I hope you’re hanging in there wherever you are in the world. I’m here to brighten your day a bit with our fantastic interview with the incredibly talented journalist and self-professed “Carivangelist”, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon (better known by her brand: JetSetSarah). Enjoy the below interview and be sure to tune in to June’s podcast when Sarah will be our special guest!
You have such an incredible background, how did you get into travel journalism?
Based in Miami, I’m a travel writer who specializes in the Caribbean and tropical destinations. (I call myself a “Carivangelist” because I’m spreading the “gospel” of the Caribbean to the world!) I moved to Florida from Jamaica in 2003 to work in PR for an airline, but soon segued into the editorial side of custom publishing. A couple of years later I snagged my dream job at Caribbean Travel + Life magazine, which was then the only newsstand magazine exclusively devoted to the region. I was there for six years until the title folded in 2012.
That’s when I started my own website and brand, JetSetSarah, built on my passions – travel, style and fitness. Now I create written and video content for outlets including Travel + Leisure, islands.com, AARP; The Telegraph in the U.K; and Canada’s Globe and Mail. I also host travel videos for clients including Miami International Airport.
How often do normally you travel in a year? Is it personal, business, or a bit of both?
I joke that Miami International Airport is my second home because I’m there so often – about three times a month. I’d say 95 percent of my trips are for work as I only have the chance to take a “real” vacation about twice a year. But whether for work or pleasure, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than travelling.
Do you have a favourite corner of the globe (or a few faves) that you can share with our readers?
The Caribbean is my beat and my passion. And, contrary to popular belief, all 30-something islands are NOT the same! There’s such a vast variety of cultures, languages, landscapes and cuisine in the Caribbean, and it’s my mission to share that diversity with the world. Within the region, I’m a big fan of Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the tiny Grenadines island of Bequia. And, of course, there’s always a place in my heart for Jamaica, which is the total package of beautiful beaches, incredible people and vibrant culture.
Any travel tips you can share?
Even though I travel three times a month, I never pack without consulting the personalized packing list I keep in my iPhone’s Notes app. Divided into categories (electronics, snacks, workout stuff, in-flight supplies, etc.), it’s a reminder to bring the small, Sarah-specific things that aren’t typically found on pre-printed packing lists. The note is bulleted so I can check things off as I toss them into my case.
In terms of products, I never leave home without a Takeya water bottle (it never leaks); eye mask (mine covers my eyes and ears for maximum rest); and my toiletry case (it holds a ton yet is TSA approved) in my carry-on.
And my best hack for navigating crowded airports is to always take the left-most line. Since most people are right-handed they tend to turn right, and the left-hand side of the Immigration or Customs hall is usually less crowded.
What’s next on your bucket list?
I’d love to spend a couple of weeks exploring Tokyo and the rest of Japan because I find the Japanese culture and the precise way they approach even the simplest things to be fascinating. New Zealand, Benin and Nigeria are also on my list. In the Caribbean, I’m overdue for a trip back to the Exumas. That water is unreal!
How do you think future travel will be affected by COVID-19?
Obviously there’ll be a lot of pent-up demand to travel, but I think that initially, people will do so cautiously. I predict that travellers will want to go to places that are relatively close (no long flights or airport connections) and with which they have a level of comfort and/or familiarity. As we slowly get used to being around other people in public, small, quieter, off-the-beaten-path destinations will have a huge advantage over big crowded cities in attracting the “first to fly” segment of the market. Considering this, for North American travellers, the Caribbean will have a distinct advantage, I’m sure! In terms of cruising, I think the first segment of the industry to recover will be the smaller ships with far fewer passengers, which feel more like large boats than floating cities. I see private yacht charters, which offer a custom cruise experience on an intimate scale, becoming more popular.
Don’t forget to check Sarah out!