Lighten Up with… Jaclynn Seah

 |   Singapore News Center

This is the fourth in a series of profiles in the Surface Pro 3 Lighten Up campaign, where we sit down and chat with mobile professionals, influencers and creators in Singapore about their work and what they carry in their bag around town.

Jaclynn Seah_Lighten up


We live in a golden age for travel. The last few decades have seen the cost of air travel steadily fall, and a whole range of tech from apps to mobile broadband are helping us maximize our adventures and travel better.

These trends have contributed to the rise of travel bloggers – globetrotters who seemingly live it up every day with stories about cocktails on the beach or parties halfway around the world. But travel blogging is hard work in reality, a fact that Jaclynn Seah, the founder of The Occasional Traveller can testify to. And as any serious blogger can tell you, good content is important. Armed with her Surface Pro 3, which brings the best of a laptop and a tablet in one factor, Jaclynn can focus on writing her best stories while travelling light and easy.

We sit down with Jaclynn who shares with us how she balances the stresses of her day job as a corporate communications professional with her love for travel, and where we can expect to find her hanging out in 2015.

Jaclynn with her Surface Pro 3 and a terracotta warrior-inspired tote bag by local pop artist Justin Lee at the Esplanade, Singapore’s premier performing arts venue.
Jaclynn with her Surface Pro 3 and a terracotta warrior-inspired tote bag by local pop artist Justin Lee at the Esplanade, Singapore’s premier performing arts venue.

What’s in your bag?
I travel quite light, and don’t carry around a lot. Of course, there is my Surface Pro 3, which is so much lighter than the laptop that I used to carry, and great for blogging when I can find the time in the middle of a busy day. I also stash a couple of those reusable foldable bags into my main bag which I use to organize my life, and you can never have too many extra bags on hand.

You’ll definitely find my passport in there if I’m travelling overseas, and I always keep a light scarf that’s good for most situations, from braving the cold office to dressing up an outfit for a last minute meeting.

Everything else goes into my gigantic wallet and my phone case – people laugh and say it’s like a brick, but it contains just about everything I need.

Have you always been an avid traveller? Why did you decide to start penning your trips?
I decided to set up The Occasional Traveller back in 2010 when I was working in my advertising job with long and hectic hours as a commitment and reminder to myself to get out and travel more. That’s also when I tried solo travel for the first time to give myself a new challenge. Since then, I’ve made it a point to take at least one solo trip a year. Last year, for example, I spent 16 days in Portugal, half by myself exploring the art, heritage, and culture of its various cities!

Through the blog, I want to inspire others like me to travel more, and help them find the time to travel. It’s always about time – we want to travel more but can’t find the time to! Besides being inspirational, I like to think of my blog as a helpful resource for busy people who don’t have time to research on where to go. There is a lot of practical research about how I took my own trips and reviews about things that I think could help people travel better.

Do you blog immediately during your travels, or prefer to post stories only when you come back?
The good thing about not making a living from my blog is that I can take it easy and figure out the more efficient way to blog on my travels! Most of the time, I don’t blog when I’m actually travelling as I want to really enjoy the experience of travelling.

I still like to record my stories as I go, so I usually keep a physical travel journal to jot down my thoughts and feelings that I have at any particular point in time. You can’t really replace the feeling of writing and sketching, so being able to write with the Surface Pro 3 and its pen and playing with the OneNote app and Fresh Paint is a nice balance between old school journaling and new age blogging.

If there’s a long transit on the plane or the train, that’s when I come up with story outlines or line up some drafts to work on when inspiration strikes. I also do a bit of photo editing on these transits. These little bits and pieces all add up so I can quickly polish up a post and publish it when the time comes, instead of having to sit down and create a new post from scratch.

Jaclynn enjoying a quiet moment, editing her recent posts for The Occasional Traveller
Jaclynn enjoying a quiet moment, editing her recent posts for The Occasional Traveller

How indispensable is technology on your travels?
Having WiFi is extremely important, naturally. I rely on a universal mobile broadband dongle that gives me Internet access in most countries when I can, or go searching for the nearest available free WiFi hotspot. Interestingly, my Surface Pro 3 actually detects more available wireless networks compared to my other devices!

I rely on a lot of apps for the entire travel process. I’m a big fan of Skyscanner to find and compare flight ticket prices, for example. And after I decide on a travel destination, a large part of my research on places of interest to visit is done through websites like TripAdvisor, so it’s convenient to have these apps on Surface Pro 3 whenever I need them.

Overall, Surface Pro 3 is really a great device for travel, kind of like the Swiss Army knife of tech! The weight, in particular, makes a huge difference in carry-on luggage, and it’s powerful enough that I can run all the programs I need, including Photoshop. It also works great as an entertainment center – I can install and run all my favourite casual games through Steam, and watch movies in transit. I can still surf the web, catch up on emails, and basically do everything I can do on a PC, eliminating the need to carry multiple devices.

Which exotic destination can we expect to find you hanging out in 2015?
Surprisingly, I have yet to decide! I usually book my trips way in advance to get better deals and anticipating a trip helps to keep me going in the office. In the time leading up to the trip, I then try and figure out exactly what I want to do there.

But I wanted to keep it a bit more flexible this year, maybe I will see where my impulse takes me. I missed a bunch of trips with brands who wanted to work with me last year, so this year I’m taking a more “wait and see” approach.

That said, some of the places I really want to visit include South America, which isn’t a very common destination for Asians currently because it’s so far away. I also really want to go to Easter Island to see the giant heads, and I’m dying to go diving in the Galapagos Island amidst the sharks and check out the unique nature they have there. Diving between the tectonic plates in freezing Icelandic water is also a dream, and Croatia has been very high on my list for some time for its beautiful coast, and I want to see where they filmed Game of Thrones!

I’m thinking of taking a longer period off work to really indulge in travel, so I can go somewhere and immerse myself in a foreign country for a few months at a go. The thing about being an occasional traveller is that you’re never in one place for more than a week if you’re trying to maximise your trip.  Stay tuned to my blog to find out if I ever end up doing it!

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