How does Annette Richmond promote
the Body Positive Movement?
Annette Richmond is the Travel, Fashion and Lifestyle writer behind the blog From Annette With Love. She is also the creator of Fat Girls Traveling. She’s currently a contributor at the Huffington Post and Ravishly. This self-proclaimed Fat Girl is a staunch supporter of the Body Positive Movement. She and her Fat Girls Traveling Instagram and Facebo
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
My first international trip was to Europe. My first stop was Paris and I’d always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles. The Eiffel Tower was great, but Versailles transported me into a different world! I had never seen such attention to detail. The gardens, the rooms, the walls, the chandeliers. It was magnificent and grandiose, like nothing I’d ever seen before or since. Albeit, I am a history nerd, but what girly girl doesn’t dream of becoming a princess and living in a castle? Visiting Versailles was a dream come true and the start of an epic life adventure filled with travel.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
That’s a difficult question to answer. But I guess I would visit every country in the world and take my mom with me. I’ve heard of Around The World Trips and that sounds tempting. I have friends who are on quests to see every country in the world, but I honestly don’t think I have enough time or money to do that. But if I had unlimited resources, that would be at the very top of my list!
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
Although I’d been planning an eight month trip through Southeast Asia, weeks before my trip anxiety started to set in. I was homeless as a child, so giving up my apartment and giving away all of my possessions before embarking on this Asian Adventure brought some of those feelings up for me. Like, what would happen if I ran out of money? Where would I go once I returned to the States? How long would it take me recoup all of the things I was so eager to give away? Then it hit me, I would figure it out if and when those issues arose. That stressing over the future was not benefiting me in anyway. If anything, it was preventing me from enjoying the time with friends and family that I wouldn’t see for months. I realized that I’d already had nothing and I was ok. Then I had nearly everything I thought I wanted and needed, and I was ok. I knew it was time to take the biggest risk of my life and I wasn’t going to let fear ruin it for me. Fear of the unknown can often keep us comfortable but unhappy. I’ve been traveling through Asia for five months and I’ve never been happier. I still don’t know what would happen if I ran out of money or where I’ll go if and when I decide to return to the states for good. And I’m ok with that.
A few of the apps that make life abroad easier are:
Maps.me is a great resource for offline directions when you don’t have data or wifi.
Rome2Rio is essential in Southeast Asia because it’s all about haggling here. With Rome2Rio I can get walking or public transit directions. It also tells me how much a taxi would be for any location I’m heading. So when it comes time to haggle, I know if the driver is totally trying to rip me off or not. It just makes me feel a little more empowered as far as bargaining.
WhatsApp is the app I use to communicate with most of my new friends. They are all from different countries and use it to communicate with people back home. So it’s perfect for that. I also showed my mom how to download it, so we text, talk and video chat there.
I don’t know what I would do without Netflix! I’m completely out of the loop when it comes to most shows, but anything on Netflix I’m probably watching it, have it in my que, or watched it already. It lets me take a little piece of home anywhere in the world.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
I recently traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was a beautiful city with a dark history. A history that so few know about. In the mid 1970’s there was a Cambodian genocide where over 2 million Cambodians were brutally murdered by their own political party the Khmer Rouge. Listening to the harrowing tales while walking through the Genocide Museum, I cried, I was shocked, I was confused. Why didn’t I know about this? Why was this not taught in school? We’d studied the Holocaust, but not this, why? Because America and many other countries were on the wrong side of this conflict. It needed to be swept under the rug and forgotten about, right?
So many things have stayed with me since my visit to Cambodia. One of them was the voice from the audio tour telling me to share this story. To spread the word. To make sure everyone knew about the Cambodian Holocaust. Because if I don’t, if more people don’t know about it, it can so easily happen again. I know this isn’t fun and flowery, but it’s something I wish more people knew about and visiting the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields was life changing.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
Years ago I’d had a petty argument with a friend and wanted to talk it over with my mom. After she listened, she told me something that stuck with me. “Some friends are for a reason, for a season or for a lifetime.” At that time I took it to mean that not all friendships last forever. That doesn’t mean that there is any bad blood, it just means that sometimes a friendship runs its course and it’s best to just move forward. Now, I use that analogy for almost every situation, relationships, career, travel. Somethings are meant to last forever and some just aren’t. The most important thing is that you learn from them. No one knows how long anything will last, so treasure it while you have it. It’s okay to mourn something that doesn’t work out as you hoped, but know, if you didn’t get it or it didn’t last, it wasn’t meant to.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
I am often surprised by the kindness of strangers, but one incident comes to mind. I went hiking near my hometown. I’d hiked this trail a few times, but with a friend who was more familiar with the area. So I mostly just followed along. The trail was around a manmade lake, but also took you into the redwood forest of Northern California a bit. It was beautiful. Well, I decided to take a friend on a mid-day hike, knowing that it would take 2 hours max. After two hours, I start getting a bit worried. This was my first time leading the way, had I made a wrong turn? Before long the sun was setting. Being in the forest in the dark is never a great idea. There was no cell reception and we were low on water. So we decided to take the next trial and walk to the road. When we got to the road my data was working and I could see that we had walked about three hours away from where my car was parked. We were now near the beach. I tried to get an Uber, but they couldn’t pinpoint our location and because I didn’t know where were, that was a lost cause. We started walking on the side of the road, basically hitchhiking. Eventually a car pulled over, inside was a family visiting from out of state. We asked them where we were and realized how far we’d gone off track. They must’ve seen the look of shock on my face, because they asked where we were headed. I told them where my car was parked and the husband was familiar with the area and offered to give us a ride to a nearby town where we could call an Uber. We squeezed into the car, I in the back seat with the kids and my friend in the trunk. It wasn’t comfortable and I’d never hitchhiked before. I’m not sure if that’s even considered hitchhiking, it was more like they saved our lives. It was another hour before we made it to the gas station where they dropped us. Then another hour and a half before we arrived at the State Park where my car was. When we got there the park was closed. The gate was locked, there was no way in. There was a visitor’s center, but it looked empty. Still, I tried knocking on the door. Hoping that someone was there and could help. After a while, a Ranger opened the door! He asked if that was my car parked in the lot. I told him how we got lost and had to hitchhike and Uber to get back. He made a few calls, then we all jumped into his Jeep. He opened the gates and drove us down to where my car was parked. Once there he took the parking ticket off my car and ripped it up. It was a long, quite ride home. I’d never been so thankful for the kindness of strangers than that day.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
I’m currently in Southeast Asia for an 8-month Asian adventure. But I decided to go nomad six months before. I moved out of my Atlanta apartment in April and headed to L.A. for Coachella. During the summer, I am the office manager at a summer camp. So I stayed there for 4 months. Then I went to Miami for the first time, took a cruise to the Bahamas then headed up to New York for Fashion Week. After that I went back to the Bay Area to spend time with my family and friends in my hometown before my long trip to Asia. I’ve had a remote job as a Fashion Stylist for over four years, so I’ve been able to travel and work for a while. I also started working as a freelance writer and was able to secure a few stable clients including a few popular media outlets. So, having a stable income is the number one factor for me being able to live abroad for an extended period.
9.)I travel because….
I travel because the more I do, the more I learn about the world and about myself. I meet incredible people, I see life changing sights and put myself in positions where I’m not always in control. I would consider myself a Type A Planner, and I knew that traveling abroad for an extended amount of time would force me to realize that you can’t plan everything. And that even when you do, shit happens and plans change and you have to flexible and spontaneous. Otherwise those little ripples can turn into waves that crash down and ruin your trip. Traveling solo for the last nine months has opened my eyes and my heart to so many possibilities. I’m still Type A, but I’m much more laid back and can really live in the moment. And that’s what life is right? This actual moment. Not the past, not the future, NOW.
10.) My favorite travel or business book is…
I actually don’t think I have a favorite travel or business book. Before I started traveling I did read guides on specific countries and books about branding and public relations. But now, when I read it’s usually fiction or biographies. I read to escape, my head is filled with business ideas and travel plans. I don’t need anymore of those! I actually have friends who are in similar fields that I bounce ideas off of or ask travel advice from, some of them have written travel books. For me, It’s much easier to go to the source or to ask people in similar situations for advice. Then I can just reread Harry Potter in peace.
11.) How about hotels? What’s your favorite or one you’d recommend?
I’m honestly more of a hostel girl. Since I mostly travel solo, I prefer to stay in hostels because it’s easier to meet people. There are usually a mix of shared dorms and private rooms. So you can have the privacy of a hotel. But there are shared common spaces like a kitchen, lounge or living room. That’s where you can meet and connect with other travelers. My favorite hostel is Hom Hostel & Cooking Club in Bangkok. It’s in the Sukhumvit area which is central to everything you want to see in the city. It’s also walking distance to two BTS Sky Train stations. They have a full kitchen, so you can cook whatever you want which is perfect for people with dietary restrictions. They also have a delicious free breakfast every morning. A Thai chef comes nightly and prepares what will be for breakfast the next day, so guests can watch him cook
Lastly, can you please recommend a resource for up-and-coming travel writers; this could be a course you know, a book, conference etc.
More than anything I’d say surround yourself with people who are in a similar field and hopefully more experienced. In a perfect world, you’d find a mentor, but I’ve found some great resources on Facebook like the Female Travel Blogger group and the Black Travel Blogger Chronicles. These are places you can share your work and get feedback along with asking questions. As a blogger, I think it’s important to read other blogs, so I do that often. Not only am I going to my first Travel Blogger Conference this year, I’m speaking at it! I’m super excited to be speaking at the Women in Travel Summit this summer and it will be my first time visiting our neighbor to the north, Canada. Lots of firsts! I think the WITS is a great place for female writers of all experience levels to attend. Because networking is vital. I’ve met so many amazing people through social media but it’s opportunities like this that get us all in the same room.
From dressing top models and celebrities to trend and color forecasting, Annette has had every imaginable job in the fashion industry. Currently, a Senior Fashion Stylist for an online company. she has styled thousands of women. Her goal is to continue to be a voice for Fat Travelers and Fashionistas.
Stay up-to-date on her travels through:
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