Jamaica globetrotter inspires others to step outside of their comfort zone.
Charming her way through different countries, globetrotter Charmaine Redway took her first solo trip to see her parents in London at 16 years old. No longer a girl but not yet a woman, she fell in love with exploring the great unknown and has since made it her mission to travel the world.
“I have been to over 30 countries now, and counting. It’s unbelievable to wrap my head around how a country girl who was [so] determined to see the world [that] she wrote stories about [it], is actually doing just that, making her dreams an exciting reality,” Redway told The Sunday Gleaner.
Discovering that there weren’t many people who looked like her in these foreign countries was all the motivation she needed to bring the spice of her little island all over the map. “When I travelled to certain places, I didn’t see many people that looked like me. I truly wanted to inspire women who grew up in a humble district in Jamaica that you do not have to limit yourself, and there is so much in the world to see! There has also been so much civil unrest and racial strains in 2020, so I want to encourage black people and Jamaicans to go where we are celebrated,” she said.
After years of extensive flying to near and far destinations, a friend and fellow blogger, Monet Hambrick, encouraged the expert to document her adventures in a more serious fashion by microblogging on Instagram and launching a website. She has since ticked off one out of the two on the to-do list, with the website currently under construction and looking to launch soon.
Since embarking on her blogging journey, Charm Travelz shies away from just the conventional show of nice pictures and places and focuses on inspirations and storytelling, “I review experiences, hotels, and restaurants. And I have been superlucky [to find] the best-hidden gems. I continue the hunt for the ones that miss the mark, so I will share along the journey.”
She takes her followers on a unique tour of events, sharing every detail from booking and packing to the entry requirements and the entire experience at each location. “I keep true to myself the entire time, being relatable and open for questions and suggestions. People love the [rating] system based on food, décor, service, and vibes. My videos on millennial travel humour have been shared multiple times on black travel accounts, amassing over 100,000 views combined. Not bad for a ‘new blogger’,” Redway revealed with excitement.
Since living in the United States, returning to her home has always been her favourite destination. Aside from that, she listed Turkey as the second dream spot. The food, warmth, and hospitality of the people and the diverse landscape all made the trip worthwhile, “The flights within Turkey are about US$30 each way, and an e-visa using my Jamaican passport was under US$100 – no need to stand in line at an embassy! Whew!” she said, with relief.
For her, a pleasant trip is one that is thoroughly planned, from entry requirements to general country rules. One mishap can bring forth lengthy delays and unexpected costs. Her travel essentials include a power bank for extra phone charge on long trips, a printed itinerary, copies of passport and test results, comfortable walking sneakers, a portable suitcase scale because she has yet to master packing under the weight limit and a security door stopper or lock, which she found on Amazon, for hotel and Airbnb doors. The last item is necessary for anyone because you never know who has a key or access to a place you are renting.
While Redway enjoys exploring new territory, some countries weren’t the perfect fit. Because she experienced racism on her very first trip to London, she doesn’t see herself ever returning. And while Rome is a beautiful country, she didn’t fall in love during her visit, “I love Roman history and architecture, but it didn’t give what I thought it would.”
Immediately on her bucket list of places to travel to is South Africa. She is a huge fan of Nelson Mandela, so this would be a dream trip. Other countries making the list include Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, and Brazil. “I hope to build a community of men and women with Charm Travelz, those who have aspirations of travel and help show them how they can do it with proper planning and industry secrets. It is my hope to also inspire people to get clear on their passions and set a plan to execute them. The world needs your ideas!”
She provided a few travelling tips for those looking to conquer the skies, even during the global pandemic.
Charm Travelz is on Instagram, @charmtravelz.
Charm Travelz — Tips on conquering the skies
1. Have a travel account that you do not touch, and add a few dollars every week towards your trip.
2. Try to find a group of like-minded people to start budgeting for your trip. With this, you can cut costs on a number of things, including accommodations.
3. Sign up for credit cards that offer travel rewards on daily purchases! This definitely helps!
4. If you want to travel, maybe you won’t need all the newest phones or cars. Save with a good used car or device.
5. Try to travel off-peak. Summer months and winter holidays can be pricey, so use Google Flights, Scott’s Cheap Flights and flight deal websites to check prices for tickets to your locations. Google Flights is great for seeing prices a year out!