In lieu of the developing stories coming out of the Oval Office these days, I've needed a few hugs lately. If I need some lovin', there's a good chance others out there do too. Ever since I can remember, I've been fortunate to cross into other country's borders, roam through faraway lands and be greeted by the warmest foreigners around. I want this to be reciprocated for everyone who crosses into the greatest country in the world that I'm lucky to call home. Unfortunately, all of that changed last weekend with the swoop of a pen...
Truth is, traveling expands your thinking, contacts, memories, and livelihood. If people didn't allow the grass to grow under their feet and got out more, the world just might be a better place. It's a great way to avoid misunderstandings, war and suffering. It's simply a matter of not having a preconceived idea of what something or someone is, but rather going to see what something or someone is.
I travel to meet all walks of life. The journey has led me to meet some of the most inspiring, creative, collaborative and interesting people around the globe. Here are some of their stories.
The Bucket List Family: I met this family of four in Nevis last year and I'm low key obsessed with them. Okay, that's me trying to play it cool. I'm actually in love with all of them and what they are doing to and for the world. Jess plays Superwoman and Garrett plays Superman to little Dorothy and Manilla. They sold their business and possessions in August of 2015, officially making and loving life as nomads. It's a wonder how they produce the YouTube videos they do while parenting while traveling while concocting a plan to save the world. Magic, I tell you.
Kirsten Alana: I met Kirsten in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival where we covered...well, beer. Pretty ideal, right? We got the chance to travel together again when we both worked with the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. I greatly admire Kirsten's unique and informative Instagram posts. They are very refreshing in a saturated travel market.
Misshattan: This woman is one hell of a photographer, y'all. After meeting in Puerto Rico with Kirsten in tow, Natalie and I had a date with her Canon where she taught me new tricks of the trade. Not only are her aerial NYC posts stunning and inspiring, but she's a blast to be around.
Triphackr: In a world of mostly female bloggers, I gotta hand it to Clint Johnston for showing up for his underrepresented half. Clint and I met last year while working with Visit California. After biking, surfing and skiing together, he's just the adventurer I needed on this trip. His photos are drool-worthy and his zest for life is contagious.
Blank Itinerary: Paola, Queen of Fashion, and I met in Palm Beach while working with The Breakers and Lilly Pulitzer together. She's just as nice as she is gorgeous and comes from a Mexican-American-Spanish background. She's pregnant now, too, so that basically means she's doing the world a favor and bringing more stunning, fashion-conscious people into it. Thank you, Paola, from all of us.
Chic Flavours: I met this Venezuelan while traveling through the UAE last year as she's between Abu Dhabi and Chicago (obviously having figured out the secret to the perfect life). Even in the desert where I was a hot mess dripping in sweat, she was chic and lovely in a beautiful teal dress I still covet to this day. I adore Soraya's sense of style, passion for travel and new bag line she just launched. Check them out!
Vamos Pra Onde: Raquel is my favorite Brazilian around...and favorite travel buddy around, too. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Raquel and I met over dinner while in Brazil. We then traveled to Peru together to accomplish the hardest trek of my life - 5 straight days through the Ausangate Mountains. Ouuuuchhh. We made it through, and Raquel even let me stay in her Rio apartment for a week when she wasn't even there. That is true love.
Dave Burt/London: Never have I ever met a better matchmaker and social genius than Mr. London, excuse me, Mr. Dave Burt. I've had the opportunity to get to know Dave over the years while traveling through London and Indonesia. He started @London from the ground up and creates a platform for young progress makers around the city and their voices to be heard. He's the guy you want on your team, at all of your dinner parties, and sitting next to you on a plane/helicopter.
The Blonde Abroad: Kiersten and I met in the good ole' USofA. Both blonde and both usually abroad, it was a great thing that we could meet under the bright lights of Outside Lands last year, San Francisco's big music festival. Her travel photos can make even the well-traveled jealous. Photo credit from the festival below: Kiersten.
What's Gaby Cookin': Gaby, Gaby, Gaby. I really just want to gobble her (and her food) up. I mean, have you watched her snapchat episodes? Every Friday she features some insanely gluttonous food that I would down in half a second flat. We brunched hard in LA once upon a time, and it was a party. And can I just say...the girl is always happy! I swear if I'm in a mood, I know that all I have to do is tap her name on my Snapchat screen and her bubbly personality will have me fixed in no time. I just wish I lived in LA so I could reap the benefits of her cooking. I'm over here like, I'll stir, I'll clean, I'll set the timer. Just let me eat.
Krave the World: Suzy is the kind of person you want to have around to show you a brand new city, have a coffee date with, hike a new trail and talk travel until the sun goes down. Oh wait, that's exactly what we did in San Francisco last year! Suzy emailed me out of the blue when she found out I was in her city. Persistent, she insisted that we do something fun together in SF whether that be yoga, rock climbing, Alcatraz, wine country, whatever. We agreed to a hike and ended up spending the whole day together. I absolutely adore like-minded travelers like her.
Catherine Lowe: Ohhhh Gaya. How I love thee. Catherine and I met under the most fortunate circumstances between the lights and under the cameras of ABC's The Bachelor. We traveled from LA to Montana to Canada to St. Croix together joined at the hip, or until our dates would not allow. She now lives in Dallas with my ex boyfriend(?)(this is not awkward I swear) which is now her husband, and yes I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. I know, I know, it's one hell of a story! Cat and Sean have the cutest baby I have ever laid eyes on, and her card line aims to send bright messages to people everywhere. The end!