Meet Our Friend Afar: Ja

Last month at A Friend Afar, we introduced you to inspiring fellow traveler Krista. This month we’d like you to meet Ja. We became fast friends with Ja when we were exchange students in Thailand, and since then she’s lived in Australia and now calls Southern California home. We hosted her on a visit to Atlanta once and can’t wait until we get to hang out with her again!

Angkor Wat- #cambodia #angkorwat #southeastasia

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ja! I’m 35 years old, from Thailand, and a stay at home mom who lives in Los Angeles. I love photography and traveling! There’s a big difference from traveling when I was single to now being married and having a 9 month old baby, but I am still loving it. It’s my life, my journey. If I stop traveling, I’d die. Seriously!

Where did you travel for your first trip abroad. Was it for work, school, or vacation.
My first trip was in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I went with Meagan, Stephanie, and a bunch of other friends. We had so much fun! I still remember it vividly even though it was almost 10 years ago. It was adventurous, nothing fancy, but we had great time and now I have a memory with friends. My highlight was when we went to Angkor Wat for the day! What an amazing place!

Do you pack light or check a bag?
Of course, I packed light every trip until I had a baby. Now I have to check bag with all the stuff for the baby!

San Diego- www.afriendafar #sandiego #socal #california
Is there a place that you keep going back to? and why?
San Diego! It is absolutely one of the best cities to live in. San Diego also has some of the best weather in the country. The views are gorgeous, and most importantly, it is where I was proposed to and got married!
What places are at the top of your travel list right now?
Paris, Edinburgh, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Monaco! Seriously, anywhere in Europe! I also would love to go back to Melbourne, Australia, but it’s more practical for me right now to do trips in U.S. Yosemite National Park, all over California (so much to see!), Alaska, Colorado Springs, Grand Canyon, Florida, Boston, Texas, and New York are all U.S. destinations on my list.
Do you collect a specific type of souvenir?
Postcards! I send them to friends and to myself.
What is your dream vacation?
Cancun and the Caribbean on a cruise!
Melbourne- #melbourne #australia
If you could recommend one place for us to visit, where MUST we go?
Melbourne, Australia. My favorite! It’s a multicultural city with scenic views, so many galleries and museums, and great coffee! It’s super easy to get around the city using the tram network. It has beautiful weather that’s perfect, really – not too hot, not too cold. Some people say they have 4 seasons in a day. I found it’s true and loved it! You should definitely visit Melbourne!

Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

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