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JetSet Diva of the Month

Meet Carrie…our JetSet Diva of the Month!

Carrie and I attended undergraduate school together at Xavier University of Louisiana. Through our alumni website we were recently in touch and I realized that she likes to travel as much as we do! With travels to Africa, Costa Rica, South America and throughout the United States (and her willingness to answer a ton of questions on the fly) she became our JetSet Diva of the Month. Please read her ‘virtual interview’.

Recently you visited Zimbabwe in South Africa . How did you choose such a beautiful land to visit? I was chosen to participate in a medical mission trip with an organization called Operation of Hope. This organization operates on children with cleft lip and/or palate or with vascualr malformations. The goal is to supply the families and communities with needed but unattainable servicees. Once I realized I was going I read up on Zimbabwe and found that it has some natural wonders that I would not want to miss.

Did you immerse yourself in the culture? What are the glaring differences in everyday life between Zimbabwe and the USA?
Because of our busy schedules we did not do many things outside of the hospital during the work week. My immersion was really with the hospital staff who were so gracious and helpful. Through them, I learned many things about the Zimbabwe culture and traditions. During the time that we visited Zim (a nickname for the country) the people were going through political turmoil with the presedential elections. Zim, I found, was in the past a flourishing country at the time of its independence from Great Britain in 1980. However, over the last ten years, this country that had been one of the most literate and economically stable nations in south africa, has changed drastically. 90% of the population is unemployed, there are food shortages, access to health care is almost nonexistent, inflation rate is 2.2 million percent, the younger generation is becoming more and more illiterate, and in order to survive many of the successful, educated and intelligent professionals are leaving the country. So why was this a great trip? Because of the people. They were most welcoming people I’ve met. There were no differences between us after introductions. I was considered a sister and not an American or a black from the U.S. There was so much fire inside of them to make their country better for its people. They are a peaceful people with contentment, patience, and understanding that I could not match. I was overwhelmed with their qualities in light of the political turmoil and economic hardships. It made me appreciate the spoils I have at home and shed a new light on how I treat people or the things I take for granted.

What are some of the other places you have visited domestically and internationally? Which is your favorite location and why? I’ve been to Africa, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico… Almost every state domestically except Alaska and Hawaii. My favorite location was my recent trip to Zimbabwe.
The scenery is outstanding. The air is fresh and bush was so beautiful. I can understand how it is the beginning of life for us. Once I deplaned and took in the first sight, I was completely overwhelmed with calm and tranquility like I was finally home. During my 3 week trip we went to local markets, met artists, graduate students, and everyday people. The highlight of the trip was our weekend excursion to a safari park where we were engulfed by nature. We rode elephants, played with them in the water, we went on a lion hunt where we watched a feeding–at night!! We played with lion cubs, did a horsebacking riding safari tour, particpated in local dancing and ate local cuisine. It was great!

When planning a trip, how much do you consider affordability and what tactics do you use to keep your trip on budget?
I’ve never been good with budgets, but I only take a limited amount of money. I buy gifts for family and friends first, then myself. I always buy what will match the decor of my home, not just what looks good. I never buy around the resort or hotel. I try to take obscure tours (will guides of course) to areas where the people are. Those are the best shopping trips. Also, I talk to people I meet. In Nicaragua, we met an American couple that retired there while coming out of a restaurant. She took us shopping and showed us the real exprience. The only time I consider affordability is in deciding how long I need to stash money to afford my trip!

What is your dream destination?
Ive always wanted to go the Australia, but my dream is to travel through South America and see every city…..like Che Guevara!

Final thoughts…
Travel, Travel, Travel…..by yourself, with friends, or with a mate, but its an experience you will never forget!!!!

Want to share your travel experiences? Join our online community…and you just might be featured in our JetSet Diva or JetSetter (we’ve got love for the guys too!) of the Month column.


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