Kerri MacDonald/NYT (Jada Yuan)

Her Job: To Travel the World!

Writer Jada Yuan spent a whole year traveling—and got paid for it.

Jim Mcmahon ®Mapman (map); Jada Yuan/The New york times (all other photos)

1. Meeting people dressed up for Carnival, a special celebration in Trinidad

2. Eating queen ant tacos in Bolivia—they were smoky and crunchy!

3. Riding camels through the desert

    Imagine waking up in a new place every week. One day, you might be watching elephants in Africa. The next day, you could be eating a fancy meal in France. That’s what life was like for Jada Yuan (yoo-ahn) last year. The New York Times—a famous newspaper—hired her to travel to 52 places.

    Jada is a journalist. That means she interviews people and writes true stories about current events. Last year, Jada went to a new place each week. She wrote about the people she met, the food she ate, and more. Why? So readers could learn about different ways of life! We asked Jada what it was like to travel for a whole year.

    Why did you become a journalist?

    I’m curious, but I’m also shy. And journalism is a good job if you’re shy. I’m not great at going up to new people and just saying hello. Journalism is like putting on a superhero cape. I have questions to ask, so I know exactly what to say. It gives me a lot of confidence.

    What’s one thing that surprised you about traveling for so long?

    At the beginning, I was worried about something going wrong—like missing a flight. Then I got calmer the longer I traveled. I realized that one problem isn’t the end of the world. Things always work out in the end, and it’s easier to fix the issue when you’re calm.

    What was the scariest thing you did on your travels?

    I went canyoning while I was in France. That’s an activity where you explore a river. You have to jump off high cliffs and slide down steep waterfalls. The water was frigid.


    Wow, that’s intense!

    Yes, it was! I grew up in New Mexico, which is mostly desert. So I’m not very comfortable in the water. Canyoning pushed me outside of my comfort zone. And that’s really what traveling is all about!

    What advice would you give to a kid who wants to be a journalist? 

    Start practicing! Interview your family and friends. You’d be surprised at all the cool stuff they have to say. And remember: Journalism is more than just writing. You can be a TV journalist or even tell stories through Instagram.

    Are you tired of traveling now? 

    Definitely not. I’ve learned so much about the world and the people in it. If you get the chance to travel, take it! You’ll never regret it. 

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