Big thank you to Jessica Elliot with How Dare She (howdareshe.org) for the nomination and sending me these fun questions!
What is your goal with blogging?
I’d like to be the youngest woman to visit every United Nation, which I know is quite the massive undertaking! My goal with this blog is to document my steps along the way, raise awareness of other countries; both their beauty and their social issues (specifically concentrated on women’s and children’s rights, education, and marine conservation), and encourage youth to travel and make a difference themselves through my project Making Waves.
What is your second favorite place you’ve visited, and why isn’t it number one?
I would definitely have to say the Maldives, which is only second to Western Australia (specifically Exmouth and Coral Bay)! Both places are hotspots for larger marine life like sharks, whales, and manta rays, and as a freediver and lover of all things beach and ocean, they’re exactly where I need to be. Western Australia is more for backpackers, whereas the Maldives is more for luxury travelers and honeymooners. While both places are isolated, the Maldives is much more so than Western Australia. I also really enjoyed making friends and connections in WA, which isn’t something I got to do in the Maldives because of the nature of accommodations.
How do you decide which boxes to check and what you’re ok with missing?
I’m really big on volunteering and doing good whenever I enter another country, so if I am lucky enough to get to volunteer that automatically takes priority over sightseeing.
Usually next on my priority list are beaches, dive sites and major landmarks, and I also like to ask my friends for food recommendations before I go someplace new. I’m very much all about making relationships and having interactions while abroad, so usually deciding which boxes to check and which ones to miss comes from talking to other people. A lot of the time you find out that something isn’t always worth the hype and then you save yourself a lot of time.
Do you travel mostly solo or with a compatriot? What do you think are the pros and cons of it?
I’ve only traveled a couple of times solo and the rest of the time has been with family, and as of right now I prefer traveling solo out of those two options. I love the freedom that you have when you’re solo because you get to decide every aspect of your trip, and it’s also way easier to make friends. The only major drawback is the loneliness that you experience in that weird phase of your trip before meeting people. I have yet to travel with friends or companions that I’ve decided myself, though, so I don’t feel like I have a fully formed view of traveling with a companion yet.
What challenges you when it comes to traveling and blogging?
I’m still getting the hang of traveling WHILE blogging! It’s hard because I’m very much someone who lives in the moment and gets caught up in the experience of things—half the time I forget that I’ve got blog posts to write when I get back to my room and it doesn’t end up happening. So I’ll awkwardly be posting about my Australia and New Zealand trip three months after the fact. I’ve made a point of making little notes in my phone about things I may want to put into the blog, and that’s helped a lot.
What’s been a time traveling that you found yourself surprised?
The biggest things that I’m surprised by are my own strength and the kindness of others. This probably sounds ridiculous but I kind of feel like a superhero version of myself when I travel. I’m much more likely to try new foods, adventure more, and go outside of my comfort zone—I got through a ropes course with no problem and literally jumped off of a 192 meter building last time I traveled!
When it comes to the kindness of others, I’ve always found that the world is a much nicer place than the media would like us to think. Of course there are issues everywhere you go, but as long as you’re respectful of people and the culture, locals are always incredibly friendly and helpful.
What is your approach to language when traveling?
Personally I’m obsessed with languages, so I could be a bit biased here. I think that it’s really important to have at least some basics in the local language when you’re traveling someplace. You’re the guest in their home, and I think it’s incredibly unfair to expect an entire country to accommodate to you and speak English rather than taking the time to learn simple things like “hello”, “goodbye”, “do you speak English” and “I don’t speak ____” in the local language. And it’s not too hard to learn the basics! You can do it on the plane/bus/train ride to your destination.
What’s your approach to photography when it comes to capturing the moment vs. experiencing the moment?
I’m big on experience first, photos second. Then again I’ve found that it’s not usually something I have to decide between and I can have it both ways. For me, it’s a matter of taking a deep breath and taking it all in before jumping to find the best angle for Insta.
Cost-aside, what would be your ideal 2 week trip?
I would LOVE to island hop the South Pacific and visit Vanuatu, Samoa, Palau, Kiribati and Micronesia by flying out of Auckland. Like I said, I’m a freediver and have an obsession with marine life, so these places are super high on my diving bucket list. They’re also among the least visited countries in the world and are practically untouched in terms of both their nature and their original cultures and traditions. I don’t know a lot about South Pacific culture so I think it’d be really fascinating.
What is a time you’ve felt really proud (preferably about yourself)?
My very first trip without my family was with a volunteer group to Costa Rica, and unfortunately I got appendicitis while I was on that trip. I had to get my surgery done in Costa Rica without any family or friends with me, and unfortunately was also the victim of a violent crime on that trip as well. The entire experience and the time afterwards was the most terrifying in my life. To this day, I’m proud of myself for picking myself back up and seeing that the world still isn’t such a bad place, and continuing to travel.
If people only took a few nuggets of what you write, what would you hope it to be?
I hope there are students and young adults out there who read my blog and see that it’s okay to be brave, take that leap of faith, and go seize the world. Whether that be actual travel or asking someone out, applying for that job, or making that big move they’ve always wanted to make but have been afraid to. I hope I can show people that they can overcome obstacles and inspire people to do their one big thing.