Who is Jasmine Chen and what is her travel story?
Name? Jasmine or Jas
Age? 25 and currently living my quarter-life crisis lol!
Homebase? Vancouver – where housing is ridiculously expensive that I might be living out of a cardboard box at the rate I’m spending my money on travels.
Day job? Social Media Marketing Strategist
Solo or group travel? I haven’t done a long-term solo trip (have usually only done day trips by myself) but I like a mix of both. It’s nice when travelling with friends to take a break from the group and go pursue your own interests so you’re not constantly tied down and accommodating to others or having them accommodate you.
Favorite airline? Don’t really have a favorite airline hmm… I do fly with WestJet and United quite a bit since I’m usually always flying back and forth between Canada and the States (and they usually have the best deals). When I fly back home to Taiwan, I fly with Eva and I really do like them, so that’s probably my favorite.
How many countries have you visited? Not enough! If counting my layover in Frankfurt, I have been to 10. If not, only 9.
Favorite city and why? Favorite city – Los Angeles, favorite country – Japan. LA is just so lively and the weather is always nice. (Who can say no to radiant sunshine and turquoise water beaches!?) Japan has such an interesting culture and the food there is absolutely just amazing! (Curry omurice, hand-cut udon noodles, fresh sashimi, the list goes on and I’m drooling already!)
Top bucket list destination? Oh so many! Peru, the Faroe Islands, Greece, Turkey, and Morocco just to name a few.
Airbnb or hotel? Depends on what type of trip I’m on and how much cheaper Airbnb is compared to a hotel stay. I loveee road trips and if I’m only looking for a place to shower and sleep then I usually go for the cheapest option. If I’m on a vacation and treating myself, I’d obviously much prefer staying in a fancy resort. My favorite one to date is Nizuc in Cancun, Mexico.
When and why did you first get the travel bug? My parents have always loved travelling long before I was even born so it’s probably engrained in my genes to share this passion of theirs too. My first trip abroad was to Japan (family trip and because I’m originally from Taiwan and Japan is just super close). I really liked it and ended up doing a short-term exchange there during high school. I’ve been hooked on travelling ever since and have developed a strong desire to explore more of the rest of the world.
Most memorable trip? Any family trip is a memorable one for me just because I grew up in a typical Asian household where the dad is working back home in Asia and the mom and the child are abroad in North America. That said, I don’t get to see my dad that often so family trips are like a reunion for me. So far, I’ve really enjoyed going to Hawaii, Japan, and Iceland with them!
Best travel advice for new travelers? It’s so easy nowadays to be consumed by social media and to always want to take the most perfect shots that we forget to actually be in the moment. It’s fine to take photos (I’m a crazy photography gal myself too) but just always remember to put it away and fully experience things.
What’s your secret to affording the ability to travel? Travelling definitely isn’t cheap and is often times considered a privilege. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Travelling during low/shoulder seasons is one of the best ways to save money in addition to taking red-eye flights or ones that are either super early or super late.
Do you have a travel blog we should check out? Yes and please do! https://www.mysuitcasejourneys.com. My Chinese name is Ming-Yu (MY), which means smart and joyous, hence I drew inspiration from that to build my blog – My Suitcase Journeys. I’m on a mission to share everything I can to help other 9-to-5 travellers like myself in finding comfort and inspiration in their designated city of voyage. Travelling is all about being smart and finding fun and laughter too so I hope my blog could inspire others!
Upcoming travel plans? I’m planning to move back home to Taiwan for a bit to fully explore Asia and so far have solid plans to visit Vietnam + Thailand in February!
Anything else you want us to know? If you work a full-time job like I do, stop making up excuses that oh you don’t have enough vacation days or oh I don’t have the time to travel. I get 10 paid vacation days a year and I make sure I utilize every long weekend I get to travel. If I can make it work, so can you! Work-life balance is important so book yourself that flight and thank me later! 😉
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