An interview with Jemma Jet @jemmajet
Name: Jemma Jet @jemmajet
Ethnicity: White, but moderately tan year around
Country of Origin: Zimbabwe
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Not a huge fan of talking about myself but I will give it a go… So I am what you would call a third culture kid: I have been moved around quite a bit throughout my life and now I am doing all that moving around voluntarily. So pinning me down to a culture or country is a bit tricky. I am originally from Zimbabwe, but grew up in Malawi and then when I was a teenager moved with my family to Europe where lived in Luxembourg and Switzerland. Following that, I was in England for University, then Germany, and now I have found myself in Vietnam…to make matters more complicated, I have a Dutch passport. So, it is never easy when someone asks where I am from! I am a bit of a chameleon and find it easy to adapt to many different people and environments. I try to keep my mind as open as possible, I try not to judge and keep on learning. The more I have discovered about the world we live in, the more and more I realize how little I actually know.
Describe yourself in three words:
If I were to describe myself in three words, they would be: an artist, an adventurer and a dreamer.
Are you traveling alone?
Do you like it?
Its definitely been a challenge, but I’m loving it so far.
Where are you now?
Living in Hanoi, Vietnam, I just got back from 2 months solo travels.
How do you like Hanoi?
Um, I did my teaching course here in October 2018, but didn’t really get to see much of it, so I’ve just come back to give it a chance. There is definitely a nice balance of western and eastern cultures here. There is a lot to discover with this city, so I’ll give it a quick trial run before deciding what to do next.
You did your teaching course here in October and have now just returned 2 months later, what were you doing during that time?
I did some solo traveling and did some volunteering, I went to Myanmar, Thailand, and Taiwan.
How did you enjoy your travels and volunteering experience?
I began volunteering in Myanmar and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve done to date. To see the reality of poverty and to see how much help these people actually need; it’s eye opening. It’s not a widely known place either, so it’s an experience that stays with you. So, continuing on my travels after experiencing something like that, where a lot of travel is just consuming and you are in a privileged position, it was a little difficult to adjust.
Did you ever feel lonely?
Yes. While traveling, I was very much confronted with myself at all times. Then,
I had a big realization and asked myself, ‘how often am I gonna get this much time to myself?’ My life will be filled again with people and commitments soon enough, I should enjoy this. I thought this is something I should not take for granted; it reset me, because I really do enjoy being on my own. However, there are certain experiences that I realized that need to be shared.
How long do you plan to live in Hanoi? (laughs) Thats a good question…I’m giving myself at least 6 months, and I’ll take it from there. I also moved to this side of the world with one backpack so it does make it pretty difficult (a 60L backpack…)
Do you like teaching?
Um, yeah I do. I wanted to actually do this teaching course because public speaking is something I struggle with and it is a skill I would like to have. Teaching allows me share my thoughts and passions, and I feel the skills I learn from teaching can be applied to so many areas in life. If anything, it’s already given me more confidence in my abilities. It’s definitely a job that has value. I worked a customer service job before, and that felt like it had no value, and I can really feel the difference.
Why did you decide to do this?
Getting your TESOL and moving out of country?
I was living in Berlin for 2 years before this, and I moved there to take time off after University.
I gave myself a couple years, and as I expected I started to feel very restless, I needed an adventure and to challenge myself; It was between a masters degree and doing this. Education was something I’ve done before, so I know how it would go, so, this was ultimately the challenge. This was the unknown. Living in Berlin allowed me to build up my confidence and give me the courage to take on the unknown; I don’t think I could have done this straight out of University.
What are your thoughts on settling down and marriage?
Marriage… I think all these big miles stone that we’re supposed to get excited for, I don’t get excited for in the same way. Marriage is much more of upholding a tradition, but we’re at a pinnacle of change in our society. We live in a time where things are evolving. I have nothing against it, but I think you don’t need that label to stand for something or have something special. Like, I don’t want to be somebody’s wife…I want to be someones equal, their adventure buddy, or partner in crime. I’ve never had a relationship, nor am I looking for one. For the meantime the focus is me and there is a lot I need to do for myself before I could even consider bringing someone into the equation; and that in itself is liberating, it takes a lot of pressure off the ideals of life I am “supposed” to live by. I also don’t want kids. It’s something I’ve always known about myself. I feel like I don’t need that experience to feel complete. I don’t need a carbon copy of myself running around. It’s not something I see in my life.
What would you look for in a partner if you were looking?
I would need them to independent.
Main points: kind, honest, openminded, independent and funny. There is no end goal (marriage), you keep growing, and welcome new challenges everyday. The relationship will be like riding a bike – I did the all the work myself learning how to do it, and now, someone is just there to ride it with me.
I never get worried I’m not gonna meet the one. I got this feeling inside me that the right person will come into my life when it’s meant to be; It’s a settling feeling. For a long time that was my focus, looking for another half, and now its not, because I know now there is no other half of me.
Are you happy?
Yeah, I am. I’ve moved around a lot in my life, so I’ve been forced into situations that make me uncomfortable, and every time I allow myself to go through that process, I become a stronger person. I’m not happy all the time, but who is? That an unrealistic goal in my opinion. I’m so grateful to be where I am and that I got myself here. That makes me proud and happy.
Do you feel fulfilled?
Do you think you will ever feel fulfilled?
Yes I do. I know there are days where I feel a bit lost and of course I’m still finding my way at the moment. However there is so much beauty in that space, so much room for anything really. I’ve worked a lot of odd jobs, and I’ve gone off on a few tangents but I have made the most of my time and for me that holds value.
At the moment, I am narrowing down what I want do with my life slowly, and hopefully this fulfillment will come.
Hmmm… it’s a tricky question (being fulfilled)…I’m learning to be fulfilled, if anything I believe fulfillment comes in many different forms: you can be fulfilled emotionally, physically, in your career….
Whats been your favorite place, experience, or culture?
Berlin was one of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve ever had. It’s a kind of place where you’re forced to be yourself; you’re surrounded by the most open minded and liberal people. It moves at a pace where you have time to actually think about yourself, and I needed that. I needed that to get to know myself a little bit. Also… techno music 😉
When I was in Berlin, I first started working in the music industry (I had a radio show at Uni) and it was horrible, capitalistic and exploiting. So, I started writing for an independent music blog part time whilst also working in customer service to pay the bills.
What’s your advice to anyone who wants to do what you’re doing?
Its scarier in your head. It’s always scarier in your head. You gotta stay present
The more you stress out about things that could happen, the more you take away from yourself the things that are actually happening around you. When you make the decision to go, stick with it and follow wholeheartedly. There will be ups and downs, so be gentle with yourself, you are out of your comfort zone traveling like this, but that’s the best part. Be patient and keep an open mind, nothing will stay the same.
What do you expect to get out of all this and how long do you want to live this way?
I decided to make decisions off of what scares me the most because thats what will ultimately help me develop into a better person. To have more confidence, to see taste and discover everything that is out there. I think it’s also about giving up control to a certain extent; when you’re not in your comfort zone, you have to give up control of certain situations, you have to give in to this flow of life. I’ve been practicing this more and more and to me, this is the only way to live.
I’ve grown up living in many different countries, Vietnam will be my seventh country that I’ve lived in, and because of this, it’s almost become second nature to move around. Curiosity has most definitely killed this cat. I think when its time to settle I’ll know it , but right now, I’ve got this restlessness. Its not a bad restlessness; its just, how can I choose somewhere to stop when there’s so much out there?
Do you think you’ll recognize the feeling of when it’s time to stop?
Absolutely. A lot of my big decisions have been because of me intuition; a deep feeling of knowing. All of these experiences have trained me to listen to my intuition even more.