The Jamaican Mermaid: Royanne DeSilva Image

by Shana-Kay Hart

Ever wondered what life as a mermaid is like? To live freely, beyond borders as a citizen of the world? With twenty-five countries and counting under her belt, Royanne DeSilva, also known as the Jamaican Mermaid, allows her audience the opportunity to experience life through a mermaid’s eyes. 

Her mission is simple: to discover the beauty in life and share it with as many people in as many countries as possible. Through her travels then, Royanne demonstrates the importance of living life to the fullest, while keeping home close along the way.

Define the 'Jamaican Mermaid' to us. How did this term come about?

RD: Honestly, it was a random hashtag I used under an Instagram picture when I was in the Miss Jamaica World Pageant. Then, one day I thought I could make this into my brand starting with a travel Vlog. "The Jamaican Mermaid" represents freedom -- being limitless as the ocean. She is the epitome of a dream-chaser. Of course, she's very patriotic and takes pride in sharing the Jamaican spirit.

JAmusic: What do you enjoy most about traveling?
RD: Simply having new experiences; whether it's tasting new food, meeting new people, wearing new dressing styles or hearing new languages. Life is beautiful when it isn't monotonous. I truly enjoy seeing the variation in cultures.

JAmusic: How do you think your travels are inspiring young women in attaining their dreams?
RD: It's so humbling to know that I am inspiring young women. I always knew I wanted to travel the world. I studied Economics however I work as an air hostess. Some may think it’s crazy but life is too short to not follow your heart. God has amazing ways of opening doors when He knows how much you want something so go for it!

JAmusic: If you could go back in time and give your 16-year-old self some words of wisdom, what would you say?
RD: "Baby girl, don't look for validation from people." I grew up doing pageants and I remember being cyber bullied. I cried so hard because I felt I needed people to think I was pretty enough or smart enough. Thankfully, today I have such a thick skin, which is why I am able to be so relaxed in my travel videos. 

JAmusic: You’ve traveled to so many countries in so little time. What would you say has been your favorite travel moment thus far?
RD: Going to the safari on my trip to Capetown in South Africa with my sister. Most of my travel memories are by myself. Family means a lot to me so getting to share my lifestyle with her was very special.

JAmusic: How about your favorite location, if you had to pick just one. What makes it your favorite?
RD: I always get this question and it is so hard to answer but I absolutely loved Maldives. "You can take the girl outta the island but you can't take the island outta the girl." I love the beach. I went to this hotel called Centara and laid in a hammock surrounded by 360 degrees of crystal clear blue waters. 

JAmusic: What is your philosophy or words of wisdom to live by?
RD:"Hearts I touch will be proof I've lived." What will people remember about you when you die? Not the shoes you wore or how perfect your makeup was. It'll be how you made them feel.

JAmusic: How do you handle setbacks or obstacles you encounter in life? 
RD: Believe me, I've had so many! Even my Vlog took a year to start. I went through so many editors until I found the perfect one. I never thought for a second to give up because life is filled with setbacks. "The hotter the battle, the sweeter the victory.”

Leaving Jamaica for Doha, Qatar must have been quite a change. What surprised you most about this transition? 
RD: One year ago, I did not know where Qatar was on the map and now I'm living here! Of course, it's a huge change. I remember I landed in Qatar at 5 pm, I walked on my street to get food and I was the only woman in public. I even began to question if it was illegal for me to be out at that time. Luckily, it's not. However, not being able to wear shorts and a tank top to the supermarket gets really annoying. 

JAmusic: What is one thing you can tell us about Qatar, that the average person wouldn’t know? 
RD: Our weekends are Friday and Saturday. So Thursday night is the “party night” and Sundays are back-to-work. Also, we will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup! 

JAmusic: What little, ordinary things do you miss about living in Jamaica?
RD: The "box food" from my favorite cook shop in my hometown, May Pen (Fry chicken, leg and thigh, nuff gravy on di rice and fried plantains). Our parties as well - No one parties like Jamaicans!

JAmusic: What is the most frustrating or hardest part of traveling?
RD: It's physically exhausting. I am usually in at least three different time zones per week. My body is still young though so I'm surviving. 

JAmusic: What do you learn about yourself through each of these journeys you embark on?
RD: How important it is to fall in love with your own company. I talk to myself (especially in patois) and I laugh with myself - sometimes people look at me like I'm crazy. 

JAmusic: Are there any other projects you are currently working on that you’d like to share with us?
RD: My main focus is sharing new travel videos every month. It's tough with my schedule but I am committed to it. 

JAmusic: What more can we expect from you in the near future? Is there anything you’d like to accomplish before the end of 2016?
RD: My website was the aim for 2016. By the end of 2017, I want to finish visiting the seven new wonders of the world. Also, I grew up volunteering with children with cancer through the Angels of Love Jamaica Charity. Leaving Jamaica and not being able to do that has made me feel a sense of emptiness so I am planning to do charity initiatives when I travel which makes me super excited!

JAmusic: What three Jamaican values or qualities do you take with you while on your journeys?

1. "If yuh wah good, yuh nose haffi run" - success takes hard work.
2. "See and blind, hear and deaf" - don't let everything bother you. Most of my colleagues at work say, "Jamaicans are so chill". 
3. "One Love" - Bob Marley said it best, "Let's get together and feel alright.” Despite the spectrum of nationalities I've met, what unites us is greater than what divides us. At the end of the day, there's only one race - the human race, and it's a beautiful thing. 

You can visit Royanne’s website here to watch her travel videos and follow this mermaid along each of her exciting journeys around the world.

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