Photo Credit: Njari Carr
Explore Rustic Jamaica With Travel Buddy JA, A Black-Woman Owned Company
Travel Buddy JA is the brainchild of 36-year-old Njari Carr. Born and raised in rural Jamaica, she moved to the capital city of Kingston at age 23 to attend college. As a marketing major, she studied business administration, and later moved on to a Master’s degree in gender and development studies.
After completing her degree, Njari worked with several NGOs in human rights advocacy, particularly around sexual health and marginalized groups. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the job market became harder to navigate in her field. And in July 2020, Njari made the decision to start Travel Buddy JA.
“I decided to create a business around my long-standing passion of travel and adventure; one that also draws on other areas of my personality and identity, such as my creativity, my passion for the empowerment of girls and women, and my love for photography and creating new concepts and safe spaces,” she told Travel Noire.
Travel Buddy JA caters to women only, and aims to provide a safe space for women to explore, network, and practice self-care. It is ideal for women who want to explore Jamaica— especially rustic Jamaica— and it’s authentic culture and experiences.
“The Caribbean is known for boasting the most magnificent beaches and warm turquoise waters. However, outside of our beaches, Jamaica has a vast landscape of lush greenery, beautiful mountains, and the most captivating waterfalls and rivers.”
If this rustic experience isn’t enough, says Njari, Jamaican culture is deeply rooted in their motto ‘out of many, one people.’ This lends to the personable and captivating personalities you encounter when interacting with native Jamaicans. The island has a diverse population, which includes different pockets of indigenous communities.
“Our food consists of some of the world’s best coffee, premium rum, exotic fruits, and of course our famous jerk style of cooking. There are beautiful experiences to be had in Jamaica, and authentic vibrations to be experienced where there is movement of energy when interacting with our people and our places. So, if someone is looking for that depth of engagement, pursuing a local travel service can definitely support that.”
Njari created travel spaces specifically for women because she felt it was something important and much-needed in the travel arena.
“It provides opportunities for women to bond with other women without the added levels of gender norms and expectations, or ideas around performances of masculinity and femininity. The parallels across lived realities among women are so great that a natural sort of sisterhood is instinctively formed, almost like a recognition of self in others.”
The main services offered by Travel Buddy JA are private adventures, shared group trips, and adventure planning.
“With private adventures, clients have complete input in planning the adventure, customized to their particular wants and needs. With the shared monthly trips, clients join a trip that has already been curated by Travel Buddy JA. They can book individual seats on these open trips, and on the day of the adventure, come together as a group. These trips provide marvelous opportunities for networking, socializing, and meeting women with similar interests.”
Both the private adventures and shared trips include transportation and a travel companion (or companions, depending on the size of the group.) Alternately, travelers can have an adventure plan (without transportation or a travel companion) curated for them, allowing them to enjoy an itinerary made just for them to explore on their own as they please.
Njari also created Travel Box JA, which serves as a one-stop shop to prepare travelers for their adventures.
“Currently, our main product is snack boxes, which usually contain traditional Jamaican snacks or a mixture of these baked goods and more mainstream options. Boxes can also be customized or upgraded to include adventure plans, liquor, and board games.”
Njari says that Travel Buddy JA will continue to evolve in diversified ways to meet the needs of its clients. Since it is a relatively new businesses, there is a lot of room and flexibility to further craft the service.
“I am currently doing extensive market research to see what particular direction or directions I want to take it in. However, regardless of direction, customers can always look forward to the guarantee of good service, authentic experiences, and lifelong memories.”
Pricing for Travel Buddy JA’s travel services is dependent on the customization of each adventure, so clients should schedule a consultation to express what they would like their experience to entail. Consultations, booking requests, and general inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the company at @travelbuddyja.