“Life is the consequence of the decisions we make. Choose wisely!”
Writer, entrepreneur, travel influencer and nomad, Jessica Nabongo, has traveled to more than 100 countries and territories across six continents. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan to Ugandan immigrants, Jessica remembers daydreams of foreign lands and a life of wander after her first international trip to London and Uganda at the age of six. Today, Jessica travels the world and is passionate about sharing her experiences in countries that have typically low rates of tourism.
Where I've Been
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bahamas, The
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Netherlands, The
- Northern Ireland
- San Marino
- Vatican City
- Burkina Faso
- Cabo Verde
- Central African Republic
- Côte d’Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Gambia, The
- Guinea – Bissau
- Republic of the Congo
- São Tomé and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- United Arab Emirates
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Hello Jessica Nabongo,
I came across your article from a post my Nigerian friend posted on Facebook, and I was instantly hooked to your adventures, ambitions, achievements and your passion for travel. I myself am a Ugandan living in Toronto, Canada at the moment and am in the process of getting my Canadian citizenship.
I was born in Uganda, Mbarara to be exact, and when I was 3 years old, my mother who was unable to support me and provide me the future she wanted for me, met a wonderful dutch family, working as doctors in Uganda at the time. They took me into their family, of which they already had two wonderful daughters. Their daughters, like me, were also born in Africa. I moved away to get the future my mother so dearly wanted, to go and get a better education with the support and guardianship of my dutch foster family.
My dutch family loved to travel, and of course having a foster daughter with a Ugandan passport, travel was an expensive hobby of course, but they sure did make it happen. The amount of visas I needed in my passports, and the numerous trips I had to take to belgium or any consulate/embassy, just to get approval that I was able to enter a country for a holiday with my family, has always made me consider what life would be like if that was not a barrier.
So, I moved to Canada, and have now been living here for almost 10 years, hoping to submit my Canadian Citizenship next month. I will of course have to wait another 7 months until that is approved and can apply for my Canadian Passport, before I myself can travel and see the world, and countries I never thought I would have had the opportunity of visiting.
Now, with that goal in mind I have landed my dream job working as a destination expert, focusing on Africa. (East Africa, North Africa, and now the Middle East) With my upbringing and growing up in Europe I also have the extensive knowledge of Western Europe and soon will be able to travel to Eastern Europe to finish exploring the world.
Long story short, I am hoping to join you on your travels as 2 Ugandan women, with the same dream and goals, as I know there are many Ugandans/Africans/African American’s/people of color and anyone who has immigrated to Canada, that seeks the same freedom, and travel opportunities that many are restricted of.
With my job, my goal and part of my work is now to travel around the world, and visit countries, cities, and sites, learn new cultures, try new food and befriend the local people. It would be an honor and such a dream if this opportunity can be executed, and I can share similar experiences, and join your journey before it is over.
I do hope to get in touch with you soon, to see how this plan can work and start packing my bags to fly across the world to meet you. Like yourself, I love meeting new people, and many of my lifetime friends have been people I have met during my time living abroad, especially living in such a multicultural city as Toronto.
I look forward to your response.
Regards & happy travels.
Bo Kyogonza (A fellow Ugandan sister)
Hi Bo! Thank you so much for reaching out and for sharing your story. I hope that you are able to get your Canadian passport because it certainly will make a difference. We can certainly talk about traveling together but my schedule is a hectic and brutal one! Do drop me an email.
Hello. I am new to your blog. But I am I’m intrigued! My name is LaShauné.
I’m an African American. I introduce myself this way because that is how USA views me. Although referring to myself as an African American is politically correct ( which has soooooo… many connotations and spawned many of emotions, and debates). I’d rather describe myself as human with warm milk chocolate skin. So I digress. As I was saying I am born and raised s am American. However, traveling the world was an instilled dream my whole life. Now I would like to realize that dream. So why does having a Canadian passport make a difference for you to move about around in the world?
Hello LaShaune! I do not have a Canadian passport, but an American passport will get you pretty far. Good luck with your travels!
Lovely to meet you last night in Mustique. I look forward to reading your blog. Come visit us sometime in Canada!
So great meeting you as well! I will definitely let you know when I’m headed that way!
When are you planning to visit Burkina Faso or Cameroon? Let’s connect.
Hi! I do not have concrete plans at the moment but would love any tips or recommendations that you can share!
would love to do what you do… where do I begin?
If your desire is to travel more I would say just buy a plane ticket and go! That is exactly how I started!
I recently went on my first international trip to the Philippines with a friend and I am ready to plan another trip. The difference is that this will be a solo trip. Can you recommend a country for a beginner solo traveler?
Thanks! By the way my family is from Detroit too.
Lovely to see you in all your incarnations but especially as a free black wiman goddess doing what your soul desires for to to do. I travel a lot myself but within the continental US and Canada. I recently have been thinking of putting everything in storage and go abroad again with my camera and sketchbook. As an artist, seeing and experiencing any environment is how l develop my creative ideas. I have read several of your blog posts today and l am thoroughly taken with both your honesty and fearless open mindedness. You are a real inspiration for so many of us travelers of color. I want to get back to Paris and London, but through your eyes, l see there are so many more sacred spaces to explore on Mother Earth. Thank you. What a pleasure to know that we occupy the same sky. Blessings to you and those who are urban aborigines like ourselves know the power of “focus in motion”! Happy travels!
Rene, thank you so much for your kind words. I am humbled to be able to inspire so many. Safe travels!! PS. I think that more people should explore the US and Canada. There are so many gems!
I am glad I am back on your site again after a long time. My name is Julius from Uganda. When do you plan to travel to East Africa? As you may know, Rwanda and Uganda are great destinations in the region as well with lots of activities and fascinating places. I do own a tours company and I can come up with a very nice itinerary based on your interests. I hope to read your response here soon.
Hello Julius! Thank you for your message. I know all about the beauty of Uganda as I am Ugandan! I have already been to Rwanda as well which I love.
Thank you for sharing your experiences. As a Detroiter I am excited to see you travel the world. What a role model you are to the many young ladies that fear the world as it is and unfortunately are not able to see the world in a different light. It is my mission to create hundreds of young ladies like yourself because with international experiences comes international knowledge which will educate our young women, empower them and allow them unlimited opportunity. The next time you are home in Detroit let’s connect. Let’s make a travel change in our young woman lives. Please reach out soon. Love ❤️ peace and safe travels.
Thank you so much for your kind words!! Good luck on your mission. That is amazing!
Hi Jessica. You are really an inspiration to me .when are you coming to Zambia?
Hello Phenny! Thanks so much!! I have already been to Zambia and I loved it!!
Hello Phenny! Thanks so much!! I have already been to Zambia and I loved it!!
You have inspired me even more as a beautiful, black women, I started my journey a few years ago to see the world, not quite gotten as far as you but I’m getting there. I love your story and spirit, we share lots of commonalities. Many continued blessing on your journey.
Thank you very much for your kind words and safe travels!
Are you planning on visiting the Turks & Caicos Island?
No, I will not be visiting as part of this journey! I am sure I will visit when I’m finished!
Hello Nabongo,I was just reading about you and I am amazed. I love to travel however there are many constraints. I am a Ugandan and teacher by profession.
Hope that one day while you come back home you can visit the school I teach and inspire the girl child.
I see you’ve been to Northern Ireland and England, but not to Wales or Scotland. Do you plan to visit either? (I am in Wales, btw)
(NB – England is NOT the UK!)
Hello! I am definitely planning to visit Scotland in the future and also Wales.
Which sovereign nation is England part of, if not the UK?
Hi Jessica! Your friend George gave me your information and I was so excited to see your travels to so many countries. I am from Michigan but originally from Iraq. I am a native Assyrian Christian from Iraq. I highly recommend to visit Nineveh next and southern Iraq. Most importantly Nineveh, you’ll be visiting the cradle of Civilization and where I was born. Please post pictures of the ancient churches you’ll see and all of the ancient Assyrian landmarks. Don’t let them make you stay in northern Iraq where the Kurds are only. Those are not the original Iraqi’s and the natives Assyrians and iraqi’s will definitely want to see you. Please be safe and you’ll want a soldier to escort you to make sure you’re safe. I would recommend in the next few years if you’re not able to get an Iraqi soldier. God bless and amazing work!!
Such a good experience
Happy independence day sweet heart as your name has been mentioned among the ugandan heroes thats how have came to now you cause you one of a kind.i know one day can also make it.i need your help. Charlotte uganda.
Thanks so much!
I am a Palauan living on Oahu island in Hawaii. I opened my browser tonight and found a link to your fascinating storyI don’t see any Palau photos on this site. Are there any that I just do not see or cannot see? Also, how was your experience in Palau? Did you enjoy the place? What sorts of activities did you do there? Did you visit the Rock Islands? I am from Peleliu, which is around 30 miles south of Koror. Were you able to visit there as well? Just curious to know how you stay there went? Thank you. Richard Salvador, west Oahu, Hawaii.
Amazing! For pictures from Palau you should head over to Instagram and search the hashtag #catchmeinpalau. I truly had an incredible time in Palau. What a beautiful country. The Rock Islands were great!
Hi. I was just introduced to you via the St. John’s University website. As a fellow alum I was interested in your adventures and touched by your enthusiasm and creativity. I played basketball for Coach Carnesecca on his first three teams then followed that with an overland journey to the Mexico City Olympics where I witnessed the legendary Carlos/Smith Black Power salute first hand. Less than a year later I was off to Upper Volta in the Peace Corps where I helped coach their fledgling national basketball team. My passports are not yet as full as yours but I am inspired by you to keep learning and filling my life with adventure. Thanks.
Wow. It seems that you have lived quite a fascinating life. thank you for sharing!
Jessica, I began a modest mission to travel all 50 U.S. States about 20 years ago. I’ve completed all except Alaska. Hawaii was number 47 and that’s where I was on 9-11. I traveled to South Dakota and North Dakota in 2006. It is taking forever to get to Alaska but that is at the top of my bucket list. And I’ve only traveled to 20 countries but my goal is at least 50, just because of my age. I regret not starting younger, so kudos to you. I too, love geography and history. I will add two more countries to my list by the end of this year. I would LOVE to give you tips about the remaining states you haven’t visited and love to get information from you about places I want to visit.
Wow. What an amazing travel history you have! Good luck with getting to Alaska. I haven’t been yet but I hear that it is stunning! Wishing you all the best and safe travels to your last state and the last 30 countries!
205 Destinations??? This is amazinggg!!! Well done!! I love that you are following your dreams and achieving them! Ekuse
I was just watching WGN News this morning, June 30, 2020. I’m from Gary, Indiana. Wow, what a blessing to be you right now. I wrote down your blog and took a look at it after your segment. I find your travels to be inspiring. Thank You for expanding my bucket list. Once, this COVID atrocity is more under control, I hope to utilize your blog to assist in my own travels. I agree with you about Honduras. I visited once but plan to go back. It was lovely.
Again, thank you for all your information. I’m really new to this whole blog thing, but I’m eager to get out there and learn and do more.
Stay Blessed, Stay Safe!!!!!
Awesome! So glad you found me! Enjoy the rest of your week!
Your story is an incentive to me
I’d also love to travel and explore
Do it! When it is safe to do so of course!
Greetings from Nevada! If you need a place to stay in Las Vegas, please consider our home, a quiet oasis in our beautiful state.
Cordially, Lorelle and Lance
Hello, very inspiring story! I would love to connect with anyone on this comment section to learn from interesting people and about cultures and also to gain travel tips as I am leaving abroad to travel the world the next year. Africa is an area I would love to visit but not sure where to start. Would be nice to have acquaintances to visit or gain information from!
I would love to travel as much as you do, but have no idea how to get started. How do you afford it cause frankly that’s my biggest obstacle (that and fear!)
I have no tricks on how to afford travel. I have always prioritized it in my life. So while some people eat out or shop excessively, I use my money for travel!
Your story is so inspirational to me! My family has always been big travelers. My family is Black American and Panamanian so they’re always “we can just go here and there” so everyone travels. Since I was young I’ve traveled to different cities and states. I know this is probably a big leap but next year I plan on taking the step to start my worldly travels and going to every country and start blogging my adventures! I love meeting different people, learning about different cultures, and seeing new areas. I have never been one to want to stay in a place for long. I already traveled to 90% of American states so I’m ready for bigger now!
If anyone has any pieces of advice or critiques or anything in general please feel free to email me
I would love it if you could as well
That sounds so exciting! Good luck on your journey!
Your cool 😎
I love your site and adventures.
I have the only beach towel that fits in a pocket and would love to send you some to review.
Congratulations on this great achievement. I was wondering if there’s a way to get a signed copy of your book for those unable to make any of the book signing. I’d love a sign copy to add to my collection.
Hi Ene! You can order a signed copy here: https://talkshop.live/watch/HNEdZuq_jBN0?utm_source=search&utm_medium=desktop&utm_campaign=search
You go girl! So proud of you for doing things many of us only dream about!
Thank you so much!
As an African American Female who is a “senior” I love International travel. As long as I am able. I’ll keep moving on. Love your blog.
Thank you so much!!
Just a quick note to say THANK YOU. I saw your interview on The Breakfast Club and quickly ordered your book. Ah, what a book! I will send a full review of my thoughts upon completing the text soon. So much to absorb. The book is stellar and well written, and the layout is fabulous. Huge shoutout for the excellent photography work and a big shoutout to National Geographics, an organization I have loved since I was a youngster.
Jessica, you’ve done an incredible job. I love to travel, too, and reading your book has restored my passion for doing so.
Thank you so much!
Hello Jessica! Your travels are so inspiring. I’m a black American woman and an avid traveler, and have recently decided to take my fist international trip soon. I was wondering if you could give any recommendations as to countries that would be the safest and most enjoyable. My top choices are Tel Aviv, Germany, and Greece as they are all countries I’ve yet to visit. Any advice?
Hi Rae! I would recommend my book, The Catch Me If You Can, which shares stories and tips for 100 countries. Outside of that I think you should base your decision on travel interests for activities in the country and where YOU will feel most comfortable. This varies person to person. Good luck on your trip!
May I know if it includes Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, China, Japan, South and North Korea?
I have been to every country in the world.
Can’t believe of all the destinations listed you still haven’t been to Taiwan in 2022, better save best for last! It’s a small island offering big mountain experiences, fresh and diverse local food with best scuba diving and snorkeling experiences.
The world is huge and there are still so many places to explore!
I am 75, white, and well-travelled , reaching countries 85/100 goal before trips to the remaining 15 were cancelled due to Covid-19 . I have savored every word and photo in your TCMIYC book which has its permanent place on my coffee table. I treasure your inspirational story. Good luck with what comes next.
Thank you so much for reading it and for sharing! Good luck getting to the remaining 15!!
Hi Jessica! It’s Party Paul! Thanks for the awesome presentation in TNN’s Book Club today! Thanks for taking my travel question about financing! It was super cool to meet you!!!
I love traveling and have been to around 35 countries so far. I have been to Uganda and LOVED it! Riding Boda Boda’s everywhere was so much fuuuun!!! I stayed mostly in Kampala and the area, and experienced the beauty of Lake Bunyoni! Wow!!
Have you heard of Wakaliwood? I’m a huge fan of theirs and visited their studios in Kampala!! I even got to help them with a film!
I’ve attached a link to a few of my travel photos, I’m an avid documenter and love capturing moments in my travels thru photos!
Hope to meet you again! All the best!!
Hi Paul! I am so happy that you enjoyed the presentation! I had a great time. Safe travels!