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Featured Friends: The Travelling Sociologist

Taking in the view of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, in
Switzerland. Photo credit: © thetravellingsociologist


This month, my Featured Friends is The Travelling Sociologist. We started chatting on Twitter a couple of months ago and now she's an active participant of the Fly Away Friday Link-Up as well as the engagement pod. When she reached out to be interviewed, I was thrilled! I've enjoyed reading all of her posts through Fly Away Friday and couldn't wait to get to know her a bit more. She has an interesting background and I can definitely identify with the issue of the "Where are you from?" question. Keep reading to see what I mean!

1. Tell us about yourself!

I'm from Montreal, in the province of Quebec, in Canada. But I'm also very much a global citizen,
because I grew up in four continents––Asia (the Middle East), Africa, Europe, and North
America––and I've spoken 10 languages, plus (the nonverbal) American Sign Language (ASL), in my
lifetime. So I find that I have a very different profile than most other travel bloggers who discover their love for travel in their teens, twenties or thirties. In my case, I kind of was born travelling. Travel and multiculturalism are a part of my very identity.

By the Rhône river in Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône- Alpes, France. Photo credit: ©
thetravellingsociologist


2. Tell us about your blog, The Travelling Sociologist.

The Travelling Sociologist is a website I started in April 2012 and turned into a professional site in
April 2017. It's more a travel website than a blog, because I don't always recount first-person
narratives. And the reason for this is that the objective of the website is to educate readers about culture and cultural differences. My aim is to equip travellers with the awareness and sensitivity to detect and appreciate nuances in culture––encompassing both behaviour and mentality––in much the same way a sociologist would.

3. The first thing I that came to my mind when I saw your username is: are you a sociologist? Can you tell us more about that?

I chose the name The Travelling Sociologist because I thought it very accurately captured what I feel to be my innate personality. A sociologist is a person who studies society and social behaviour by
examining the groups, cultures, organisations, social institutions, and processes that people develop and operate in. And I have always been curious about and fascinated by these aspects of human behaviour.

For example, when there are fireworks, I'll be the person glancing behind me at the expressions on people's faces, which I find just as interesting as the actual fireworks. I'm actually not a sociologist by profession, although my first degree was in sociology. I have a graduate degree in preventive medicine and, when I'm not travelling, I work in disease prevention, specialising in oncology and other chronic diseases.

At the Roman ruins – theatre and Odeon – atop Fourvière Hill in Lyon, Auvergne-
Rhône-Alpes, France. Photo credit: © thetravellingsociologist

4. Why did you start a travel blog?

So, it's funny that you ask, because I actually started my website because I got tired of people asking
me where I was from, and about all the countries I'd lived in––I mean, it's OK the first hundred times,
but then after that, it because a bit tedious. So I decided to write it all out on this website, so that when people would ask, I could just say––Well, thank you for asking; please go here to this website to get all your answers, and if you still have questions after that, we can talk. Then over time, I started to add some “blog” entries about my personal travels around the world since 2012, and that became a good reference point for friends who wanted to hear about my travels when I came back to Montreal.

Today, my website is a mixture of educational articles on specific-country cultures, comparative pieces on different cultures, and blog-style travel-adventure narratives. I also have a growing number of articles on travel tips and advice to help those who want to travel cheaper and smarter. In the future, I would also like to add a section on volunteer work opportunities in the various countries I have lived or visited, as I myself have been volunteering since I was fourteen and would love to encourage others to give back in the international community by donating any free time and valuable skills they may have.

Surrounded by the beauty of the lake and the pre-Alps at Lake Como, Province of
Como, Lombardy region, Italy. Photo credit: © thetravellingsociologist

5. I love the "Travelometer" on your blog; tell us 5 places you would like to add to that in the near future.

I would love to make it to Cuba, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Senegal in the near future. Hmm, upon reflection, it seems that all those places I just mentioned have one thing in common––and that's sunshine and beaches. It must be the “winter is coming” syndrome kicking in, Hahaha! I do love winter and snow though, but summers are just too short here in Canada. We're never quite ready to say goodbye by the time the autumn chill sweeps in, in September.

6. What destination has had the biggest impact on you and why?

I would say that Ghana has had the biggest impact on me, because it is my country of origin (although I wasn't born there) and I was raised, at home, in Ghanaian cultural environment, albeit in international locations. I am very proud to be Ghanaian and will defend the Black Stars to the bitter end in every FIFA World Cup match, no matter if Canada is in the running! Hahaha. Ghana is also a preciously beautiful country with hospitable, down-to- earth, intelligent, lovable people whom I am proud to call compatriots and where I have lived a huge chunk of my life as well. I find it pretty incredulous that Ghana and other West African countries are still largely unexplored terrain by travel bloggers...like undiscovered pearls hidden by the oyster shells of mass-media slander. But in a way it's good, because it means I can keep all of those marvelous places just for myself! Haha, just kidding. (Not.)

Lost in thought inside Porta Torre in Como, Province of Como, Lombardy region,
Italy. Photo credit: © thetravellingsociologist

7. If you had to live in a country you've never visited to for the next 5 years, where would you go and why?

Hawaii. Everything I've heard about Hawaii makes it seem like a dream destination––the friendly
locals, the beaches, the natural landscape, the food, the music, the culture.... And let's admit it, the
weather too. I love Canada and would want to come back here after 5 years, but as a temporary refuge, Hawaii would definitely be my go-to.

Holding a giant bialetti in Bibione, Province of Venice, Veneto region, Italy. Photo
credit: © thetravellingsociologist

8. What goals, travel or otherwise do you have for the next year?

I'm going to Japan and Korea next summer! I'm very excited about that because I've never been to
either of those two countries and I've always wanted to go because I've made a number of friends––and had a number of neighbours––from those countries over the years. I also speak some Japanese (self-taught – manga phase – don't ask) and I'm dying to try it out and improve it. Did I mention I'm
fascinated by Japanese culture and would love to learn more about it? I'm very, very excited and will
probably spend all year planning and overplanning for this trip. But in the meantime, I will of course be making a number of other trips closer to home in North America, as per usual.

At the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo credit: ©
thetravellingsociologist

9. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?

My hope is that my website, The Travelling Sociologist, becomes a key resource for cultural insights
into travel destinations for people planning a trip as well as those who are not planning to go anywhere but are merely curious about other cultures. I want people to feel that they've expanded their cultural horizons and are more aware of and sensitive to cultural diversity in their immediate environment, after reading my articles. I also want my website to encourage people to travel––because the world is the best classroom and agent for personal growth––and to learn how to travel responsibly and sustainably.

10. Any other facts or a message you'd like to share with my readers?

If I ever have the honour of meeting any one of you dear readers some day, do me a favour,
please––don't ask me where I'm from! Just go read my blog, The Travelling Sociologist! You'll find all the answers you're looking for. And thank you for reading all the way to the end of this post about my life's story.

Woman versus Castle, at Castello Di Sirmione in Sirmione, Province of Verona,
Veneto region, Italy. Photo credit: © thetravellingsociologist


Follow the Travelling Sociologist everywhere!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetravellingsociologist/
Blog: http://www.thetravellingsociologist.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/travellingsocio
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/travellingsociologist/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thetravellings/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrcufU_SanRtyoKUJOtg0XQ/about

♡♡♡

Is your mind blown as much as mine? I had the most amazing time interviewing the Travelling Sociologist and getting to know her fascinating background. Thank you so much for being on my blog and I'm thoroughly looking forward to reading more about your adventures!    

Want to read other Featured Friends? Click here.  

Want to be the next Featured Friends? Due to overwhelming response on interviews, I now have a section dedicated to bloggers wanting to work with this blog. Click here to find out more.

34 comments

  1. Just reading this post made my jaw drop. I'm still trying to wrap my head around being able to speak 10 languages (well 11 really). I think The Travelling Sociologist is the perfect website name for your experiences! By the way, excellent choice on a place you'd live without actually having been there before. I've only been to Maui, not Hawaii proper - but it is one of my absolute favourite places in the world.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you agree that the name of my website is perfect for me!

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  2. Loved this interview! I love the meaning behind the traveling sociologist. Definitely heading to your website now to check out more!

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    1. Thank you so much, Diam! I hope you enjoy reading my articles. There are many more to come!

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  3. C'est grande! Je ne savais pas qu'elle n'était pas sociologue. (Written in French for the Quebecois of Montreal)

    Looking forward to reading more of her journeys!
    #FlyAwayFriday.

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    1. Ahaha! Ben, non, chuis pas du tout sociologue...juste en esprit :) Merci de traduire ça en bon Québécois. Ça m'a fait plaîsir!

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  4. I love that these posts enable us to find out so much more about our fellow bloggers! I love the travelling sociologist blog anyway so it was good to find out some background behind the site :) #flyawayfriday

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    1. Aw, thank you so much for saying so. I'm glad you enjoy my website! Sometimes, I wonder if there's anyone "out there" reading it, LOL.

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  5. Fascinating stuff! 11 languages! And as I follow The Travelling Sociologist on Instagram it was so nice to put a bit more personality to the name. I look forward to reading more interviews from this little group too! #flyawayfriday

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    1. Thanks, Alex. Love your blog, and loved reading your past interview, as well.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this interview wow that is amazing 11 languages! I can barely manage 1.5. Hope you get a chance to visit Hawaii! It is one of the most beautiful locations I've ever visited!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Hanna. Yes, really looking forward to making it to Hawaii some day!

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  7. What an awesome life story. I'm very intrigued with her non-travel job as that was the direction I was headed career-wise before I got married and decided not to go to grad school so my husband could go to law school. #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Thanks Allison! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail with any questions you may have about epidemiology and preventive medicine xoxo

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  8. Wow, 4 continents and 10 languages! That is exciting! I can see why travel is in your blog. I like the reason why you chose the name of your blog. I think it goes deeper into the reason why you love to travel (which happens to be very similar to mine). I would like to visit Ghana (and other African countries). I have made many friends from there and their eyes twinkle when they talk about their country. #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. I don't know if you meant "travel is in my blood" or "travel is in my blog" but I'm loving the play on words here :) Thanks, Ruth! I appreciate your feedback, and you should DEFINITELY visit Ghana. It will change your life.

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  9. Really great read! So interesting! I was brought up across 2 continents and have lived on a further 2 though can only speak 2 languages with a little of a few others - how fantastic speaking so many languages! Popping over to your website and will be following you on social medai! #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Thanks so much, Tracy! I think it's easy to speak many languages fluently (a) if you're young, and (b) if you're in a language immersion in each respective country. I will check out your website as well, I'm intrigued by your background.

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  10. What an interesting story she has to share, and what an inspiration - 10 languages and ASL what an amazing lady! #FlyAwayFriday

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  11. You are an extraordinary person. To speak 10 languages is impressive. By the way, when you do make it to Hawaii, check out the island of Kauai, the BEST island (ok, I'm biased ;)

    Much love!

    #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Thank you so much, Cherie. We are ALL extraordinary in our own ways, right? Thanks for the Kauai rec, hahaha! Bias? I would never have guessed, LOL. It's definitely going on my list, though! Thanks!

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  12. I love this series and learning a little more about the interesting people who participate in #FlyAwayFriday. 10 languages - WOW!

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    1. Really, 10 languages isn't a lot if you consider that kids learn fast, so when exposed to different countries and languages - your brain becomes a magnet for foreign words and sounds. Plus, what better way to gain insight into a foreign culture than through its language!

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  13. What a wonderful interview! So nice to hear more about you. I love the concept - and that when everyone's staring in one direction, you're the one looking at the reactions. I love doing that too. Great to learn more! #flyawayfriday

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    1. Aw, thank you so much! I'm glad to find a kindred spirit in the staring-at-reactions activity. Hope to see you at WITS '18 in Quebec City next year!

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  14. What an amazing backstory! And I really love that she focuses her site on cultures and information, we probably need more info like that.
    #flyawayfriday

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! I think so too––that we could all use a better understanding of culture and cultural differences, especially of the countries that we travel to and of the people that we interact with at home. Thank you for your positive feedback xoxo

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  15. I love these interviews! And I love following the Traveling Sociologist! I can imagine going to Ghana would leave quite an impact. I am still interested to see how I will react when I go to Poland which is where my Grandma came from. Thanks for sharing! #flyawayfriday

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    1. Thanks, TIffany! I'm so glad you enjoy my work! As I grew up in Ghana during the formative years of my childhood, I think it was a little different for me than it would have been if I had only visited/lived there as an adult. But either way, it was definitely an invaluable and defining period of my life in terms of identity, support system, and national pride. Keep me posted on your plans to reconnect with your roots in Poland, I would love to learn how that goes xoxo

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  16. What a great interview and a fascinating background! I definitely need to check out the website. I'm as impressed with your choice of medical specialty as with the amazing travels and language abilities. So nice to get to know you on here :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I would love to have you check out my website :)

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  17. It was lovely learning more about you! 10 languages is simply awesome and the fact you look beyond the event to people's expressions is quite remarkable. I would love to go to Ghana. I worked with a gentleman from there and everything he told me about his home was so lovely that it has been on my bucket list for a long time.

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    1. Thank you! You should definitely try to go, it's an amazing place to visit. You will not regret it!

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