Our first Queen feature is one that is dear to me. I met Jewels when she was in high school and I was working in New York fresh out of university. Bright eyed, poised and curious, she and I immediately clicked. Over the last 13 years, we have grown as sisters and I have had the privilege of following her journey through to her masters degree, different moves, love, break ups, new jobs, immense success and now tons of travel. Her latest and greatest venture is birthed out of her love for travel. She has started _travelJewels_ which gives travelers a road map to authentic travel in the best kept secrets around the world.
When you see her traveling the world and immersing into other cultures, understand that this isn’t a passion of privilege. She sets goals, demonstrates consistency, manifests and the outcome is fulfillment – wow.
So, as one of the most genuine and positive women that I know, we have crowned her today as her journey motivates us to see beyond where we are and to literally define the life we want. You will love Travel Jewels, her travels, journey and her spirit! Be motivated!
Michelle (@uziisle) & Jewels (@_travelJewels_)
Tell us a little bit about your passion Travel Jewels and why you’ve decided to make it part of your life focus.
In 2016, I created travelJewels during a transition period of my life. I had just graduated from graduate school and was struggling to find full-time employment. Over the course of 9 months, I applied to over 50 jobs and had countless informational interviews. I was baffled that despite doing things the “right” way– attending prominent academic institutions and working with top public health agencies, I still remained unemployed. I decided it was time to go off-script and create something for my self. If the world wasn’t going to give me opportunities I would create an opportunity for myself. And that is when travelJewels was born. I thought about the parts of my identity that I’ve suppressed and all the things that make me unique beyond my public health passion. Through that reflection process, I realized that I’ve neglected my creative side for many years and that travel was a huge part of my identity. A lot of friends encouraged me to start a travel blog, but I always put it off. Once I started, it immediately felt right!
travelJewels is the manifestation of my wildest dreams. My vision for travelJewels has always been to show people how to live full and intentional lives through travel while working full time and/or being a student. The frequent messages I receive from people telling me how my blog has impacted their lives and the numerous opportunities my brand has brought to me is confirmation that I’m walking in my purpose.
Give 3 words that define your style.
Vibrant, Minimalist, & Chic
What 3 items can we always find in your handbag?
Hand sanitizer, lip moisturizer, and a pen
What is a) your favorite travel destination and b) the place that is on your Must visit list?
A) This is a really hard question because I have multiple favorites! But if I focus on destinations I recently visited, I would say Peru is my favorite country. The culture and ancient history are fascinating, there is a wide of range of things to do, it has some of the most incredible landscapes I’ve ever seen, the food is the best (Lima is the Gastro Capital of the world), and the people are genuine and warm.
B) I really want to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom Season!
Whats a piece of advice you can give to women who are trying to find and develop their passion?
Talk to three people who truly know you. Ask them what do they think of when they think of you? What are you known for? Often times we get tunnel vision and remain stuck in our routine. Those closest to us can help us get out of that tunnel. Also, think about if there is any part of your identity you’ve been neglecting for the sake of routine/ normalcy. It’s time to bring those parts out!
What drives you to live life on your terms?
Growing up in poverty and being a first-generation college graduate are two life-defining aspects for me. I’m driven by my desire to have the stability I didn’t always have growing up. The world is a very fickle place and people/ organizations don’t always have your best interest in mind. Me living my life on my own terms provides me with stability I need.
What future goals do you have that you can share?
I want to start organizing group trips, create some sort of e-course, and product. Details are pending because I’m still developing the ideas! Stay tuned.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by my friends. I’m surrounded by some of the most incredible hardworking people. My inner circle is filled with business owners, PhD candidates, and philanthropists. These are all passionate people who strive to make this world a better place. They are my fuel to keep going.
Where can we find you or read more about Travel Jewels?
You can find my detailed travel guides and tips at www.traveljewels.net. Feel free to grab my step-by-step guide to planning a trip and a travel planning spreadsheet while you’re there. For real-time updates on my adventures, you can find me on IG @_traveljewels_
Be sure to follow her journey on @_traveljewels_