Traveling like a local is not just about seeing the world; it’s about making a positive impact, fostering cultural understanding, and creating meaningful memories that enrich both the traveler and the destinations they explore. It’s a transformative approach that promotes immersive and soft tourism in cultures that rely heavily on tourism dollars. Since transplanting myself back to Jamaica, I’ve been able to host a series of friends, colleagues and family members, subsequently introducing them to corners of the island they have never met before. I was chatting with my friend Effie and I loved what she had to say about the traveler mindset.
“When you’re traveling you have to remember that this is not your space. Finding new ways to interact with the community [in a way] that’s not just about taking; it’s so important to find ways to create equity in your stay.” – Effie Cudjoe
Effie came to visit me earlier this year for my birthday celebrations in St. Elizabeth. We stayed at Upful and hopped around St. Elizabeth to the Maroon Festival up in Accompong to a lovely dinner at Jakes in Treasure Beach. Effie Cudjoe is a Ghanaian-American marketing strategist and co-founder of Re-Florish — a boutique floral company founded in the heart of Bed-Stuy. Travelers like Effie prioritize quality experiences over ticking off a checklist of destinations, allowing for a deeper connection with each place.