Keisha Rogers is a 32 year old counselor from Atlanta by way of San Diego, currently working and living life as an expatriate in South Korea! Keisha has visited 36 of the 50 states in the United States, much of the Caribbean and Mexico, but it wasn’t until recently that her long haul international travels began picking up. She describes herself as courageous, friendly, and fiercely independent.
AC: What has been your favorite travel/adventure experience thus far?
Keisha: I recently had the absolute pleasure of traveling through Oceania for a month. I visited Australia [Melbourne, Gold Coast, Surfers, Brisbane, Sydney], Vanuatu, and Fiji. Each experience was different, but it was the first time I’d been to the region, and I was on cloud nine about it. Oceania has always been a dream of mine but it seemed so unattainable and far away, even residing in Asia-the flight was still 14 hours! The best part of the experience was seeing the world renowned New Years Eve fireworks show in person in Sydney, and learning about ni-Van culture in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Vanuatu really stole my heart. The way that the indigenous culture has been preserved in spite of colonization, and the resilience they embodied after being devastated by Cyclone Pam, was the most impressive experience I’ve had to date. The more places I visit, the more I feel as if I really don’t know anything. Travel really has a way of humbling even the most seemingly knowledgeable people. I love it.
Keisha Sydney Australia
AC: How about your proudest travel/adventure moment?
Keisha: My absolute proudest travel accomplishment to date is booking the Etihad glitch fare to South Africa, on a whim and a prayer, and going SOLO! It was my very first long haul flight, my first time leaving the Western Hemisphere, and my first visit to the Motherland, all for a mere $400! I had the time of my life!
AC: Have you had any travel/adventure mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
Keisha: Absolutely yes, the most recent being in Fiji, which I thought would be paradise. I’ve had many mishaps and run-ins that I’ve overcome in my travels but this was the first one where I wanted to leave the place before the trip was over. From start to finish Murphy’s Law was in full effect. The lodging I’d booked misrepresented itself. It was an absolute hell-hold, and I had to spend extra money on a different hotel but not before enduring two miserable nights there. It rained the entire time, not just quick pours, but day-long, torrential rain. My trip to the outer islands was canceled as a result, and the company initially refused to refund my money. I came home to a couple of fraud charges on my card from Fiji as well. Whew! Everything that glitters isn’t gold. It was a terrible culmination of what was supposed to be an amazing trip. The experience left a really sour taste in my mouth; I’m not sure if I’d ever return to Fiji.
AC: Name one thing you can’t travel without.
Keisha: I can’t travel without my gadgets, and when booking lodging and activities, I make sure the places will have WiFi; absolutely non-negotiable! I wholeheartedly acknowledge my internet addiction! The van I rode to The Great Ocean Road on was WiFi enabled; that was intentional on my part!
AC: Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
Keisha: I wish I could travel without my gadgets!! LOL! One of these days I will successfully disconnect, but when traveling, I’m also documenting the experience. My memories are very important to me, and I want to preserve them beyond mere thoughts.
I honestly also wish that I could travel without preconceived notions of a place. Before going to Australia, I imagined that I would experience bigotry based on what I’ve heard about the region from others. I’m glad it didn’t stop me from going, because Oz was truly wonderful, but I must admit that going to regions that are historically similar to the U.S. can be triggering. I’m working on it.
Keisha Victoria Peak – Hong Kong
AC: What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
Keisha: I’ve learned that I’m much more patient and resilient than I give myself credit for. When traveling, especially solo, things can and do go wrong. I’ve learned to be self-sufficient and quick on my feet, but to keep my cool in the midst of it all.
In my treks in general, I’ve learned that there is always something to learn.
AC: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Keisha: Whoa, tough one. I’ve been to several countries on 6 continents, and the only time I’ve ever been sad to leave a place was when I visited St. Lucia and Vanuatu. I am an Earth child to the core. My senses come alive when I’m among Mother Nature, and among people who respect her. Both of these places reminded me of one another with their rich culture and lush, unspoiled terrains. The untouched Earth is extraordinary, like, the most magnificent sight to behold. I want to settle some place that hasn’t been ruined by man.
AC: Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Keisha: Before I die, I want to travel the continent of Africa extensively. Not to “connect” with what I romanticize the region to be, but strictly for my senses. All of us are connected to the Motherland. I want to inhale every corner of her. I want to see what God had in mind when SHE created the largest, most vast, resourceful and diverse region on the planet. I want to just take it all in, literally and figuratively. I remember crying an ugly cry when I first heard Toto’s “Africa” as a child. I was a child! But even then, I understood and felt Africa’s magnetic power (I still get teary eyed listening to the song). Africa beckons my soul, not just one specific part of Africa; all of it.
I hate the cold, but I would also like to see Antarctica just once. Again, the unspoiled, untouched Earth fascinates me. I just want to inhale the air there, it’s probably the best air anywhere.
AC: If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Keisha: I wish someone had told me years ago that travel was priceless, and doable on a budget. I wish I knew about flight deals/glitch fares, homestays, vouchers and the like. I wish I’d placed more value on experiences like study abroad while at university. I did not grow up in a home where traveling was the norm or encouraged, despite living a very transient life. I’ll be 33 this May; still young by all accounts but still so much more to see and do. I don’t take time for granted, ever. I plan to see as much of the world as possible while I’m above ground. And now that I know how to do it affordably, and that I can bravely go it alone, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.