Today I swap travel tales with filmmaker, BBC writer & broadcaster, and fabulous storyteller Zara Janjua about exotic family holidays as little girls & our respective summer bar jobs in Spain in our early 20s! Come sit in on our chat, simply imagine us all at an airport bar somewhere, waiting out delayed flights by sharing memories.
My connection to Zara
I met Zara Janjua on a flight from Thailand to Malaysia in 2018 and have followed her in awe ever since. She’s an award-winning broadcast and radio presenter for well-known channels like BBC. In fact, Zara won a spot in the BBC Comedy Writer’s Room 2020 and has been shortlisted for the Funny Women Comedy Writing Award 2020. She’s a podcaster, documentary film director, comedian, writer and an advocate for equality, women’s rights and mental health … and just an all-around joy to listen to. I’m proud to welcome Zara as my first fabulous female storyteller today! Trust me, you are in for a real treat.
Angela Carson 00:10
Good morning Good afternoon. Good evening and welcome to always get lost the podcast about life and travel abroad. My name is Angela Carson. I am very happily your host today. Today’s guest is Zara Janjua. I met her on a flight from Thailand to Malaysia in 2018 and have followed her ever since. She’s an award-winning broadcast and radio presenter for well-known channels like the BBC. Zara has also just won a spot on the BBC comedy writers room 2020 and she’s been shortlisted for the funny women comedy writing award for 2020. She’s a podcaster, documentary film director, comedian, writer, and an advocate for equality, women’s rights and mental health and just An all-around joy to listen to. I am proud to welcome Zara as my first female storyteller today. Trust me you are in for a real treat and a bunch of stories that are going to make you want to grab that passport as soon as borders open and head out. You have very big balls!
Zara Janjua 01:31
I will take that I have a metaphorical set of cojones.
Angela Carson 01:38
The order. So we’ve changed your road trip now to Nepal, which was quite recent. Yes. So maybe we should go. First exotic family holiday. I still think that’s kind of nice to show because yours would have been when you were young,
Zara Janjua 01:55
as well as Yeah, it was in the 80s.
Angela Carson 01:58
Okay, mine was in the 70s but I’m a lot older than you so I was probably seven or eight you can’t tell why when you were seven or eight a couple times yeah but it was just it was the next state over from Cal
Zara Janjua 02:15
I I’m so envious of your life honestly my dad anyway I’ll save it for the recording but
Angela Carson 02:23
Okay, so let’s go first exotic family holiday then summer job in Spain.
Zara Janjua 02:29
Okay, so my job in Spain love that
Angela Carson 02:32
love yours and then let’s go favourite road trip and maybe we’ll let that one just be you because I kind of see my jeep story because I was almost raped. I got shot at like that one. I could probably turn into a podcast on its own. Oh, it was really fun though to I had a great time like it was a fabulous two months but it was very dangerous. First one is Toby you you were raped. No, no almost almost almost raped. He broke in but someone came in before he did anything. But he he went to jail. He went to prison. It was, oh, it turned out fine. But then he held go clear my head. I thought, you know, oh, I was in Mexico and I thought I will drive down to Acapulco and do a little road trip, you know, now clear my head. Then I was shot out and had to sleep in a ditch like running from bandits on a mountain road and 20 year old girl blonde with my bikini and my jeep like it was just so stupid. It was very stupid.
Zara Janjua 03:31
I mean, it’s an experience for sure. It was life. Yeah.
Angela Carson 03:36
Okay, so I think we do the road trip because I did a road trip in India with my daughter, but it wasn’t a massive road trip. But it was like the last time she and I had a super trip before she went off to university and everything sort of changed. Okay, so I’ve done the intro. So now I just have to welcome you. It was gonna be a shift. I
Zara Janjua 03:59
think you should keep that They spin I think you should. And this is awesome.
Angela Carson 04:04
are just the worst person to have as my experience. It’s so intimidating.
Zara Janjua 04:11
Oh, please no way I am also probably the most easygoing person, I hope that you know, you will experience that as well that I firmly believe in life, you have to find your own way of doing things. And I really respect everyone’s sort of individuality and the way that they approach things and there’s not there’s not one way to do anything. And I just love seeing what people individually bring to projects and creative work like this. So and you know, I’m I’m learning all the time and I always feel like I will continue learning because I have that that sort of attitude and I have no doubt and no pressure, but I just I know I’m gonna learn something from you today. Okay, anything from you?
Angela Carson 04:53
I love you so much. All right, well, hippity hop little bunnies. Let’s get started. I am so excited. Good to have you Zara. This is just a wonderful gift for me as a new podcaster to have someone like you as my first female storyteller. So thank you.
Zara Janjua 05:10
I’m your first female storyteller. Thank you so much for having me that mean that feels amazing but it’s also just incredible to be part of this because you are exceptional. I watch a lot of what you do online and I feel so blessed to be part of this for you. So thank you very much for having me on.
Angela Carson 05:26
You are too sweet. I love you so much. Okay, guys, so what I want to do is to just have a chat with Zara and welcome you in to be a fly on the wall. Imagine us at an airport bar somewhere both of our flights are delayed and we are going to shoot the ship for I don’t know as long as we do swapping stories. And we have a few ideas in mind, including our first memories of exotic family holidays when we were a little girls, a summer job in Spain, which is All right, I have both had, but they were wild. Then getting out into nature and hiking, and we’re going to cap it off with our favourite road trip that expanded our minds. So, I think you should kick it off Sora and you are going to talk about your first exotic family holiday.
Zara Janjua 06:22
Yeah, well, so my father’s from Pakistan, my mum is Scottish. And actually she looks very Scottish. So she is little ginger, red hair, women, you know, very pale. So I always think, you know, that kind of sparked my interest in comedy because how could I have these two comical characters in my life growing up in comedy, right. And so I always felt a bit like haggis per quarter growing up, and that was my if I was a food, that’s what I would have been. And when we were really young, my father never took us on holidays. He ran his own business. He had a car firm and so he would never allow us to go anywhere abroad usually because he needed to have signal for his mobile phone. And if we did go on holiday, it was usually caravan parks and things who really really tall I wanted to go to Disneyland. I wanted to go and explore. We went to Pakistan when I was six years, five years old. For a while. We were there for almost four months actually because we wow I cut you Yeah, I know it was a really long time. But my cousin was getting married. There was lots of things going on out there. And even though I was only five or six at the time, I remember so much about it. So my father took us to a village, which is where he was born and brought up so like the vote was just this kind of really arid landscape. And I remember there being a big drop lots of salt planes, bathing with the buffalo in the morning, and I had a bucket a little, a little goat. That was my pet, which we then slaughtered on eat, but sorry for all the veggies out there. And, you know, just devastating as a child, big life lesson that I learned very young. I remember being out in the village and that was just a complete assault on your senses. Because I’d never experienced anything like that before the heat and
Angela Carson 08:54
and if your mom is Scottish, she wasn’t cooking up Pakistani food at home. So oh she was are you kidding
Zara Janjua 09:02
That was like one of the yeah so like oh but my mom and dad so my mom oh my god I know it’s amazing. So which has been tested because my mom and dad have been no been married for 40 years and she cooks the most incredible Pakistani food and she was one of the kind of one of the requirements Should I see if my dad got married? I don’t know how my mom did it honestly. But he told her you know, when they got married, they went to Pakistan and the her wedding pictures are her dressed head to toe in traditional Pakistani wedding dresses like with beautiful bright red and gold. Shahar in the village she got married and she learned to cook DC pack, you know traditional DC Pakistani foods. So she’s been kicking that know for as I say 14 years so yes, she did kick that at home but but we didn’t have to just those are fruits I remember like these amazing lychee and are going to the bazaars and how Having fresh mango milkshakes and mango policies. You know, there was a really it was a really special experience for us being out in the village, but also my, this is a bit bougie This is a sort of boo boos your sides and my my family in Pakistan are all involved in politics and, and in the army. My surname is john Judah and it’s a very sort of military name. And my and my father’s older sister married the General of the Army in Pakistan. And so we went to the Muhammad Ali Jinnah house in the horn in Lahore. He was the founder of Pakistan and so he gave his home in Lahore to the army. And that’s where we lived. So we had like a wing of the house. We had a Batman we had a you know, it was a pillar of peacocks in the garden. There were fireflies, mango orchard, and it just felt like a fairy tale really growing up and, you know, the probably the biggest and the most amazing experience for me was being there for the waiting Because, you know, you probably know this from watching films or if you’ve got any friends that are Indian or Pakistani that the weightings go on for weeks.
Angela Carson 11:09
I lived in India for three years and I went to a village wedding where it was three hours outside the city and it went on for three days. And there were 3000 guests
Zara Janjua 11:20
is big, brash, beautiful, you know, very colourful, very vibrant. And, you know, the banger drums, banging as you as you entered, I just want the food, the music, and then Mondays are usually hosted. They’re hosted by the women’s side of the family and everyone does a dance and like whole family members. It’s like a thing that like the girls in the family do dance, the boys and the family do a dance. You know, the aunts and uncles, maybe your mom and dad on one side to do a dance and it’s really fun. It’s really, really fun watching everyone kind of making a fool of themselves back Back then it was very traditional. And it was very military. There. Were you You know, Garland’s of rose petals decorating the walls and the whole place just smelt like this kind of like sweet mango floral scent everywhere. I remember being out in the garden trying to catch fireflies and we just had the best time you know, as a kid being exposed to that heat and stuff as well was just amazing. We really felt like it was a unique experience it was it was different and you know, I don’t remember much from my childhood, which is weird, isn’t it? Like you don’t, I don’t have very vivid memories from most of my childhood because most of it was pretty dull. You know? And that’s actually something an issue I had growing up I was like Mum and Dad, why can’t you be mean to me or why can’t I have you know, why do you want to have a crop? I put it i wanted to i wanted to venture I wanted, I wanted them to like put me up for adoption or to like, you know, send me away to skill somewhere or
Angela Carson 12:53
you always want which you can’t have but that is very
Zara Janjua 12:59
I I was a troubled writer. You know, I always knew I was going to be a writer and I was I just felt Oh, you need pain? No, I needed pain I needed experience and my family were just too nice and too normal. And everything was going too well, and I really resented them for it.
Angela Carson 13:14
Okay, I’m not following down this dark path of yours. Can’t believe that there were fireflies that you were catching the wedding. And
Zara Janjua 13:23
yeah, I mean, but that was in Lahore. So I mean, we did a bit of a tour of Pakistan while we’re there, because the other thing that I mean, I haven’t been back since then. And if I if I’m being honest, one of the things that’s put me off going back is that I am a bit of a free spirit and I do like to roam wild and free like the Buffalo. So I know what I go with the Pakistan I remember just being paraded around houses and all we did was eat. And Pakistanis have this thing of like when you go to their house, they will bring out like a tree of food, like trays of desserts or push this trio and you have to sit and eat and I just remember being four Fed all the time being me to drink this thing called ru of za, which was like rose flavored core deal that they would get me to like warm milk or warm buffalo milk and it was disgusting. That was apparently apparently it was like quite quite a lovely thing to give to children or
Angela Carson 14:20
adults. Oh, to give to children.
Zara Janjua 14:23
Oh my god yes. I was like six at the time and I was I was being forced fed this floral milk stuff that made me sick, you know and being forced fed and we were just so bored because we were learning we learn or do we learn Arabic but we didn’t really know how to speak the language. And so when they when they be sitting talking, we just be really bored and there’s lots of talking and eating and eating and talking and talking and eating and more Russa and it just became, you know, it was there were parts of it where we just wanted to be so playing Or, you know, escaping and I certainly no, no, I was a 35 year old woman that if I was to go back to Pakistan, there would be even more of that. No,
Angela Carson 15:09
Do it on the down low! I’m trying to find a way of going out to film a documentary there. So it’s like, I have the excuse of work
Zara Janjua 15:20
yeah. Or no, no, we’ve got something booked that day. We you know, no, it’s work and they understand work, you know, because Pakistanis have a fantastic work ethic. So if you say you have to work you have to work
Angela Carson 15:32
your escape hatch. That’s amazing. You need one night, I would love to go to Pakistan, I think because I know how beautiful India was and that’s, you know, one of its closest neighbours and the diversity of what you can see and just the kindness of people and and the film Allah amazing.
Zara Janjua 15:52
Oh, my God. Well, the food is like, I mean, I missed that so much. You know, being away from from my parents at the moment. I moved Go into London. And I’m going back to Scotland. At the end of this week, it will be the first time I have been back in but four months and the food’s definitely something that I’ve been missing. But you know, there’s there’s lots to love about Pakistan, there’s lots that we don’t see, I think that there’s been a real shift in terms of, you know, the media output, and the way it’s portrayed in films and TV series, and, you know, even on the news, and but Malala in her book she wrote about the opening scene is she’s she’s out in rural Pakistan, and that is paradise. There’s beautiful beautiful waterfalls, forests, lakes, rivers, you know, mountains, there’s a whole world out there that is just so beautiful and so adventurous. And that’s the state of Pakistan. I’m really, really keen to go and see because it’s not what we did. When we were children and overlock down, my father and I’ve become much closer. We’ve been talking every day. Making a real effort with each other. And we’ve said that we will go together to Pakistan again next year, which I’m really looking forward to, but I’ve made him promise that we can go and do one of the kind of outdoor adventures. So whether that’s, you know, he’s in the 70s now, so I wouldn’t quite get him keep hiking or I would go doing that, but certainly to go and stay in one of these rural places for a week or so to just get out and to do a few walks and to do some exploring, and to see the side of Pakistan that my father fell in love with as a child, you know, and he didn’t fall in love with all the meeting and eating he fell in love with the you know, the great outdoors. And that’s the kind of say that I’m really really keen to see the peacocks You had me and peacocks. But you see, I mean, you have put I’m quite jealous and envious of your childhood because I was saying that I didn’t particularly get much of a chance to go to like all my friends were going to Disneyland or they’d say that they were going out to France or America. And as I said, like we were just doing never like to do any of that
Angela Carson 18:01
Being born in Southern California does offer quite a diverse array of things to do just in your back door. So Disneyland I mean, we used to go twice a year to Disneyland. We had the beach. My parents divorced when I was quite young and dad lived at the beach. It was the 70s. And he actually when they divorced, he got a perm in his hair, bought a boat, and he moved right on the beach. It was like I guess that’s what you did back then. And so that’s great. But dad worked for United, he passed away a little over a decade. Go sorry. 15 years. Yeah, he had just retired early. He had worked for United Airlines. And he and my stepmom retired early and we’re building their dream house in Oregon. And they raised Arabian horses and miniature poodles. And they were all there was two weeks away from being done and they were in a car accident It was terrible. So, so but oh no, but I have so many fun childhood memories with my dad because mom worked and you know, back then the women did everything and they were divorced. And so all the fun stuff was with dad. And you know, mom got to be the disciplinarian and she had to watch her money and all that. So one of my favourites was Hawaii. And because dad worked with United Airlines, back back in the 70s, you just each family member would get a ticket book. And you literally it was before they stopped you at the before coming to the gate, you could just walk in, go to whatever gate you wanted, right the destination on the ticket, and then you pulled it out of this booklet and you pass it to them and you’d be on the waitlist. And so dad took us to Hawaii, I must have been seven, eight and The first time I went to Hawaii, it was just, it was so different to Southern California, because already living at the beach half of the time. You know, it’s beautiful. So cows, it’s lovely. But Hawaii was something completely different. I still do remember the colours of the water, which are very different to Southern California waters. They’re not, it’s not the same. And on that trip, I stayed in a really nice hotel for the first time. And that was pretty magic, with the tiny bottles and the, you know, the room service and dad would tip and it was, you know, having to behave ourselves in a slightly different way than the normal because the rest of our holidays were generally at the river because he had the boat now. So you know, we went to the Colorado River, but it was the first trip where I saw waterfall. And I can still remember and I was so young and it’s like you were saying I don’t really Remember vivid snapshots of my normal life. But I have vivid snapshots like in my mind, I can almost see it as a Polaroid. And I remember this waterfall with a swimming pool below it. That was the waters were so transparent you could see down to the bottom. They were crisp and cool which was amazing because you were just so crazy hot.
Zara Janjua 21:24
I think it’s crazy that you went to Hawaii as a child like I mean crazy in a great way and like I can just see our life side by side me and my caravan park you in Hawaii and me being insanely jealous.
Angela Carson 21:43
No, the caravan park is just like my dad taking us to the river and camping the rest of the time. Hawaii was still domestic, and we didn’t pay tax on them. So it was kind of Like dad got away with really cheap holidays. I can still remember the the drives back and forth to the Colorado River as well. And just seeing that landscape of Arizona with the rocks and the kind of the same as seeing the volcanoes in Hawaii or the waterfalls. What did you eat in Hawaii because like, I don’t actually know much about the fit in Hawaii at all. I remember drinking when they take sugar cane, and they squeeze it to make the juice. I remember having yet because Hawaii is a major sugar producer, producer. Yeah, producer exporter. And that was insane. I never had that again fresh until I lived in India decades later. I mean,
Zara Janjua 22:45
get those that that abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. I’ve lived in a city for most of my life and in the UK, and I realised that we don’t always have the reputation for having the best food. Okay, but certainly not when it comes to fit fruit and vegetables. And that is something I wholly embrace and appreciate when I go abroad is that abundance of fresh produce. And what you’ve just described there is something that in London, we would pick up for like eight pounds, nine pounds for a glass of it. And I love that when you’re on holiday to these places that it’s like a really standard thing just to enjoy and it feels so good for you and so healthy and fresh,
Angela Carson 23:29
where you have to import the rest of the world just have sitting outside their door. For me right now I’m sitting in the Rio islands in Indonesia. I’m literally looking out and there are banana trees in front and papaya trees in front of my apartment. This I mean, that’s just insane. It’s amazing. So when we have to fight the monkeys for them, but it’s Yeah, it’s amazing what we take for granted sometimes and what what other people take for granted and don’t see as exotic and special. I mean, I’m sitting in my heist in London right now looking at half dead cactus plant in front of me so
Zara Janjua 24:05
the contrast is striking. Really
Angela Carson 24:09
interesting. I’m actually sweating because I can’t put my fan on above me. And it is hella hot. Zara is in a sweatshirt
Zara Janjua 24:18
in London is getting cold London is summer has passed. I do a preview actually look great. You look like you’ve got like a really nice because I can see you right next when you zoom recording this so I can see that. You don’t you don’t you look really healthy and fresh. And I love that feeling. Do you want to swap lives? Do you want to why don’t we do a high swap?
Angela Carson 24:39
No, I don’t want to swap I do enjoy my little life. Thank you. You’re fanning me.
Zara Janjua 24:43
I’m trying to
Angela Carson 24:45
Zara and I both lived in Spain and neither of us knows each other’s story. But I want to hear about the summer job you had that you took sight unseen from a man sitting next to you on an airplane.
Zara Janjua 24:59
Oh my god. Right. So when I was, in fact, I’m going to prefix it by saying that my mother is the most adventurous woman I’ve ever met. And she, you know, was grew up in the slums of Glasgow and 17 decided to run away and join the army and travel the world. And she had the most incredible life. And there was some advice that she always gave me from a young age. And that has really prepared me for life. And it’s because of the advice that she gave me that I went on to do a lot of the things that I’ve done, one of them was to never wait for anyone if you want to do something. Don’t wait for friends. Don’t wait for anyone, if you if you want to go and see something, if you want to go and do something, be prepared to go alone and enjoy it. And that’s kind of I’ve moved a lot in life and I’ve done a lot in life and I’ve done a lot a lot and because of that advice, so I have done that, too. It’s a lot of solo travel, starting from when I was 20. The problem is that quite often if we don’t have the confidence to go out and embrace these experiences by ourselves, often if we’re waiting for friends, you know, if you say to people, why don’t we go to Mexico? Would you want to go and work in Spain for the summer? People go? Yeah, that sounds great. Oh, yeah, let’s do that. But when it comes down to it, very few people will follow through on it. And it’s very difficult unless you’re, you know, the kind of person that can get people to put deposits down on holidays. And I’ve got friends like that Angela, she’s very good at names Angela as well. And she’s very, very good at getting people to sign up. So Angela’s just have a way of getting people to do things. I’ve got a lot to answer for. So I did I had been wanting to go to work in Spain for the summer. The university degree that I was doing my undergraduate degree was in business management, and we had an extra long break that was about six months long. And so I only had about six months worth of course to do and I asked a few Friends, the beginning of the year, should we go out and do something in Spain to go out and get a job? And no one was really, I mean, people said that they were up for it. But as I was getting closer and closer to the time that we were going to be, I was going to be left and I was studying in Edinburgh. And I thought, I just don’t want to spend a summer working in a bar restaurant in Edinburgh. I want to go somewhere else. And you know, if I can do it somewhere else for six months, I’ll do somewhere else for six months.
Angela Carson 27:23
What city were you looking at in Spain?
Zara Janjua 27:26
And I didn’t really look that much.
Angela Carson 27:30
Did you look for the cheapest flight? That’s exactly what I did.
Zara Janjua 27:36
It was like, right, I can get a flight out for 14 pounds. So I’m going to take that one and I’ll figure out when I get there and I had enough money. I was gonna just say, Yeah, thanks. I’ll just go and see you know, meet some people and see how it goes. But yeah, when I jumped on the flight, I got I got myself a drink a little vodka and soda. sat down, nestled in and started to chat with this guy. Next to me who was British and owns a couple of bars out in Spain and he was going out, he’d been back home seeing family. And he said, he asked me what I was doing. I said I was going to go and look for a job. We spent the whole flight having a chat about our lives and about his bars. And we were going out to solo and so it’s near Valencia. So we were going, so we were going to solo and I just was, I couldn’t quite believe my luck.
Angela Carson 29:16
That’s amazing. Well, and he must have come off as a trusting person for you too. I mean, you you kind of get it thank you and I sat next to each other on a flight you get a feel for how someone is and your instinct kicks in. So what what did he offer?
Zara Janjua 29:32
And I mean, I’ll say that enjoy but also I do think that having alcohol we’re trusting I was about four vodkas down. He said that he owned a couple of bars in Spain. And not only that, there was a job and accommodation available so that he had this like
Angela Carson 29:54
It wasn’t in his house in like an adjoining room?
Zara Janjua 29:59
His dungeon? No, thankfully No. He, he had this six person accommodation out in a place called cambrils, which was a bit 20 minute walk from the restaurant. And it was just this beautiful watch, walk all along the coastline. So it just felt a bit bizarre though, because I hadn’t booked any hotels, I hadn’t booked anything. I totally thought I’ll be there for maybe a week to 10 days before I find something and the entire way out. I spent, you know, two to three hours speaking to this man on the plane about his life, his background, his family, found out about him and he you know, he asked me about what I was doing and he was he thought it was perfect. And it was because I went when I when we arrived I went with him in a cab. I mean, my mother would have been like, what the hell were you think? As adventurous as she was, you know, Sorry, mom! So yeah, I did get in a cab with him and went to see his his restaurant, and he had a lot of other British people working in the restaurant. And it just it made it in a sense a bit easier because I didn’t know Spanish. So, you know, for me that was like, you know, it was great to be working around people that at least I would be able to communicate with. But there were enough Spanish working there that I was also able to learn some Spanish. So that’s exactly, you know, what I’d been hoping for. But also it was a nice pub. It was a nice bar, and decent foods right on the beach, and a 20 minute walk home every day. So yeah, I mean, that was one of the best experiences I had out there. On the first day I met a guy there’s all the guys and then there’s a guy with a guy you’re like, in your early 20s especially there was always a guy. I met a guy out there and him and I we were together for the kind of six for five months. I worked in the bar and happens to be him on the first day. And then we went traveling together around around Europe when we when we finished so and it kind of all worked out fairly well. And you know, I just love the the change in lifestyle and you know, working and living in Spain was quite an experience because it taught me and expose me to new language and new culture. I mean, I’m again going to say the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables is amazing in Spain. Honestly, the fakes and stuff especially were just amazing.
Angela Carson 32:35
The origin and story of how your Spanish holiday like work holiday ends, and mine are completely opposite. They both had the same trajectory up until the very end, and then mine takes a very different turn to yours. Speak to me. Are you ready? Okay, so I bought a one way ticket to Europe. Again, I just I picked the city that was the cheapest from Los Angeles, it was the year after my Mexico trip. And I had decided, Okay, I’m going to go someplace safer because that seems smart. So I was checking all the cities in Europe. I just knew I wanted to your rail. You know, I want a Eurail pass and I wanted to go explore. Amsterdam was the cheapest I think it was like 250 US dollars or $300. It was some special. But Amsterdam was too cold. Paris was too expensive. north of Spain was too cold Pamplona was you know, man, and so ended up in this seaside village south of Barcelona called sieges. And in the winter, it’s a sleepy little village. In the summer, it is hella fun. And it turns into this big touristy place where it goes from 8000 inhabitants to like 36,000 inhabitants. When we arrived, I was with a girlfriend and we had traveled together. When we arrived. I’m like, okay, we need to get jobs. I’m down to the web. You know, a bit of money I didn’t go over with very much. And I said, I’m going to go out and try to look for a job and she’s like, Yeah, okay. After the first day I came back and she had like an older wealthy gentleman that was now her money source, and didn’t have any interest in looking for work. I was like, screw that. I am never going to be beholden to a man to have my allowance or rent or anything. So I wasn’t having any of that. She and I ended up really being good friends. We ended up just I couldn’t abide by her like her life choice just really annoyed the hell out of me. Because that’s how we’re supposed to be independent and like, the same as men. Not Yeah,
Zara Janjua 34:45
She probably had a great time to be fair. I mean, if it was sheer hedonism, without any of the other stuff about, you know, the legacy Are we leaving for future women and what does it say about me as a person’s morals
Angela Carson 35:00
She ended up not having the greatest time because she was very embarrassed to be seen out in public with him and he was quite happy to be seen out in public with her. It was it kind of made me happy that that had that Anyway, I digress.
Zara Janjua 35:25
So no, I love it.
Angela Carson 35:27
I ended up finding a job with kind of the coolest disco in the centre of town. There was another disco that is quite famous. That was on the beach, like outside of town. But this one was like right in the middle on one of the main, you know, old streets in the village and called Ricky’s and I met Ricky because I was walking around going to all the bars and pubs and asking for work. He gave me a job. He also like I did my first line of cocaine and ecstasy…
This escalated quickly. Yeah, we’re talking about waterfalls!
Angela Carson 36:14
So he gave me a job passing out tickets in the plaza, you know, in the main centre of town. And I basically just stood there with a couple of Spanish guys. And we’re like Ricky’s Ricky’s come tonight to Ricky’s. We were passing out tickets to people. And you know, when they paid the entrance, they got a free drink or whatever. So we go out, you know, what, 11pm by about 2am we needed to be back at the club. And then we had to dance and have fun and like, have a drink. So that the club looked like it was bouncing when people would come in when really it was dead. That was the job for a while, but I can actually dance really, really well. And there was that you can there was this stairwell Yeah. The VIP area and I would stand on the stairs and kind of like get my rocks off on you know a good song would come on. I get up there and like shake my tail feathers and Ricky came up one night and he’s like look, you know so I was thinking maybe we can build a podium for you next to the DJ booth and you can be the dancer for the summer and I’ll give you twice the salary and a budget for clothes because you know Sweetie, you need clothes. Like these American things that you brought with you like purple leggings and the jean shorts I wasn’t a stripper. I mean, I was like a normal you know what the cute girl sees but not 60s. It was quite funny. They really did send a Spanish girl to help me get appropriate clothing because clothing Did you get like cute dresses and things like that. I mean, just Normal European clothes that I later learned were normal instead of the American comfort wear that, you know, I hear you, hoochie mama clothes of the 90s and things like 1990 1992 I guess 1993 the year after the Olympics,
Zara Janjua 38:19
the Spanish fashion is just great there was an excitement and everything I noticed is really small and because you know the frames are much smaller generally but they have the most beautiful little like short white little dresses and they’re just like like everything is designed for dancing
Angela Carson 38:37
everything and they don’t see I’m quite conservative with how I dress anyway I not a plunging neckline kind of girl or like everybody’s my gynaecologist kind of length kind of girl. So I was kind of okay in that regard and Spanish women in Barcelona dress quite conservative but fashion like there’s never body parts. Showing, huh? Anyway, they took me shopping because I needed it so bad. I really did have purple leg warmers and like Ugg boots and, and no one had a boots they thought that I was wearing ski boots It was 1993. And yeah, I had I had rollerblades and people would stop their cars on the street to watch because they had never seen rollerblades in 1993 in Barcelona.
They’re everywhere now. You know, like, that’s a really common sight. Yeah. You started that trend, Angela? Yes. That was you. That was your legacy in Spain.
Angela Carson 39:41
Well, so this the new job as a Go Go dancer was really fun. And I do remember telling my mom about the job. And I said, Oh, Mom, it’s so great. I work half the hours now. And I get twice the amount of money. And she’s like, I’m sweetie. So you leave your clothes on. Right?
Zara Janjua 40:01
Yeah, just to clarify.
Angela Carson 40:04
notch in the 60s, you know, with the girl with the peace sign painted on her and she’s in a cage. Okay. Okay, but you do leave them on, right? Yes.
Zara Janjua 40:16
It sounds too good to be true, right? Doesn’t it twice at any half the time, it was so much fun.
Angela Carson 40:22
And then because I was a dancer there, I could go to the other club that was like, really amazing. It was this outdoor club where people got properly dressed to go. And I mean, there was a clothing requirement to that one, like men had to be in shirts and belts and a jacket, and women had to have very fashionable attire. So I could dance on the catwalk that went out over the dance floor there as well. Anyway, it was just the most fun summer and to spend every day on the beach, go home, take a nap, take shower, get ready, go to work. Repeat. It was it It was so much fun,
Zara Janjua 41:01
a great lifestyle i think you know, when you’re young then that’s like you have the energy for that, don’t you the late nights, even early mornings, your affiliate accepting of like the CS does sleeping on the beach, you know much kind of a much more relaxed lifestyle. You know? No, I feel I’m so glad I did that all then because, you know, my life now is incredibly busy and I just can’t imagine like that being okay with that level of chill. I have stuff that I need to do. You know, I’ve got business now things going on. And I’m you know, I think I’m really grateful for that sense that you and I had a similar time. Around that time. Okay. No one would have paid me to dance though. People would pay me not to dance I think.
Angela Carson 41:47
I don’t believe that. That’s true. But we will see that in person someday soon. I hope so. So mine though ended very different because on the last week that I was supposed to be in Spain. I was planning to go to Italy next And I just wanted to continue traveling I had saved up all summer, I had money, I was ready to go. And that last week, I ended up meeting my ex husband. I met him literally within a few days of me leaving. And he convinced me to stay. And it was just this big romantic gesture and it was dinner with all the seafood and the, you know, he had this these really tight jeans and like Spanish boots and a fast motorbike. And I mean, you’ve just ticked
Zara Janjua 42:33
about five of my top 10 boxes, they’re tight jeans, seafood, motorbike. It’s like a scene from a movie.
Angela Carson 42:43
No, he was a bad boy. And then that does like end up having its problems later, which is how we divorced so soon. But I ended up not leaving and continuing to travel because I met him which the amazing part of that is I have my daughter now that is my greatest joy. But I was supposed to continue on like you were just like life somehow got in the way and change things which in the end has been a blessing. But yeah, it’s it’s quite interesting but Spain’s it welcomes home those that need a little bit of Spanish lifestyle to get them back on track or to appreciate what they have or as an aside I
Zara Janjua 43:22
I love your stories. Honestly I could listen to stories all day and even like, I think that relationship Love is like life is about love. Let’s just be honest. It really is. I will fall in love at any opportunity. And I think if I had the opportunity to stay and enjoy, you know, a great relationship, then I might have done the same.
Angela Carson 43:42
Oh my god. Okay, well, we have literally gotten to about half of what I wanted to talk to with you. Will you agree to come on for a part two and I’m just going to label this part one.
Zara Janjua 43:57
That would really be cool. I’m saying it, I am so committed. Angela, it’s just really nice being able to talk about holidays right now and escapes at a time when, you know, we’re off the back of lockdown. And, you know, I certainly haven’t been able to, you know, commit to being away again this year and since lockdown and you know, it’s lovely, this is great, it’s reigniting my passion. My joy is making me look forward to going away again. And I have no doubt that we’ll get away again. And I actually have no doubt that we’ll meet you again at some point. I do know we’ll do that.
Angela Carson 44:37
Yeah, I think so too. Will you tell listeners what they should check out on your channel or what’s coming up for you that would be fun for them to absolutely follow.
Zara Janjua 44:46
So I am on Twitter and Instagram at @tvzaraj that’s probably the best place to to come and hang out and say hello. And at the moment. I’m doing a lot of comedy. I’ve just been commissioned. To make a few BBC sketches, so I am at the moment rating and crewing up and to do them, I’ve got some I wish I could say a bit more, but actually got a couple of podcasts of my own coming up. And so there’s there’s a, yeah, there’s quite a quite a lot going on and that I can’t fully reveal just yet but I would love to, if you are trying to break into the industry and you need some, some help, especially if you’re quite young, quite new to this. I do a lot of mentoring and I’d be you know, really keen to help and promote, especially young minority women. So come and say hello.
Angela Carson 45:35
That’s beautiful. Thank you so much, Zara, for being here. Thank you so much for being my first female storyteller. I adore you. You’re the best. I will see you in the next one.
Zara Janjua 45:46
I hope so. Yes, please. Yes, please. Right back atcha Angela. Take care my darling.