Drift Away Travel Blog - Ebony Abu Dhabi, UAE
The second installation in the Drift Away With … series features an amazing business traveler and a personal friend of mine, Ebony. I’m often asked, “How do you travel so much?” After a brief explanation, the response is usually something along the lines of, “I wish I could travel as much as you, but I’m always working.” Sure, some people, even in the western world, truly do need to work just as a means of survival. But many actually have the means to travel and work. Ebony is a perfect example of how people, more specifically women are traveling the world, working and loving life at the same time. Here she is.

Q: Tell us about yourself:
A: I’m a born and bred Montrealer currently working and living in London, UK. I’ve always loved traveling and have been blessed with many opportunities to do so, either through sports, work or just for fun. I always try to find jobs that incorporate travel in some way. Through these opportunities I’ve lived in 5 countries since graduating from university and have visited over 20.
Q: On a personal level, what does travel mean to you?
A: Traveling allows me to broaden my understanding of cultures. It gives me perspective, not to criticize the customs I’ve grown up with, but to decide what I like better. 
Q: Tell us about your career and how it allows you to travel
 A: I’m a Canadian foreign service officer. I get posted in foreign countries to do work on behalf of the government of Canada for a set period of time or tour.
Q: Do you travel often? 
A: Very often. Between business and pleasure I’d say at least once a month. Some trips are shorter than others, varying from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. It also comes in waves. I won’t travel for a while but then I’ll hit 4 countries in a month. For instance,  in the past 4 months I’ve been in travel mode for about 4 weeks total. I went to UAE, Pakistan, Spain and France. We also currently live in the UK and try to do some closer day or weekend trips while we’re here.
Q: Since you travel a fair amount for work, does that take some of the joy away from traveling? Do you travel much outside of work? 
A: Travelling for work does take away a bit of  joy from my travels because we’re only being sent there to do a job, not to explore. That being said, when I travel for work, I try my best to get out and explore any chance I get.
Drift Away Travel Blog - Ebony & Friends in Rio De Janeiro
Q: Out of all the places you’ve been, which was your favourite/least favourite?

A:My all-time FAVOURITE place to visit was for sure, hands down Florianopolis, Brazil. I went to learn Portuguese and live with a Brazilian family in a surfer town in the middle of summer. It was amazing.

My least favourite so far has been Bayahibe, Dominican Republic. It was one of the rare occasions that I travelled somewhere and stayed at an all-inclusive for a few days. It was pretty boring. I couldn’t get authentic food or really delve into local culture. So after a few days we went and stayed with friends who were living in Santo Domingo. That definitely saved the trip. I like staying local vs commercial anywhere I go. It always makes for a better experience.
Q: Take us through your travel preparation routine. Do you do things in a certain order?
A: I don’t really do things in a certain order and to tell the truth the more I travel, the worse I get at being prepared. I can say that the first and most important thing I do consistently now is check my passport. There’s nothing  worse than having to leave for a business trip in 24 hours and finding out you have an expired passport or visa. I also travel pretty often and have run out of pages in a fully valid passport. That’s also annoying. It’s all avoidable stress and I’d rather start my trips off on a good note.
Q: What can’t you travel without?
A: 
I can’t travel without my backpack. Many girls are into travelling with purses and matching luggage and that sort of stuff but I like using my backpack as my carry-on. It’s comfy, has enough space for essentials and whatever else you need. It makes a good pillow too. If I’m travelling for longer periods, it’s useful for my day trips. It also has secret compartments for me to hide important things in.
Q: How long do you normally stay in each country or city?
A: I get sent to live in a different country/city on rotation every 2-4 years. From that new country/city we try to travel for at least a 4 day, long weekend every 3 months. I also end up travelling in between that for 2-4 weeks at a time so the length of stays really range.
Q: You sometimes travel as a couple, what’s that like? Ups? Downs?
A: Personally, I love it. I like having a travel buddy who likes the same things I like. Now I have a permanent travel buddy! We usually manage to find a happy medium on activities and sites we want to hit when we travel together. The same goes for restaurants we want to eat at or landmarks we want to see. On the other hand,  sometimes you have to suck it up and compromise when you don’t really want to. To avoid that, if we want to do different things we’ll try and plan to do our own thing on a given day so it doesn’t affect the rest of our trip together. If that isn’t enough for us to see what we want, we go on separate trips throughout the year too, either with friends or alone.
Drift Away Travel Blog - Ebony, Alex & Friends In Epernay, France
Q: Do you ever set a budget for your trips? If so, do you find it hard to stick to it? 
A: Yup, make one every time. Sadly, I never stick to it. BUT I do find that it helps to at least have a number in your mind and try and keep track of purchases.
Q: Do you ever have to deal with any racism during your travels? 
A: Yes. ALL the time. The discrimination is real it just takes different forms in different countries. There are some places that are better than others but it happens everywhere. Sometimes I won’t get served as quickly. Other times, it’s nice people trying to strike up a conversation with me in the elevator but thinking I was the housekeeper in my own apartment because I’m a person of colour (long story).
Q: Any advice for other travelers (black or other) that want to travel?
A: Patience and understanding are virtues. Things are different everywhere you go, sometimes for the better, other times for the worse. You should still try and embrace the positives while you’re there and make the best of any trip.
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway from your travels?
A: 
It’s the people that I meet that I remember the most. I remember drivers, hosts, street sellers etc that have been amazing to us during our travels. I have friends literally all over the world now. These are people that I shared unforgettable experiences with and am forever grateful for their impact on my travel experience.
Q: Where to next?
 A: Abu Dhabi & Dubai, UAE
Q: What’s your dream destination, and why?
A: Everywhere! I want to see it all. I really want to visit Indonesia next since I don’t know when we’ll be living as close ever again. I’ve never been but I’ve heard amazing things.

I absolutely love that Ebony has merged her love for travel with a great job that allows her to travel to amazing destinations on a consistent basis. I’m starting to think that I’m in the wrong field of work! I hope her story inspires you travel more and to never use work as an excuse, because she proves that you can have the best of both worlds! Follow Ebony’s travels on Instagram [at]Ebonyrayxo
Do you know anyone else with interesting jobs that allow them to travel? Have you ever done business travel? What was it like? Leave an intelligent response below! We’d love to know your opinion.

Drift Away Travel Blog - Ebony, Abu Dhabi, UAE Pinterest

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Until next time,

Drift Away.

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