News: Globe-trotting Canadian Cabin Crew list Ethiopia and South Africa amongst her best Tourism Destinations
What started as a way to keep her mom posted on her whereabouts has turned into a popular Instagram account giving a colourful insight into the life of an international cabin crew.
Frequent flyer Jennifer Xu has garnered more than 5,400 followers on Instagram thanks to her stunning pictures and friendly travel inspiration.
The flight attendant from Ottawa works for an international airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and her job work involves frequent layovers around the world.
“My intention was actually to quit my job and go backpack for six months in Europe,” she told CTVNews.ca.
“Then this opportunity came around to work with an international airline, so I said, ‘Why not?’ Why not have someone else pay for my travel for me?”
For off-the-beaten track locations, the 30-year-old said she was “pleasantly surprised” by how gorgeous Kazakhstan is.
“I went to the lake area and I also went to this canyon called Charyn, it was like a mini Grand Canyon, but it just blew me away, it’s so naturally beautiful.
“I hope more tourists discover how amazing and incredible that place is.”
While Ethiopia has more tourism, Jennifer said, but it’s not as visited as other parts of Africa and has an incredible history.
“In the town of Lalibela there’s all these rock-hewn churches, literally carved into the stone or the rock beneath, it’s really, really cool,” she said.
“I also went up north to the mountain area where they have these churches that are carved into the sides of mountains that you need to climb up in a harness to get to. It’s one of the most remote churches in the world.”
Since joining the airline, business graduate Jennifer has added South Africa and in particular Cape Town, to her favourites list.
“It’s just so naturally beautiful and there’s an amazing winery area and just driving along the coast is spectacular,” she said.
“You really get to see how incredible the world is when you’re in that particular place.”
Tunisia is also close to the top of her list. Jennifer praised the people of this North African country for their good humour and food.
“There’s some places in Tunisia that feel really off-the-beaten track and they have an old capital called Kairouan and there’s no tourists that go there,” she said.
“It’s so quiet and very authentic.”
She also recommended the town of Sidi Bou Said, about 20 kilometres from the capital Tunis. The picturesque blue and white town perched above the sea has an array of vendors on its winding streets selling colourful wares.
Reliable Italy remains a favourite for Jennifer, having visited the country “quite a few times” before her airline job.
“I feel it just offers so many different things to see and every part of Italy has a different vibe and feel to it and of course the food is incredible,” she said.
Having worked in the sky for a little over four years, Jennifer’s goal is to visit 100 countries.
In November she flew to Abuja in Nigeria, and hopes to add Entebbe in Uganda and a newly launched Santiago route to her list.
Jennifer, who studied at Western University in London, Ont., before living and working in Toronto for five years, loves interacting with her Instagram followers.
They sometimes reach out to ask about a destination, a particular hotel or information about a tour company, with the most questions reserved for remote locations.
Jennifer’s early Instagram content focused on landscapes and architecture, but the trend for ‘grammers to appear in their pictures forced Jennifer out of her comfort zone and in front of the camera.
Travelling with her trusty tripod, she uses her iPhone and a compact camera with interchangeable lenses. Most of the photo editing and enhancing is done on her phone in apps including Snapseed and Lightroom.
“Every single layover my goal is to get that one perfect shot,” she said
“I hope I can inspire people to go seek all these amazing destinations that I’ve had the privilege to go to.”
By Cillian O’Brien