The old saying goes that “Trinis are like salt — they in everything”. So it should not come as a surprise that the more you travel, the more you find that there are Trinis in the most far-flung, least-expected places, doing all kinds of interesting things during their journeys abroad. It never ceases to amaze me how we may come from a tiny dot on the world map, but Trinis really and truly get around!
As for my personal story, I’m a Trini girl from Maraval who, to tell you the truth, never even planned on leaving home or living abroad until I was in my mid-twenties. I went to university in Toronto at the age of 17 and hated being away from home so much that I left Canada for good exactly one week after my final exams were done. I didn’t even attend my own graduation ceremony! Yup, I was Trini to de Bone, and all I wanted was to go back home and back to my normal Trini life.
Slowly that changed, as friends started going off and doing interesting things with their lives. Some were doing work-holiday visas in the UK, some went to work on cruise ships and see the world, one went to South Korea to teach English and kept showing me pictures from the Great Wall of China and Bali and Thailand, one went on the JET Program to Japan. The seed was planted in my mind… after all, if they could do it, then surely I could too?
Then one day as I sat down stuck in traffic again in Maraval, frustrated and pissed off and just changing the channel on the radio, the thought came to my mind that I could easily drive this same one-lane road in and out of Maraval every single day for the rest of my life, and never do anything else. The thought scared the bejeesus out of me, and it was then that I decided that if I ever wanted to travel, if I ever wanted to SEE the world instead of just feeling like a hamster on the wheel, I would have to leave Trinidad. Because unless you have one set of money and a whole lot of time off, there is just no way to live in Trinidad and travel. It is impossible.
Armed with a degree in English, I took the easiest route — I went overseas to teach English. I was willing to go anywhere I could get a job, and had no clue where I would end up, or how long I would be gone. To be honest, I didn’t really care. I applied to jobs everywhere, from Ecuador to Incheon, from Mexico to Romania. I was ready for anything.
Over the next few years, I would live in Turkey, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai, and now have found myself back in Hong Kong again. I luckily did not have to be an English teacher for too long, because by profession I am an editor. Today I work in the Hong Kong office of one of the most well known international journalism companies in the world. I work hard, but I also have great opportunities to travel, because when you live in Asia, it is so easy to pop over to neighboring countries. You can go scuba diving in the Philippines, mountain climbing in China, temple touring in Japan, wandering around street markets in Malaysia, seeing incredible historic sites and amazing modern cities, trying exotic food and getting lost and having fun and sometimes even getting bitten by bed bugs. I’ve biked down volcanoes in Bali, and tasted the best sushi in the world in Tokyo, and gone Hashing in Thailand, and even all these years later the fun never stops. I love living in Asia, and consider myself very lucky to be here, and to have a good job which allows me to live a traveling lifestyle, save money, and keep going.
As for the blogging, this is something I just do for fun. I don’t plan to make a living from it — it is more just a chance for me to show my family and friends what life is like on the other side of the planet, and provide what I hope is useful information for people looking for travel-specific information about Asia.
You can catch The Travelling Trini column in the Trinidad Newsday Newspaper, on the first and third Sunday of every month, in the Women’s Weekly section. Feel free to leave a comment, or drop me an email.
Contact email: email@example.com