Experience the world up closer
While trips to beautiful, faraway locations might only be a fantasy for most of us, for Shea Powell, it's her everyday reality. In fact, it's her job. You see, as a travel blogger, Powell gets to travel to all corners of the globe, including places most people only dream of visiting.
"I have always been interested in tourism and travel. I wanted to experience different cultures and see somewhere new," she told Outlook.
Powell is living her dream. Her job has also given birth to her blog - The World up Closer.
"This wasn't a planned job, it just sort of happened and I couldn't be happier. I get to travel around the world with clients all over the globe within the industry. It started after I did my first solo trip four years ago to Ecuador. I was inspired to share the experience."
In photo: Powell in Iceland
So far, Powell has travelled to 30 countries - all, she is proud to say, on a Jamaican passport.
"I feel each country has its own 'little thing' that makes it interesting," she said. But to date, Iceland has been the most interesting one for her, and one that was high on her bucket list.
"I have travelled far and wide, but have never been to such an exotic country. The entire time I was there I had to keep reminding myself that I was still on planet Earth. I did a tour around the entire country in 15 days, which is called The Ring Road. The entire country looks like a giant national park. I am already planning to visit again soon. Maybe when it's a little bit warmer."
Powell had been wanting to visit Iceland since she was 14 years old. " I remember watching a documentary about Iceland and the Northern Lights. It's a country with limited daylight during winter. I was fascinated. Twelve years later, I was able to visit, and I cannot wait to do it again."
With nearly 200 countries in the world, Powell conceded that she still has a very long wish list that keeps growing. "I have very strong urges to visit Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Africa, Kenya, Portugal and one of our very own Caribbean Islands - St Lucia."
In photo: The Chichen Itza (Mayan Ruins) in Mexico
The past student of May Pen High in Clarendon is well equipped for her travels as she speaks a few languages. "I'm fluent in Spanish, conversational in Portuguese, Italian, and at the moment. I am trying to learn French. Currently, I am travelling in Mexico so am I failing miserably at that."
To further equip her, she makes sure to do her research ahead of time by reading blogs, speaking with friends who have travelled to the places before, and sometimes she travels with guidebooks. "The goal is to make yourself aware," she said.
In photo: Beholding the beauty of Skogafoss waterfalls in Iceland.
Does she ever get lonely during her solo travels? "Not very often. I am always too excited and too busy experiencing the culture that it doesn't allow room for loneliness. Though sometimes I wish I had company - like that one time I visited Belize. Belize is small, with a population of just over 360,000 people. At the time, it wasn't somewhere ideal to meet other solo travellers, as I often do. I also had a helicopter flight over the Blue Hole, spent a few nights in an overwater island resort bungalow, had a few boat rides around the country, and hopped over to Guatemala for a few days after I completed my assignment in Belize. I did so many amazing things there. I wish I had company to see and experience all these amazing things too."
When she is not off doing amazing things, Powell is home relaxing with her family in Thompson Town.