active 1 day ago

Jon Jen

Currently based in the Chicagoland Area, Jon is currently an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying Economics and (surprise...) International Studies. Born and raised in New Jersey, he has always looked for every opportunity to escape his rather boring suburb and travel as much as possible.

When in New York City for the summer, Jon wrote itineraries for Visit.org, a travel startup that focuses on local, community-based, sustainable tours around the world. Ever since he has continued to learn about global destinations and share knowledge with others. Jon especially enjoys writing about tropical destinations, as it helps him get over the fact that Chicago never seems to have warm, sunny days while school is in session.

Jon has so far visited China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Bermuda, and France, and hopes to one day travel to Peru, Japan, Bali, and Thailand. In his spare time, Jon enjoys drawing, playing the guitar, and going for runs along Lake Michigan.

How did you get involved in travel?

"The summer after my freshman year of college, I had plans to intern at a sports sales company, which turned out to be a lot less exciting than it sounds. When I looked for my next opportunity, I was in Asia at the time, exploring both my own culture and customs as well as new ones. I journeyed across thousands of miles, witnessing both old and new, in the company of friends, family, or often times, just by myself. It was then I considered doing something travel-related when I got back, and after several attempts to reach out across time zones, I returned to the States to start a new travel writing and marketing internship.

The one moment that truly stuck with me while interning was when I was running a tour of NYC's Chinatown and Lower East Side with Hostelling International. My group included tourists from France, Taiwan, Australia, and even Kazakhstan, and listening to their stories of their homelands and cultures as I shared my own inspired me tremendously. Experiences like this make travel so fulfilling for me, and I hope to have more of them as I get more involved and travel to ever more distant destinations."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"When I went to Mexico, I expected it to be a classic, college spring break experience. I could not have been more wrong, as it ended up being a trip full of local and cultural adventure. One afternoon, I wanted to buy a coconut to refresh after a long day in the sun. I went to a small vendor, but it turned out they ran out of their supply. Just then, another man working there told me not to worry, and that there was always a way. He promptly climbed a nearby decorative coconut tree, pulled down some coconuts, and got out his machete to cut one open. I could not believe how simple and whimsical his solution was, and could only mutter "gracias" as I reached for my wallet!"

Featured trips & expertise

Beautiful Rio Celeste in Tenorio National Park
Best of Costa Rica - 14 Days

This two-week itinerary includes almost all of Costa Rica's signature destinations. Experience zip-lining, nature hikes, and more while surrounding yourself with some of Central America's most beautiful landscapes.

A view across Lake Titicaca.
Classic Southern Peru - 14 Days

Experience the ultimate introduction to Peru in just two weeks with this active itinerary that includes options for both hiking and biking. From Inca ruins to quaint villages, bustling streets to serene landscapes, this journey across the Andes will include all the main destinations that highlight Peru's unique culture and history.

Sunrise at U Bein Bridge
Myanmar's Classic Highlights

Most people are familiar with Myanmar's 'Big Four' destinations — Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake — but there are a number of other unique and beautiful places to visit during your trip to Myanmar. Here's a list of the other 'top' places to visit and experience during your trip to Myanmar.