Char­lene John­son’s blog­ging adventure

For­mer pro­vin­cial cabi­net min­is­ter now shar­ing travel ex­pe­ri­ence

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

Last year the prov­ince’s for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter traded in her power suits and pumps for sun hats and flip-flops.

Now, Char­lene John­son is anx­ious to tell the world about mov­ing from one side of the world to the other.

John­son, the for­mer Pro­gres- sive Con­ser­va­tive MHA for Trinity-Bay de Verde and youngest fe­male to earn an MHA seat in New­found­land and Labrador, moved to Brunei in Southeast Asia last Septem­ber with her hus­band and daugh­ter. The move has given her the op­por­tu­nity to write about her ex­pe­ri­ences trav­el­ling.

She is turn­ing that writ­ing into a blog to share with friends and fam­ily back home.

“I thought I would com­bine my love of travel with my love of writ­ing to help oth­ers with travel ideas and trip plan­ning,” John­son told The Compass through a so­cial me­dia ex­change from Brunei. “I read ev­ery re­view that I pos­si­bly can and I hope that my blog can do the same in help­ing oth­ers.”

John­son’s back­ground is in en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing, but she held sev­eral pro­vin­cial cabi­net posts be­fore her de­par­ture, in­clud­ing sta­tus of women, en­vi­ron­ment and con­ser­va­tion, in­no­va­tion, busi­ness and ru­ral devel­op­ment, child, youth and fam­ily ser­vices and fi­nance.

John­son’s young daugh­ter Jorja be­gan kinder­garten when they moved, but she is at the age where she will have mem­o­ries from vis­it­ing dif­fer­ent places, and John­son wants to en­sure those mem­o­ries stay in­tact.

“It will also serve as a dig­i­tal jour­nal for Jorja to have as a keep­sake when she is older,” John­son ex­plained. “She will be con­tribut­ing to the blog re­gard­ing child fo­cused ac­tiv­i­ties. She loves to write and jour­nals her thoughts on her trav­els in a book but we are hop­ing to have a few sen­tences at the end of our trip re­views in the words of a sixyear-old.”

Although some saw John­son, who is in her mid-30s, as one of the most promis­ing fe­male politi­cian in the prov­ince, she re­signed her po­si­tion abruptly last fall and has not looked back. Now, she is a full-time mom, and said the ex­tra time has given her the op­por­tu­nity to share her travel ex­pe­ri­ences.

“From the cabi­net room to the class­room vol­un­teer­ing, from pres­i­dent of Trea­sury Board to mem­ber of the Par­ent Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, from nu­mer­ous can­celled per­sonal trips due to some cri­sis to brows­ing the world map telling my daugh­ter it is her turn to choose our next des­ti­na­tion,” a para­graph in her first blog en­try reads. “Life is def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent but we are em­brac­ing it with wide open arms.

“Since be­ing here we have been on some fab­u­lous ex­cur­sions.”

For the past nine months, John­son has been ac­tive on so­cial me­dia, en­sur­ing those back in New­found­land could keep up with her and her fam­ily. She wanted to turn th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences into ones she could share far and wide.

“I of­ten get pri­vate mes­sages from friends (and) past con­stituents say­ing it is so nice to see my Face­book posts, so I thought I would put some ef­fort into it and make it a lit­tle more fun,” she said.

Blog­ging about her trav­els is quite a bit dif­fer­ent from life as a politi­cian, and she joked to The Compass about go­ing easy on her with her writ­ing.

“I am far from a blog­ger so I will learn as I go and I will wel­come any feed­back,” she said.

You can read about Char­lene and Jorja’s jour­ney at www.trav­el­bug­inme.com.

John­son and her daugh­ter Jorja.

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