Today’s travel blogger interview features someone like myself who has spent time living in Saudi Arabia. Now they take every opportunity to see the world. Please meet Asma Younus of Jet Set Chick.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I class myself as your typical 9-5 worker who takes every single opportunity to travel as much as possible, either locally or abroad. I enjoy my luxuries, but I’m a real bargain hunter and always like to get the best deal going. When you fund your own travel I think it’s essential to stretch what money you have as far as you can, without having to compromise too much.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Most of my travelling is done with my hubby Mo. We both work hard at our jobs and we do as much as we can to make sure we’re always adding money to our holiday pot. I mean what other reason is there to work if not to travel?
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I grew up as an expat child, living in Saudi Arabia and my parents started taking me around the world at quite a young age. My earliest memory is a bit fuzzy. I remember the feeling of being really excited, seeing a large palace with pink turrets and pointing furiously at things from my stroller. I remember Mickey Mouse ears and beaming sunshine and blue skies. I may not be able to picture it all perfectly in my mind, but I remember thinking I was on a real adventure and I had been placed in another world. It’s the same feeling I have now when I visit somewhere new (minus the stroller).
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Zimbabwe. I always imagined Africa to be desert, intense heat and sparse land. So when the plane began it’s descent into Zimbabwe I was in utter shock to be surrounded by greenery. I had naively never thought I would see such lush vegetation in this continent.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Not really. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, for every bad thing that happens there’s always some good that will come out of it. For example, Mo and I booked our first super luxury holiday at a top resort in the Maldives, hoping for 10 nights of pure sunshine. We were shocked when we arrived and had a surprising amount of rainfall during our trip. At first we were really annoyed at having saved up so much money and we weren’t able to spend all our time sunbathing, but as it turned out the bad weather spurts meant we made friends with other couples and made full use of the hotel facilities. We ended up having a lot more fun than we would have done if we had just slept in the sun all day.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Way too many! I can be pretty clumsy when I’m happy. But I think you had to be there to appreciate the funny side of most of them.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Only place I can think of is Cairo, I was quite young and don’t remember a lot of it. The only lasting memory I came away with is of smog, which isn’t pleasant. I do plan on going back with Mo and appreciating Cairo in all its glory one day soon.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Jardins du Trocadero in Paris. The gardens are opposite the Eiffel Tower and if I ever needed a place to run to this would be where I would go. I love lying on the grass, gazing at the Eiffel Tower, listening to the fountains, dipping my feet in during the summer months. I never get tired of it. Luckily it’s just a 2 hour plane journey away.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Ever since the age of 21 I’ve created yearly lists of things I want to accomplish. I could never have one large lifetime list. This year is the last year of my twenties so Mo and I are in the process of planning my final bucket list item which is: ‘trip of a lifetime.’ Pretty hard to plan a trip with that kind of expectation. But we’ve picked plenty of places in the world which I’m sure are up to the task.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Oh no no no! Not at all, I get itchy feet every day of the week. I can’t imagine what I would dream or think about if I didn’t have travel in my life.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Not much, I live and breathe travelling.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
My travel blog is called ‘Jet Set Chick’
I’ve always aspired to have a jet set lifestyle and my family and close friends call me ‘sus,’ Arabic word that translates to chick. So there you go. Jet Set chick.
When did you begin your website?
I originally started my blog last summer, 2013. I have dabbled with travel writing for a number of years but never really committed to a website before. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write hoping that I may just be helping someone who is looking for advice. I hope that my words will provide travel inspiration to readers and push people to venture out and experience some of the places I have fallen in love with.
Ultimately though, I write for me. For Mo and I. The site is my way of documenting all the great memories I have and having them right there, immortalized in cyber world. So wherever we are, whatever happens, we can always look back over them and remember how lucky we were.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
The main thing making this blog unique is that it is my story. I spend a lot of time researching to hunt down cool and interesting places to go, reading my blog should save others from all the hard preliminary work.
What do you see in the future for Jet Set Chick?
I want Jet Set Chick to be a resource for people to find places to stay, eat and see exciting things all over the world. We have many friends who like to travel but aren’t confident enough to go out and discover what’s out there. I want my site to be a one stop guide for them and like-minded others. I would eventually like to have a daily column in a publication to showcase my travel experience and thoughts.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
I am more than happy to help with finding information for trips, holidays, adventures. I work in the travel industry as an alerts coordinator so I do have a lot of knowledge on travel risks and security issues as well as where to find good deals and bargains and the right time to buy. I am also a freelance graphic designer, which is the only service I charge for.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My post on the Negresco Hotel in Nice, France. It was simply a review on the iconic French hotel, a lot of people mentioned they liked how I had explained how you didn’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the beauty hidden inside the hotel.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
My favourite article to write was about my sister’s wedding at The Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District. The words just flowed and I didn’t stop. I didn’t restrict myself in any way as I wanted to capture the whole experience.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Boat. Ironically I’m petrified of the ocean, but I love boats. I love the feeling of calm waters when the boat is still as well as the feeling of water spray when jet setting.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Embrace it! Every second you are somewhere new, make the most of it. Try not to focus on all the negatives, if something bad does happen don’t waste perfectly good travel time dwelling on it, just move on.
The other major bit of advice I have is be prepared. A lot of people like to travel on a whim and just go for it and I have always admired them. However, when I was in Zimbabwe I did a lot of research beforehand and purchased little things I thought I may need such as a head torch, binoculars, spare camera batteries and it made travelling around the country so much easier and a lot more enjoyable.
What has travel taught you?
To be grateful. When I travel around the world and see all the different cultures, meet different people, see different ways of life, it makes me appreciate how lucky I am to get these opportunities to do such incredible things.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Emirates (they’re just so comfortable)
Favourite country? France
Favourite city? Stockholm
Favourite beach? Pulau Tidung, Thousand Islands, Indonesia
Favourite food? Pastries. Fresh French pastries
Favourite language? Arabic (reminds me of growing up)
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.jetsetchick.com
Twitter handle? @wordsbysus
Google+ profile/page? asmayounus