own expenses, except when I’m invited to stay at property and this is covered as part of the job.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Yes, Hollywood California. I moved there to study acting would you believe?! lol I was expecting everything to be so glamorous, but instead was greeted by dirty streets with lots of young girls who had run away from home so that they could become a ‘star’ but the ended up homeless. Very very sad!
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
I was robbed twice in London. One was at my place of work, where my bag was behind the bar counter as a stranger came into order a drink. The bar was inside a hotel and we were fairly quiet; as soon as I turned my back to pour the drink he snatched my bag and quietly disappeared. I didn’t even know it was gone until the cops called the hotel where I worked to report that they had found an empty bag with my ID. There was no real money and I cancelled my cards, but was pretty shook up! At least, I got my passport back! The second time I was having lunch in Nando’s at Earls Court in London. I remember this clear as day, I was meeting up with some of my Aussie girlfriends. My backpack was on the floor in my line of sight, whilst talking with my friends some guy sat behind us but didn’t order anything to eat. Always staring conspicuously at us whilst we were talking. Very creepy! Then he just slowly got up and left…with my bag! My friends noticed immediately and ran out after him. I have never been so thankful for my friends in all my life! A gaggle of girls running and yelling down the street grabbed my backpack pack from this guy and almost beat him to a pulp! When asked why he took it, he simply said he was confused and thought it was his. As if? He didn’t even enter with a bag!
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Well, the only time I ever visited Glastonbury home of Stonehenge was for a huge outdoor music festival. It was a weekend festival and we returned back to London via public transport (the bus) on Sunday. We did look a bit out of place and unkempt as we had camped and not showered for 2 days, sitting next to the conservative passengers who were clearly on their way to church! *giggle* Ah to be 19 again without a care in the world! That was an epic festival! I highly recommend it to anyone who is travelling to the UK.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
There hasn’t really been a “worst” place because I’ve learnt so much from everywhere I’ve been. I will just say that I was extremely disappointed by how dirty the water in the Venice Canals was with McDonald’s wrappers and trash floating by as we took our supposed romantic gondola ride.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
That’s tough because I have two homes. I’m a South African by birth but American by Naturalization. So I love both countries so so much….but if I really had to choose, it would be my hometown Cape Town, South Africa.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Oh yes! Gosh! There’s so much I’d still like to do & see. I’d love to do an overland Cape to Cairo trek or like that Camel Trophy Race.Then because I’m such a beach/sea lover I would love to visit ALL of the islands in the world: Tahiti, Bora Bora, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Nekker island, Carribbean. Lastly, I would LURVE to do around the world in more than 80 days type trip!
Can you imagine life without travel?
No definitely not. Travel teaches us to open our minds, hearts and being by experiencing the different cultures and the world undefined by society.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Well, I’m doing it now Social Media work 😉 eventually, when I have kids some day, I’d like to open a bakery.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
The Jax Blog, www.thejaxblog.com
When did you begin your website The Jax Blog?
In January 2015.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
It started out as a passion; retelling of my adventures and sharing it with everyone. Now it has morphed into a bit of both, I write for fun, to inspire and happily collaborate and work with anyone who is interested in working with me.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I have 15 years of experience in the Corporate Hospitality and Tourism industry, so I have a fair bit of knowledge and understanding about the tourism industry and what to expect from properties. When I write reviews, in particular, I’m always drawing on that knowledge. I’m also a people’s person and strive to be authentic in whatever I do or say, so my writing style is very easy to read and understand. I like to think that my varied background and sense of humor are entertaining to my readers and that’s why they stick around. I’m not a formal boring critical writer, I’m real and the stories are based on my real life experiences.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Yes, I do. My other hat is a Social Media Marketer, Influencer and Trainer. So if anyone needs help on a campaign or simply wants to learn how to tweet they can contact me 😉 I also have a fantastic Travel desk that can book any trip you’ve dreamt about or read on my blog, just drop me a line and I’m happy to hook you up!
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
#Give25Smiles I wrote a blog post about a young lady who is turning 25 years old soon and is tirelessly raising money on social media for operation smile (A NPO that corrects cleft lip and cleft palates). She wants to raise enough money to correct 25 smiles in lieu of a birthday gift. What makes this story unique is that Nisha herself has cerebral palsy, yet she does not let this stand in the way of her fundraising. We have become great friends and we support each other online through whatever we are doing. I’m amazed and in appreciation of her! http://www.thejaxblog.com/meet-nisha-varghese-jaxpirational-ep-3 This was part of my #jaxpirational series, a series of all the people who have inspired me on my journey. I’ve turned it into a VLOG.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I really enjoyed writing about my trip to San Francisco. I had such a good time and great memories, got to visit Twitter HQ!
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I get seasick so I’d say anything but that 😉
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Just.Do.it! Life is short, go out there and see what it’s like beyond your own backyard!
What has travel taught you?
People are all inherently good if you just open up and give them a chance. Also I’m a lot stronger than I thought!
Why did you name it The Jax blog?
Since I was a little girl people have been calling me Jax, so the name stuck and I thought why not? It’s easy to remember
Any pet hates?
I really passionately dislike any sort of negativity in any form, this includes rude and intolerant people.
What did you want to be when you grow up?
When I was younger I changed my mind so many times. First, I wanted to be a meter maid (because I liked the uniform) then a journalist, because I wanted to bring the “truth” to the public (I later interned at a newspaper as a teen and learnt that the “truth” gets subedited 5 times before it’s printed so scrap that vocation) than I used to sing into my hairbrush and prance around in front of the video camera dreaming of being a performer /actress *laughs* Now I’m just happy being me!
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Something you don’t know about me? I play the piano and taught myself to do so at age 4.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Virgin Atlantic / Emirates
Favourite country? South Africa
Favourite city? Cape Town
Favourite beach? Preekstoel, West Coast Reserve
Favourite food? Thai
Favourite language? Italian
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.thejaxblog.com
Twitter handle? @thejaxblog
Facebook page? The Jax blog
Google+ profile/page? +JacquiCooks
Pinterest? The Jax Blog