Degema: This Blog
Social media is littered with travel-oriented quotes and platitudes, usually written over a photo of some exotic sunset or sweeping vista. Travel, they claim, is the only thing you buy which makes you richer, is not done to escape life but to avoid life escaping you, is rebellion in its purest form, opens your mind, is best measured in friends instead of miles and so on. Probably the most profound of these is attributed to Muhammad Ibn Battuta, a medieval explorer and scholar, who said that it leaves you speechless, then makes you a storyteller.
I was surrounded by travel stories from quite an early age and I quickly grew to love them. Sitting with my mum and looking through old holiday photo albums was a joy, particularly when a picture reminded her of some funny tale. Her stories from her two years living in Nigeria in the late-1970s (one of which gave this site its name) have been recounted many times, but never lose their ability to delight. When I asked my granddad about his Second World War service in India and Burma, he never really spoke about the combat, but his voice was more animated than ever while he was sharing his stories. Despite everything, he said, he enjoyed his time there.
In 1997, my dad left the UK to pursue his career overseas, first in Thailand, then the UAE, Taiwan and India. My only opportunity to see him was an annual holiday, usually to Thailand. Seeing the expatriate lifestyle with my own eyes brought the stories I’d already heard to life and it quickly became apparent to me that this was how I wanted to live. After graduating from university in the UK, I applied for as many overseas jobs as possible. Pretty soon, I was on my way to the Sultanate of Oman and started making my own stories. I very quickly found that sharing my stories was as much fun as hearing those of others.
One of the reasons why I love collecting and sharing travel stories is that there is pretty much no such thing as a bad one. Each is a personal adventure and every person’s experience is at least a little bit different. Therefore, the fundamental way in which Degema differs from the hundreds of other travel blogs and websites available is that these are my stories – my adventures in the places I have visited and seen through the prism of my life experiences.
So, what are the facets to that prism?
I’m an Expatriate: I do not see with the eyes of a tourist. You can play around with semantics all you like, but visiting a different country on a tourist visa makes you a tourist. Living abroad on a work visa makes me an expatriate, which brings a variety of different trials, tribulations and adventures. It doesn’t make my view more or less valid or valuable, but it does make it very different.
I’m a Journalist: I studied journalism at university and have worked in the media in three different countries. I take the news very seriously and value truth and objectivity above all else. Contemporary mainstream media may be much maligned for its biases, but I still hold the founding concepts of the Fourth Estate very dear. As a result, I follow a rigid Ethics Policy, based on that expected of any professional journalist.
I’m a Travel Writer: I will not be declaring my full-time employer on this website (though it wouldn’t take a genius to figure it out), but the fact is that I am fully employed in the travel industry as a writer. This gives me two key advantages: Firstly, I am experienced in my craft. Secondly, this website is not my primary source of income, so I am not obliged to write click-bait or blatant advertorials in order to sustain my lifestyle.
I’m Me: As I said, each and every travel story is different, mostly because each and every traveller is different. I hope that you will find my stories helpful and as enjoyable to read as they were for me to collect and write.