Charlene Johnson's blogging adventure

Former cabinet minister shares travel experience overseas

Melissa Jenkins melissa.jenkins@tc.tc
Published on June 8, 2015
Charlene Johnson, right, and her daughter Jorja.
Submitted photo

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 Progressive 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 six-year-old."

Although some saw Johnson, who is in her mid-30s, as one of the most promising female politicians 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.