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Most people want to travel the world, but often not with a cardboard cut-out of their late father. This unusual story begins with Jinna Yang, a successful 20-something New Yorker who seemed to have everything, until her world was turned upside down when her father died of cancer two years ago.
After months of suffering from chronic depression, she decided to book a one-way ticket to Europe after seeing travel photography on Pinterest. Ditching her high-paying job, luxury apartment and long-term relationship to travel the world with an unexpected travelling companion – a cardboard cut-out of her father.
She cites her motivation for bringing a life-size cut-out of her father along with her as stemming from the fact that he never really got a chance to travel, despite it being one of his dreams so travelling with him and having him there in spirit allowed Jinna to showcase his story whilst using it as a creative project for herself.
Budget travelling proved to be a small obstacle for Jinna, who said she had to find a creative solution to travelling with a life-size cardboard cut-out without creasing or ruining it. “I’m budget travelling so obviously not going to pay for an extra seat for this 6ft life-size cut-out. So my good friend’s father is an engineer, so he showed me how to score the material so I could stand it out and fan it in whenever I needed to. So it’s not like I was running round the airport with this huge life-size cut-out, I had it folded up and under my arm so it was a little less strange when you saw me in person”
Jinna managed to visit places such as Iceland, Paris, London, Rome and Florence on her journey with her dad. She said the journey was empowering, “Just the fact that I was travelling, I immersed myself in a new culture. I learned to just sit by a lake, or the river in Paris, I would sit there for just an hour and a half and just be alone, be by myself, have a cappuccino in Italy, eat spaghetti in Florence – It was the most life-changing experience, and it really just showed me that I can be independent and I can do this on my own. I can make a commitment to change my life in a positive way.”
Jinna runs a blog, Grease & Glamour, where she shares pictures and stories about her trip.