I’m a true California girl, and a lover of all things ocean related, but I couldn’t resist the call to explore more of the world. After a summer spent traveling to nine countries in 66 days, I packed my bags and permanently moved to London. 10 years on and I haven't slowed down, traveling any chance I get – whether it's camping under the stars in the desert in Morocco, scuba diving in the Philippines, hiking Machu Picchu in Peru or swimming with Mantarays in the Maldives, I’m at my happiest immersed in the culture of another country!
Zip lining in Madeira
What sparked your passion for travel and how did it become your career?
I really have to credit my parents for giving me the travel bug. I grew up on boats in California and always felt most at peace on the water, exploring the world from a different vantage point.
I started scuba diving at a very young age, spending a month every summer in Grand Cayman, and I just continued to feel the desire to explore more. I loved immersing myself in the culture, meeting the locals and enjoying the cuisine of every new place I went. I found travel to be the most enriching experience in the world.
I was previously working in client facing roles – sales, PR, marketing, you name it – but never felt fulfilled, or like I was giving enough back to the world. I realized the thing that makes me happiest is bringing other people joy, which ultimately is how I feel fulfilled, so I pursued a role in travel. Being able to help create priceless experiences and memories in a person's life is the greatest joy, and I feel so fortunate to turn my biggest passion into my career.
Monkey friend in St. Lucia
How many countries have you visited? What were your top 3 and why?
I’ve visited 37 countries and counting! It’s nearly impossible to choose my top 3 because they’re all so wonderfully different and I love them all for different reasons.
If I had to choose, I would say the Philippines, because it doesn’t get more beautiful than that. It feels like you’re constantly on a movie set, the people are wonderful and the scuba diving is immense.
Italy also has to make the list for me because it’s my favorite country in Europe, whether I’m in the countryside in Tuscany, by the sea in Cinque Terre, Sorrento or Capri, or exploring the amazing cities of Florence or Rome, I can never wipe the smile from my face! Also, the food and wine is just to die for.
Last, but certainly not least, is Peru because it’s just such a special place that has my heart. The culture and rich history is impossible to beat, and hiking the Andes until you reach Machu Picchu is truly a pinch me moment that I wouldn't trade for anything!
Hiking up Machu Picchu
What’s the place you most want to visit that you haven’t been to yet?
The list is so long! But I would have to say South Africa, gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Costa Rica, during whale shark season of course.
Why is it important for travel to make a positive impact?
I truly believe that travel is the best thing you can do with your life and the most enriching experience you could possibly have. If we can find ways to travel that not only have a positive impact on the person traveling, but also the destination, it makes the world a better place and unites us all as humans. It’s also a way of connecting us on a deeper level to the planet we’re so very lucky to call home.
Travel makes you appreciate the beauty in this world, and the beautiful people and creatures that inhabit it. By creating awareness through travel, perhaps we can also create a better, safer, and more sustainable world.
Pick one of your favorite photos from your travels and explain why.
I have to choose my scuba photo just before scuba diving in the Philippines – I think the smile says it all!
Scuba diving in the Philippines
How can you promote positive change when traveling?
I think it’s important when traveling to try and give back to the communities you’re in, really immersing yourself to understand the local people – not only their values, but also their needs and desires. You can also do so much in terms of animal conservation and preservation of the Earth, or furthering education – the list is endless, but you have to start somewhere because even one person can make a difference.
However, my biggest non-negotiable way to make a difference is to just be kind and be respectful, no matter where you are, because it goes a long way.
Exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico
What’s the most surreal travel experience you’ve had?
Swimming with manta rays in the Maldives was just incredible – I couldn't stop crying in my goggles, happy tears of course! Releasing baby turtles into the wild in Indonesia was also a huge highlight for me – can you tell I love all sea creatures? Last but not least, looking down on Machu Picchu after hiking to the top of near by Wayna Picchu – it's just jaw dropping.
Which was the most memorable property you've ever stayed at? Why?
I would have to say El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines – a private island surrounded by unreal views everywhere you turn, stunning accommodations, wonderful staff… It's tough to beat! However, I do have immense love for Hotel Il Pelicano on the Tuscan coast of Italy.
What item can you not travel without?
My passport! Just kidding, although it's true. I would have to say a camera of sorts. I’m a very nostalgic person and I love looking back on all the memories I’ve made over the years.