Women’s History Month Interview Six: The Melanin and Miles Podcast with Janelle Layton and Joi Wade

Hello! Thanks for joining me this week!

Here is my sixth and last interview in honor of Women’s History Month! Janelle Layton is a senior at Hampton University majoring in marine and environmental science with minors in Spanish and biology. Joi Wade is a a senior at the University of Southern California studying Public Relations and Spanish. One interesting fact about Joi and Janelle is that they have both studied abroad during their time in college.

Q: Can you tell me why you both chose to become professional travel podcasters?

A: Janelle: Travel has always been a priority to the both of us. I have been traveling internationally since I was 15 years old and haven’t stopped. One day Joi and I were talking on the phone and she mentioned how she really wanted to do a podcast. Joi is very popular on Youtube and other social media outlets, so the idea wasn’t that surprising. We talked about doing one together and thought it would be interesting if it was based on travel. We both have had study abroad experiences, independent travel, and plenty of travel stories.

Five minutes into the conversation it was no longer a passing comment. We were talking more and more about it like the podcast was an actual thing. We listed hundreds of topic ideas and podcast names and finally settled on Melanin and Miles. Over the next 3 months we had planned so much for the podcast and finally dropped it on September 10, 2019. We both genuinely love encouraging young black people to travel more and find it super important to do what we can to make that happen.

Q: How has travel impacted your life and how has it changed you?

A: Janelle: Travel has opened my eyes to so many different cultures around the world. It allowed me to be very open minded and thankful for all of the beauty this Earth has to offer. I am normally a very introverted and fast paced person, but travel has allowed me to come out of my bubble, socialize more, and slow down to just enjoy the moment.

Q: Where was your most recent travel experience and what did it teach you?

Janelle: Within the US I’ve recently been on the west coast. These travel experiences taught me a lot about what to do academically and for my career, because I was mainly there for professional reasons. I traveled through several different cities in the state of Oregon, but I was mainly visiting Oregon State University to learn more graduate school and to meet the people I could potentially work with for the next two years. I was also in San Diego, CA for a conference and it helped me a lot with networking. All of this was great, but I was also able to take some time for myself and try new restaurants, breweries, and beaches.

Internationally, I finished of the year of 2019 traveling through the Caribbean. I spent about 2 weeks between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. My trip to Grand Cayman was a solo trip and it helped me take time for self-care. I ended up learning a lot about myself on this trip and it helped me with setting my 2020 year goals while in Jamaica.

Q: What has been your most favorite travel experience and why?

A: Janelle: The first trip I ever took to Asia is definitely my favorite travel experience, because it was my first “uncomfortable” trip. I had previously traveled through many countries in Europe, but this was my first time on a flight that was longer than 24 hours, immersed in languages I was completely unfamiliar with, and the first time I was by myself for such a long period of time.

I had a layover for 30+ hours in Beijing, so I spent the day in China by myself to hike the Great Wall of China. I then visited Phuket, Thailand which is currently my favorite destination on the planet. Everything was extremely affordable, the beaches are beautiful, the food is amazing, nightlife is lit, and quality shopping.

Q: Do you have any tips or advice for people who want to travel more?

A: Janelle: Book a flight. All you have to do is find a way to get there and you will figure the rest out. Don’t over think your plans for a trip, it just gives you more time to talk yourself out of going.

What are the must have items in your packing list?

A: Janelle:
Water bottle, Phone/Phone Charger, Swimsuit, Backpack, Sunglasses, and Shea Butter

Q: Where can people follow your travel journeys?

A: Janelle and Joi: Listen to the podcast! Melanin and Miles Travel Podcast is available anywhere you can stream a podcast (i.e. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Melaninandmiles.com) and follow us on Instagram @melaninandmiles

Check out their interview with me on their podcast here:

https://www.melaninandmiles.com/episodes/lovely-adventures-of-lydia-living-in-cameroon-ep-28

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