Travel Spotlight: Meet Tamika

Jamaican Travelista & House Hunters International Star

Tamika (right) & Shauna (left)

Tamika is one of those people that I admire for her ability to incorporate travel into everything she does!  She’s currently exploring South Africa and lives a true life of adventure.  Born and raised in Boston, MA to Jamaican immigrant parents she also holds dual US-Jamaican citizenship and is proud to be Jamerican!  Since I’ve known her, she’s traveled internationally for work numerous times, taken solo trips to Australia and New Zealand, and often travels to Jamaica to spend time with her huge extended family.  This island girl has even starred in her very own episode of House Hunters International (HHI) in Jamaica!  See below for details on her experience and their final choice for a family vacation home!     

Steps to the beach from her Jamaican residence.


Irie Vibes

Tell us about yourself.  What are you passionate about and what motivates you?

I’m passionate about my family, faith and exploring the world. I daydream about living in my home in Jamaica and living a simpler life so we’ll see what the future holds. In the meantime, I’m a university fundraiser and I meet with bright and successful people across various industries. I travel domestically and internationally for work and on my own so I feel blessed to have the opportunity to see the world.

Where do you live, work, and play?

I’ve been in Atlanta for less than a year but lived in Los Angeles for 10 years.  I play in L.A., Boston, Philly, Atlanta and Jamaica!

When would you say your travel journey started and why do you continue to travel?

My travel journey started when I was 2 years old with my first trip to Jamaica and since then I have visited 11 countries to date.  I’ve always been drawn to people from other countries, learning about where they come from and getting a taste of their cultures is what keeps me going back for more.

What or who inspires you to travel?

I’m inspired by the fact that God created a diverse world and when I travel I learn more and more that we have so much in common.

What type of traveler are you?  

It depends on the country but I like to be active at my own pace. I like to go to museums, eat with locals, see nature, participate in self or group tours, and of course relax a bit. 

You ended up on House Hunters International! How did that happen and what was the experience like?!

My family (especially my mom) are fans of the show.  My younger sister, Shauna, and I wondered how they select people for the show so we decided to just go on the HHI site and apply and see what happens!  To our surprise, we were selected to do our very own episode, “Back to Our Roots.”  Overall it was a great experience but it was also a lot of work.  We had a lean crew which consisted of a director, sound person, camera man, and one assistant.  They were long days of shooting and multiple takes in the HOT Jamaican sun.  All that said, I would still do it again.

Cooking Class
Long days filming under the Jamaican sun!
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Film Crew
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Decision Making Time!

Tell us about your experience and process of purchasing a vacation home abroad.

We had talked about it as a family for a few years but couldn’t decide on a location.

View from the driveway

We’re also a family of 5 that’s growing and we all have different budgets so we picked a home that would fit our finances and had to compromise a bit on what each person wanted.  My dad wanted to be more inland, closer to where he grew up because it’s mountainous and cooler. While the rest of us wanted to be closer to the beach which typically costs more. Our awesome realtor (pictured below) showed us several properties but none of them were just right for us.  Then randomly, my sister and I stumbled on our house while visiting a historic monument and really like the neighborhood so we did some research and found that there was a house for sale in the community.  It turns out one of my dad’s friends actually knows the owners!  Small world, small island.

Tamika’s realtor (left) and sister (right)
Front of the house

How do you manage to travel through work and what’s your advice for others wanting to maximize work trips?

I travel monthly for work to various  parts of the U.S. and occasionally abroad.  If you have to travel for work, try to build in time for some fun or site seeing or invite a friend to tag along.

Have you traveled solo before?  If yes, where did you go, what did you learn, and would you recommend solo travel to others?  

Yes!  I’ve traveled solo to Australia and it was great.  Prior to the trip I researched safety in Sydney and felt comfortable as a single woman to take the plunge, plus they speak English there so it was a no brainer.  I would definitely recommend solo travel to others, especially, single women.  From this experience I learned that I can have fun all by myself! Who knew?

Where is your absolute favorite place (aside from home) that you’ve visited and why?

Morocco and New Zealand because of the rich cultures, food, and landscapes. 

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Tamika in Morocco

What advice can you offer to someone traveling (abroad) for the first time?

Do your research, budget, talk to people that have been to the destination and check out travel blogs. You should also look into safety in the area.

How do you decide where to go next, do you have a bucket list?

I have a top 10 list at all times but open to opportunities if they present themselves.

Up Next: Cuba, Amsterdam or Portugal!

What are your top 3 tips and reasons why everyone should travel?

  1. Exposure to another culture.
  2. Helps you relate to other people and understand their history.
  3. Exciting sites to see and cuisines to taste!

What can you not leave without when you travel?

A passport and backup photocopy of your passport.

What quote inspires you to be adventurous?

“To Travel is to Live” – Hans Christian Andersen

Any final thoughts? 

We feel so blessed to have our home in Jamaica where we can continue to create memories and invite our family and friends to kick back and enjoy a slice of island paradise.  Please check out our House Hunters International episode on HGTV that’s still running!

HHI Season 92, Episode 1: Back to Our Roots in Jamaica

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I hope you enjoy our episode and happy travels wherever you may go!

– Tamika



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