I am delighted to bring to you an interview with Jennifer Jayden, an American citizen, female traveler in her late 50’s who has travelled solo in more than 15 countries in Africa and I met her in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city at Doogles lodge.
Q: How did you start to be a tourist and which was your first country of travel?
A: Some time ago in year 2016 back home in Nashville, Tennessee -USA while browsing on the internet I stumbled an American lady by the name Marie Houston on a Social Media, we shared lots of things in common as both we grew up with dogs and we adore dogs and also we love cooking, swimming just to mention a few. By that time, she was planning her first overseas trip Africa. She shared her idea with me, suggesting that I join her on the journey, without hesitation I agreed as travelling outside USA was the thing I never did before and was my burning desire and hearing such news brought excitement in me.
Together, we started making our financial savings preparation for our travel itinerary and in October 2017 we embarked our journey from USA to Africa, our country of destination was South Africa where we stayed for two weeks. That travel experience, opened gates to my ever traveling life.
Q: I know that since then you have been traveling, how has been your experience like?
A: The most important thing I do before embarking my travel journeys I plan. Planning including; studying the place I want to visit in terms of its weather, culture, travel routines, accommodation, food, emergency facility services etc. So far, my experience has been great as I have widen my understanding of the world on my own, both in developed and developing nations of which I much value, as no one would lie to me since I posses first hand information.
Q. What would you say USA shares in common with Malawi?
A. quick answer I would give is that, USA is a vast developed country with numerous states as such, you expected to meet with different people of different backgrounds. Nevertheless, Black Americans shares similar traits of warm-hearted, friendliness, which is also in Malawians whom I have met so far during my tour right from all the places I have visited that’s Karonga, Nkhata-Bay, Mangochi , Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Nyika, Mzimba, Mulanje, Balaka, Blantyre, Thyolo, Kande Beach, Sun & Sand, Mayoka Village.
I love the different birds found in national of Nyika and Lake Malawi National Parks. Some of the birds which are considered exotic in America like Cockatoos are all over in the parks I have mentioned.
Malawi’s good weather pattern also reminds me of America.
Food: Talking about the food is another thing which has fascinated me most, the common one being Nsima with Beef. Back home USA, I have seen places – restaurants ran by Americans of African descents especially in Newyork city where they prepare similar food stuff like nsima even though I haven’t had a chance to taste it but surely I will do upon my arrival.
Beer: I love the Carlsberg Green beer which is sold in Bars less than $2 which I have been able to buy everyday to quench my throat each night before I go for a sleep.
Transport: The availability of affordable, reasonably safe public transport such as taxis, minibus and big buses across the country at all time is also good in Malawi.
Accommodation: Talking of accommodation is something worth mentioning. In most places I have visited, they offer good accommodation though expensive…. (She laughs) and as a country, there is need to have a great look into it. Dormitory are accommodations I used in Nkhata-bay and they would charge $20 single night while lodge in same vicinity charges $40 – $60 per night.
Internet facilities: Honestly speaking, the services here are of low quality and expensive for nothing imagine spending $3 just to check your emails and make catch-ups with relatives back home later on going on Social Media and updating my blog.
Q: what do you think are the benefits of American tourist traveling to Malawi?
A: Malawi is rich country with lots of things to offer but allow me to mention a few things, cultures, beautiful sceneries, food, local friendliness and awesome safari no wonder indeed Malawi is called the “Warm Heart of Africa”. As an American citizen you learn a lot traveling to Malawi as you learn and appreciate natural beauty which cannot be found in USA.
Traveling to Malawi is also offers great confidence booster. In some cases, in USA many have committed crimes which could be avoided by taking a journey to country like this one which gives you room for meditation, motivation and inspiration. Imagine you have been a couple for 20 years and over sudden you divorce ending living single life and embark a journey to Malawi, walking under beautiful scenery of Zomba, ironically you find out that you’re capable of leaving a happier independent life.
Q. Have you ever felt unsafe traveling in Malawi?
A. I have never felt unsecure traveling in Malawi especially daytime as at all times you meet someone who in true manner talks to you nicely. Crime rate in this country is so low making it a right destination for American travelers.