For all those up-and-coming Travel Writers, Carol recommends: “I like to recommend smaller, more intimate conferences for incoming travel writers because they tend to allow for more opportunity to really connect with those leading in the field, and as newbies, they might also find a passion for an area of focus that they never considered before. TBEX, Women’s Travel Fest, Blogging While Brown, and NY Travel Fest are great places to start.”
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
The very first time I traveled to Europe (Italy) at the age of 17 was an incredible experience for me. It was a combination of things: in the 80s, people there didn’t seem too exposed to travelers that looked like me, and so I was approached in Portuguese, because people assumed I was Brazilian. I had never really given a lot of thought to how “the world” viewed me. And then of course, being a teenager roaming around Milan with friends and no parents was a surreal experience as well.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
I would want to do a very leisurely trip around the world with my family. No rush, with ample time to really connect with each destination. I would also buy a small country house in Scotland! (Clearly, I have given this some thought.)
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I am usually most nervous about taking on physically challenging experiences surrounded by other people. Alone, I am great at facing my fears or challenging myself, but in groups, there is always this added component of judgment from others. The travel image is young and thin and adventurous. And so, no matter how much confidence I may have, this pressure to meet certain standards and live up to an unrealistic image of what travel should be, can be daunting. Sometimes, I just want to fall, or even fail at my first try, and not worry that I will be left behind because of it – which by the way, has happened. I think courage to always believe in myself and pursue my own ambitions, even in a world that doesn’t always represent me or provide me with inspiring figures or voices – that is constant work. But in general, I am pretty fearless.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
Google maps to navigate the streets where I go. What’s app to stay connected with family and friends. Duolingo when I need translation help.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
I am a huge advocate of people exploring their own backyards. I think we put a lot of pressure on people to travel to these far away, exotic destinations as escapes from life, stress, and the mundane. But few people know the history of their own town or city, and aren’t familiar with anything beyond their own commute. Here in the states, I wish more people visited the national parks. We need advocates and protectors, and visits to these national and natural treasures inspires both.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
A writer named Barbara encouraged me to always be true to my voice and writing in my story telling.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
In Germany, when I got lost walking around the countryside. For most people of color in the states Germany is a “scary” spot. I was apprehensive during my first visit, but have never had a bad experience with anyone and have only met the nicest people. It doesn’t negate any opposite experience that anyone else might have had, nor any issues that might still exist, but I am grateful to have had that stereotype stripped from my consciousness.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
When I was a teen I moved overseas to the Dominican Rep. I remembered being scared and sad to leave all I knew in the states. Over time, I came to appreciate the vulnerability of not being in control or always in the familiar. You are more open to observation and learning. It’s why I moved away again as a young adult, and continue to place myself in these new situations.
9.)I travel because….
Exposure to new people and cultures helps me better understand those closer to home. It makes me a better person.
Carol is an award-winning travel and food blogger and a home-schooling mom. Aside from Girl Gone Travel, Carol publishes her work on Expedia ViewFinder and Huffington Post Travel. In addition, Carol is a public speaker and photographer. Prior to her career as a professional writer and blogger, Carol worked in Public Relations. She has a B.A. in Communications and an MBA in Global Management.
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