Welcome to Virginia
Welcome to Virginia!
I’m jESiO and I’ll be your tour guide on this travel adventure through the most diverse state in the US. This is a travel blog–but it isn’t your average hyperlinked and tourist trapped guide to the obvious. Rather, the goal is to post a weekly article on some little known or wildly unique or just plain awesome fact about good ol’ Virginny. We’ll have occasional guest bloggers or features on unique Virginians as well!
A little about me and Meet Virginia:
Born and raised in Grundy, Buchanan County, VA in the Appalachian Mountains. This was before there were many paved roads, no street names, no 911 to call, no cable television, and on and on. Things it did have: bluegrass music, baptisms in creeks, white water rafting, free range organic food, and an accent so thick many outsiders need a translator to decipher. It’s come a long way since the 80s in terms of infrastructure, but the core of what makes it hauntingly unique remains secure.
My family is spread out all over the place and I have spent (and still do spend) significant time in the Blacksburg/Roanoke area (Hokies! Hiking!), the Charlottesville/Waynesboro area (Wineries! Shenandoah! Thomas Jefferson!), the Richmond area (Hipsters! Hollywood Cemetary! History Galore!), and the DC/NOVA area (Politics! Punk Rock! Traffic!).
I currently live in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads/Norfolk/Va Beach/We Can’t Decide on a Name for Our Region Region. We have much awesomeness right here at home including the touristy gems like Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Beach Boardwalk, and Busch Gardens. However, we also have things many a visitor here may never find themselves privy to including our very own MOCA branch, nationally recognized tattoo artists, the best vegan food in the East (PETA’s national headquarters are here), the world’s largest game of tag (Zombie Tag, in fact), the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (a member of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World), and First Landing State Park–where America began.
I work for Airbnb (tagline: Travel Like A Human), an online marketplace for peer-to-peer accommodations, and plan on using some of my stipends and discounts to travel to unknown little towns and big cities all across this large state and report back on cool things people should do or see when they want to avoid chains or other generic facades that can trick many people into feeling they’ve had a cultural experience.
I am also a freelance writer and photographer. I have written and/or shot for Virginia publications including AltDaily, Veer, The Virginia Mountaineer, The Captain’s Log, Bizarre Bites, and Cannonball City. I also write a music and art blog called jesiowastaken. Last year, my work with SPIN (Street Performing in Norfolk), which I founded in 2010, led to Norfolk, VA’s passing of a busking-friendly ordinance. I have been featured in The Virginian-Pilot, The Daily Press, WVEC-TV, and The Virginia Mountaineer for my involvement in making my home a more cultural and all around cool place to be.
My travel experiences include 15 countries on 4 continents and most of the continental US, and I can honestly say I still really love travelling around Virginia. I’ve stayed in Ritz Carlton NYC, but also under the stars alone in the middle of a national forest. There is no “one way” to travel, so everything from backpacking with tents to luxury vacation homes or hotels will be covered here. Topics of interest are food and beverage, thrift shops, locally owned businesses, music and art, and overall community vibe.
So again, welcome! I hope you come back to visit in the coming weeks, months and (fingers crossed) years to seek out your own adventures.