Shonoya’s Authentic Travel Story & Experience in Kenya

Hey hey hey!

Welcome back to another Feature of the Month (#FOTM) post! This month we’re switching things up a little by featuring the usual interview questions with the addition of an inside scoop section. From the title of the post, you already know it’s ALL about travel. Travel is one of those things that everybody wants to do, but either think they can’t afford it, don’t have the time or don’t like the planning process. However, my feature today is determined to see and experience as many places as possible. Let’s get into it!

Meet Shonoya, 

Pablo Escobar’s Mansion, Tulum (Mexico)

I was born in St.Thomas ,USVI but grew up in Antigua. I migrated to Miami 5 years ago to futher my studies in Food and Beverage Management. I am employed as a chef at the largest hotel on Miami Beach for the past 3 years. I would describe myself as being extroverted, strong minded, adventurous and creative. 

Why do you travel and how many countries have you been to?

I started traveling more frequently mainly for knowledge. I became passionately curious and wanted more hands on learning experiences about various cultures around the world. I desired to learn more about the people; their food, art, religion, customs, norms, way of life. Traveling has taught me alot about a country’s history, sociology, politics and geography. Gaining this type of knowledge has allowed me to become more open minded whilst creating memorable lifetime experiences. Surprisingly,  I have never actually sat down and counted how many countries I’ve been to but I definitely know it’s over 10!

Was there a specific country/location that you saw as a turning point in the way you chose to travel going forward? 

While I was driving through Taro (a beautiful farming village in Bali) there were many local rice famers working in the field and I remember thinking to myself “Wow!, I wonder what their everyday life is like in comparison to mine?  What do they do for fun? What is their family dynamic like?” Then, I basically told myself that along with site seeing (which i absolutely love), I wanted to travel more authentically and less touristy. I wanted more “life as a local” experiences.

How do you choose where to travel to? Do you rather new places or returning to old ones?

I usually ask myself, “Why do you want to visit this country? What exactly can you get out of this experience”? I have had reasons ranging from an Instagram post that I saw online, doing my own research and finding really dope attractions, to simply affordability.  I rather visit new places but there are some countries that I wouldnt mind returning to like Mexico and The Bahamas.

Chichen Itza (Mexico)
 Tell us a little about how you prepare to travel?

I do extensive research for my travels. I spend hours searching for flights, hotels, reading blogs, watching vlogs and googling things to do. I use Expedia, Viator,, Airbnb ,YouTube and Instagram as my main sources of information. I also try to reach out to people from work that I know have been to or is from the destination.

A piece of advice you would share with young adults who want to travel more? 

Just like anything else in life, if travelling is something that you’re passionate about, you have to be willing to work hard and make sacrifices to achieve your travel goals. Also, don’t be afraid to travel alone. Some of my absolute favorite experiences have been during my solo travel adventures. 

What misconceptions did you have about solo travel that you now realize are untrue?

I personally do not remember having any misconception about solo traveling.  My friends and family probably did, they were concerned about my safety , my mom found it so odd. She probably thought I was crazy because it is still a bit of a taboo but I knew what I wanted to gain from my experiences and no one was going to stop me. 

The Inside Scoop ~ Tales from her latest trip to Kenya

Out of all the countries in Africa,  why did you chose Kenya?

Kenya is renown for being one of the top destinations for wildlife/safari game drives in Africa. I have a fasination with exotic animals and I always particularly wanted to see elephants, giraffes and zebras in there natural habitat. Upon doing my research, I discovered that Kenya was one of most affordable safari destinations and that its tourism infrastructure was well established in comparison to other African countries.

 What was your itinerary while in Kenya?

I spent 6 nights/7 days in Kenya. Kenya’s tourism industry is mainly geared towards wildlife so most of the activities I took part in involved animals. Firstly,  I went on a 2 day/1 night safari excursion to the Masai Mara Reserve. The package included a one night stay at the Fig Tree Camp, an early morining and afternoon game drive, all meals included. Whilst in Masai Mara, I got the opportunity to venture deeper into the wilderness to visit the Maasai tribe people. When I returned to Nairobi, I took part in a traditional cooking class and market visit tour. Visited the National Museum of Kenya . Spent time admiring the baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and fed girraffes at the Giraffe center in Nairobi. 

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was dancing and singing with the Masai tribesmen.  They were genuinely warm, welcoming and eager to teach me about their culture and way of life. I met some of the most friendliest people in Kenya during all my travels. 

Any lessons from Kenya you would like to share?

Kenya is definitely one of those destinations that you should be prepared for before hand. I highly recommend that you get vaccinated for hepatitis A, thyroid and yellow fever. Take malaria tablets. Uber instead of taking taxis in Nairobi. Be sure to bring hand sanitizer and disposable wipes. Purchase an adapter and portable charger for your electronics. Dress in layers, the afternoons are hot but the mornings and evenings get relatively cold. 

ATBA Fast Four

One thing you always travel with?
Portable charger

Favorite Antiguan local dish?
Bullfoot soup

Favorite Holiday?
None, cause I am usually working 😦

Last movie you watched?
After (on Netflix)

That’s all for now folks, hope you enjoyed this feature. As always, don’t forget to like, comment and share this post.
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