Today I’m delighted to feature someone who wants to build a school from plastic bottles and once ordered the execution of a spoon! Please meet travel blogger Janae Werdlow of Jwerd.com.
What is your name?
Hi my name is Janae Werdlow, but I prefer Nae.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I called the United States home and don’t really have a hometown. I grew up in between both Maryland and Georgia so both are home.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I am living and working abroad as Peace Corps volunteer.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Just my PC salary and any freelance writing I do.
Why did you join the PC?
I joined the Peace Corps because I saw it as a fabulous opportunity to learn the true meaning of, ‘selflessness.’ I also had never traveled outside of the United States before. Traveling has been a long time dream but I had previously not had the finances to go.
What do you do with the PC?
I worked as Small Business Volunteer, where my primary goals are to educate the youth of entrepreneurship and to work with community businesses to stimulate their economy. 70% of Nicaraguans are under the age of 30, so targeting youth to be business conscious is very important. I partner with the teachers here to teach subjects such as “how to write a business plan” and “what is entrepreneurship.” Throughout the year, they’re encouraged to start their own business and then participate in the Country wide competition.
What one thing are you looking forward to achieving in your service?
I want to build a school out of plastic bottles. It’s feasible and helps with the growing trash problem here. Recycling is not encouraged and since there are no laws here about littering, trash is pretty much everywhere. It breaks my heart, so building schools out of inorganic materials would encourage recycling and teach the importance of it.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My first trip ever was to Germany when I was two. Both my parents were active soldiers in the Army.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Not really. This is my first time traveling outside of the States, except for as a baby and honestly, I came into it with no expectations whatsoever other than having a good time.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Yes. During my first three months of training, I was assaulted. I went through the proper security procedures and thankfully I wasn’t hurt. Although it was a bad experience, it didn’t tarnish my view of Nicaragua. It just made me more cautious of men here.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Sure. It’s mostly stories of me integrating. My host mom laughed so much at my blunders. There was a time when I screamed and thought I said “cockroach, kill it!” But I actually said, “SPOON! Kill it.” My host mom not only cried laughing but she casually swiped the cockroach off the table, like it was no big deal. There’s also this story, I will never live down. The first week here, I was describing a woman and I said “she has a lot of butter on her face” instead of makeup! The difference in mantequilla and maquillaje.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Nowhere. Everywhere is beautiful.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
My grandma’s house, in my bed. I never had such an appreciation for it until now.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Yes! Well I just crossed volcano boarding off. Sky diving is on there. See every continent at least once, swim with sharks, publish more books are also on it, among other things.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Absolutely, positively, equivocally, NO. I have never been more in tune with myself and been more selfless. Traveling is opening my eyes to other sights and I never want to stop changing my world’s perspective.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Writing. Although I do that while I’m traveling, in a perfect world I would devote all my time to creating written literature. I have published two books of poetry, Surviving: Teenage Battle Wounds and Conversations With The Heart but I want to published other types of literature. It’s just hard to dedicated the time I need to do that.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
WerdTravels at Jwerd.com!
When did you begin your website?
I started Oct. 2014!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I started for fun. I have been writing since I could pick up a pencil. It started with silly stories, then poetry, then adult fiction. My friends always said if I had a blog or YouTube video they would watch it, because I’m so funny. So, I decided to see if others felt the same way.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
It’s unique because 1. It’s a full perspective. It’s not just travel. There are jokes and real topics of controversy. 2. It’s unique because it’s my perspective. There are few black women traveling alone. I am lending my voice, because there aren’t’ enough of us speaking. Then 3. It’s unique because I am unique. No one will ever write what I write. I have things to say others might not.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Sure. I love editing manuscripts. I read almost a book a day here. So anyone who needs edits or critiques can certainly contact me for editing or for a poem.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My post about black hair entitled, “What’s the Deal With Black Hair?” . I wrote about why it bothers me so much when people touch my hair. Previously it was an issue that continuously came up between other volunteers but I never had the time to fully explain.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I wrote an article for sheswanderful.com called, “5 Luxuries You Didn’t Know You Had.”
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Hmm, probably a car. It’s not always as comfortable but I love driving. I like the luxury of stopping whenever you want and taking in all the sites.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Yes, GO! That’s my advice. Don’t think about it too much. If you have the opportunity, go. Go wherever you can, if that’s to another state, another country, continent, go! Just go. Figure the details out later.
What has travel taught you?
It has taught me, we are all one. The circle of life is real and I do myself a disservice but not helping you.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? United Air.
Favourite country? Probably Africa, although I’ve never been
Favourite city? Charlotte, NC
Favourite beach? Granada, Nicaragua
Favourite food? Ribs, mac and cheese with collard greens!
Favourite language? Español!
Please provide the following:-
Website url? Jwerd.com