We had the pleasure of interviewing Jade (pronounced Jah-jee) Moyano of Trust and Travel. Jade is a world traveler, mentor, poet, and journalist currently based in Lisbon. We spoke about living your truth, grounding yourself even with wanderlust, and the deep benefits of travel.
Trust and Travel is a project I started with Erin Blacque. I was living in Bali when I had the opportunity to teach my first writing workshop (apart from Trust and Travel). I realized people wanted guidance and to learn the writing industry better. People wanted to know more about publishing, pitching, etc. Erin was a writer I admired. In 2019 we started our first retreat in Mexico.
What advice would you give to someone who really wanted to start traveling but did not know where to begin? The best way to begin is to just go. It can be hard when you look at the world and take in all the variety and all the options, but look inside of yourself, and I would look at what is important to you. Things get more clear when you do things with integrity. I’ve always wanted to travel, but if I were to just open a magazine and say “I want to go where these people are” that wouldn’t be authentic to me. I think success has so much to do with alignment and doing what feels true for you. Be authentic to yourself, to your heart, to your values. I think it's important for people who want to get into travel to think about why that is and then you’ll know where to go. Think about the reasons why that is.
How do you choose your destinations when planning retreats? When traveling on your own? When I am traveling on my own, the more remote [the place] the better, the more off the grid, remote, or exotic the better. When planning retreats, we choose places that are unique and special but are also a bit easier to land. We go to places owned by locals, there is a story behind every location we choose - no resorts. The owners of the places we stay create something from their hearts, with a lot of creativity and love behind their projects. We are mindful of other travelers - for example, Bali is a dream destination but the travel time is very intense. So we plan somewhere manageable and easier to land (but still very beautiful and exciting) for our retreats.
Can you tell us more about retreats? How do you join them and what are the benefits? Our retreats are focused on using writing for emotional, spiritual, and creative well-being. It’s a tool to get people to do work they haven’t been able to do in a long time to get into contact with their creativity or explore parts of themselves they haven’t been able to explore. We encourage people to have an interest in writing. We write a lot, 4-6 hours a day. But it’s not like a classroom, we host workshops and exercises, we set you up, and you can go and write on your own. It’s your retreat, if you want to swim and be by the pool then it's your retreat, but we set you up to write. It’s helpful to journal beforehand and practice writing a bit. An interest in writing is recommended, and a desire to be around other people and learn from others, it is a very social experience. It’s helpful for people to be open to the group dynamic - you get so much out of the people who are there, so an openness to being around others is important.
What is one of the most impactful lessons you have learned while traveling? To be okay with being alone and going alone, not waiting for others to want to do the same type of adventures as me. Some of my best moments traveling happened while I was alone. Also, never let your guard down, always be alert and attuned to your surroundings. The one time I let my guard down something very sketchy happened and it was a really good omen to stay always present and intentional. I'm not saying don't relax, I’m saying be present and humble so you can fully pay attention.
Where is one of the most memorable places you’ve been? Is there a story you’d like to share about it? I had some incredible months in Peru working with an indigenous community in a remote part of the Amazon. We were learning natural design techniques from indigenous women such as dying fibers with seeds and bark. We also worked to raise funds to install water filters in the villages since there was so much mercury contamination in their water source. It was a very meaningful trip, being so connected to the jungle and so off the grid. Trekking in the Andes was also one of my best memories, snow was falling and it was just us and the mountains. We slept in a hut made of straw in the snow with a fire inside, the indigenous guides made us a soup and we chewed coca leaves for hours in ceremony.
Are there any travel myths you’d like to bust? That traveling is dangerous, but in reality, I find that the true danger lies in not experiencing the world. To discriminate is more dangerous, and to “otherize” or look at people with judgment is so much more dangerous than to go out there and have an experience. Of course, take precautions, and do your homework. That is the beauty of retreats, if you are intimidated or unsure about doing something alone, we are professionals and take charge of everything. Once you sign up for a retreat all you have to do is book a flight. I think if you are intimidated to start traveling I think retreats are a great place to start. We offer scholarships for BIPOC writers, to make it an accessible experience. I just want to be clear, there are dangers in traveling, but there are also dangers in not doing so.
What are some benefits of travel that you feel people should know? The biggest takeaway from travel I think is the ability to put yourself in other people's shoes, I think it is so important to see how other people live, and the range of experiences other people have on this planet, get out of your bubble and comfort zone, it’s extremely growth-inducing, travel tests your inner wisdom, your intuition, traveling is the best school ever.
How do you maintain your routines while traveling? I’ve been a big meditator for a long time - meditation is the one thing don’t need to bring anything and can do it anywhere. Meditation has saved my life so many times, especially when traveling. I can meditate on a bus, on the plane, when I land, or when I go to bed. I think it's a great process to connect with yourself and not get overwhelmed. In terms of other routines, I’m still working on getting better at that like the gym. I have a pretty consistent routine at home, but while traveling not so much. I take yoga classes when I’m abroad. For example, when I was in Bangkok I took a hot yoga class in Thai and that was fun. Routines are really tough, but I always come back to meditation. Journaling is a good mediation as well.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Literature, so much of my inspiration is from literature. If I’m not writing I’m reading. I just finished Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me. I also just started reading Angela Davis's autobiography. I also gain inspiration from nature, I’ve lived in nature most of my life. I grew up in Brazil so I need to be around warmth. Even though now I live in a city, I can see the water from here, I make sure I have natural light. I’m very inspired by the natural world and literature.
How do you write, or move forward with creative pursuits when you aren’t feeling inspired? Are there any rituals you have? I take time off. I go to work out, or to the beach, I read or listen to music. Sometimes you need space from the writing. One of my favorite rituals is making playlists and fake DJ'ing, which takes my mind off things. Traveling is also a guaranteed way to inspire myself, even on small road trips. Driving, blasting music, seeing new places, and being close to nature.
How can we get more inspiration while at home? For me, movement and learning. I’m one of those people who are never bored. For me, it’s doing something with my hands, cooking, painting, etc. Writing is something very cerebral and intellectual, when I can’t type another word or read another book, I can set things down and bake, or paint - just do something with my hands.
Tell us more about your experience as a writer, when did you start writing, how has your relationship evolved with writing? I studied political science, I was interested in politics and history but writing is just something that happened to me because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I tried doing other things, but was only happy when writing. [My relationship with writing] has evolved so much - from the beginning, I knew this was what I needed to do with my life, and it became a source of financial grounding for me. I knew that writing was something I would do for a career, and then it developed into something I loved to do, but not as a job anymore. It became something creative, something I did for work, and then back to a creative process, and now it is an offering. I do more guiding and teaching, mentoring, and now write poetry. Poetry is not something I ever created space for before but now is my thing. So it’s funny to see how things change and evolve as you grow, and also how the world changes.
How did you realize you were a writer? How might our audience realize there is a craft they may have? I liked writing when I was very young, and I found that to be interesting because no one else liked it. I was the one reading and writing as a kid. I have been writing in journals since I was ten. Coming from a big family and having a lot to say, I’m one out of six kids. Writing became a place of comfort for me. I kept a journal, I felt it was the way I knew I was heard. I felt, ‘I could express myself here and no one needs to know what my real thoughts are… but I know they exist.’ Coming from a big family it could be chaotic, and having a lot to say but not being given the space for it but taking to the pages as a form of rebellion in a way. I was also fascinated by and admired good writers. I would read things and go “I want to do that” I had a love for words.
As far as others owning their craft, only they know what's for them. I always say to be authentic and true to your heart. When do you feel your best? What can you not stop doing?