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Hometown: Newberry, SC
Travel Specialty: Cultural Immersion
Veronica Jacob is graduating with a JD from the University of Oklahoma’s law school this May and has been working in the public diplomacy and cultural affairs office at the US Embassy in Kampala, Uganda.
What excites you the most about travel?
Stories! When people let me into their world and show me things not on display for the typical tourist. The adventures, mishaps and unexpected moments. Challenging myself and abandoning my comfort zone. Learning how to do what comes so easy to those in that culture (such as balancing a gallon of water on my head!). And, of course, the people, traditions, rituals, art, food, culture and dance.
What do you like least about travel?
Communication barriers. If I had 1 superpower, it would be the ability to communicate in any language. I relish the nuances of language, so when we are relegated to only a rudimentary form of communication — while it is endearing — it is frustrating to know that there are layers of meaning and understanding I am completely missing.
What was your favorite travel adventure?
We were a motley crew, including a pretty little Brit, a pair from Australia, and a homegrown Oklahoman and his son, all noodling in the Oklahoma/Texas Red River. Noodling is that precarious sport that requires you to stick your hand in a potential catfish hole, and when you feel a bite, you: 1) hope it’s a catfish, and 2) hook your fingers through the gills and wrestle it out of the water.
What do you like to do for fun?
Drag unsuspecting friends to unexpected places. Visit local theaters, film premieres, poetry slams, dance performances, musical performances and block parties. Long walks, exploring, adventures such as kayaking, zip-lining, boating, scuba diving/snorkeling, triathlons and 5Ks. The arts, including painting, sculpting, sketching, photography, filming, interviewing and writing. And EATING!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
FOOD! I am definitely an addict. Especially when it comes to sugar. I have a bad reputation.
Why do you want to be the next Travel Channel Star?
To serve others through my passion for people, adventure and story, and to serve Travel Channel by engaging an untapped young-adult audience with substantive entertainment. I believe in harnessing the power of media and storytelling to entertain, educate, inspire and engage; to shift perspectives; to encourage others to abandon their comfort zones, break the monotony and challenge the status quo; and to challenge myself to practice what I preach.