A Six Figure Salary Wasn’t Fulfilling For Jessica Nabongo, A Ugandan In Diaspora


When you are able to do what you really feel you have always been meant to do, travel as much as you have always wanted to, dress and be on the go without thinking how you will live when you reach the destination, then you are well on the road to personal fulfillment; well, at least for Jessica Nabongo her life is now moving the way she always wanted it to move. Though she has to work even harder than ever in her life, she is happier for it.

Jessica Nabongo grew up in a Detroit community and was a member of a Ugandan household. Impressed right from the cradle in that set-up was the idealistic world where education takes precedence and life can only become sweeter when one has attained certain levels of education, found the perfect job, marries and has the perfect family. So firm were these beliefs that for the first two years of her life, Jessica lived up to most of the expectations of that sequence. At least the education, job and living security.

She landed a job as a pharmaceuticals sales person and worked her way up the ladder like most juniors would do. She was earning a six figure salary, living it large with all the trimmings of the successful career woman. She bought a condominium and in it, custom-built a walk-in wardrobe she always filled to the brim. For food, she ate lavishly, well, at the most reputable places. To everyone around her, she was indeed the epitome of satisfaction.

But Jessica was never fulfilled with her lifestyle. She had lived way above her means and had debt tailing her. Her career that seemed booming became her wake-up call when she lost out on a bonus after having worked tirelessly that period. The thorn in the flesh was that her colleagues whom she knew never to have worked half as hard received bonuses 20 times hers.

That kicked her to reality and she packed up and left for Japan where she had acquired a job as a teacher. Thus began the practical lifestyle. She says, she cut her hair short, with the foresight that she would not get a hairdresser for her hair in the out of the way part she was to live in Japan. Gone was the luxury of shopping madness, gone was the ambition to climb the corporate ladder of some established company.

She was away from home for years and then went back to start working for another company, sharing an apartment with a friend and earning a steady salary and everyone once more thought she was having it good. Still Jessica was always with a pang of un-fulfillment inside.

Seven years abroad made her realize that her life was no more than a series of cycles that needed breaking. So in her early 30s, Jessica once more packed up, put belongings in storage and rose up to go. Only this time her plan was to start living.

She had tentatively started out on her company, Jet Black which specialized in encouraging and influencing tourism and travel to certain destinations like Africa and Central America. She aptly describes her mover as “armed with just an idea, a URL and a business logo.”

The question bound to rise to mind at this point is, go where? Well, true to her nature, Jessica is gone nowhere and everywhere.

Such is the life she is leading now, traveling from one lush destination to another, posting on instagram pictures that would make even the most seasoned traveler swoon with envy, owning no earthly possession and with just her cell-phone bill for overhead expenditure.

So much for hard-work; Jessica’s own sister believes her life is, indeed, always a vacation. And with the way she enjoys her life now, debt free and travel-filled, it may very well be a vacation. It does look and feels every part – the vacation.