Hi, I’m Jen!
I am an educator, a writer, an activist, and a traveler.
I spent the summer of 2010 in a rural village in Bihar, India conducting dissertation research on girls’ education. It was my first solo trip, my first trip to Asia, and the first time I ventured far from popular tourist destinations. Because I was there as a researcher, I spent my time observing classes, interviewing teachers, meeting families, and participating in school activities. I played cricket during the day and helped the boys from the orphanage with their English in the evenings.
I know it sounds cliche, but the trip was life changing. It was instrumental in shaping my worldview, solidifying my commitment to girl’s education and other social issues, and it greatly affected how I travel.
I travel to connect with people and to learn about their culture. I’m interested in sustainable travel because I think we have the potential to affect change through our travels if we are a bit more mindful about how we travel. When I’m not traveling, I’m teaching, writing, and volunteering with organizations committed to doing their part to create positive social change.
A bit about me: I grew up in a small town in Central Illinois and never traveled as a kid. It wasn’t until after graduate school that I took my first trip out of the country (last count I’ve been to 35+ countries). I travel a lot on my own but also bring my kids along as much as possible. My 16-year-old daughter loves traveling, but my 12-year-old son does not. Needless to say, that makes for some interesting stories.
I hope you join along as I share stories from around the globe, tips for traveling on your own, and different ways people are creating social change in their own communities.
Thank you, and welcome to Yellow Scarf and a Suitcase.
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WHERE I’VE BEEN