Hibiscus Traveller

We’ve been following the Hibiscus Traveller since the very first blog post on a cold winter morning in 2014, warming our hands over a cup of coffee while reading all about Jemma Varanisese’s unusually sunny encounter in London town. Since then, her posts have inspired us, educated us and informed us on the “do’s and don’ts” of travelling the world. 

What is the Hibiscus Traveller and how did you come up with the idea?

Being lucky enough to travel the world from a young age, I naturally jumped at the chance to travel on my own at the age of seventeen. At the time I was living on a remote island in Vanuatu teaching at a high school, which led to working and travelling around the US. Eventually I ended up backpacking on my own around Europe – and I haven’t slowed down since!

While travelling to new exotic locations (and I did this a couple of times a year), I found that Facebook updates and Instagram photos could only convey such a limited snapshot of my travels. There were so many intricate details and wild adventures that happened on the road that needed to be shared – and so the idea for The Hibiscus Traveller was born.

When I left Australia last year in pursuit of my dream to travel more and for longer – it seemed to be the perfect time to launch my blog. At first it was a creative outlet to develop my travel writing, through sharing personal experiences, tricks and tips and anything else that I learnt during my travels, and eventually it evolved to include FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

The aim in all this is simple… to inspire others to travel – to evoke a sense of urgency and need to get out there and explore – to see, feel and experience the incredible diversity of life and culture this world has to offer us!


How did you muster up the courage to take the first step?

The hardest part of blogging is starting – actually putting all your ideas and thoughts into writing then believing in yourself enough to give it a go! In the beginning I was so nervous about putting my writing and ideas out there for people to see, but all my hesitations faded away after receiving feedback and encouragement. More importantly, I realised I was inspiring others to travel.

In terms of taking the first step to move to the other side of the world… It was a dream – years in the making. I only decided that this was 100 per cent what I wanted to do about six months before leaving Australia!

It took a lot of perseverance and determination, two jobs with no days off, scrupulous saving, self-discipline and sacrifice to make it happen. It was all worth it, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.


How do you stay motivated to push forward with your dream?

Nothing makes me happier than travelling. I’m obsessed. My dream is to build a career that allows me to continue exploring new places while traveling around the world – for the rest of my life. I’d love to continue to inspire others to travel too.  Staying motivated is so easy because I’m driven by my passion to travel.

My career so far has been in travel and tourism and I’ve always strived to stretch myself to develop my skills. I’ve always aimed to be an appealing candidate with well-rounded experience.


Any advice for anyone wanting to travel the world?

Anyone can travel the world. Anyone of any age and any budget and any circumstance. All it takes is a dream and the willingness to pursue it! You may have to readjust your priorities on what you can spend on in order to save up for a trip of a lifetime – but the lessons you learn and fulfilment you gain from travel are priceless.

When planning a holiday always do your research. Shop around online and compare with travel agents to get the best prices. Sign up with travel sites, agencies and airlines to get alerts for big sales.

Ask around for advice from people who have been to your dream destination and try to find out who may have a friend, or a friend of a friend there. Local knowledge is gold!

Once on your trip….Be spontaneous, get off the wifi and talk to people! Some of the most incredible memories from my travels have been unplanned detours and adventures after making friends with locals or with other travellers.


What does the future hold for you and for the Hibiscus Traveller?

Being based in London I feel like I’m in the centre of a travellers universe! Everywhere is so close and so cheap compared to travelling from Australia.

In the past 8 months I’ve been able to go to a new country every month and I’ve travelled to places I would never have dreamt of going, like Iceland and the Caribbean. So of course plenty of travel is on the cards for the rest of 2015!

I’m currently working in Travel Management for two large media agencies in London, which allows me to be involved in high profile media events. It also gives me the chance to work closely with airlines, luxury hotels and event spaces in London, Europe and the U.S. I’ll be drawing on these events and locations as sources of inspiration for new pieces to feature on the blog.

This year I’ll continue to develop The Hibiscus Traveller as a brand, focusing heavily on producing more written pieces – in the hopes of working towards becoming a travel feature writer and eventually monetising my blog and my writing.


We’d like to thank Jemma for sharing her time with us and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and The Hibiscus Traveller. If you’d like to stay up to date with her travels, you can follow her Blog, FacebookInstagram or Twitter


Arieta Tora Rika is a Tongan-Fijian Freelance Writer, Digital Communications Specialist, and Talanoa's Founder and Creative Director. Born in Darlinghurst in the late 80s, she spent most of her childhood in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, and all of her teen years in Tonga. She now lives in Western Sydney with her husband Josese.