The Best Advice During a Year on the Road (So Far)
Posted December 2, 2018 5:48 p.m. EST
Like any globe-trotter, Jada has learned a lot of lessons on how to travel — the easy way, the hard way and, occasionally, in a different language. She’s also been given advice from fellow travelers, proud natives, and followers and fans across social media.
Here’s a look at some of the best advice Jada has received from readers and some of the best advice she’s shared right back.
You can also read all of her dispatches, and follow her travels on Instagram and Twitter.
Let (Social) Followers Lead
Before her trip to the Rogue River in Oregon, Jada asked Twitter followers what she couldn’t miss in the area. Followers responded with recommendations for caramels, road trips, hikes and sausages.
She followed the advice of many, and also had her own recommendations.
“When you do eat, though, make sure it involves blue cheese,” Jada said of her time in Oregon. The creamery she went to was recommended by a Twitter user, Katie D.: “Rogue Creamery has won awards for that moldy goodness, and a farm stand on its dairy in Grants Pass served a grilled cheese sandwich made of Oregon blue cheese, a type of mild Cheddar called TouVelle, and honey, on locally made white bread basted with grape seed oil, that I’d commemorate in song if I could.”
“Even more indelible was Jasper’s Café in Medford, a roadside burger joint near the airport,” Jada wrote. The cafe was another recommendation from Katie D. “I craved it every day I was in Oregon — and was nearly late to my flight getting another one on the way out.”
Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast
For many, the 52 Places traveler position is a dream job. For Jada, that dream, while not always totally dreamy, is a daily reality. And in that reality, you sometimes land in a hotel where there’s ice cream for breakfast.
In Prague, she tweeted the following: “My #prague hotel inexplicably has ice cream at breakfast and I went straight for an affogato because this is how you celebrate being an adult.”
Some readers had a few things to say about ice cream. In Cincinnati, the consensus was clear: Go to Graeter’s, they said. And get the blackberry chip — in a pretzel cone.
And when someone suggests a chocolate factory, never, ever, say no.
While in Africa, Jada tweeted this: "Guys I’m in São Tomé & today someone suggested I go to a chocolate factory & I was like, 'I don’t have time!' But now I’m here & omg just the smell of chocolate is making me happy. Seriously, in a bad mood? Go to a chocolate store. Breathe.”
Look for Helpers
It goes without saying that when you’re traveling the world for a year, there will be some high highs and low lows.
When Jada’s car was stuck in the mud on a remote beach on the island of São Tomé — with no cell service, to boot — a group of villagers came to the rescue.
“This,” her guide, Juliano, said, “is just part of the São Tomé culture; no one would ever leave anyone stranded.”
In Lucerne, Switzerland, Jada faced a different kind of crisis: a lost bag with her laptop inside. “My hotel desk clerk said not to worry; Swiss people return things they find,” she wrote on Instagram.
The next morning, she woke up to a direct message on Twitter from a man named Anton. “Hi Jada Yuan, please contact me if you lost something,” he wrote.
Anton was in Jada’s hotel lobby — with her bag — 10 minutes later.
A few months later in Fiji, Jada was tasked with voting in the U.S. midterm elections from the South Pacific, about 8,000 miles away. She credits a team of locals — from hotel staff to newfound friends — for helping her ballot make it back to New York City.
Pack Wisely and Strategically
In June, Jada answered many questions about her packing strategy. “Blogs, travel writers, foreign correspondent friends, and flight attendants all gave me great advice, but the past five months of hopscotching through climates and national borders have been figuring out what works for me, with trial — and a ton of error,” she writes.
She shared a handful of her own tips and her biggest concern: “What happens when I get my period?” she asked. Tampons — and Duane Reades — aren’t everywhere, and that includes the African bush.
… but Pack Creatively
Because why have a neck pillow when you could have an animal neck pillow, as spotted in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport?
Listen to the Chef
While traveling in Bolivia, Jada ate at Gustu, a restaurant in La Paz, Bolivia. Perhaps the most important advice in a restaurant comes from the chef. In this case, the advice was: Eat it. Jada held the hand of the co-head chef, Marsia Taha Mohamed, while taking a bite of a queen ant taco. “Smoky and crunchy,” she wrote.
“This Gustu tasting menu had at least 3 other proteins I’ve never tried (oxtails, beef hearts, and alligator ceviche). I won’t eat any of them again, but once seemed worth it.”
Nothing against chefs, but bus drivers also have some good advice (if unintentional).
While in Bologna, Italy, Jada wrote this on Twitter: “Ticket seller: You get the bus in front of the ice cream shop.
Me: (only hears the words ‘ice cream’ even though I’m going to giant food mall @eatalyworld).”