Photo Credit: Nneka Meredith
Registered Nurse By Day, World Traveler By Night: Nneka Meredith Shows You How To Do Both
Working as a First Responder and nurse during these trying times, Nneka Meredith’s days can be quite hectic and unpredictable.
She starts her day on a happy and peaceful note, wakes up around 6am, meditates for a bit and then hits the shower. You can find her listening to anything from Cardi B’s ‘Up’ to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’
Although no day is the same for Nneka as a nurse, she definitely knows how important it is for her to experience life and travel. Find out how Nneka balances her career, traveling, and more.
Travel Noire: How do you balance your career & love for traveling?
Nneka Meredith: Very delicately and with a great degree of restraint (lol). I am super fortunate to have a career in nursing because it affords me quite a bit of flexibility. With my schedule being varied ( i.e. I can work any day of the week), I use this to my advantage to feed my passion for travel! I maximize my vacation days as best as I can, and find opportunities to travel whenever I can. I used weekend and holidays as bookends for my trips. I do my best to coordinate with my amazing coworkers to switch days, pickup extra shifts, whatever is necessary to help solidify that time-off request.In short, I make travel a priority.
Travel Noire: What country is your favorite place to visit and why?
Nneka Meredith: I love travel for the wonderful connections I make and the cultural immersion I experience. And most all my trips have given me that tenfold. But, if I had to pick one place, it would be Zanzibar, Tanzania.
The feeling of stepping onto African soil for the first time is indescribable. I just kept thinking of my ancestors, how hard they fought, and that I am a product of that fight. That had it not been for their persistence and tenacity, I would not have made it back “home”. I truly believe that every single person of African descent needs to visit Africa; to feel the warmth of her sun, hear the beat of her drums, feel her energy and be amongst family. Zanzibar will always be special to me.
A close runner-up would be the Philippines. Before COVID-19 came and turned everything upside down, I was highly involved in international medical missions, disaster relief, and educational outreach initiatives. This led me to travel to places like Thailand, Cuba, and the Philippines to provide medical care to individuals in desperate need. Being able to use the skill set I acquired in nursing to provide a service to those communities— especially in remote areas where we are often the only medical personnel they see for long periods of time— is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my profession.
Travel Noire: When traveling what are your top 3 things that you must bring?
Nneka Meredith: Definitely my Passport. It allows me access to 187 countries. My cellphone, for calls and to take my pics for the gram. Also, cash and my credit or debit card.
Travel Noire: Have you ever been on vacation and had to turn your nurse hat on?
Nneka Meredith: Definitely. There have been a few circumstances where people have passed out, broken bones, had seizures, etc. Thankfully, in all these situations, the individuals were able to be safely transported to the hospital. Suffice to say, I don’t think my nurse hat is ever truly “turned off.”
Travel Noire: You always look so fabulous in your photos while traveling. Who’s taking these beautiful photos, and what camera should we all be using?
Nneka Meredith: In the words of the poet laureate Mr. Snoop Dog, “I wanna thank me!” But seriously, 90% of the images displayed on my feed are taken by myself and Ms. TriBae— my trusty tripod. I highly recommended getting a sturdy tripod. You can find great ones on Amazon for as little as $23.
Every so often I will use an image taken by a photographer, whom I always tag for their credit. Other times I get help from my friends (after giving very specific directions). I have a passion for photography, and I am a bit of a perfectionist. I love to have wonderfully vibrant photos to remember my trips. I place as much importance on my photos of the trip, as the actual trip, because those photos are where my memories of that trip are saved.
As far as a camera, we are very fortunate to be living in an era where cellphone cameras do a superb job of giving you great images in most situations. Whether you’re Team iPhone or Android, the most important aspects of getting a great shot are a clean lens, great natural lighting, careful editing. To me, these are the critical areas to focus on when taking your photographs, no matter which camera you use. If the lens is dirty, there might be areas of blurriness or smudges in your photo. If the lighting is awful from the beginning, it may be quite difficult, and tedious, to try to fix your image in the editing stages. Better to choose an area or a time of day when the is plenty of natural light, the brighter/sunnier, the better. The final stage is editing. Most all the amazing, vibrant, crisp photos that are displayed on the internet have been through some form of editing. Whether it be from paid editors like Adobe Lightroom, or free ones like Google Snapseed. Learning to properly edit your photos can really transform an image from basic to baddie. Of course, a high-end camera worth thousands of dollars can potentially give you a better image, but for a regular, on-the-go girl like myself, I appreciate the minimal number of gadgets to carry and keep track of.
Travel Noire: What are your next destinations for 2022?
Nneka Meredith: I am a hoping that I’m able to get to finally get to Bali, Turkey, and Switzerland.
Travel Noire: What advice would you offer other career women & men who work a 9-5 but want to travel?
Nneka Meredith: Simply, make travel a priority and build it into your life. Most people state they can’t travel, or they don’t have enough time, or it’s too expensive. But really, it’s all about the way they want to travel. So, I would suggest plan, plan, plan. I cannot stress how important it is to plan ahead. For the majority of my trips, I start planning at least 6 months to 1 year in advance. At the very least, I select the dates I want to travel and start looking at accommodations and flights to see what the pricing is like. Yes, there is always time for spontaneity, but planning ahead helps you to budget better for your trips. It also gives you more time to play around with the dates too and see which ones work better for your price point.
Set up a separate bank account for travel, and have a budget for each trip. Depending on the type of traveler you are, the location you are visiting, and how your bank account is set up, your budget can vary widely. Between flights, accommodations, activities, travel insurance, money for emergencies, etc., these expenses can add up. Booking in advance can save you tons of money, which you can then take a put back into your future travels.
You can take frequent short trips, and as I mentioned before, use those weekends and holidays to extend the length of the trip. Select countries that require less flight time. It takes away the need to have 2 extra days taken away from your trip to travel each direction If you have a career that allows for more flexibility, then you have more room to work with. You can also follow flight deals and try to visit during the tourist “low season.” If you are too busy or dislike the planning portion of the trip, as this can get very stressful, hire a travel company.