Jamal Davis took a trip of a lifetime to Asia in Summer 2019 before heading to Harvard Business School. Let's learn a little more about Jamal and his travel journey.
Where was your most recent travel abroad destination? Why?
My most recent travel abroad destination was a trip that included Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong. I decided to go to these countries because I had not yet been to Continental Asia, and I wanted to experience a new culture. I had previously been to Europe, Africa, North America, and South America, so Asia was the natural next choice.
What was your experience of traveling growing up?
Outside of visits to Myrtle Beach, Washington, DC and a few states for travel soccer, it wasn’t something that I remember much of (though my mom did take my brother and I on a few more trips).
I was fortunate enough to go on an international trip to France and London my freshman year of High School. I remember seeing the Palace of Versailles – built by Louis XIV – and being blown away by its size and beauty. I didn’t travel again until the summer after my sophomore year of college when I went to South Africa. It was my interactions with the locals on this trip that made me fall in love with traveling.
Are you the first in your family to travel abroad?
Outside of my cousins and uncles who served in the military. Yes, I am.
What were your expectations prior to traveling abroad?
The most recent trip, I didn’t have too many expectations. I’ve been to over 15 countries, and you learn that people are people at the end of the day. There are people that will go out their way to help you and there are people who will use you to make a quick, easy dollar if you’re not paying attention. Sometimes, they’re the same people, so be careful!
Did you have any challenges abroad and how did you handle them?
No challenges, but in the day leading up to this trip, I became a little worried about language barriers. A friend recommended that I download the Google Translate app. Problem solved, talking to locals and cab drivers in Japanese was ridiculously simple using this app.
Do you prefer traveling solo or in a group? Why?
I have traveled solo, and it used to be my preferred method. Traveling solo allows you to go through the process of self-discovery and take risks in ways that you might not otherwise take. However, at this point, I’ve mostly “discovered” myself, and I now believe that it’s not where you go, it’s who you go with.
What would you say to people who are on the fence of traveling abroad?
No one has ever gone on a trip abroad and returned to say, “I regret going there.” You may decide that once is enough, but I doubt you’ll have any regrets!
Where are your next destinations domestically and/or abroad?
I am not sure. We are in the midst of coronavirus, which has forced me to cancel several of my travel plans. I was planning to go to Puerto Rico in March and West Africa (e.g. Ghana/Nigeria) in May, but those trips have both been postponed for now.
Rhonda & Sharee Washington