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Interviews

Interview with Dame Traveler Alaa Razoky

Thanks so much for chatting with us today! Could you tell us a little about your story and what you do, for anyone who doesn’t know you yet!

Hi there, my name is Alaa Razoky. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq and before the age of five, I had already lived in three continents and four countries. Maybe my love for the world started even before I knew it. I am 44 (as of August 29th). I was a teacher for 14 years, then a real estate broker and now I do a little bit of both remotely. I wasn’t always a traveler. In my 20’s, I saved for three years to take a big international trip (about three weeks of travel). As I became more financially stable, the trips increased. The turning point was when I was 33 years old and living my best life in New York City. I told myself that if I wasn’t married by 33 and looking to start a family, I was going to truly enjoy my life and really TRAVEL THE WORLD. I left NYC, moved to CA, where my family is, and started to plan. In the fall of 2010, I went to Belize for a week, came back home for 36 hours and turned around and headed to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for five weeks. That was the beginning of my crazy travel life. Then I decided to set a goal: seven continents before I turn 40. Even though I had hit North America, Europe and Asia already, I had to touchdown on all seven in the seven years until my 40th birthday. Let me tell you this, there hasn’t been a goal I have set that I haven’t met. Two weeks before I turned 40, I touched down in the US after spending a month in Africa. That was continent #7.

Tell us a bit more about the trip that changed your life

Africa. I love that continent so much. I spent a month in Tanzania, Zanzibar (Tanzania), Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. Aside from the amazing safaris, it was the people and their lives that touched my heart the most. I was in the land of extreme poverty and the highest rate of disease but yet I encountered the kindest, bighearted and happiest people in all my travels. It confirmed that you don’t need much to be at peace, to be content. I know they struggle daily but they smile, they enjoy barefooted dances in the streets and small gatherings among those they love and cherish the most. The farthest thing from a spoiled society but yet they know how to find a little happiness in everything that they do. They have a special gift and I don’t think this is something you can encounter unless you step foot onto this continent.

What has been your favorite destination so far and why?

This is one of the hardest questions to answer. How about a list my favorite city and /or country in every continent? Obviously that’s hard for Antarctica but I can do the rest. Here goes:

North America-New York City, USA: I have loved this city ever since I was in high school. I’m sure a lot of people fall in love with NYC even before stepping foot so I was no different than most. However, I spent my early 30’s living in the Big Apple when I was financially stable and could truly live it up in NYC. Anything you want to do you can do in New York. Best years of my life. I would not rule out moving back there sometime in the future.

South America-Buenos Aires, Argentina, known as the Paris of South America, BA has its own charm. The food is unbelievable, the people are kind, the city is beautiful and very fun. One thing you won’t see a ton of in BA is designer stores because of a tax placed on imported goods. It makes it more authentic than most cities. c) Africa-Serengeti, Tanzania-Animals, animals, animals. The number of animals you see in the Serengeti National Park is unbelievable. What’s even more wonderful is how protected this land and its inhabitants are. It’s a different side of Africa and it is amazing!

Australia-Whitsunday Islands, Australia-Imagine sailing for three days in the Great Barrier Reef amongst the Whitsunday Islands. We saw so much daily but the most spectacular sight, other than an abundance of coral underwater, was the stop we made to Whitehaven Beach. It is the WHITEST and SOFEST sand you will ever step foot on. It was pure heaven.  

Europe-Paris, France-I mean, it’s the city of love. It oozes romance, beauty, love, style and class. Yes, the French have a reputation for being rude but they’re not all like that. I have been there three times and I never get bored or sick of it. I love the language (studied nine years when I was schooled in Canada but far from fluent), the food (escargot and beef tartare), French wine and seeing a metropolitan city light up at night. I just love everything about Paris!

Asia-Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam-It’s hard to imagine that this city in a communist country that endured such brutality in the Vietnam War is as amazing as it is (be sure to learn about the war when you’re there). The food will blow you away, the city has views that are beautiful from many directions, it’s a bustling city, lots of markets and shopping but most importantly, the kindness of the Vietnamese people just warms your heart.

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?

Travel has taught me that we are incredibly lucky and blessed in the US. When you see how others live, how little they need to get by and how they truly survive on the necessities, it is quite amazing. It has caused me to not live lavishly and constantly purchase things I don’t necessarily need. I am more humble because of this and I have chosen to help people around the world.

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a female traveler? 

Once I was followed by a man in Italy. It was in a busy area so initially I didn’t know if it was just a coincidence or if he was really following me. I kept looking back and he was still there. I would dip into a store and as I walked out, I saw him waiting and then continue to follow me. It wasn’t until I ran into a store and pointed the guy out that the man took off running and I never saw him again. Another time La Paz, Bolivia, I was told never to hail a taxi on the street and never to walk at night. I followed those rules. Recently in Quito, Ecuador, I knew two people who had been mugged. Having this information, I decided to get rid of my purse and put my ID, credit card and money in one pocket and my cell phone in another pocket. If they didn’t see me physically carrying anything, I wasn’t of interest to them.

 Other than that, I follow warnings and guidelines while traveling in all countries.

What piece of advice would you give to women who would like to travel but are afraid to? 

It’s one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I have met tons of friends who I see occasionally, have met men that could have been potential mates, learned so much, more than a textbook could teach me, and can do what I want when I want without having to worry about someone else. If you worry about being lonely, you won’t be. The people you meet along the way will be more than happy to do things with you.

Why do you think it’s important for women, specifically, to explore the world?

I am a very independent woman and I believe that’s an important characteristic in females. If we follow the traditional path in life such as school, marriage, kids, we get so wrapped up in working and taking care of our family that we rarely have time for ourselves. I see it a lot in women who took this path. How wonderful would it be to have the freedom to travel, see the world, experience the globe for yourself before you settle into domestic life. To me, you’ll look back and be glad you did that before you made the huge commitment to do the other life events.

Fun fact

One thing I have been doing is buying gems from locations that mine them. So far, I have a tanzanite from Tanzania, a ruby from Vietnam and an emerald from Colombia. I then have them set when I return home and the result is amazing. I will send you pictures of those as well.

Also, I take all my own photos. I don’t have any formal training. Sometimes I get lucky with great shots and sometimes I don’t. I don’t journal when I travel as I feel my photos tell the stories I want to tell. With that said, I started an Instagram account @missworldwide that showcases my photos, gives a brief description and certain posts are connected to some travel writing I do for a lifestyle magazine, Nspire Magazine, located in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t know where this will take me but I wanted to share my joy of traveling with others around the world and hopefully inspire women to travel solo to find themselves, find happiness and true contentment.

 

Diversity Interviews

Black is Beautiful: Interview with Dame Traveler Sophia of Sostyles Escapades

Could you tell us a little about your story and what you do, for anyone who doesn’t know you yet?

My name is Sophia, founder of Sostyles Escapades – a platform I created to curate customized trips for groups of people who are inspired by my adventures. I am a Travel Digital Content Creator who aims to educate and inspire through social media. I have been to almost 30 countries and lived in 3. As a nomad at heart, I make it a priority to immerse into foreign cultures as a way to not only raise my sense of self awareness, but also to tap into my empathy for locals from an open minded stance. Travel truly depicts how interlaced we are. It makes me appreciate the commonalities as well as the differences. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What change would you like to see change or happen in the travel and photography industries? What advice would you like to give to brands?

As a Black female creator, I would love to see more inclusivity, fairness, and diversity in the travel and photography industries. And this also includes leaders and decision makers for said company or brand. Take a look at the stats. Black people spend approximately $65 BILLION on travel annually. We contribute a great deal yet are still underrepresented. It does not add up.

Also, brands should invest in long term partnerships as opposed to only reaching out to Black creators right before Black History Month as a means to cover face and ‘amplify black voices’. Black people are not just a token to tick a box. We need systemic change that is non-performative, supportive, and effective. Representation matters, and this is why I strive to partner with brands who share the same values.

What are some challenges or issues you have faced as a Black female traveler?

First off, thank you for capitalizing the B in Black. White male dominated societies have definitely played a big role here. Especially where they have less focus on gender equality. Mostly via the internet, I have had middle-aged to older white men offer payment in return for sexual pleasures. It is usually referred to as being a ‘Sugar baby’ and sometimes they turn out to be people who have a whole family, which makes it even sicker. Makes me think- is the entire family in on this? This only goes to show that Black women are constantly hyper sexualized in the media and in return deemed gold diggers.

On one of my recent trips, I experienced a taxi driver (happened more than once) who would not let me get into his car. Even after I offered to pay double for something that was going to be maybe a 5 minute drive. I cannot make this up. I could have walked, but I was running late for an important early morning appointment, and I wore heels.

What piece of advice would you give to new Black female travelers?

Know your worth and trust your gut. Research is key. Get some credible reviews from experienced travelers. Learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty and change. Comfort zone? Never heard of her. Keep an open mind and get excited to be filled with everlasting jaw dropping knowledge. Be open to failure and chances of not always getting it right. Be prepared for some glares, but remember that the obstacles are only a set up for bigger and brighter future opportunities. I would add that it also helps to be street smart. Never appear flashy, trust me – you already stand out as is. Be curious and ask as many questions as you find necessary. Have the time of your life and journal your experience to its entirety.

Piece of advice to give non-black travelers?

Research is key. Keeping an open mind is paramount. Drop the stereotypes society has made you to believe. Seek to understand how to treat others who do not look like you without placing them in a specific category simply because of their race. You just may find that you are more alike than you are different.

What are some myths and misconceptions about traveling as a black female solo travel that you’ve found to be untrue?

‘You must be rich for all the travel that you do.’
NO. Please kill this idea that you must have tons of money to travel the world. Do your googles, there are countless blogs on how you can travel for dirt cheap. On average my flight tickets usually range in the $200s-300s (yes, international destinations included!). Personally, the most I have paid for a RT ticket was right around $600 and that is only because I waited longer than I should have since I had not quite made up my mind yet. This has only happened once.

‘Traveling alone is dangerous.’
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this, from my peers and even family. While I understand for the most part, this comes from a caring place, I wish people who often said this spoke from first hand experience. This is a horrible misconception because where are you ever really safe? If anything, living in America has taught me to exercise maximum caution anywhere I go. Plus, I hate that this idea can discourage aspiring solo travelers.

The notion that because you are Black, you are unable to do ‘white people sports/activities’. Swimming is a typical example of this. I have heard people say swimming is not a ‘Black person’s strongest suit’. As well as playing the violin, golf, snowboarding and so many others! I am not sure where this originated from but I can only speak for myself when I tell you I have checked off so many bucket list experiences in my lifetime, and there will be plenty more to come! From rappelling a 200 ft waterfall in Costa Rica, Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, to Skydiving just to name a few. I have and will always be a thrill seeker, and will continue to incorporate this in my travels so I can continue to share what IS possible to do these things regardless of your color, race or background.

What are some states or countries that have been kind to you?

Thailand, Switzerland, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama. There are so many! And this just reminds me of the fact that as many bad experiences I encounter along the road, the good experiences always outweigh the bad.

What are some states or countries that haven’t been so kind?

Spain was surprisingly not so kind. I only visited the Southern part of Spain, so I am open to giving it another try in the future. Sadly the USA, where I call home, is at the top of the list. It TRUMPS all! See what I did there?

Once again, while some of my not so kind experiences have placed a bit of damper on my travels, they certainly do not define them. For every bad experience I encounter, the universe rewards me with 50 x more treasurable moments.

Tell us what you’re up to next and where we can find you

Like the whole world, I am honestly just waiting on things to get back to normal or close. I was supposed to be heading to Jamaica the beginning of August, but that does not look like it’s happening. I am eager to travel again, and I cannot wait to travel even harder!!! I can be found via my Instagram: @sostyles or @sostylesescapades. I also have a Tiktok account and YouTube channel. Additionally, the website for my business is sostylesescapades.com where I also share free travel advice, tips and hacks.

Thanks for having me! I hope everyone reading this stays positive, hopeful, and safe 😊

Interviews LGBT+

LGBT+ Travel: Interview with Kirstie & Christine of @onairplanemode__

Could you tell us a little about your story and what you do, for anyone who doesn’t know you yet?

We are Kirstie & Christine, an LGBTQ+ couple from New York City that left our day jobs to backpack the world. Our adventures have taken us from the streets of Southeast Asia, to beer festivals in Germany, and the deserts in Rajasthan. We are sharing our adventures through beautiful content on our Instagram @onairplanemode__to inspire our followers to find their passion for traveling, all while celebrating who they are and whom they love. We also have a blog for our travel guides, tips and experiences during our travel as well as more on our lifestyle here.

Tell us a bit more about the trip that changed your lives.

When we first met, we always talked about taking a long trip where we would just buy a one-way ticket and not have to worry about time. We estimated a 3-month trip but that eventually became 4 months then 5 months then 9 months and here we are. The more we traveled the longer our bucket list became. We discovered more about ourselves and found a real passion for photography and traveling. We loved learning about cultures and fully being immersed in other people’s lives. Our trip opened our mind in so many ways, we went through 13 different countries in 9 months and developed a wider view for the world. We created a deeper bond for each other throughout our experiences, we challenged ourselves to talk to people without speaking the same language, we learned how to navigate in all 13 countries. It truly has given us a new perspective on how we appreciate life and motivates us to continue learning about different ways of life.

What has been your favorite destination you experience together so far and why?

For Kirstie, Malaysia is by far her favorite and for me, the Philippines is my favorite destination. Of course, this always changes with every trip but as of now, these are places we are craving to go back to.

Malaysia had many of the same qualities: beautiful islands and generous people. However, what stood out to us the most was the food! Malaysia, especially Kuala Lumpur, is known to be Asia’s melting pot. The food has many different influences from all over Asia which makes the food some of the best we had. Another favorite about Malaysia was the wildlife encounters. Whenever you go to the island of Borneo you will find orangutans, pygmy elephants, and the endangered proboscis monkeys! This is just to name a few, but you often find them in the wild here and it is a beautiful experience being so surrounded with nature.

The Philippines was just so underestimated. There are thousands of islands to choose from that are so rich in culture. It was so interesting to see all the different dialects and culture when you jump from each island. We created a bond with the locals and it just was so freeing. We stayed on Siargao island the longest where we woke up with the locals every morning at 5am to go surfing until the sun rises then we’d go to a local eatery where it felt like our very own mom was feeding us. Afterwards, we’d go back out to surf during sunset and then dance the night away. If the people didn’t win you over, then the tropical landscape will. We saw some of the most beautiful marine life here with coral reefs that were so colorful and thriving.

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?

Traveling alters our life each and every new destination we visit. From an eco-perspective, we’ve seen first hand locals struggle from global warming issues like not being able to find fish for their family or seeing stretches of bleached coral. We learn how to be more open minded, live a sustainable and healthy life, care for our environment, and most importantly to be kind. A few things we have also noticed is that even in countries less privileged than we are in America people are still so kind and generous. This is something that changes you to your deepest core. You are challenged with a new and humble way of living which you will carry on through your years even after you are settled down somewhere.

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a traveling LGBT couple?

Being an LGBT couple, we run into hard situations even in our own country. When we first went traveling, we were definitely nervous seeing that a lot of these Southeast Asian countries it is still illegal to be gay. However, the more we traveled the more we saw there are LGBTQ+ people everywhere.

Coming from NYC where we were comfortable with public displays of affection, we found it a little hard to not be couple-y but we understood and respected the countries we traveled to. PDA generally isn’t appropriate there anyway, gay or straight, so we didn’t feel completely outcasted. Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines were the most open and receptive to our relationship. We actually went to Taiwan specifically for Gay Pride. Taiwan just had legalized same sex marriage in 2019 and was the first asian country to do so.

What piece of advice would you give to new female travelers ?

With any place you travel to, you should always do your research and be observant of your surroundings. You want to be as safe as you can and make sure you’re prepared to deal with anything that could go wrong. When you leave your comfort zone, you have to trust your instincts, be confident in your decisions and embrace opportunities that may push personal boundaries.

Why do you think it’s important for women, specifically, to explore the world?

It is important for women to travel and explore the world because it is empowering. It is becoming one and finding yourself. Being a woman and traveling has helped me discover what I like and don’t like, how I plan to spend my personal time, and has given way to help me realize what I truly value most in this world. Exploring the world gives you a sense of freedom to fully embrace all that you do, and to start loving yourself more just for being you.

 

Interviews Photography

Meet Dame Traveler Behind the Lens: Nancy Lova

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Nancy Lova is a Travel Photographer with a love for color, culture and a thirst for gaining new knowledge about the various traditions each country has to offer.

Tell us about yourself! When did you start traveling?

Traveling has been an interest of mine since my late teens however the photography aspect came around much later when friends discovered I had somewhat of a talent and eye for it.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI’m still trying to establish myself within the industry and whilst I do, I work within Real Estate. I have sold to international clients from all over the world and often the ice-breaker or common ground we tend to have are either the countries we’ve both visited or the knowledge I have of the country they originated from.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI have a long way to go but I am proud to have taken the steps to do travel photography professionally and feel so blessed for the identity this has given me, all that I so far achieved and the like-minded photographers I met along the way.

As we begin our new #DTBehindTheLens series, we’re aiming to spotlight female travel photographers who are not only artists in their field but also showcase more than just a female figure in a photograph. Why do you think it’s important for women photographers to be celebrated?

Many still have the expectation to see females in front of the camera and be the subject of a pretty picture rather than taking control behind the camera. It also comes as a shock to some when they learn that a woman is a solo-traveler. “Aren’t you scared?”, “Isn’t it boring?”, “Why don’t you go with friends?” Are some of the questions I’m asked when I tell someone that I’m a travel photographer.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaTravel photography isn’t for the weak hearted whether you’re a man or woman. It takes a great deal of strength, courage and initiative to go beyond what is expected of you and push yourself to experience what traveling has in store, all for the love of photography.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaFor a woman photographer to break the norm and the judgements that come with, deserves celebration in itself as well as for the gorgeous content she produces.

What change would you like to see happen in the travel industry?

I would like to see more people truly embrace traveling, not just as a tourist but as a local and develop more of an understanding of people from different cultures, faiths and traditions.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova #DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaTraveling shouldn’t be treated as a check-list exercise to show off how many countries one has visited but as a way to be educated by the world.

What is one of the most enthralling experiences you’ve had while photographing the world?

One trip that I will forever be grateful for would be my visit to Udaipur, India. I went during an unhealthy and negative time in my life with an old partner therefore there was very little planning involved and hardly any knowledge of what to expect. Although I had my camera, my love for photography had pretty much taken a back seat in my life.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaFor years I heard of the spiritual power India can have over a person but never did I expect to experience this first hand.

At the time, my life had become a prime example of, “sorry, I was miles away” whereby my body would be present in settings but by mind was completely elsewhere.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaEach day in Udaipur felt therapeutic, through the warm energy from the people to the calming sounds I woke up to first thing in the morning. I stopped feeding into the toxic relationship I had with my partner and focused on myself, I focused on what I wanted to get out of my trip to India and chose to have my camera for company.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaBy the end of the trip I was leaving Udaipur with a new sense of clarity and peace which ultimately encouraged me to produce content that helped my photography to get back on track and acknowledged within the travel photography community.

And that relationship? I put an end to that during a flight back from New Delhi. India was my wakeup call.

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?

Travel has installed a humbling experience within. I have seen how some people live and the little they own but are richer in life than many others. This has opened my eyes to what is truly important and to value what is often taken for granted such as time and meaningful conversations even with those that you may never meet again.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaOne of the biggest lessons I reckon travel brings is patience, I find that a well traveled individual often is aware of which matters deserves a great deal of their time, attention and energy and which do not.

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a female travel photographer?

I try to not take in the negatives too much but there have been times where I haven’t been taken seriously and was viewed as just a girl with a nice camera that would take nice pictures.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaFree favors! From time to time I am asked to work on an assignment or shoot abroad and not get paid for it and instead be told that it would be good experience for me.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Some, men in particular, would assume my idea of traveling and photography is porn-star martinis by the poolside whilst trying to gain a great tan, capturing cute shots ( I mean who doesn’t love the sound of that ?) but are then surprised by my experiences and knowledge of the places I’ve traveled to.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI think one thing that is often a hard pill to swallow is when my dreams are downplayed by those that I tell. Some don’t believe in my goals or assume this is too difficult of a dream for me to achieve and I should just take up a different kind of photography like wedding or baby photography. The two are just as difficult to get into first of all and it hurts when a friend or family member who doesn’t have any experience in the industry, tells you to perhaps consider another option.

What piece of advice would you give to new female travel photographers?

Be strong, be fearless, be consistent. Treat travel photography as a job you’re passionate about rather than a holiday, even if you’re just starting out.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Let your camera be your best friend, take it everywhere you can and keep practicing – this was the best advice I was given by another photographer when I first started.

Be brave enough to visit new places solo and wait for no-one. Be ballsy, this is a tough industry behind the beautiful images you see online or in prints.

Lastly, enjoy what you do and be at peace when capturing content, the energy you have when traveling and using your camera is reflected in your work. If you’re in a rush and frustrated, then your work will look rushed. If your mind is clear and at ease then it is easier to capture the beauty of your environment or subject.

What is it that you aim to photograph during your travel experiences?

I aim to capture shots right in the moment, to make whoever may see my photos, feel as if they were right there with me.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaThe more color, the better, everyone has their own style in photography but I’m attracted to bright colors and sunlight.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaI avoid typical tourist shots when I can, there’s nothing wrong with those but I find capturing well known places from different angles displays the eye of the photographer.

What is the best way to learn digital photography and editing? How did you learn?

Take your camera everywhere, play with it as much as possible. Reach out to other photographers and learn how they capture their shots. I love being inspired by others and putting my own spin on a new technique.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaRegarding editing, I downloaded various programs and spent evenings just playing around. The mistakes I made to pictures often enabled me to learn a new aspect or tool of the program.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy LovaWhen editing, I like to come back to the image a little later before posting it on Instagram or submitting it somewhere or to someone. This is because in the moment you could either love or hate the finished edit and have a completely different reaction when you revisit it with fresh eyes.

#DTBehindTheLens: Nancy Lova

Interviews

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

Audrey Martinez is a digital nomad and beauty expert with a knack for exploration in style. After following her gorgeous photos of her time spent around the world (from the bustling streets of Manhattan, to the cool blue waters of Ibiza, to romantic views of Cannes), we’re excited to have Audrey here today to share her expertise with us today.

Hi Audrey, could you introduce yourself and what you do for our readers? 

My name is Audrey, I’m a digital content creator, traveler and model. I have eight years experience in the cosmetics industry, working as makeup expert and beauty Stylist for brands such as Chanel, Burberry and Givenchy. However, my primary focus for the last few years is on building my personal brand. I’m a creative soul who circles the globe promoting scenic destinations, luxury hotels and fashion and beauty brands. My overall motivation is to inspire women to achieve their goals and go after their dreams. Little girls with dreams become women with vision.

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

Love that sentiment! So, where do you think your curiosity for adventure came from? 

When I was a little girl, I liked to read a Disney comic book series starring Scrooge McDuck, (“the richest duck in the world”) renowned for its avarice and adventurous side. I then wanted to be like him, rich and go on adventures —without being avare tho!

What has been your favorite destination so far and why? 

My favorite destination hands down, is IBIZA! Most people have this idea of it being only about parties, drugs and alcohol. But Ibiza is so much than that! The parties are 10% about what Ibiza really is.

The White Island is magic, it’s actually the third most magnetic point in the world and can feel the magical energy from the core of every inches of your body the first minute you put your feet there – and it start at the airport. I’ve never seen people embracing their true selves like I’ve seen it in Ibiza. I visit every year since 2015, sometimes when I miss the White Island too much I visit twice in summer and winter. My heart belongs to there.

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

As a beauty expert, I’m sure you’ve perfected the art of packing. What is your go-to item you always are happy that you packed? 

My headphones! I can’t travel without listening to music, especially when it’s a long courier travel. 

Why do you think it’s important for women, specifically, to explore the world? 

I grew up in Cameroon, a country where women are not allowed to do what they want without being allowed by a family member or husband. Women are programmed to downplay themselves and fit into men standards. It took traveling for me to realize that I am strong, resourceful, intelligent and to fully love myself.

Traveling is an empowering, freeing and informing experience. I remember visiting Mexico solo when I had been told my whole life it was a dangerous country… but I found Mexican were caring and generous. I felt like home.

I dare women to travel the globe and show how amazing creatures we are. Explore the world will make you grow, it will empower you, and it will help you realize important things about yourself you’ve never thought about.

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

Do you have any travel insight on staying healthy and sane while on the road? 

Bring snacks with you on travel days. I always bring protein bars, and some nuts and seeds. Do not let desperation and hungriness get the better of you and turn to the first fast food restaurant you see after a long flight. 

Embrace the joy of walking. I remember that time where I walked from 5th Avenue in New York, I crossed all Central Park before finishing my course in Harlem. I felt tired but so, so good. 

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

Do you know any travel hacks or tips? 

Traveling requires a budget but it can definitely be affordable —for flights tickets, instead of buying them online or at travel agencies, download cheap flights apps, they often have tickets 50% cheaper sometimes 70% off. Also, pick locations where the cost of living is low and you get more for your money, like Latin America, Asia.

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

How do you research or plan your trips? 

I’m the spontaneous type. I would look at my flights app and if i find an attractive price anywhere I pack and go.

One time I was unable to sleep because of my insomnia, I was looking at flights ticket in one of my flights app, it was around 1am when I saw a one way ticket less than 200€ from Geneva to New-York in December. I bought it without no second thought and at 6am, I was on my way to the airport. 

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

What are you tips to stay safe when traveling? 

Research your destination thoroughly before any trip, especially the neighborhood you’ll stay in. Spending extra money on staying safe.

If you’re traveling long-term on a shoestring budget, can be hard… but it’s a smart idea to financially invest in your own safety. For example, if your flight is scheduled to land in a rough city late at night, don’t be afraid to spend extra money to take arrange a ride to your hotel, instead of taking a bus or taxi into town.

How Dame Traveler Audrey Martinez Celebrates Beauty, Expertise & Travel

Thank you so much for your advice and for sharing your story! Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try new things, pack, and go live your best life! 


Thank you for sharing your advice and expertise with us Audrey. Be sure to see where in the world Audrey is adventuring on Instagram!

As always, if you’re feeling inspired by Audrey’s story – be sure to check out the other women within the Dame Traveler community’s stories in our Faces Of Dame Traveler interview series!

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