“JouJou’s Journey: From Egypt’s Sands to America’s South, and Now Inspiring Solo Adventures Across Europe’s Hidden Gems”
Can you tell us something about yourself?
I’m originally from Egypt but I was born and raised in the southern states of the US. I moved to London 6 years ago as I wanted to travel around Europe. I wanted to be in close proximity to all the beautiful places here. I love, solo travel and wanted to inspire others to not be afraid to do it too.I also love finding smaller towns and villages to visit. My travel blog can be found at joujoutravel.com
I also make jewellery in my spare time so I am always loving being creative.
Q: How did you discover your passion for travel, and what inspired you to become a travel influencer?
I became obsessed with traveling after I started working for Delta Airlines as a data analyst. I had these amazing flight benefits that would allow me to travel the world for free. I had no one who wanted to travel as much as I did or could meet me since I travel standby and me making the flight wasn’t guaranteed.
After looking for co-workers to travel with and being cancelled on, I decided to brave it up and travel solo. I never looked back after! That moment forever changed me into the globe trotter I am today.
During the pandemic, I started taking my Instagram and blog more seriously. I invested in courses for both and have since grown my Instagram to 136K and my blog to 30k sessions a month. I love sharing my travel tips and hearing stories of people inspired to start solo traveling or discovering a new hidden gem because of me.
Q: How do you handle criticism or negative feedback as a woman influencer, and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
I tend to ignore negative comments as a travel influencer because when something goes viral there are always trolls out there who want to put you down.
I learned to realise whatever they say is probably not true and to not let it bother me.
I don’t like to give attention back to these negative comments because then the person knows that what they are doing is working and bothering you! I think the person behind must have some other problems because they are trying to find fault in you and put you down.
Q: How do you approach and choose your travel destinations as a woman influencer, considering safety and cultural sensitivities?
I always pick places I will feel comfortable in but I don’t let the fear of society stop me from traveling the world. I will just use extra pre-cautions when I travel.
As a solo traveller, I would select where I want to go wisely. However, I am a pretty experienced solo traveller. I have gone all over by myself and never had any worry! I have visited places like Turkey, Bali, Malaysia, and more all on my own.
I have also travelled to places like Morocco, Egypt, and India. In these places I did not feel 100% confident going alone so I went with a friend. It’s important to remember that in every country, you can be threatened.
Even the safest, if you’re not smart. For example, I always tell a friend my whereabouts and pay close attention to my surroundings. I don’t tell strangers I am traveling alone if I am.
Q: How do you use your platform to promote diversity and inclusivity in the travel industry, including representing women from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures?
I’m committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the travel industry through my platform. First and foremost, I make a conscious effort to share stories and experiences from women of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures.
This includes not only my own experiences but also guest contributions and collaborations with other female travellers.
I have a series on my blog showcasing different women and their experiences traveling solo in an effort to inspire others to feel empowered to do so as well.
I also prioritize highlighting destinations that may be lesser-known but have rich cultural significance. By shedding light on these places and the unique experiences they offer, I hope to inspire travellers to explore a more diverse range of destinations and engage with local communities authentically.
Ultimately, my goal is to create a space where women of all kind feel represented and empowered to embark on their own travel adventures, knowing that the world is full of incredible experiences waiting to be explored by everyone, regardless of their background or identity.
Q: Can you share some of your most memorable travel experiences as a woman influencer and how they have impacted your content or perspective on travel?
I have met so many amazing people on my travels especially when I travelled solo. Traveling solo actually pushed me out of my comfort zone so I could be more open to meeting others.
For example, I travelled solo to Spain and did a food tour so I could meet other people. I made great friends with someone on the tour and we hung out for the remainder of the trip. This taught me that solo travel doesn’t mean alone travel.
I always share that with my audience when they say they think they will be lonely if they travel solo.
Q: Can you share any personal experiences or anecdotes where you felt empowered or motivated as a woman influencer, and how that has shaped your content or brand?
The first time I solo travelled helped motivate and empower me. I was scared to death when my friend cancelled on me, but I didn’t want it to stop me from starting to travel. I decided to keep my trip and go solo. Since then, I never really feared again. I had a great experience on my own.
It was a time I could reflect on myself and do anything I wanted without compromise. It made me stronger and really opened up my eyes. I was able to experience new cultures and new experiences.
I was able to see how others in this world live. It gave me the confidence to latter move to a new country all on my own. I moved from America to London 6 years ago. I would have never done this if I hadn’t started solo traveling.
I would have honestly been too scared. I learned that it’s not scary and I am so happy I have had these experiences as they truly shaped me as a woman.
Q: What is your approach to responsible and sustainable travel, and how do you promote eco-friendly practices in your content?
I often seek out off-the-beaten-path destinations and hidden gems. These lesser-known places are often less crowded and can benefit greatly from responsible tourism.
By highlighting and promoting these hidden gems, I encourage sustainable and responsible exploration of unique destinations.
In addition, solo travellers typically have a smaller ecological footprint compared to larger groups. So this is another positive for solo travel.
Q: What advice do you have for female travellers, especially those facing unique challenges or concerns while travelling, based on your experiences as a travel influencer?
My advice is to believe you are strong and independent and can face the world like no other. This will give you the confidence to travel without fear.
My advice to those wanting to start solo traveling is to start small.Plan and go on short weekend breaks near your home. Practice safety by telling friends your plans, increasing awareness, and not going out super late on your own.
This will help reduce challenges when traveling and help you build the confidence to navigate this world.