Hi! I’m Oneika (pronounced oh-KNEE-kah).
I’m a gal in her early thirties who has an intense passion for travel, culture, and language. I have been to over 90 countries and am always the verge on planning my next trip. I grew up in Toronto, Canada (though, if you really want to get specific, I spent my extremely formative teenage years in Mississauga, Canada). I am currently a freelance writer based in New York City, but was formerly a middle-school Language Arts and French teacher at a private schools in Hong Kong, Mexico, and England. I am an aspiring polyglot who speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently. I met and married a lovely German guy, a few years back, so am learning Deutsch also. Yay for multilingualism! (Or should I say “ja”?)
How did I end up travelling to all these places and teaching half way across the world from where I grew up? The answer is a little long-winded. Basically, it all started in my second year of university, when I found out that French literature majors like me could study abroad in Nantes, France for two semesters once in their third year. Like a pitbull, I stubbornly clung to the idea of going away for a year to France and wouldn’t let go. I put in my application and was accepted.
My year in Nantes was fantastic and was punctuated by trips to Spain, Portugal, England, and Morocco. I had a blast, and upon my return to Canada after a year, I realized that I somehow had to find a way to get back to Europe. I missed France. And travelling. I soon found a way: an English teaching assistant program that offered 6 to 9-month teaching posts to native English speakers in public schools in mainland France and its overseas departments and territories such as Martinique, La Réunion, and Guadeloupe.
I put in my application once again and was accepted for a 7-month teaching post! Exactly a year after my return to Canada from Nantes, I was once again jetting off to France- this time to Nice. French Riviera, baby! Woohoo!
The next 12 months were spent loving life on the Riviera and getting more stamps in my passport. I started this blog (which used to be called “Oneika does France…Again”) detailing my experiences ( see here and here). I got used to the expat life and began to like teaching. I realized that this teaching- travelling thing was a pretty awesome thing to do, and once I discovered the existence of international schools knew that this was a career path that I’d like to pursue. Upon my return to Canada, I attended teacher’s college and got my Bachelor of Education, which certifies me to teach English Literature and French to students in Grades 4 through to 12.
Then, the job search. I attended a job fair for certified elementary and secondary school teachers who wanted to teach abroad just like I did. After undergoing a number of interviews, I was offered, and accepted, a teaching post in Monterrey, Mexico.
My time in Mexico was mind-blowing and I blogged (after the fact!) about some of the cool things I did and saw over there here. After a year, I headed back to Canada, thinking that it was perhaps time to settle down… But once back I realized that the travel bug was still alive and well. I ditched my French teaching job in Toronto after a year to go teach high school English Lit and French at an international school in Hong Kong. After a two year stint in Asia, I spent another two years in London, UK. However, Asia beckoned once more, and in mid-2013, I moved back to my beloved HK, where I taught for two more years (bringing my time in Asia to a total of four years!) before moving to New York City in June 2015. This is my 7th move abroad!
Join me for the ride!
Professional (aka “serious”) Bio:
Oneika Raymond is the voice behind “Oneika the Traveller”, an award-winning travel blog dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering both women and people of color to see the world. She seeks to demystify travel for oft-marginalized groups in a disarming manner– often using her own experiences as a black female who travels extensively around the world to do so.
An international educator, writer, serial expat, and travel junkie, Oneika’s passion for discovery is boundless and her adventures abroad have taken her to over 90 countries on six continents. She has, amongst other things, trekked in Nepal, sailed in Croatia, and gone on safari in Botswana.
Her authoritative voice on travel and commitment to discussing issues surrounding diversity have resulted in her being a highly sought after orator. Her speaking engagements have included being a featured speaker at Miami University’s Symposium for Multicultural Students this past spring. In April 2017 she will give the keynote address at the Women in Travel Summit in Milwaukee.
Oneika was selected as a spokesperson and travel expert for Toyota’s “First Class” video campaign. The endeavor was wildly successful, with the video series garnering over 3 million views on Facebook alone. She has also been a brand ambassador for Coca-Cola.
Oneika has written for and been featured in major publications such as Condé Nast Traveler, The BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Essence, Ebony, National Geographic Traveler, Buzzfeed, and CNN.
An aspiring polyglot and former foreign language teacher, she speaks fluent English, French, and Spanish, and is currently learning German.