AN English teacher in Suhar is on a travelling spree. Her mantra is travel slowly, explore further and experience more. An intriguing writer, photographer and an explorer, sprightly Jenny Singleton is more than that.
A Canadian by birth, she however has not lived in her home country since 2004 and is on the move working or just travelling. Travel, according to her can be sheer fun even though it can get hard at times. She has a totally different concept about travel. A nomad, ‘travel slowly’ seems to be a cliché for her. She believes in seeing the world slowly, taking her time and soaking up the atmosphere and makes it a point to spend time in cafes, parks, watching life and talking to people. This she says ‘helps one to really understand what the place feels like and what life is like. During travelling, Jenny checks out good photo spots, markets, food options, cemeteries, good hikes, and anything that looks a bit unusual.
During the past 10 years, she has lived in South Korea, Scotland and Vietnam, having travelled a lot around and between these places. Jenny tries to get out into the countryside and smaller towns, because life doesn’t just exist in cities. An intrepid traveller that she is, Jenny prefers to wander down back streets, seeing how people really live, which has led her to some great experiences. She recounts her time in Mexico when she was invited to join a family who was having a party on their patio and saw her walking by. She often gets to interact with local children as kids are fun and quite hilarious anywhere in the world!
An offshoot of travelling is photography, her latest passion. From camel racing at Al Khabourah, goat market at Nizwa Souq or sights at Muscat Festival, she has got it all on her camera.
She undertakes road trips for a day or longer if she has a long weekend or on longer holidays when she usually plans overseas trip. Fresh from a recent trip to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, where she clicked Bengal tigers, Jenny has crafted her own style of travelling a bit different from everyone.
Travelling in Oman, according to Jenny, makes for some interesting adventures. Recently, she and her friend decided to explore Wadi Hibi Road out of Suhar.
“We found ourselves well off the map and had no clue where we were heading to, but the road was quite new and desolate, and it just kept going through stunning mountain landscape. But then it ended abruptly, and we took a detour through a wadi. I was a bit worried about getting stuck driving through the pools of water and the steep hill, but in the end it was quite easy. The good road started up again on the other side, winding through more beautiful rocky mountain until we finally found our way back to the map and could make our way home.” However, she says one just do not get these kind of adventures in countries where all the roads have been established for long time.
Even though she considers Vancouver her ‘home’, in the past 14 years she had so many different homes that she has loved and always misses a bunch of different places all at once. She now has friends scattered throughout the world, many of whom are travellers like her! That means she sometimes unexpectedly gets to meet up with an old friend in some random part of the world. Before she travels she usually starts looking at what the big sites are to see. But once she knows those she delves into lesser-known places to visit, things a bit off the beaten path that look cool.
Jenny really loves hiking through amazing scenery, and if she is in a car in a stunning place, she usually prefers to stop every 5 minutes and take a photo. “I like culture but find it more and more difficult these days to experience anything authentic if you’re just passing through. It is a lot easier to know and understand local culture when you live in a place and have local friends and co-workers, but it also takes time.”
She loves food and tries just about anything that’s put in front of her and always enjoy food tours or cooking classes in any place she visits. Jenny has had a couple of interesting jobs from working on a 5-star tourist train in Scotland, to nannying for a Grammy-winning musician, as well as teaching English which she does at present.
Working as a steward in Scotland really enabled her to save a bunch to travel more. Travelling the length and breadth of Scotland during three different seasons enabled her to experience the ‘gorgeous land of mountain wildernesses’. She discovered many small towns which she might not have found on her own and prefers to go back to do more exploring one day.
Jenny’s interests are also into gardening and hiking. Although she finds it soothing to dig in the dirt and the rewards of having her own fresh tomatoes straight from the vine, herbs for use in cooking, or just pretty flowers to look at. In recent years, she has also tried her hand at hiking, scenery and also birds and wildlife. Her travel musings can be found at her travel blog, jennyfaraway.com, which chronicles her experiences with colourful photographs.
(Pictures by Jenny Singleton)