For reasons unbeknownst to me, whilst backpacking around Laos and Cambodia last month, I all of a sudden developed a pretty major urge to visit Canada.  No idea why, but despite only being home from Asia for 36 hours at the time of writing this intro I’ve already started looking into visiting places within Canada such as Jasper and Banff.  Once such explorer who’s made a move in the opposite direction, from Canada to Asia is this weeks interviewee (bet you didn’t see that coming).   Read all about her move from west to east and where else she, and her fella, have found themselves travelling, working, teaching, volunteering and most importantly living life.


bb11.  Name?  Jessica Dawdy

2.  Age?  27

3.  Travel Blog? Ways of Wanderers (

4.  Twitter Handle?  @waysofwanderers

5.  Home Town?  London, Ontario, Canada

6.  Current Location?  Takayama, Japan

7.  Your current location, business or pleasure?

A little bit of both: Living in Japan is pleasure, while teaching ESL is mostly business with occasional flickers of pleasure.

8.  Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment?  Best bits, worst bits etc.

My boyfriend and I have been working and volunteering our way around Europe and Asia for almost 2 years.  For the past month, we’ve been teaching ESL in Japan. So far, some of the highlights of Japan include cherry blossoms, designer-flavoured Kit Kats, and the full-on festivals that occur on practically a daily basis.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase with Japan, but I had a few pretty low moments getting scammed in SE Asia. I’m always running around telling everyone that the world is a safe place because people are fundamentally good, and deep down, we’re all the same. Thus, scams have always been particularly demoralizing because, not only does losing money suck when you’re traveling on a budget, but it also kind of feels like a sucker punch right in the ideals.



9.  First travel experience?

My Mom grew up in England, and, when I was 17, my whole family went to visit some of her distant relatives near London.  It’s funny, at that time, the 6 hour flight to London seemed insurmountable. Now, having taken on numerous 18 hour flights, 6 hours seems like a cake walk.

10.  Future travel plans?

We’ll mostly be traveling around Japan this year, along with some side-trips to China, Malaysia and Singapore (and maybe others!). After that, who knows? Teaching and traveling has been working out pretty well, and South America is definitely high on my list.

11.  If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?

This is a surprisingly tough question! There are so many places that I want to visit that it’s hard to single out just one. But, I think I’d have to go with India. It seems completely wild, colourful and fascinating.

12.  If you could avoid going anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?

I don’t think I’d ever turn down a trip to any place. That said, I wouldn’t be in a rush to go back to Thailand during the hot season. We were there last year at this time, and it was the most intense heat that I’ve ever experienced. I remember being soaked in sweat pretty much the instant after I stepped out of the shower every morning.

13.  What 5 items would you not go travelling without?

  • My dolphin ring: I’ve had it since I was 10 and it’s kind of a security blanket.
  • My laptop
  • A good book for long journeys
  • A flashlight: Since my good book has gone to waste on dozens of overnight trips in SE Asia on buses with no functional overhead light
  • My camera


14.  Best bit of advice you’ve received?

I’m kind of charmed by the Japanese expression “ganbatte”, which means “try your best”. I hear it almost every day: People yell it to me when I go running in the morning, parents remind their kids this before they come into class, and I even once had a man tell me to “ganbatte” before a sake tasting. I can’t think of a better way to approach life than to give your all to absolutely everything you do.

15.  Worst advice?

When I was in high school, all the adults in my life convinced me that a university education was the only path towards riches and fulfillment (I know, I know, a mid-twenty-something struggling to find herself and feeling disillusioned with the education system – it’s ground-breaking!)

And don’t get me wrong, I had a great experience in university. I just think I would have approached it differently if I had been able to recognize the bigger picture.

16.  Best bit of advice you can give readers of this interview?

It sounds a little cheesy, but the only limitations that exist in life are the ones that you create for yourself. Don’t let someone else tell you that you need money to travel, that you don’t have enough experience to apply for your dream job, or that you need more education before you can start your own business, etc. If you’re passionate about something, there’s always a way to make it happen for yourself.



17.  Favourite ice cream flavour?  Green tea.

18.  Apple or Andriod?  I literally don’t even have a phone at the moment. I somehow fell off the technology wagon when we first left Canada, and I haven’t felt any motivation to climb back on it.

19.  Blogger or WordPress?  Wordpress

20.  Hostel or hotel?  Hostel – although I usually stay in a private room, which I think is kind of the best of both.

21.  Guilty pleasure?  Nachos: I’m an unofficial expert on where to find tortilla chips throughout Asia.

22.    Your chosen super-power?  Flight: It would go a long way towards supporting a life of indefinite travel.

23.    Airplane seat – aisle, centre or window?  I switch between aisle and window because they both have their perks. I love looking out the window during take-off and landing, but the aisle provides more space, which combats claustrophobia during a long flight. Centre is the worst. I feel like I always have to look straight ahead for the entire flight so that the people on either side of me don’t think that I’m staring at them.

24.    What song/album are you listening to right now?  It’s a few years old now, but “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has always been Brent and I’s song on the road – it cheers me up whenever I’m feeling a little lost.


25.  Thank you for answering my questions, as a gesture of thanks I allow you one whole paragraph to shameless plug of your website…

Ways of Wanderers is about slowly discovering the world as a budget traveler and expat. My boyfriend, Brent, and I seek out work and volunteer opportunities wherever we go, typically staying in each country we visit for a few months at a time. My goal with Ways of Wanderers is to provide the inspiration and advice to help anyone who has ever wanted to see the world, actually go and do it.