We all daydream from time to time about faraway lands, daring adventures, and breathtaking sights. It's the people, however, that forge ahead to the unknown who truly captivate our imagination. We have all heard the famous line by Robert Frost that “two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” In this 'Meet A Travel Writer' series, I want to talk firsthand to these individuals who have done just that and find out how they made it all happen.
Mari Jamadi started her travel blog in 2012 after her and her boyfriend left their jobs in New York City to travel the world. She stepped foot onto eleven countries during that trip which "completely wrecked [her] in the best possible way" The relationship didn't last, but her adventurous spirit (and travel website) only grew stronger from there. She's been featured in Tiny Atlas Quarterly, Boat-Magazine, Nomad-Chic, Oribe, Abbott & West, and many more. All of this was probably why I came across her site on Fathom's list of the 24 best travel websites of 2014, which prompted me reaching out to her to ask her a few questions.
You can also read one of her stories about Block Printing in India here.
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I'm Marianna Jamadi. I'm a travel blogger, photographer, & writer. I was born and raised in California, spent my twenties in New York, and now I roam the world finding beauty in experience.
What was the first trip you took abroad? What was your inspiration?
I think I was 2 or 3 and my family headed to my mother's homeland, Finland. I don't remember it at all but from that point on I was on planes a lot.
What is the biggest thing you have learned about yourself while traveling?
That I am brave and capable of a lot more than I think!
What is one place you have been that was completely different to what you expected it would be?
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I had heard stories of it being a bit of a wasteland but found it to be more modern and westernized than I thought. I also did not expect there to be so much traffic and had no idea that the air quality was so poor! It is a city in transition and there is a big mix of old and modern.
How do you afford your travels?
Initially I just worked and saved but I'm currently working on projects that will allow me to travel for work!
Are you a nomad for life? Why? Why not?
I think I will definitely have nomadic tendencies for a lifetime. I think it's genetic! My father came from Indonesia and my mother from Finland. It's in my blood to explore.
Lastly, for those planning or considering their very first trip, what advice do you have for them? And where would you recommend they go?
I would suggest to plan financially beforehand. Figure out how long you want to travel for, the costs that would be involved, and save, save, save. Remember your financial figures are very dependent on where you are traveling to. Some areas of the world are much cheaper than other places so do your research beforehand. If you are traveling for the very first time and want to start easy and comfortable and don't mind paying a bit more, Europe is always a good starting point. If you are feeling adventurous and want to stick to a budget, South East Asia is for you!