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Necheeka is enjoying life with a passport in hand

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Necheeka Trott swinging in Bali (Photograph supplied)

Necheeka Trott always had a goal, to see 50 countries before her 50th birthday.

But when her 50th rolled around last September 15, the pandemic was still going strong.

“I still travelled, but I did not go as far,” the Bermuda College mathematics teacher said.

So she has revised her goal, 50 countries by the time she turns 51.

She only has three trips left to go to meet the target.

Necheeka’s hot tips for travelling

1. Research, research, research. Learn as much as possible about your intended destination before you go.

2. If you would like to do more travelling but don’t have a lot of spare funds, consider that some companies overseas will let you put a vacation on layaway. You can put money towards a trip every month, until you have paid for it.

3. Take advantage of frequent flyer mile programmes and credit card rewards systems, as much as possible. That can take some of the expense out of travel

“I just left the travel agency,” she said. “I am planning my summer vacation, right now.”

She knows that her first trip will be to Turkey.

“My second trip might be to Ireland or the Netherlands,” she said. “I am still investigating my third trip.”

Ms Trott shares some of her travel experiences on her Instagram page, @TravellingTrotty, and has spoken about her trips at events such as the Women’s Empowerment Summit back in February.

“Travel has enhanced my life and allowed me to see how big and yet how small the world is,” she said. “It has helped me to appreciate the different cultures and cuisines.”

She comes from a travelling family. When she was ten years old, her family took her to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

“I was like, wow!” she said.

In her mid twenties, she took her first solo trip.

“I had the opportunity to go to St Martin for just under a week,” she said.

The Caribbean island is actually two countries, the Dutch St Maarten, and the French St Martin. Ms Trott went to both sides.

“I explored the country and really appreciated it for everything that it was,” she said.

She encourages everyone, particularly women to take some trips on their own. She believes it helps with relaxation and confidence.

“You understand how to be fearless,” she said. “There is a sense of empowerment.”

But she also regularly travels with groups of friends and family, or with just one good friend.

Sometimes when she is travelling her skin colour makes her stand out.

“Travelling as a Black person can be a different experience,” she said. “Sometimes the people in the countries I visit have never seen a person of my complexion. They want to touch your hair.”

But she feels that the world has become more diverse and the tolerance level has improved, compared to a few years ago.

“But there are still pockets in the world that are not as accepting,” she said.

Ms Trott said there are also a lot of myths when you travel.

“You have to do your own research and determine what your comfort level is in that process,” she said.

Necheeka Trott exploring Santorini, Greece (Photograph supplied)

In 2009, she went to Kenya to visit a college friend. At the time, the news was reporting a crisis in the country.

“I contacted my friend and said, should I be coming?” Ms Trott said. “She said Necheeka, you will be fine. And we got there, and what the media portrayed and what we encountered on the ground was night and day. We felt safe. Kenya is a beautiful country. It is very advanced.”

That experience taught her to take what the media says with a grain of salt.

She can not pinpoint a favourite destination.

“I appreciate every country that I have visited and everything that the country has to offer,” she said.

She has had many wonderful experiences on her trips.

In Barcelona, Spain, in 2010, she bought herself a ticket to a football game, Barcelona v Arsenal.

“I was there the night before everyone else in my party arrived, so I was able to buy the ticket,” she said.

“I put on the paraphernalia, and just acted like I was a Barcelona fan,” she said. “I sat up with the residents of the country. It was such a great experience, just being able to be in that moment. Everything was so alive. There was so much excitement and people were rooting for their teams.”

She uses a travel agent to arrange some aspects of some of her vacations, but also organises some things, like airfare, on her own.

“I spend a lot of time online researching and looking at the official country pages,” she said. “I look at other bloggers’ experiences.”

Necheeka Trott enjoying the colour of Cartagena, Columbia (Photograph suppied)

She said Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are great resources for anyone who is looking to get a more localised experience.

One of her travel tips is to carry an electronic copy and photocopies of your passport when you travel. She thinks you should also leave a copy of it at home with someone trusted.

The reasons for this were highlighted last December when she visited Egypt.

“We were out in the desert,” Ms Trott said. “We stayed at a resort that was powered by solar.”

When it started to rain, for the first time in seven years, the power went out and there was no wi-fi. The power had only just come on again a day later, when it was time to return to Bermuda through the United Kingdom.“

“I needed a UK Passenger Locator form to to get back into the UK,” she said. “It was online and the internet and had only just come back up and was working very slowly.”

So she contacted a relative in the UK who had a copy of her passport. Her aunt was able to fill out the electronic form for her in the UK.

“That is how I got my travel authorisation,” she said. “If not, we probably would have been stuck there an extra day.”

The first trip she took after the pandemic began, was in October 2020 to the UK. Then in May 2021 she went to Tulum, Mexico.

“Travelling during the pandemic has been a very different experience,” she said. “I took extra precautions at that time. I took wipes. I had a face shield and mask. Even though travel to the rest of the world was a bit scarier, it was one of the best times to travel because there was nobody on the flights. You had a whole row to yourself.”

Necheeka Trott in Sydney, Australia (Photograph supplied)

And when she got to her destination she made sure she booked solo tours, rather than group tours to cut down the risk of catching Covid-19.

Her global experiences have come in handy when Ms Trott teaches.

“With Bermuda becoming a diverse community, when I interact with students, during my first class I always do some sort of ice breaker, and it is always around travel,” she said. “When I talk to students and they tell me where they are from or their ancestry, I can say hey, I have been to the Philippines, or I have been to the Azores. During that first class we get to build that relationship.”

For more information see her on Instagram @travellingtrotty.