Welcome back to another episode of Unfiltered: Unraveling Truths About Traveling. A segment where I ask bloggers, vloggers, and the like questions about traveling in order to share with you their perspectives and opinions.
For this week, let me introduce you to:
“Hi! I’m Jade, an avid foodie and traveler. Having lived in New York, Tokyo and London, I am now based out of Shanghai. I love traveling, brunching and finding the best dim sum in town–my blog (www.eatprayjade.com) is a collection of these things and more.
I’ve just moved to Shanghai from New York City, where I was a full time paralegal and part time foodie. Here in Shanghai, I’m doing what I love–which is FOOD! I work on developing innovative food projects, as well as consulting in the F&B industry.”
1. What has been the most surreal place you have visited? What made it so magical?
It’s hard to pick one, but last year I traveled to Haba Snow Mountain in Yunnan, China and that was pretty surreal.
A friend recommended a glamping site run by a charming, entrepreneurial couple so I packed my bags and tagged along. More than anything, taking a hot bath outdoors with a perfect glacier views of the neighboring Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was amazing. And because the glamping site was at that time still very small (think 5 people!), we spent a lot of time chatting with the owners and tagging along to their daily chores. Over late night campsite fires and beers, they introduced us to a lot of Chinese ethnic minority foods and shared with us stories of their entrepreneurial climb.
Most often, surreal and magical places are off-the-beaten path locations combined with unique human stories.
2. What advice would you give to a first time traveler?
Wherever you travel, find your routine. It could be something small like having a cup of coffee every morning or visiting your closest convenient store for a late-night snack.
This was a great tip I received when I first started traveling. Ease yourself into a new city and familiarize yourself with new surroundings—I’m a coffee girl so visiting a café in the early morning before the city wakes up makes me feel relaxed and ready for the new day.
3. What has been your most memorable meal on a trip? Why was it so memorable?
Having Sushi Dai at the now closed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan.
My friends and I queued for 5 hours to have sushi and after a long night out already, that was pretty much the longest 5 hours I’ve ever embarked on. But seriously, the minute I had a bowl of warm miso soup in front of me and a bite of fatty tuna, it was all worth it. All I can say is that friends that wait with you in a fish market for breakfast sushi are keepers!
4. What is one thing you should keep in mind while traveling?
Part of the fun is getting lost and not being in control.
I’ve never had a trip where everything worked out exactly as I imagined—sometimes flights get delayed, reservations missed, and spontaneity fails. Try to kickback and just enjoy the craziness!
In hindsight, those moments have always been my best post-travel stories. Once, a delayed flight turned into two consequent miss flights… and a pretty delicious layover in Hong Kong grabbing fresh egg tarts.
5. What is the best thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
Probably being sent a complimentary tiramisu from the most charming pair of Italian grandpas having coffee next to me in Florence, Italy. Apparently, they loved my sun hat!
It’s hard for me to pinpoint an earthshattering ‘best’ thing. But I always love the little interactions I have with locals. I find that whether it’s giving directions to lost travelers or striking up a casual conversation, locals are sharing a little bit of their themselves with travelers.
6. Where is one place that you have traveled to that you would love to travel to again? Why?
Havana, Cuba. I lived there for a month back in 2013 and it was one of the most colorful, hectic and wonderful of places I’ve ever traveled to.
Cuba was a city stuck in time, filled with colorful cars, people dancing in the streets and gorgeous sunsets. In many ways, I’m curious to see how increased tourism has opened up the country & if my favorite French restaurant is still there. Until next time!
7. Any traveling hacks you would like to share?
When I’m lost or in need of a fun recommendation, I always head to the local bookshop to browse around. As a general rule of thumb, bookshop owners have impressive knowledge of local gems and are always willing to share with the inquisitive traveler! I like to flip through local magazines (you don’t have to know the language to recognize a delicious, up and coming restaurant) and when I’m lucky, I walk away with a slip of paper with some great local digs jotted down by whoever is on duty that day.
Thank you Jade for sharing with us your thoughts on traveling! It was a pleasure having you on this blog segment!
You can read more about Jade’s travels on her blog
eat pray jade
Interested in joining her journey on Instagram? Find it here.
Interested in reading more? Check out segments from previous guests on Unfiltered!