PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL: MEET JEN FROM ONTARIO, CANADA
I’m Jenn, a Filipina who was raised in Canada. I moved back to the Philippines after graduating from Western University to pursue further studies in dentistry, which I am now in my last semester of. Traveling has been my source of freedom and relaxation away from my studies; I love to explore, see new places, and learn about new cultures. I’m not a full-time traveller, but I take any free time I have to go see as many places as I can.
1) NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED
16 and counting
2) LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN AND/OR WANT TO LEARN
Other than English, I am fluent in Tagalog, and I know a little bit of Canadian French and ASL. Currently learning Korean, and I would love to be able to learn German.
3) AGE AND FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRIP YOU TOOK
My first international trip was when my family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. I was 5 years old at the time.
My favourite airline is Korean Air. I’ve flown with them many times and, each time, they have offered great service and are very accommodating.
5) YOUR GO-TO IN-FLIGHT APPAREL
Definitely all about the comfort when it comes to this. Yoga pants or leggings, a hoodie, and sneakers are my go-to. Throw in a baseball cap to wear when I’m sleeping and I’m good to go for the entire flight.
6)THINGS/GADGETS YOU CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT
I always have at least one dental reviewer and notebook ready at all times (What a nerd, right? But I have to sneak in a bit of studying while travelling), and a good book is a must so I have something to read for when I take a break from studying. My phone and a camera are also essentials for me.
7) FAVORITE COUNTRY AND WHY
My favourite country so far is the Philippines. Though I am Filipino, I was young when we immigrated to Canada so I didn’t really appreciate my homeland before. However, after living here for a few years now, I have gone to many places here that have helped me to see Philippines in a new light. Not only are there great beaches here, there is also such a rich history to the Philippine culture that can still be seen today. It’s a country that has a lot to offer and travelling and living here has allowed me to reconnect back to my roots.
8) FAVORITE CITY AND WHY
My favourite city is Berlin. I think it’s a smorgasbord of a city that can cater to any traveller’s wants. It is very rich in history, with remnants of this history still displayed around the city. I also like how each area of Berlin offers a different vibe, and how easy it is to get around the city. It’s got great architecture, amazing cafés, and night outs are never-ending (there is no way I can still be at the bar at 6am in Canada, but the last call in Berlin doesn’t seem to exist).
I also enjoy the walking tours that Berlin has. These tours are free and open to anyone. You can meet up at the Brandenburg Gate and sign up on the spot. It’s great because most of the tour guides are actually expats from all over the world. I’ve been on the tour twice (summer and winter) and one of the guides was from England and the other from America. I think it’s great to hear about their experiences and perspective as an expat as to why they love Berlin. And I know that each time I visit Berlin I fall in love with the city even more.
Bonus City: Paris. Yes, I know, typical. But I did fall in love with Paris and the lovely views, the art, and architecture. (Berlin still takes the cake for very accommodating and nice locals though).
9) FAVORITE CUISINE
I love Korean food. I can’t handle too much spice, but when it comes to Korean cuisine, I will bear the burn for the food. Ddeokbokki and kimbap are my favourites. I also do really enjoy Filipino food. I can always go for my mom’s home-cooked Filipino meals.
12)HOTEL, HOSTEL, OR AIRBNB?
I’m all for the hostel experience. I think the openness in hostels is a great way to meet fellow travellers and share experiences with each other. Luckily there have also been times where friends have been willing to host me, so that’s also a great option for me when travelling.
13) MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Cheesy as it sounds, all my travel experiences have been quite memorable. Some of the best, though, have been experiences I’ve shared with my parents and sister. I’m all for solo travel, but I think travelling is also a great way to bond with family. We’ve gone on trips to Austria, Italy, Germany, France, and parts of the States (NY, California, Illinois, Florida Pennsylvania, etc.).
14) MOST CHALLENGING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
So far, the most challenging experience for me was when I traveled to South Korea to visit a friend who was teaching English there at the time. It wasn’t a physical challenge, more so a culture shock. She allowed me to stay with her during my visit, but since she had work during the day, the sightseeing and wandering about was up to me to figure out.
On my first day there, I remember her leaving for work in the morning with one of the only instructions given to me was to go down to the convenient store and buy myself a transportation pass so that I could get around the area. I stepped out of her building to find myself surrounded with not a single word of English on any sign, or even a person who spoke English. It was definitely an experience for me, and communicating to get directions and to get the pass was a challenge.
Luckily, everyone was very nice and I got all the help I needed. Plus, when I got to Seoul, the language barrier was no longer there. This challenge also encouraged me to actually start learning Korean, even just basic conversational Korean for now will do.
15) FAVORITE TRAVEL SOUVENIR
I collect magnets from the places I’ve been to. Small, easy to carry, pretty easy to find (at least in very touristy towns), and will always have a nice little spot on my fridge door. Other than magnets, my favourite souvenirs are the pictures I’ve taken on my trips. They are nice little keepsakes for me because they were taken from my perspective and of places I’ve enjoyed.
16) MOST LIKED INSTAGRAM PIC
My most liked picture is one taken in Playa de Cala Pi, Mallorca. It’s a view of one of the many beaches in Mallorca. It’s been one of the highlights of my travels this year and it was a nice-beach getaway for me.
17) FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS
I’ll be going back home to Canada for the holidays, and a trip to the States might be included in that. Then I’m planning a 2- to 3-week trip to Singapore in March, where I hope to travel around some parts of SEA by train. Plans include Malaysia, and Thailand so far, but hopefully I can sneak in a quick trip to Vietnam or Cambodia as well.
18) BUCKET LIST
Australia and New Zealand is on the list for me, and I would love to go to Japan and China as well. But, ideally, the main goal on the bucket list is to visit as many places as I can.
19) YOUR TRAVEL INFLUENCER(S) AND WHY
My travel influencers are my parents. Though they haven’t been able to travel around too much, they have always encouraged my sister and I to go out and explore the world. They are very open-minded and have supported me on my little adventures, no matter how random and spontaneous.
20) FAVORITE TRAVEL QUOTE
This is one that I recently just came across on my trip to Intramuros. Stated by the Philippine national hero, José Rizal, I think it is a great quote from a well-travelled and wise man: “Travel is a caprice in childhood, a passion in youth, a necessity in manhood, and an elegy in old age.”
Follow Jenn on Instagram @jenn.r_travels for more travel pics!
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