Urban Xenophile

My name is Jordana Manchester, I’m so happy you found me. Let’s get to know eachother. I hail from the rugged mountains of British Columbia’s beautiful wet coast (No, that wasn’t a typo. We average about 5 feet of rain per year). I am a proud mom to a rambunctious, adventure-loving tiny human, partner to a dirt-bike riding, hockey-playing, tech geek, fur-mom to a four-legged-flying Frisbee-fanatic, and I’ve been a Canadian-based online writer for just over 10 years. It’s nice to meet you – Welcome to my teeny corner of the digital universe.

I’ve been writing since I was 7 years old. Adventure tales, poems, and my absolute favourite, ghost stories. Stephen King was my muse, Edgar Allan Poe my hero and Margaret Atwood my addiction. Three authors that couldn’t be more opposite, yet had a profound effect on my writing and the way my imagination worked. Unfortunately, I never did much with my writing, and eventually, when I had to start adulting at 18, it fell to the wayside until much later in life.

Fast forward to 2008 when The Urban Xenophile was launched. The world economy had crashed, I lost my job as a recruiter, and I had never felt more lost in my life. To make matters worse, I was hopelessly in love with a man who was mere months from taking a year long sabbatical to go trekking around the world. With zero job prospects, and an unclear future, I sold everything I owned and on a whim, chased love around the world. I had no idea my journey would take me chasing lions across the sunburnt grasslands of Zambia, into the heart of the Sumatran jungle to come face-to-face with wild gibbons, or that I would get to feel the thunderous pulse of the mighty Jinga river trekking along Tiger Leaping Gorge. As I journaled, blogged, and photographed my journey, I had no idea it would be the catalyst to what was to come.

Working with lions in Livingstone, Zambia 2009

Over the next 10 years, I offered my voice to a number of online travel publications, threw every last dime I had into a degree in anthropology, simultaneously returned to travel consulting, lost love, found love again, had a baby and I continue to explore the world, one incredible, heart-stopping, awe-inspiring landscape at a time. And with the onset of Motherhood and all the changes that brings, so too did the purpose and voice of this blog change.

Urban Xenophile Berlin 2018

I could say it was the passage of time, or the renewed desire for a creative outlet was what inspired me to refocus on this blog and hopefully, turn it into a successful aspect of my business, but it was really one main factor; Motherhood.

travelling europe with a baby
Nymphenburg Palace, Munich 2018

Becoming a mother was the catalyst for a creative awakening deep in my soul. Which is ironic because I have less time to sit down to be creative. But watching my little one discover the world, one touch, one giggle, one tumble, one irreplaceable moment at a time, enlivened my need to be a better human and fuel a desire to provide the very best life for him I possibly can.

Travelling Europe with a baby
Stockholm, Sweden 2018

So yes, I am going to write about the far off places that changed me for the better (and worse). I’m going to talk about the struggles of being a travel blogger in a space that continues to value followers, likes and the power of influence over authenticity, imperfection and truth. I’m going to tell stories about the hilarity of being a new mom; Stories about my failed attempts to balk at society’s incessant pressures to be perfect; Stories about quiet hobbies and loud dreams. Stories about complete and utter fall-on-your-face disasters and (in my mind), soaring, can’t-believe-I-did-that successes.

Urban Xenophile
Copenhagen, Denmark 2018

My goal with this blog is many things. If I can inspire even one person to consider a destination, a life change, to ponder a new idea, or feel moved enough to strike up a conversation about something you’re passionate about, I’ll be able to sleep at night. I hope to one day support my family with this blog by sharing my knowledge as a travel professional, a traveller, a student of the arts, a new mom, a woman of colour, a Canadian, and a fellow human being.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and welcome to the Urban Xenophile.