ABOUT THE WRITER

Me+Sushi = Happy

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.

As for my personal story, I’m just a girl from Maraval who never even planned or dreamed about leaving home or living abroad, until I was in my mid-twenties.

I went to university in Canada, and hated it so much that I left 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, one went to South Korea to teach English, one went on the JET Program to Japan. They’d show me their pictures, them on the Great Wall of China, them in Tokyo, them in Bali. The seed was planted in my mind and it took root… after all, if they could do it, then surely I could too?

Then one day as I sat down stuck in traffic, frustratedly changing the channel on the radio, I realised 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. That scared the shit out of me, and I decided that if I ever wanted to see the world, I would have to leave Trinidad. Because unless you have a LOT of money and a whole lot of time off (and who is that lucky?), there is just no way to live in Trinidad and travel. It is impossible.

Armed with my degree, I took the easiest route — I went overseas to teach English. I was willing to go anywhere I could get a job. I 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.

Then, the first job got lined up.

The first stop was Turkey where I did a six-month stint in a tiny town nestled in the Anatolian mountains. It was a really strange experience, and myself and the other two teachers were the ONLY foreigners in town, but it was a good one nontheless, and it certainly was a challenge that made me stronger. Oh yeah and I got a water parasite and ended up in the hospital for a week with an ID card borrowed from a Turkish girl…  and later we all got kicked out of town for allegedly being prostitutes… but that’s another story. Turkey is a beautiful country with a lot of things to see, and an amazing history.

rug
Trying to make a Turkish rug in Istanbul

This was followed by a year teaching in Japan, which I absolutely adored. I was so lucky to get a job in Tokyo, which to me is still the most mind boggling city on the planet, a place which never stops surprising you by how damn weird and fun and exciting it all is. The people are amazing, the culture is incredible and rich, and the food…. oh I drool just thinking about it. Tokyo was AMAZING.

freehugs
Happy times in Tokyo

Then a handsome stranger came into my life, and somehow convinced me to move with him to Hong Kong. I applied for a million jobs in Hong Kong and then, much to my astonishment, a big fish came along, too big to pass up. So, I took the bait, moved to HK, and became a small cog in a gigantic financial firm, where I worked for three years. During this time we did a lot of travelling to other countries in Asia, such as China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Ah, amazing Hong Kong
Ah, amazing Hong Kong

Three years of corporate slavery was enough, so I took a year off, and spent most of it in Thailand, and then spent six months in Dubai.

The tallest building in the world -- the spindley one on the right -- the Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world — the spindley one on the right — the Burj Khalifa

Quite frankly, I hated Dubai. And I’m not the kind of person that uses the word ‘hate’ lightly when it comes to travelling. But I HATED Dubai so much, from the core of my soul. I hated the restrictions. I hated the patriarchal society. I hated the constant sexual harassment, because if you’re not a Muslim woman, then by default you are a whore. I hated always having sand in my shoes. I hated the feeling of being vulnerable all the time. And I was glad to leave.

So, we then moved back to Hong Kong again in 2012, settled back in to life, and got on with things. The Kid arrived and I was quit my job to be a stay at home mom. Contrary to popular belief, having a kid does not curtail your travelling. They have passports, don’t they!? If anything, we’ve travelled more than ever, because I wasn’t strapped to a 9-5 job five days a week.

DSCF2286
A born traveller

In 2016, we made yet another move, this time to Okinawa, a beautiful tropical paradise island in southern Japan. We spent about a year there, learning lots of Japanese at a language school, exploring the island, enjoying the parks and beaches, camping.

DSCN6964

But unfortunately, work brought us back to Hong Kong again. So, here we are.

What’s next on this life journey? Who knows what another year may bring!

But more importantly… what’s your journey going to be?

I get a LOT of emails from Trinis who also have itchy feet and want to go abroad and travel. If you’re one of those people, but don’t know where to start, be sure to read the section called How To Get Out of Trinidad to get some general ideas and tips. I try to add more information when it becomes available.

I hope this blog provides useful information to other travellers out there, and encourage other young Trinis to spread their wings and fly. Because it IS possible.

If you still can’t find the information you need, please drop me an email at thetravellingtrini@yahoo.com. I always respond to people who have travel questions.

53 Replies to “ABOUT THE WRITER”

  1. Hey there,

    your site came up when I googled for some info on Bintan. It’s not in many travel guides and we were told about it in the travel’s agent’s in NZ. We’ll be heading there in early march and like you will be staying at the yasin bungalow. Just wondered if you have any tips for me. Also a bit worried about safety and vaccinations. We’ll be flying into singapore and are planning to get the ferry accross. I can’t work out the set-up of the island – all the travel info is on the resort part of the island so I’m wondering if I’ll be able to get a visa on arrival from singapore?
    As already mentioned my other ‘issue’ is general safety. What’s Bintan like, did you feel safe there?
    Would be awesome if you could get back to me – I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff. I know what you mean about moving around – I don’t like staying in one place for too long either. Too many things to see!
    Hope this message finds you safe and happy and greetings from NZ,
    Eva

  2. Hi there! Same story as above: looking to travel to Bintan, stumbled upon your blog. Would it be possible for you to forward that email to me as well? Great blog, very helpful! Thanks, Andy

  3. Oh! Sorry…I guess I thought my wordpress username would link to my email. I’m mostly wondering if you think it would be possible to squeeze Bintan into a one night stay (departing sat. morning from SG, and returning home on Monday AM). If you think it would be too much for an overnight trip, do you have any other suggestions?
    http://Aisforandy.wordpress.com
    ascot83@gmail.com
    Thanks!

  4. Hi,
    I’m also a Trini living and working in HK.
    Got your contact from your geoXpat comment. Like you, I’m still looking for some Caribbean-ness in HK. Still looking…………
    Drop me a line.
    Danna

  5. Hello Emily,

    I’ve just chanced across your site. I’m fluent in English and am bored with corporate life so would love to travel like you did. Was wondering if you could kindly advice me on how I could secure a job in Tokyo or maybe even teach english there. I volunteer as a tutor for underpriviledged kids too (wonder if that helps) 😉

  6. Hey Jing,

    Hope you will check this back to see the response!

    There are so many opportunities out there to teach overseas and travel. To go to Japan, you will definitely need a Bachelors degree in pretty much anything. Or, you need to falsify one (and it happens all the time! lots of people out there with fake degrees). Teaching is a very easy way to get out there and get your foot in the door. A lot of people teach English for a year or so and then transition into something else. Volunteering with kids sure is a good thing and should be included on your resume.

    You could also check out Korea, which pays for your flight over there and your accommodation, but you get very few holidays. I would also recommend Taiwan, which is a really lovely place, and there are lots of teaching jobs.

    Check out these websites:

    http://www.eslcafe.com/jobs/

    http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin/intl/index.pl

    http://www.gaijinpot.com (that one is specifically for Japan)

    Good luck with your quest for an overseas adventure!!!

    TTT

  7. Cool Blog….
    I’m also a Trini…studying in Shanghai for just under 2 years now.
    Gimme a shout if you passing through.

    -Ahmed.

  8. Emily. I’m Katie’s uncle (Lee’s brother). We’ve met on several occasions, mostly when you were a kid. I’m just writing to say that Tina pointed me to your blog and glancing through it I find it wonderful. You’ve become quite an accomplished writer, and so young too (compared to me, who couldn’t have done at your age what you’re now doing). Congrats. When I see people clinging to your words I feel proud to think “I knew her when she was a kid.” Keep it up.

    1. Hi Kim, yes of course I remember you, and thank you for the kind words of support. Not sure if I could say I am an ‘accomplished’ writer, since this is just a little blog with a few followers. If I could I would love to write a Travelling Trini column for one of the newspapers but so far have not received any responses from the Big 3 back at home. If you know anyone at the papers you could direct me to I would really appreciate it! Thanks again and hope you will keep reading….

  9. Yo Em! So this is your site eh … awesome! Haven’t spoken to ya on Fb in a while so i thought i’d check out your blog and write a lil sumpin’ sumpin’. Maybe i have should have my own site and call it ahtrinilivinginsandiego.com … nah, doesn’t have much of a ring. Keep writing, and i’ll talk to ya soon on Fb.

    Johann.

  10. Hey, just came across your blog while doing some research on Singapore. This is amazing, u should run a weekly article in the Sunday Express. 🙂

  11. Sheldon, I have sent proposals to the big 3 papers back home…. not a single of them responded to me about running a regular feature! Lame!!! So you heading to Singapore or what?

  12. Thanks for the tip Sheldon 🙂
    And yeah it was great to be interviewed in the Northerly too!
    Hope this will help me get in with one of the papers back home….
    So about Singapore — are you moving there?

  13. Nice — hope it works out. Singapore is a lovely place, and very green and pretty too. Very easy to live there I think. Everyone speaks English. Excellent public transport. Interesting towns. And of course great location to travel to other countries in Asia!!

  14. Does’nt anybody realise that T’dadians don’t support their own, especially if they are successful at something!! if you were European living there you’d get all the support you need, good luck in your endeavors.

  15. Hi Emily
    Well I stumbled on your blog, while doing an inverse search for other trini travel bloggers. We’re not a big bunch are we?
    I’ve been trying to find more of us over the years, but it’s difficult.

    Same thing on my end – I had everything set up for a column in the TnT Mirror, but project work took over and I couldn’t commit.

    My blog got a mention on Outlish
    http://www.outlish.com/10-totally-awesome-trini-bloggers/

    As well I’m a Lonely Planet blogger …but it would be great to swap links at least.

    Anyway, great to stumble on your blog … you can drop me a line …
    rishi@rishiray.com or naparima@hotmail.com

    1. Hi Rishi, impressive website you have! And so funny to find another Trini who knows what both ‘ping pong show’ and ‘nasi goreng’ are. Surprisingly through my blog I’ve connected with a number of other Travelling Trinis out there, from China to Singapore to India and everywhere in between. Keep up the good work and happy travels. Will be following your blog for sure.

      1. hi emily,i’m ‘trini to d bone’ living in malaysia.i came accross your blog and was glad to know i’m not the only one here.

  16. Great blog! I’m a travelling Trini over in London (love your TTT moniker!) and am always looking out for great travel stories.

    Have you tried Dougla magazine back in Trinidad? I think you’ll probably have better luck doing a guest feature in a local magazine than the nationals.

  17. Hi Trini!!

    Strange enough, I came across your blog researching Hong Wing Coffee of all things!!! Funny….! Anyway…just want to commend you for an excellent blog…love what I’ve read so far…great job : ) From one Trini to another….IT BESS!!! Will be reading your blog from now on…

    Take care and be safe Trini : )

  18. Might be a strange question to ask, but what is the general reception to a black person in Asia? Japan specifically. We’d love to give info on applying for teaching jobs in Asia to our subscribers and also a true account of what to expect, etc especially if they are of different heritage/race, etc. Can you advise? Thanks much

  19. Hi, your blog came up as a link on another Trini traveller blog (Rishi). Anyway living and teaching in Libya close to two years and wondering about penetrating de Asian market with regards to teaching English. I’ve had enough of a Muslim country and looking for a change where I don’t have to worry bout whether I will be stalked on my way home. Would love to connect with you.- Liselle

  20. Hello!
    I am trying to become certified in teaching English as a second language here in TT. I recently got my degree in psych with a minor in writing but now I’m lost looking for a certification program in Trinidad. Do you have any tips? Would you recommend an online TESOL course?
    I need some awesome advice, please.

    Thanks,
    Karry

    1. Hi Karry, I’ve just sent you an email to the address you provided in your common @live.com so please let me know if you get it or not! Good luck and keep in touch.

  21. Hi! Great article! I have the same question as Karry. I have a degree in mathematics and I’m definitely looking to leave T&T to live a life of travel and adventure. I’ve heard that uwi no longer offers TESOL. Any advice on what my next step should be?

    1. Hi Nechelle! A Trini friend of mine here in Hong Kong is a math teacher at a fancy international school and she is having a great time. Have you got any teaching experience in math?

  22. Hi Trini,

    I just came across your wonderful blog and like you, I’m from Maraval. I can also relate to the daily ‘stuck in traffic’ delima heading in and out of the area.

    Reardless, I’m glad to see you followed your passion of wanting to travel and see the world – good stuff! I’m actually planning a four month Southeast-Asian backpacking, culinary-trip(I’m a chef) next year. I’m hoping to visit Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia – I’m currently learning Thai 🙂

    It would be great to keep in touch. You can reach me via my Google+ Profile http://www.google.com/+LarryFournillier
    Take care and live your dream.

    Regards,
    ~ lf ~

    1. Hi Larry, thanks for leaving a comment, and a culinary trip around Asia sounds AMAZING. And delicious. And fattening. 😀 Any plan to keep your own blog or at least a photo album online? I’d be interested in seeing your pictures and your adventures. I sent you an email, hope you got it.

      Emily

  23. Hi Emily! Hope you remember me from our Grand Tacaribe visits and fun hikes in Trinidad with Jimbo and your sis Maranda. Hope all is well. Love hearing about your travels. Keep goin!

    Safe travels,
    Orlando

    1. Orlando!!! Landy! Of course I remember. And how could I ever forget those trips to Tacarib? A really special time and a special place. I sent you an email. Hope you keep in touch. If you’re ever coming through H.K let me know!

  24. Hi, reading your entry made me want to go to Xi’an but my only concern is, how to navigate the city given that they communicate in mandarin. So, maybe you can share tips? 🙂 thanks dear

    1. Hi Farrah, it was actually an easy city to get around because they’ve put up some signs in English pointing you to the major attractions around the city. Once inside the city walls everything is in one small area. I didn’t get lost at all and my sense of direction is TERRIBLE. The hotels and hostels also provide walking maps, and arrange day trips for a pretty cheap price. I did not have anything planned before arriving, and I went with the hostel on their daily bus trip to see the Terracotta Warriors. There were lots of other solo travellers there and we limed on the bus. It was easy enough and fun! Just make sure to always have the business card or name of your hotel written down in Chinese in case you do get lost. Or to show the taxi driver.

  25. Hey! I am also from Trinidad and my friend and I were looking into some options for going abroad to study. We are interested in China (particularly Shanghai, Beijing or Hangzhou). Would love to hear your feedback or learn some helpful tips of your experience there as well as if you have any recommendations of agencies/schools we should teach at.

    1. Hi Krissy, there are so many jobs in China I wouldn’t even know where to start to direct you — but do you have teaching experience or training? What kind of passport do you have? I know some Trinis teaching in China who went straight from T&T to China so it CAN be done. Let me know some more details of your situation and I’ll try to guide you.

  26. Ahhah. You are amazingly funny. I needed to hear this blog. Amazing how life works out – so I am looking for a place to think – relax – rejuvenate – many are saying thailand. What do you think?

    1. psychedup, Thailand is the BEST place to go relax and rejuvenate… and party… and shop… all on a tight budget. You don’t need a lot of money to have a LOT of fun there. Thailand is amazing!

  27. Hi! I’m a travelling Trini too! It’s great seeing fellow Trinis travelling and living in different countries. I had actually typed in “travelling Trini” and your blog was the first one that showed up. Love reading your posts and I feel the same way you do about Dubai. 🙂

    1. Hi and thanks for sharing your blog! And wow you’ve been to SO many places. I will keep checking it for sure.

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