KB: How did you catch the travel bug and why did you decide to document it on your website?
This will sound cliche but I have always had the travel bug ever since I was young. I always dreamt of travel. It’s my passion. It makes me feel alive. I started documenting my travels on justrioba.com out of a need. I would document my travels on my Instagram page and I kept getting similar questions from friends and my audience on social media regarding the places I visited specifically things to do, where to stay, visa requirements and the costs. It was exhausting to keep repeating myself over and over again and it made sense to have a platform where everyone wishing to travel could access it at any point in time.
KB: What’s it like travelling the world as a young African woman? Spill. The Good, bad and ugly
There are many dynamics that come into place traveling as a young African woman.
The good: the memories that will forever stay with me, the kind strangers that have helped me along the way and the long lasting friendships and connections I have made around the world.
The bad: The Kenyan passport is “weak”. I’m sure fellow Africans can relate to the discrimination and prejudice that falls on any weak passport holder. I’ll give a few examples. From long lists of visa requirements to been asked to explain why I was traveling solo to an immigration officer telling me to bring the person that brought me or to go back where I came from.
The Ugly: Believe me the above examples I mention are childs compared to what some of my Kenyan friends have been through. I know Kenyans that have been denied entry to countries meeting the visa requirements not withstanding, I have a friend that has been denied visa application more than once. Most people will tend to believe race plays a part in this and although it’s true you can’t dispute race, I believe passport strength is what determines smooth travel experiences. For instance a Kenyan with a British passport will always get better treatment than me with a Kenyan passport. Passport strength matters.
KB: What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen or encountered or experienced in your travel adventures?
I was traveling solo in Zimbabwe the same date and month that Mugabe was overthrown. It would be an understatement to say I was terrified. I never thought I’d ever witness a coup in my life.
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KB: Which destination has been your fave so far and why did it stand out?
The stunning lake Malawi also known as the lake of stars, the hiking trails and the islands. It’s such an underrated destination with the kindest human beings I have ever met. No wonder the country is known as the Warm heart of Africa. One day I will write a love letter to this country.
KB: Where do you hope your wanderlust takes you next?
I’m hosting a group trip to Southern Africa this December. I have huge travel goals lined up in the coming years that the thought of these goals scares me.
KB: Any ‘off the beaten track’ destinations in Kenya you’d recommend this holiday season?
Chasing the islands in Homabay County. If you see Lake Victoria from Mbita, I promise you’ll think the one in Kisumu is a different kind of lake.
KB: Travelling can be quite expensive and is considered a luxury by most people. Do you have any tips or hacks of your own for getting cheaper flights or just making your travel experience affordable? How can one travel on a budget this peak season?
Traveling as a group is cheaper because you cost share expenses. However when I travel solo on a budget , I always book my flights three months earlier when the rates are cheaper. I usually use this app called sky scanner to compare flights and I settle for the price that suits me before booking with the airline directly.
KB: Does travel blogging pay the bills? Can this be a fulltime job in Kenya?
Initially when I started seriously travel blogging in 2017 I didn’t even know I could make money from it until someone brought me up to speed with it. Only recently did I start taking part in paid campaigns all thanks to the content I create online. Ask me this question again in a few months. I’m not in a position to say it can be a full time job because I don’t do travel blogging full time but I feel like it’s possible
KB: Are there any do’s and don’ts that you think are important for young travelers that are just getting started with their travel vlogs?
Have you ever thought of blogging or vlogging but you feel like you are not ready yet? Ignore that imposter syndrome and start working on it. Blogging and vlogging in any niche requires lots of time dedication, hard work and patience. Do it anyway
Kenya never stops Buzzing. You shouldn't either