Connecting with, learning about, and reaching out to people are Human Diaries’s favorite hobbies! We like to interview people from everywhere; we are even more blessed to have the opportunity to interview those who experience the unusual and live across national borders. We came across a motivational speaker from Sweden in the past, and a world traveler located in Germany today. Jennifer McMillen shared some of her thoughts with us while being overseas, away from home. A Houstonian at heart, she and her family hold very dear the American values. Please join us and say thank you to Jennifer and her family for serving this great nation of ours.
Hi Jennifer! Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
A- Hello! My name is Jennifer McMillen. I am a military spouse and I am also a US Navy veteran. I am a mother of three children. We currently reside in Germany.
Q – How many foreign words have you learned so far?
A – Since we are in such close proximity to many countries I at least learn the basics such as hello, goodbye, thank you, how much is this/that, some number, even colors. I do know just as much German as I know Spanish.
Q – What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
A – I joined the military when I was 19 years old and I have basically been away from home that long. Though we do go home every once in a while. When we were stationed at Fort Hood in Texas we would go home every month (I am from Houston) and we would go see my husband’s family in Missouri on longer breaks. Since we moved overseas I have not gone back to Texas to see my family, but family has come to see me. Do you blame them? They get to travel around Europe!
Q – How does someone prepare for travel?
A – Personally preparing to travel can be like researching for a research paper in college. For our trip to London I spent a good month pulling activities to do. I have a good list of websites that I use to look for deals. I would highly recommend, if you have Facebook or even a word document, as you find activities or places you want to see put them in a Facebook (for yourself) or in a word document and save it. That way when you need them they are available. For when we went to London I printed the word document I had with all of our information (i.e. accommodation information, plane tickets, directions, activities, and other info).
Q – What is the most difficult part about traveling?
A – The unexpected. We travel with our children everywhere. When we went to Scotland last June the first day it was sunny and 75, but after that day the temperature dropped to a miserable 45 degrees. It was cold, rainy and very windy. Thinking since it was June we didn’t bring any coats, but we managed.
Q – How are you documenting your trip?
A – In 2014, when we moved here I started a Facebook page, but I didn’t see very much interaction so in June of 2015 I decided to go the extra mile and look into starting up a website. Though until October I didn’t do very much with it since I had no idea how to work it so it sat. In October, I met another fellow family travel blogger and she helped me out significantly with my blog. After that I have been on top of it ever since.
Q – Which country has the best weather?
A – We LOVED Croatia. It was absolutely beautiful there. It was in the 90s and sunny the entire time we were there. It really makes me miss my time in San Diego. Germany is pretty land locked other than the north. It is very gloomy here. I need my vitamin D!!
Q – What special precautions do you need for safety?
A – Yes we have special precautions. We look to see what is going on where we are going. Are there any travel warnings? We look to see where the nearest embassy is. We are very vigilant when we go anywhere. We especially tell our children to lower their voices so we don’t bring attention to ourselves as well. Also while we travel we don’t wear name brands and we dress more like locals than tourists. Best to blend in.
Q – What is something most people don’t know about traveling?
A – For my children especially, they are getting a major history lesson! It is education right before their eyes. I love it when my children see images of the places they have been to on the TV or on the computer and get excited and tell us that they have been there.
Q – Where would you most like to live in the world?
A – I am actually living there right now! Europe is where I want to be.
Q – If you wrote a novel, what would it be about?
A – I would love to write about our family’s experience here in Europe. Not everyone gets to have the experience we have had and what a better way to share it!
Q – What’s been the best street food you’ve had?
A – While at the Ramblas in Barcelona I bought paella from a food vendor. It was soooo good!
Q – What are your hobbies?
A – Blogging, traveling, spending time with our family, watching movies, hanging out with friends, bunco, exploring, trying new things, and volunteering.
Q – How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
A – Adventurous. Motivated. Family-oriented.
Q – Do you have any funny stories you’d like to share?
A – We have to watch our 9 year old sometimes. When we were flying to the US on emergency he managed to pack one the of the largest mouthwash bottles. He said he brought it for his dad.
Q – What do you think of Human Diaries?
A – I am a sociology major actually and well Human Diaries is right up my alley. It is everything that I am interested in! Love the recipes by the way and I will eventually try one. I also love how you allow children to get in on the action too! Maybe I should have my kids contribute something! I also love the layout of the website and how easy it is to navigate.