Travel doesn’t always have to be about relaxation. Sometimes seeing the world can open your mind to different ways of thought and of life. A Seasoned Traveler, Damon Jones not only fell in love with travel when he moved to the Middle East as a child, but he fell in love with people. His eyes were opened not only to people’s differences, but to our similarities as well, and now as an adult his travels have brought him closer to spirituality and nature…two things that connect us all.
EBONY: When did you first fall in love with travel?
Damon Jones: At the age of 9, I received my 1st passport and my parents explained that it was because we were moving from our deeply rooted small town Louisiana lifestyle to the other side of the planet to live in the Middle East. Even at a young age I was excited, even though I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was in for. So my second time ever flying was a 17 hour flight to my new home in a land far, far away, my 10th birthday was four days after we arrived.
EBONY: What inspired you to choose your destination?
DJ: It really was my family’s decision since it was related to their work.
EBONY: How did you deal with racial, cultural and/or language barriers and differences?
DJ: I was very inquisitive of other cultures, even though I found some things strange such as dress, prayer calls, etc, I had no issues with natives to the country. Oddly enough, I did experience racism from others that were from my same part of the U.S. as I was. Not only did they discriminate against me but the locals as well, this taught me a great lesson about people.
EBONY: Was there a defining moment during your trip that you’ll never forget? What lessons did you learn?
DJ: Spending my 10th birthday in an odd place and watching my mother try to make all my favorite dishes, but not being able to find the ingredients definitely made the day one I will never forget. But outside of that, I spent years learning about religion. Coming from a strong Southern Baptist influence it intrigued me that there were other religions in the world that have different thoughts and beliefs. The more I studied, the more I found them to be the same and that’s when I decided that being religious may not be my path but a life long study of spirituality and love is definitely my journey.
EBONY: How has travel shaped your life and view of the world?
DJ: Travel opened my eyes to seeing the planet as one world; even with the man made divisions I have found enjoyment is finding how much people are the same and do similar things no matter where you are in the world.
EBONY: What experiences do you seek out when you travel?
DJ: I seek out the love of Mother Nature and enjoy seeing how naturally beautiful this planet is. Whether it’s in the ocean underwater scuba diving or climbing mountain peaks, I love to see the design of the lands. I also love to see how people live and enjoy their lives in their own cultures, whether it’s through food, dance, or spirituality.
EBONY: What five countries are on your travel bucket list?
DJ: Ghana, Iceland, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Brazil
EBONY: What advice would you give to someone looking to travel, but feel they are being held back by finances, jobs, children, age, fear, etc?
DJ: Travel may seem like an expense that is just for pleasure but it can also be the best way to rejuvenate your senses, health, motivation and drive. A trip, whether for rest or adventure, can really be that change or push you need to get back on track or take off to higher heights.
EBONY: Three words to describe why people should travel?
DJ: Adventure. Paradise. Growth.
Danielle Pointdujour is a native Brooklynite living and writing in the Big Apple. You can find Danielle sharing her personal outlook on love, life and travel on various publications across the web.