An avid traveler who happens to be a student in Cape Town, meet Chao Mbogo. She’s been around the world, probably

At Pico do Areeiro - Madeira, at 1810 meters above sea level. Visited April 2015.
At Pico do Areeiro – Madeira, at 1810 meters above sea level. Visited April 2015.

the most traveled among our interviewees. Check out her social accounts for more of her; @evangelinechao on twitter and @chaoevangeline on instagram.

  1. First, just tell us about yourself and how you are involved in the tourism industry.

I am a Kenyan PhD Computer Science student at University of Cape Town in South Africa.

I have insatiable wanderlust – I suppose that is how I am involved in the tourism industry.

  1. Where did you get that love for tourism, nature and traveling from?

The love is innate.

The first time I traveled out of Kenya, I was visiting my sister & family who lived in Swaziland then. I was 18 and I was traveling alone. I was nervous but I found lone traveling quite adventurous. The flight was going via Blantyre – Malawi, and there was a bit of a layover. I was so cautious about talking to strangers or even walking far from the airport lounge lest I be left with the plane. I suppose that first trip was when the wanderlust was fully ignited and also my traveling habits – I mostly travel alone and I mostly mind my own business when I travel.

  1. Are you contented with how much you have traveled and places you have visited so far? What was your best destination?
The Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. Visited in March 2014.
The Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. Visited in March 2014.

Not at all.

I have this application called ‘been’, which tells me that I have visited just 6% of the world so far; 12% of Europe; 2% of North America and 12% of Africa. So clearly, I am doing badly with Asia, South America and Oceania.

In Kenya, I have visited and stayed in almost all the parts except the northern and north-eastern part. For example, I was born in Coast, grew up in Nyanza, studied in Eastern province, visited Central province often, worked in Nairobi, and one of my sisters is married in Western province where I have been to severally. But, I have not at all exhausted traveling through Kenya, which is something I intend to do when I get back to Kenya.

My best destination outside Kenya is Madeira, Portugal. That place is heaven on earth.

My best destination in Kenya is Samburu, with its awesome game lodges and the nature reserve.

  1. Take us through your travel bucketlist.
  • I want to do a train-ride only through Europe. For example, take the English Channel train from London to Paris, and then Paris to Amsterdam.
  • I also want to do shark-cage diving in Cape Town before I leave.Hard-Cage
  • I love to drive, especially long distance. So in Kenya I want to do a two-week road trip through several stops. And yes, one of them will be Samburu.
  1. How often do you travel?

I fly about 3-4 times a year.

When in Kenya about once every two months.

  1. What are the most important lessons you have learnt from your trips?

    Part of the Berlin Wall in Germany. Visited in June 2014
    Part of the Berlin Wall in Germany. Visited in June 2014
  • Be careful what you eat! If possible, pack your own snacks and wait to have a proper meal at your destination.
  • Triple check that you have all your travel documents before leaving. I keep a checklist just to be sure.
  • Read about the destination prior to your travel. Things like local transport are particularly useful to figure out before arrival. Also check the weather forecast. And also find out how people dress in the area. No need to shock people with hot pants in a conservative environment.
  • If you are a reader like me, books are your friends when you travel.
  • Mind your own business! I think this is a golden rule about life really.
  1. What is the most frustrating part about trips?
  • On road trips, when you get a puncture in the middle of nowhere.
  • On air trips, being left by a plane. Fortunately, this has never happened to me. I am paranoid about time, I would rather be at the airport 3 hours before time.
  • On all trips, when your body decides to work against you – everything from stomach aches to swollen feet.
  1. Do you consider yourself a traveler or a tourist? Why?
At Ronaldo's statue in Madeira, Portugal. Visited April 2015.
At Ronaldo’s statue in Madeira, Portugal. Visited April 2015.

A traveler. Because I travel for both business and pleasure. Whereas I think tourism is mostly pleasure.

  1. Any comments on #TembeaKenya efforts and to others about traveling through Kenya?

More people need to save up to travel. Traveling does not have to be an expensive affair, especially if done as a group. I like the quote that says: ‘traveling opens a window to the world’. This is true as it really does make you appreciate other people, and be open to others’ differences.

  1. Funtravel Hot Seat: You are going for a roadtrip, but you have only two seats left and have three people to invite on board; Michael Owuor, Mark Masai or Chris Kirubi. One will sit next to you, the other will sit at the back of the bus and the third will not board. Who will be where?

Is this a trick question?(laughs)

Michael is my friend, so he certainly gets the first seat next to me.

I do not know the other two gentlemen personally, so we may have to toss a coin on this one. Heads you get the last seat, tails you do not board.

*After the coin toss, Mark Masai got the back seat while DJ CK was left behind. We bet he will take a helicopter to our destination, and be there before the bus.

Mandela's cell at Robben Island, Cape Town.
Mandela’s cell at Robben Island, Cape Town.

We are grateful to @evangelinechao for the interview. If you have any comments, please share on the comments’ section or via our twitter page @funtravelke . You can also suggest anyone to be considered for future interviews. Thank you.



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