She is the founder of the Instagram account and platform SheIsNotLost, a community for female travelers finding their way. Her community daily inspires women who travel or want to travel the world, feeling free and adventurous. In between her busy travel schedule she found a minute to talk to us and tell her story. This is the Wanderlust of.. Carina Otero.
The greatest thing about the abundance of travel inspiration on social media is that it makes the world a smaller place. -Carina Otero
Hi Carina, for those who don’t know you, tell us a little but about yourself and what you do!
Hello! I’m Carina, the creator of @sheisnotlost, an online community for female travelers. My goal has always been to inspire others to get out there and find beauty in the world, whether it’s on the other side of the planet or even in your home town. The greatest thing about the abundance of travel inspiration on social media is that it makes the world a smaller place, and now people are dreaming of destinations they wouldn’t otherwise know about if it weren’t for Instagram. I am from California, and I freelance as a digital content specialist. I feel very fortunate to have the flexibility to travel and work and travel for work!
Why did you start the @SheIsNotLost Instagram account, and did you ever think it was going to be so successful?
I started @sheisnotlost because I was so inspired by the beautiful photographs of far-off places that female travelers were sharing on Instagram. I made folders of screenshots (this was before Instagram had a “save” feature!) and I would keep them to myself for my own personal inspiration but thought there had to be a fun way to build a community out of the travelers and photographers and others that could also be inspired. To be honest I never expected it to grow as big as it has! But inspiring others to dream and to travel has always been a passion of mine, so curating the feed for @sheisnotlost was and is always a pleasure.
Like us, you travel the world to write about the most beautiful or unique places. What has been your favorite press trip so far?
One of my favorite press trips was to Club Med Cefalu in Sicily, Italy during Summer of 2018. It was my first time to Sicily and it was even more magical than I could have imagined. My favorite part about the property was its deep connection to the old town of Cefalu, which was just a short walk down the bluffs. It was a unique experience to visit an all-inclusive resort that still focused on the history and culture of a region. I also just saw on your website that you visited recently!! I hope you had a wonderful time, it’s such a beautiful place! Here’s a link to my blog about it.
Oh, how we loved that place! Any bucketlist for 2019 and why?
I’m looking forward to crossing off a big bucket list item this year as I will be moving to Madrid for a few months in the Spring. It will be my first time actually living abroad (I’m from San Diego, California) instead of just passing through a place as a traveler. I’m very excited to be able to get to know the city, and also because I will be close to so many European destinations!
Cool, that’s one hell of a step! So, what kind of traveler do you consider yourself to be?
I’d have to say I’m a mix between adventurer, glampacker, and city traveler. I’m open to experiencing anything at least once, and I love feeling connected to the area or region that I’m visiting. I like to take it all in while I travel so I tend to move a little bit more slowly rather than rushing from place to place on a tight schedule. Especially If I’m traveling and sharing the experience with the @sheisnotlost audience, I prefer to stay in smaller accommodations or family-run boutique hotels that contribute to the local economies and are more accessible to a wider audience.
If you create content simply because you enjoy it and you love doing it, then the audience and community will come.
What is your tip for beginning female travel creators on Instagram?
My tip for female travel creators getting started on Instagram is to think about why you want to share your travels on Instagram and if it’s for the right reasons. Rather than focusing on gaining followers or getting sponsored stays or paid trips, you should ask yourself if you would still create content even if you knew you would never get any perks. If you create content simply because you enjoy it and you love doing it, then the audience and community will come. Having the right motivation and mindset will show through in your content and your audience will appreciate the honesty and integrity.
Instagram has changed a lot with people buying likes and followers nowadays, how do you feel about this and what advise do you have for those who are thinking about doing the same?
I think If someone wants to be “successful” on Instagram, the goal should never be to make money or to having a certain number of followers, but rather to inspire. I think buying followers and likes or any other shortcuts that people take will eventually come back to bite them or impact them negatively. There are so many new tools and platforms that shine light on these tactics, and businesses, brands, and audiences increasingly become more aware and disinterested in the content of someone who buys likes and followers.
What do you look for in a photo in order for it to be featured on the @SheIsNotLost account? (yes, we all wanna know! ;-))
First I look for clarity and composition- the photo has to be well-framed and in focus. I love photos with striking colors or contrast, and perfect symmetry or interesting angles. I love seeing new places or fresh perspectives of well-visited places.
Photo by @AnaNewYork featured on SheIsNotLost
The destination I was most surprised by was Sri Lanka
As a female, which 3 countries would you advise for female solo travel?
(In no particular order) Copenhagen, Denmark was actually one of my first truly solo travel destinations, and I found it lovely and easy to navigate. The city was full of kind and welcoming people and I felt like I was able to see a lot by renting a bike and going around town. I visited Taiwan recently and absolutely loved it! There is so much to see and it feels very safe. Taipei is pretty flat and you could cover a lot of ground walking between museums, temples, shops, and most importantly food! Public transit and the metro in Taipei were also very clean, safe, and convenient.
The destination I was most surprised by was Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka might be home to the friendliest people I have every come across, and when I say friendly- literally everyone greets you with a big smile. The country had a very laid-back feel to it, and I met many other solo female travelers there that were really enjoying themselves on their trips through Sri Lanka. *Read the full Wander-Lust Sri Lanka Guide here.
I want to encourage and help others find that balance in their lives
What can we expect from Carina Otero in 2019?
In addition to hoping I inspire women to travel, I want to focus on inspiring people to travel in a way that is sustainable and realistic, and to maintain a healthy relationship with the content they are inspired by on Instagram. I want to show women that you don’t have to be wealthy or be a travel influencer constantly on the go in order to travel the world, but rather to empower women to find a balance in their lives that makes them happy. For me personally, I am someone who loves to travel but I also really love taking time to settle down, enjoy home, and spend time with my family and friends. Finding a happy balance has allowed me to really enjoy all the work opportunities and travel opportunities that come my way, and I want to encourage and help others find that balance in their lives too.
And finally, when are you planning to come to Amsterdam?? We would love to show you around!
Hopefully this Spring 2019! I will be sure to reach out and would love any of your recommendations! 🙂
Check out Carina’s beautiful website and be inspired!
Curious who else we interviewed? Check them all here!