Jessica Nabongo is a wanderlust, writer, entrepreneur, public speaker and travel expert. At her core, she is a dreamer looking to craft a life and career that interconnects her passions and talents. She also wants to use her story to educate and inspire others to travel and experience the world around them.
A first generation American, Jessica was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan to Ugandan parents. She attended St. John’s University in New York, where she earned her undergraduate degree in English literature. In just a few years after college, she started (and ended) a career in pharmaceutical sales, moved to Japan to teach English, and completed a graduate degree at the London School of Economics. She captured her experiences along the way, honing her photography skills.
As her career path changed, Jessica realized that travel, writing and photography continued to show up as vehicles of self expression and were essential parts of her life, leading to the creation of this site, The Catch Me If You Can. She uses her blog to share her story and build a community. Her work as a travel writer and entrepreneur has led to speaking opportunities around the world.
In October 2019, Jessica became the first documented Black woman to visit every country in the world. Her first book, The Catch Me If You Can, is published by National Geographic. It is available everywhere books are sold.
Hey J, its J from WSC, Capital Hill! I told you I would visit your site, and wow. I AM INSPIRED. I haven’t traveled out of the country yet, but I got my passport last summer so I look forward to traveling like yourself. The thing that holds me back the most is feeling like I can’t afford to travel, and that stops here. I wish you the best, and I’ll say a prayer for your safe travels!! Black Girls Rock, You Go Girl!!!
Ps. You’re the only person I’ve shared my blog site with, so if you get a chance to read it. Don’t judge me. my writing is a work in progress!
Thanks so much for checking out the site. You can always find ways to pay for travel! Check out my travel tips (https://thecatchmeifyoucan.com/category/travel-tips), hopefully you will find some useful hints that will lead to your first trip outside of these borders.
I will definitely check out your website. No judgement over here!!
Hey! I was just reading about preparing to go to Africa. I’m looking to plan 2 trips which I’d like insight on, I might be going to Kenya fir 4 days and wanted to know how to get the best visit from those few days. In addition, I’m looking to go to Tanzania for New Years, it would be a week. Your writing has me excited about going to Africa.
Hi Nicole. Thanks so much for reaching out. As far as Kenya, it all depends where you’re flying into. Are you going to Mombasa or Nairobi? Is it your first trip to Africa? Are you going alone? I’ve not yet been to Tanzania so I cannot help there, but I am so glad that my writing is getting you excited about going to Africa!
Loving your work my friend! Always great to see my buddy in the next episode of “Where is the world is Bongo?” Hope to get to go to one of your trips someday. Your pictures, words and journey are awesome .. great spirit!
Thank you for reading friend!
Jessica, why are you so awesome and inspiring?!
After I have my second baby this year, hopefully I’ll be able to start my adventures exploring Asia. Tokyo 2017 here I come.
I love watching your story through your beautiful pics!
-Nicole from Renaissance
Awwww thank you so much. Congrats on the second baby! Let the adventures begin.
Why are you so damn dope?! I just returned from Frankfurt, and now your site has given me the travel bug again. I’ve got two continents left: Asia and Australia. Time to get planning again – thanks for the inspiration!
haha. thanks so much! tell your bank account I apologize in advance for giving you the travel bug. lol
I have been to San Andres Islands twice now. The first was 2016, second 2018. I love that island very much. I am glad to hear that someone else has discovered the little gem too. La Regatta is the best restaurant on the island. I find this island to be so relaxing. The people are humble, friendly, kind all the above. Great experiences there.
My Beautiful neighbor, Thanks for sharing all of those awesome pictures. I enjoyed every last one of them. You have truly inspired me to continue taking trips out of the country.
Hi neighbor! Thank you so much for taking the time to check it out!
my first time to visit your site, i will be glad to continue sharing with you
Jessica i don’t know if you know How amazing and inspiring this is for us black women. You are my sheroe!
Thank you so much!
Your feature in Banana Republic’s “The Republic” blog brought me here! How exciting! I’ve added you to my black travel bloggers (of color) list and will be following. I am 50+ countries in and have tons more to go! #Inspired!
Hello Coily!Thank you so much for stopping by! And safe travels! Exciting that you’ve already been to more than 50 countries!
Good day Jessica i am so inspired by your boldness & character,keep going
you are an inspiration to many
Thank you so much Lira!
Continues to impress…your name is from a tribe, the Wanga, that neighbor’s mine, the Bukusu, in Kenya!
Yes, the Wanga tribe came out of the Buganda years ago. I am a Muganda!
Hello Jessica, and how are you doing? Out of curiosity, how many languages can you speak? How many do you know how to speak?☺
I speak English and French.
Amazing story, Jessica! I live just north of Detroit and have worked in the city on and off. It was nice to hear you talk about all the great things to see and do there.
Someday, you probably should round out your list with 2 more countries (yes, they are countries, just ask them!): Scotland and Wales. They are actually considered countries and have their own governments and Parliaments. They are not “independent countries”, but countries nonetheless.
Hi Julia, Thanks for your comment. My list is based on UN designation, so in that case Scotland and Wales are part of the UK.
I have never read about someone whose life became more intriguing the more I read about Jessica Nabongo. When reading about your blog and connecting the places you’ve been to, I could tell you’re doing what you love to do. You’ve traveled and seen so much, and done so much to reach the point to realize your destiny; to accomplish your dreams by doing what you love. That may be traveling, blogging, and photography, more than that being loving life and enjoying it to the fullest. Warm hugs from California!
you are so kind! Thank you!
Hello! I’m a senior in high school, and my name is Sophia. My parents are from Nicaragua. I was born and raised in the states as well! In my class, we’re writing about diverse adventures and yours intrigued me the most! It truly is inspiring for you to do what you do and gave me hope I’ll be able to travel to at least a slice of the adventures you took haha. Thank you so much for telling your story 🙂
thank you so much for sharing Sophia!
Loved your book!
thank you so much!