The Wanderlust of.. SheIsNotLost founder Carina Otero

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!

She is not lost
Dreamy pictures on @SheIsNotLost

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.

Club Med Cafalù
Club Med Cafalu, Sicily

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.


Istanbul colorful houses
Carina in Istanbul

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.

AnaNewYork
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.

Taipei
Carina in Tapei

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.

Sri Lanka Guide
Wander-Lust in Sri Lanka

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.

Marrakech souk bags
Carina in Marrakech

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!

Love,

Wander-Lust

Curious who else we interviewed? Check them all here!

 

 

 

The Wanderlust of.. Instagram account @PrettyLittleLondon

After a press trip to Spain, we met London based Andrea, the co-founder of London @PrettyLittleLondon and owner of @dr_difilippo. Two amazing Instagram accounts that shows you the best of London, and the world has to offer. Want to know THE prettiest spots in London and are you curious about the story behind this amazing account, read on..

Nice to catch up with you again Andrea! Tell us a little bit about who you are and what @PrettyLittleLondon is all about.
@PrettyLittleLondon was created with the intention of showcasing the most beautiful hidden gems in London, which could be an undiscovered neighbourhood, a typical British pub, a colourful café or even a pretty door. Many Londoners tend to only explore their own neighbourhood and the main tourist attractions, but London is much much more, and we want them to get out of their comfort zone and start exploring!

Ice creams at Covent Garden Market, London, England.

We were amazed on how much London had to offer.

How did you and Sara come up with @PrettyLittleLondon, and did you guys ever expected it to be such a success?
I was working in an awful office job and was completely lacking creativity, so Sara thought it would be a good idea for us to buy a camera and start exploring the city we had lived in for over a year and knew nothing about. We started going on long walks and taking pictures, and we were amazed on how much London had to offer. We were looking for inspiration on Instagram but couldn’t really find anything a part from the obvious tourist attractions, which lead us to create an account where everyone could share anything they thought was ‘pretty’ in the city. We didn’t expect the account to grow so quickly, but we knew London needed an account like ours, it’s just such a pretty city!

Whale Natural History Museum
London’s natural history museum by Andrea

So you must know London pretty well by now. What’s your all time favourite spot and why?
There are so many, which makes it really hard to choose! But I really love Hampstead because it looks and feels like a small village within such a big city, so when I am looking to have a relaxing walk and take some nice pictures, that is my go-to spot.

Hamstead London
Hampstead, London

Elke lived in London for 7 years (near Hampstead actually!), but so much has changed over the years. What area in London do you think has stayed the most traditional?
I think the Southbank is pretty much the same as when I arrived in London and is – in my opinion – one of the best areas for a summer walk, with its stunning views and lovely atmosphere.

Our followers are loving the foodie hotspots; could you tip them 3 restaurants/café’s that are totally hot right now?
Again, there are so many! If I had to choose 3 though, it would have to be Elan Café, Mr Fogg’s and Coppa Club.


The amazing Elan Café

Coppa Club
The popular Coppa Club in London

Does this place even exist or was this just a dream?

Besides London, you guys travel a lot for Pretty Little Trips, what has been your favourite place so far?
Every place we have visited is unique in its own way, but if we had to choose our favourite so far it would have to be The Maldives. It’s one of those places that when you leave you ask yourself: ‘Does this place even exist or was this just a dream?’

What can we find in your carry-on luggage that you wouldn’t leave the house without?
The simple stuff, but necessary; my camera, power bank and laptop.

Maldives
The Maldives by Sara Helen Santini (@santinisarah)

Because you and Sara are a couple, we wonder; is it difficult to mix work with your relationship?
Not really, we are very good at separating work from our relationship, which means we can still switch off at the end of the day and enjoy our personal lives.

Andrea and Sara
Andrea and his Sara

Sounds very romantic! What can we expect of Pretty Little.. over the next few years?
We have a lot of projects and ideas we are working on, so expect a lot of surprises in the next 2-3 years!

Can’t wait! And finally; what kind of traveler would you consider yourself to be?
I am the traveller that will wake up at 6am to explore, and make the most of every second. (when I am in a new destination). Staying in the hotel to relax is not an option for me!

For London inspiration and the latest hotspots follow them on Instagram, or follow their other travel account @PrettyLittleTrips

Love,

Wander-Lust

*Header photo courtesy of @yaroslava_kirichok

 

 

 

The Wanderlust of.. Pro Surfer Julia van Rooij

She recently competed in the World Championships Surfing held in Japan, and fights for a plastic free world. Time to catch up with Dutchie Julia van Rooij, who is in love with the ocean.

Hi Julia! Could you tell our readers a little bit more about yourself?
Whehooo! My name is Julia van Rooij, but my friends call me Juul or Guli. I was born in Groningen; a farmer province located in the North of the Netherlands. I surfed my first wave after the car broke down when I was 12. As soon as possible I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17. Nowadays I am still happily living in Scheveningen, trying to finish my studies and surf when there are waves rolling in.

Julia

I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water.

Where does your fascination for surfing come from?
I don’t think my fascination is specifically for surfing, but for being in the water. It’s so relaxing to be able to float around, enjoy being weightless and have nothing to think about but the fishies that are swimming next to you. And then, the moment you see a perfect wave is coming through, you grab your board, get in the right position, paddle as hard as you can and then it’s all about you and that wave: to enjoy it as much as possible with nothing around you but nature – hopefully, haha. Surfing is obviously getting more popular which makes it a rare situation having the line up all to yourself these days, but hey, more reason to explore.

Julia surfing

I exchanged the cows for waves after graduating from High School when I was 17

You have recently competed in the world championships surfing in Japan. How did you experience this?
WHIEEEEUW! That was so sick! No words for this experience. I still get goosebumps while answering this question. Japan is such an amazing country with the kindest people! They’re so humble and helpful! We’ve managed to end up in the top 20 of the World, which is a pretty good result for a small country like us with shitty waves. I definitely want to go back to Japan one day.

Julia van Rooij

How often do you travel the world in search for the best waves?
Whenever my bank account allows me to go, haha

Haha, we can imagine! So what is your favorite surfing spot so far and why?
That is, uncrowded, Uluwatu, Bali. I enjoy that spot because you have to paddle out through a cave, which can be really exciting sometimes. The water is super clear, you have marine life saying hi, and there are so many lefthander options! From Racetracks to Temples; from barrels to racers. I really enjoy these type of waves.


Uluwatu Bali

Noted! Any bucketlist surfing spots we should know about?
My dream is to surf between huge rocks of ice one day. When people think about surfing, it’s always about warm destinations like Hawaii and surfing in bikini. But in reality you’ll be struggling with the 1309812 people out there. For me it’s all about finding a spot, being out there with more fish than people, and enjoying the silence.

Julia surfboard

It hurts when I paddle out, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water.

You are also an activist for plastic free oceans, tell us more about this. 
I won’t consider myself as an activist but I try to share my experiences with pollution and the beauty of nature on the internet as much as possible. It hurts when I paddle out at a spot in the middle of nowhere, and literally feel all the plastic floating in the water. I once even picked a piece from a fishing net out of my hair after a session in Scheveningen, which was really shocking.  When you’re continuously confronted by this problem you become more motivated to raise awareness and prevent further pollution of our oceans. In short, this is why I collaborate with organisations and hope to inspire more people to start pledging for cleaner oceans.

collecting plastic
Collecting plastic

We know plastic is a huge problem we face everyday. Any tips for our readers to reduce their use of plastic?
I’ve got some basic ones, but please also check out the internet, there are sooo many ways to help a little!

  • Use your own reusable bottle like a Dopper, Mizu, KleanKanteen or whatever style suits you.
  • Make it a habit to always bring your own reusable shopping bag while shopping or doing groceries.
  • Double check the label of your ‘scrub’ beauty products: those scrubs are often made out of microplastics that will end up in your sink and eventually in the ocean. You can also just buy your products at Lush or Rituals, they don’t work with microplastics.
  • Check the label of your clothing. It’s often made out of polyester. While washing, small pieces of this polyester will come loose and end up in the sewage. A better option is to put it in the freezer or just let them catch some air for a while.
  • Reuse or resell your clothing. Go find some hidden gems in vintage stores. The longer your clothing lasts, the less you have to buy and the better for your wallet!
  • Get out and buy your veggies at the market! It’s fresher, has a better taste and it’s not wrapped in plastic.

When you’re on the road, what’s the song we can find on your playlist?
Boulevard des Airs – Emenne-moi

Any cool new projects in 2019?
I have so many projects in mind but I have to focus on finishing my studies first. After I get my degree, I want to learn how to sail and go to Antarctica.

Pretty big plans Julia! And last but not least, what kind of traveler do you consider yourself to be?
A traveller who tries to avoid mass tourism, carrying as little stuff as possible but goes home with as many souvenirs as possible, haha

To find out more about Julia, check out her website or follow her on Instagram.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Check all our Interviews here!

The Wanderlust of.. Travel Couple Sebatical!

This next travel couple first caught our eye a couple of months ago when they appeared on our Instagram timeline. Besides their incredible good looks (yes, they both work as models), they took some time off to chase the adventure of a lifetime. Their amazing content and positive spirit, is something we love to share with you, so we asked them for an interview. This is the Wanderlust of.. Travel Couple SebBatical!

Tell our readers who you are and what do you guys do?
Hi Guys, we’re Sebastien and Marloes, together for 5 years, and currently on a sabbatical year around the world. We have been traveling for 11 months now and are already down to the last one. Furthermore, we are insane coffee lovers! Having coffee together somewhere beautiful is the best moment every day. Luckily, we’re in Australia now; coffee heaven. Oh, and we are incredibly fond of the ocean! We’re both kite-surfers, so that’s no big surprise. During this trip, we came to realise that the ocean makes us feel at home and we like to stay close to it. We are big road trip fanatics!!Our favorite way to explore the world would be by campervan.  We’re both very sporty and just love being outdoors.

Sebatical

We’re not typical backpackers; although we travel on a budget, we do like some comfort every now and then.

Where have you been so far, and what has been your favorite destination on this trip?
We started our trip in South East Asia where we traveled for two months. Just before our departure to Asia we were really exhausted. The final weeks felt like madness, filled with work obligations and last minute travel preps. We had been looking forward to our departure for as long as we had been planning the trip (2,5 years), but we just couldn’t get into the travel mode, not when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur and later on the Krabi coast of Thailand. We totally lost our balance there. While we were in need of some peace and quietness we went into tourist mode and rushed our way through the first couple of weeks. Funny how that happens to more people! We spend 6 weeks in Indonesia, visited Lombok and Bali, and finally calmed down a bit. Our favorite spot were definitely the Nusa Islands, next to Bali. Most travellers only spend a day or two here, but we stayed on Nusa Penida for three weeks! People say it is the Bali of 20 years ago. To us it was perfect: little tourists, away from the crowd, unpaved roads, untamed nature, super friendly and welcoming locals, Balinese culture to the max.


The Devils Tears, Bali

Sebatical

After two months in Asia we flew to our second destination: Cape Town – South Africa. Our happy place! We had been longing to go back there ever since we got there for the first time five years ago. Number 1 on our bucket list ever since: living in Cape Town for a while. That’s why we stayed for five months, and combined it with modeling jobs. We fell in love with the place all over again; the people, the nature, the climate, table mountain, the surfer lifestyle, the great kitesurfing wind, the ocean.. the food and wine!! After those months we made a huge life changing decision: we were going to extend our sabbatical year. Marloes quit her job in the Netherlands, meaning that we would both go freelance.

NZ Sebatical

From Capetown we flew to Melbourne, which was the last flight that we pre-booked in our ‘around the world ticket’. We arrived in Australia totally unprepared for the next couple of months, which led to some bumps on the road but also great adventure: the ultimate feeling of freedom. We flew to the South Island of New Zealand a few days later where we did a road trip for two months. Such an amazing country with beautiful nature. Untouched, pure, and very photogenic surroundings. Not much later we flew back to Melbourne, caught a flight to Cairns a week later and picked up our campervan. Now, we’ve been driving down the east coast for a month already. We want to stay longer at every place we pass by, and are already making plans to return to Australia in the future.

Marloes, you recently quit your job completely to continue traveling with Sebastien. What advice do you have for people that aren’t sure about taking the leap and doing the same?
Well, I still have to get used to the ‘recently completely quit your job to continue traveling’, part;) In my opinion, most people make it seem easier then it actually is. It’s nice to meet travelers who made the same choice, because although everybody has different backgrounds, they all have an interesting story to tell. I found out that the difficulty of it depends mostly on your mindset. To give you an example: I’m one of those who can make it very hard on myself. I have a tendency to overthink and see bumps on the road. It led me through lots of bumps and in the end to a state in which I just wasn’t afraid to fail anymore. This made me feel much more at ease. I changed my mindset and started looking for opportunities instead of failures. 

Marloes

I also changed my situation by taking a sabbatical year from work. Although my mind told me that I was far from ready for such a big adventure, I went anyway. That’s when things started coming my way. The successes I experienced during this year were a big motivator to keep going. They gave me courage to quit my job completely. And really guys, new doors will open when you take the leap. Don’t look back, commit to your choice. It probably sounds very cliché but it’s so true: what you believe, you attract. So believe in the road, embrace the uncertainty and trust on the magic of new beginnings. Things will come your way for sure. Oh, and in case you think that I got this all under control now, I have not. Still learning 😉

We need good vibes and natural beauty around us, something we’ve learnt during this year of traveling.

Sebatical couple

Have you guys always been so adventurous or did you start seeking more adventure when you two got together?
That’s a good one! Marloes; I’ve always had the dream to travel the world, but started working full time instead and never dared to really do it. Sebastien did the opposite, he had been traveling and working as a kitesurf instructor ever since he finished his studies. He even planned to emigrate to Australia before we started dating. After being apart for a few months, he changed his mind and decided to stay in the Netherlands for a little longer. We learnt a lot from each other since then: Sebastien learnt to commit and I learnt to let go. The adventure lust has always been there, we just implemented it differently. When combining it, the outcome is pretty amazing though:) Because besides the big worldtrip adventure that we started planning years ago, we like to put little adventures in every day. We don’t mind driving all the way to the coast for a quick sunset kitesurf session, or to wake up early on a busy day to have coffee together. We make sure to always have something to look forward to! Weekends are for road trips and small getaways, sunny days are for the beach and those moments in between are for coffee and adventure planning.

Start putting money aside, you can fill in all the details later

Something all of us are curious about, how do you guys fund your travels?
We get that question a lot! Well, we definitely don’t travel for free. We’ve been doing a lot of collaborations lately, we take photos and edit videos in return for a complimentary stay or tour. A great way to fund some extras. But regarding our world trip, we saved up money like normal human beings;) We had been planning this trip for 2,5 years before departure. One day we decided to take this dream to the next level and made a plan. We opened a saving account and started putting money aside monthly. The amount was based on how much we could miss and how much we would need for a whole year of traveling. We found tons of information on the web that made those calculations a lot easier. That information let to a to do list that was spread over the next 2,5 years. The list included monthly goals, like narrowing down the bucket list and brainstorming about our jobs and appartement. We also set a date: august 2017. We didn’t really get into details until months before departure. In the meantime we watched our savings grow and bought our around the world ticket. That was just amazing. The account was ‘holy’ to us, so we couldn’t mess with our world trip money even though it would mean that we had to watch our expenses. The best advice we can give to people who would like to do the same: just start!! 

Jumping

Traveling with a partner can be the best thing ever, but we can imagine that there are some off days? How do you cope with that?
It really is the best thing ever!! Looking back at this year, we’ve grown so much!! Individually and as a couple. Off course there are tons of struggles, but those moments are 100 percent worth it because you will come out so much better. When you both are lucky enough to find yourself while traveling, you will find each other after that. And as a bonus, you get to create some incredible memories together, memories that you won’t be able to share with anyone else. Saying all this doesn’t mean that we are perfectly happy all the time. The biggest challenge are indeed those off days, when being exhausted from moving around, feeling sick, dirty or just having an off day for no reason. It takes a lot of energy to like each other all the time, so hating each other is definitely part of the journey;) For us, a lot comes down to communication. No matter where you are in the world or what you’re doing, there is always a way to implement some alone-time in your travel life.


5 years and going strong..

You recently teamed up with Kilroy Travel (that’s how we found you!), are you planning to do more collaborations like that?
We absolutely love to work with Kilroy as they are travel enthusiasts themselves and know what they are talking about. We chose to book our around-the-world-ticket with Kilroy as it perfectly fitted our needs: providing the comfort of planning ahead, leaving enough flexibility for spontaneous adventures. With just a phone call away, they helped us out with some very stressful situations that we got ourselves into. As for the collaboration, we took over their Instagram twice now. We showed their followers what a road trip through New Zealand and Australia can be like. We got lots of interaction and exposure out of it. Last week they arranged a 5 day Fraser Island tour for us. We took pictures, shot a little video and had such a good time. We are doing more collabs lately and are planning to do more in the future. The ultimate dream of course would be to make a living out of photo- and videography. To be able to work from anywhere in the world, with just a laptop, camera and – kitesurf gear. Goals!!

We can tell you are pretty good with a camera and drone equipment, what’s the story there?
Sebastien; photography always had my interest. Once you are hooked you start seeing beautiful shots everywhere. Having a feeling for both sides of the camera helped me a lot during modeling jobs. A few months before departing on our trip, I jumped. I quit my job, sold my old gear and bought some new including a drone. Having a drone with you while traveling really is a big plus! There is a lot to consider though, as you need to check the local rules and regulations everywhere you go. You need full control of the drone, in every situation, so practice is a must! I hope to turn this passion for photo and videography into a paid hobby one day.

And finally, where are you two heading next and what is the plan? (if you have one)
Haha, we are happy to tell you that we have a plan indeed. At least for the next couple of months. We’re flying back home to the Netherlands halfway July, to see our friends and family again and to get our work going as well. Save up, and head back to Cape Town during winter for another modeling season. We would love to start a little business together, so we will be getting more into that while being on the road. After Cape Town.. not sure yet. We stil have a bucket list full of travel adventures and destinations. So, when everything turns out the way we believe it will, we definitely won’t get bored. As we said before, believe in the road.

Follow Marloes and Sebastien on Instagram @Seb_Batical or visit their YouTube Channel.

Love,

Wander-Lust

 

 

The Wander-Lust of..Travel Blogger & Videographer João Cajuda

Born in Portugal, he is a professional videographer with a degree in Marketing & PR that decided to turn traveling into a full time job a few years ago. He was on a job that made him fall in love with the world of travel and since then he has produced content for some of the biggest brands such as the Travel Channel, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and our favorite airline, Emirates. We finally managed to interview this inspirational guy! This is the Wanderlust of.. João Cajuda.

Hi João! Could you please tell our readers who you are what you do?
Well, I’m a travel blogger and videographer, I also have a travel agency where I take people in adventurous trips to some destinations I love like Thailand, Morocco, Indonesia… So when i’m not traveling with people I’m exploring the world by my own, shooting videos and writing articles.

You travel the world for your job but it seems like you caught the wanderlust virus way before that, how come?
My father is a football coach, so since I was a young kid I was moving from city to city almost every year. I think I got used to it. Nowadays I can’t stay in only one place. I always need to meet new cultures, food and people!

I’m a huge fan of Morocco, but I must confess that I hated the first time.

João Cajuda

It’s a boring question but nevertheless important. What’s your favorite destination and why?
It’s not a boring question, it’s a very hard question to answer actually… I love Asia, can it be like this? haha. I love Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia… I’m also a huge fan of Morocco, but I must confess that I hated the first time. Then I spent one month there and I started to understand their culture, it’s such an incredible and diverse country. I’ve been there more than 30 times, I can´t stop going to the desert, is one of my favorite places ever!

joão cajuda-in-marrakech
Morocco, a place close to his heart

So we will hire you as our tour-guide next time we are in Morocco then! Have you ever experienced a big drama whilst traveling?
Oh so many! Like running from floods in India, getting into Typhoons in the Philippines, my drone falling into a Volcano in Indonesia, many flat tires in weird places such as the Serengeti. I even got surrounded by Lions in Tanzania and I crashed with a scooter in Thailand, do you have all day?

Wow, I guess we were lucky all these times! What about your best travel hack/tip?
To be honest I don’t have many… But I would definitely recommend people only to book the first night when going on a trip, don’t book too many things ahead like flights, hotels, etc… just go with the flow!

Traveling the world means tasting a lot of different cuisines. Name 3 restaurants in the world you think our readers should visit. Best dinner I had: Cottocrudo in Four Season Prague (I will never forget that delicious night), Any restaurant in Favignana in Sicily, is impossible you go wrong here, food is incredible everywhere. Buenos Aires in Lisbon… is near my home, I go there very often, I love the place and the food.

cottocrudo-joao-cajuda
Voted as a favorite by João Cajuda, Cottocrudo in Prague

Good tips, we must check these out then! Let’s look ahead, how do you think we travel in the year 2025?
I hope airplanes can go a bit faster eheh and not with so many turbulence. With all the apps and electronic systems we have nowadays I think it will be much easier, cheap and secure to travel, but I don’t think the transportation will change a lot in the next 7 years.

Do you prefer to travel solo or with friends?
With friends, however, it depend of the friends eheh. Sometimes it can go wrong!

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In Khao Sok, Thailand

 

What song can we definitely find on your travel playlist?
Arcade Fire – The suburbs, for example. But I have like 5000 songs on my Ipod, i’m always adding new ones.

What can we expect from you in 2017/2018?
I still don’t know where I’m going on vacation, but maybe Japan, maybe Seychelles or perhaps Myanmar. I have work in Morocco, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, but the rest of the year is still unwritten 🙂

The last question we always ask everybody in this segment; what kind of traveler are you? 
I can be all at the same time. Usually I do some weeks of backpacking into remote places, so I could be explorer, I love camping… but I never say no to luxury hotels, eheh, I’m not gonna lie, I love a big bed, a big bathtub and a big breakfast!

João loves a bit of luxury

Watch João’s amazing video about Thailand here! 

Follow João Cajuda on Instagram & Facebook or check out his inspirational blog.

Love,

Wander-Lust

 

 

 

The Wanderlust of.. a Travel Journalist

She has traveled to a stagering 99 countries so far and is going to hit the 100 mark very soon. Sleeping at the most amazing locations, tasting a different cuisine each month and writing about travel in it’s most diverse way. It’s the life of a digital nomad. This is the Wanderlust of Travel Journalist Yvette Bax.

Hi Yvette, tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you do?
“I am a freelance travel journalist. I write for (mostly Dutch) newspapers en magazines and I travel all year round. You could say I live my life as a so called ‘digital nomad’. My two bases are Cape Town and Amsterdam.”

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Overlooking the Gocta Waterfall in Northern Peru

One of my favorite press trips I have ever done is driving on a snow scooter from Finland to Russia.

For your uber cool job, you travel to the most amazing places. We can’t help but ask; what has been your favorite destination so far?
“Ufff, that’s a tough one. I like several destinations for different reasons. I absolutely love South Africa and Argentina, as they are my second and third home. (As I live part time in Cape Town and have lived in Buenos Aires before.) I love Africa and South America in general: because the people are very warm and open there. Vibrant cultures, very social, with music, sun and laughter. Furthermore I love Japan for being it’s own crazy little planet, the Philippines for the nature and the cute tarsiers with their funny faces that live there. One of my favorite press trips I have ever done is driving on a snow scooter from Finland to Russia. Driving over frozen lakes, on top of meters of snow where I could only see tree tops popping out: truly stunning. Furthermore I love the orange and red dunes of Namibia, the jungle of the Amazon and the roughness of New Zealand..I could go on and on.”

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Yvette at Machu Pichhu, Peru

And what has been the biggest disappointment?
“The biggest disappointment… Well, I was a bit disappointed about the northern part of Java. I did not like the city of Jakarta much: it was very dirty, polluted and full of traffic jams. Not many pretty things for sightseeing either. But maybe if I would have spent more time there I would have discovered more beauty, who knows. But I loved the southern part of Java and the other islands of Indonesia, as Lombok and Sulawesi especially.”

Have you always been traveler and how did this come about?
“I always loved to travel and whenever I could I did. My first big trip on my own was my trip to Cuba, which was a very special experience. I went for 3 weeks and ended up staying three months. That became the story of my life: always staying much longer than planned. I like to spend a lot of time on one destination: to really get to know a place and its people and culture well: to see it from the inside. I spent several months in Mexico, have lived and studied in Surinam, and Argentina where I went to stay for two months but ended up living one year. And now Cape Town is basically my home, where I spent most of my time since the last three years. Although ‘most of my time’ isn’t a lot since I mostly travel non-stop for my work.”

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Yvette’s gang in South Africa. Photo by Binniam Eskender

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Yvette on top of Table Mountain at her second home South Africa. Photo by Binniam Eskender

Do you find it’s hard to settle back home sometimes, because you’re away so often?
“Yes, it’s very difficult. I don’t even really know where ‘home’ is anymore. I guess it is Cape Town, since I spend most of my time here. So I am used to living in different places, always getting to know new people and other new places. It’s a very hectic, intense and crazy life. But I love it. Sometimes it feels as if I am living in a dream: all the most beautiful spots I get to visit.The amazing and interesting people from all over the world I get to meet. I am making a living out of my two biggest hobbies: travelling and writing. I realize every day how lucky I am, I soak in every moment to enjoy it to the fullest and feel very grateful for all this. But obviously it has it’s downsides too: my last two relationships did not last because of the long distance. And I also do miss my friends and family back in the Netherlands, but we video-Whatsapp call a lot, and my parents also came to visit me here in Cape Town last January, that was very special. And my sisters, parents and quite a few friends also came to visit me when I was living in Argentina.”

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Some of Yvette’s workspots in Australia, South Africa and Fiji

They once gave me a 80 square meter suite in the Lebua State Tower in Bangkok, on the top floor with 4 huge balconies, right below one of the most famous roof top bars in the world.

Could you tip our readers with some of your favorite restaurants or accommodations around the world?
“I love the Tsim Sha Tsui fine dining restaurant in Hong Kong: on the 30th floor with an amazing view over the city and the harbor. The cocktails of the Eyebar on the same floor are exquisite too. My favorite food cities in the world are Hong Kong, Berlin and Cape Town, you have to really do your best to find shitty food there.”

“In Thailand they once gave me a 80 square meter suite in the Lebua State Tower in Bangkok, on the 60th-plus-something floor with 4 huge balconies, right below one of the most famous roof top bars in the world. That was pretty amazing. But in the end I would prefer a cute little lodge in the middle of the nature anytime over such luxury: a week later I stayed in a so called ‘floating rainforest camp’, in a tent floating on a lake in a nature reserve in the south of Thailand. More basic but with a priceless view.”

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The impressive view at Eyebar in Hong Kong Souce

 “I absolutely love the Ngong House hotel, just outside of Nairobi, Kenya. It’s a tree house hotel with beautiful views on the famous Ngong Hills (from the book/movie Out of Africa), in a very cozy and intimate setting. In Cape Town my favorite hotel is Cape View Clifton: a small boutique hotel with and infinity pool and incredible views over the Clifton beaches. Bush camping at the Okavango Delta in Botswana with wild animals walking besides your tent is stunning and fun too. Unless you have to pee in the middle of the night, haha.”

Sounds amazing, we should check those out! As a journalist, you must have written a lot of pieces. Which articles are you most proud of and why?
“I like the articles I have written on South Africa and Argentina best, because I think you really can feel the love I have for those places when reading it. And obviously the articles of places I know in and out are the best, because I have a deeper and better perspective of what is going on, so I can share more than just some superficial ‘hotspot’ information.”

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Traveling can take up a lot time, do you listen to a lot of music and if so, what can we definitely find on your travel playlist?
“For quiet times I love listening to soul music and jazz. For dancing I like to listen to deephouse – especially the funky deephouse with African beats that they play here. I also love salsa, samba, reggae and old skool Motown music.”

As what kind of traveler would you consider yourself? (Luxury, backpacker, adventurer etc.)
“All in one.”

And finally; what will be your hundred destination?
“Seychelles or India. Can’t wait!”

Wow, we’re not jealous at all! 😉 

Love,

Wander-Lust

Check out Yvette’s website or Instagram where you can follow her adventures!

The Wanderlust of.. Travel Chameleon Ron Simpson

I’ve known him from the age of 12 and knew something was going to become of this man that build a name for himself by just doing what he loves. He travels to more than 15 countries each year and has tried pretty much every cuisine in the world. (no wonder that he’s opening up his own restaurant soon) Time to interview the guy that makes his dreams come true! This is the Wanderlust of.. Ron Simpson.

Hi Ron! Or Mr. Simpson as many call you, could you please tell our readers who you are what you do?
Hahaha sure thing! Well you can call me anything, but my mother named me Ron and the Simpson part comes from my father, he’s English. I’m a creative entrepreneur from Amsterdam that tries to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I could never choose what I wanted to be, so I just blended all the stuff I liked [People, Music, Brands, Movies, Food, Art] and made a way of life out of it. I started working on my own concepts and ideas quite young and after a bunch of fun and eventful years I own a few businesses of my own. Like a talent management agency for artists, actors and awesome people, a brand marketing company that works with innovative multinational brands like Red Bull and an event production company that creates a 100+ events and parties a year. And o yeah, a restaurant too.

Ron Simpson for GLDJ's
Ron (left) almost forgot to mention that he used to perform with Girls Love DJ’s for many years

You travel the world for your job but it seems like you caught the wanderlust virus way before that, how come?
That is something I have to thank my parents for I guess. We moved countries a few times when I was a kid, so I got to see the deserts and the sea, the city and the country, hear different languages, eat different foods and meet so many people. I was always intrigued and interested about all the wonders that this world has to offer. Next to that I loved music, movies and magazines. Seeing, hearing and discovering all of the beautiful things that were going on in the world it was just a matter of time before I decided to go out and see them all. My first jobs as well as my first companies had international allure and I always hustled hard to make sure I got to go on trips for school, work or pleasure. It makes my heart smile to see that after all these years my parents are traveling the world together as well.

Ron Simpson in Montreal
Ron was in Montreal recently and shot this amazing foto

Favorite destination by far?
No traveler can pick just one place right? I remember being super impressed, the first time I got to see and experience New York. But the biggest surprise as a city came from Buenos Aires. The vibe, the architecture, the food, the dancing, the people. Bali was the first place that gave me the feeling I really NEVER EVER wanted to go home again and Tokyo is the most inspiring environment ever. After all these years, I still can’t pick just one thing hahaha.

Which countries are still on your bucketlist and why?
Australia! For some unknown reason, we still haven’t met each other. The wildlife, the nature, the city, the food, the people but mostly THE ACCENTS. Ushuaia and the south-pole are on the list too, I think that is breath taking and want to see it before we destroy it :(. And a roadtrip from Colombia up to Belize is the last one on my list. There is so much culture and nature to discover there. After these I have seen my original wishlist and hit over 60+ countries. Then I will go where ever my life, love, friends and work lead me.

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Ron in the Seychelles

Besides travel, we know you have a huge crush on food. (like us!) Could you tell us 3 hotspots in the world we should visit when it comes to delicious food?
O yeah, food is my compass most of the time. This is so hard to pick wow, but let’s see. I will stay away from the captain obvious ones like New York, London, Paris, Madrid and Toscane or anything you see on Chef’s Table. And I would recommend you to go and eat at the streetfood market in Kuala Lumpur, literally pick ANY restaurant or food festival in Montreal or “open a table” at Itzik Hagadol in Tel Aviv.

“Travelling and internet doesn’t just show you the beautiful stuff of life, it opens up the book of horrors too” – Ron Simpson

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Palmtrees for breakfast

You’ve recently had a new outlook on the way we consume (food, products etc), do you worry about what’s happening to our earth more so if you look 5 years back?
O absolutely. Travelling and internet doesn’t just show you the beautiful stuff of life, it opens up the book of horrors too. I am way better informed about food, the environment, politics, threats and global warming. But I also know what we can do about it, and I think that everyone needs to discover that in their own way. A vegan person could never convince me to become a vegan or vegetarian. The only person that is strong enough to do that is me. I can convince myself. But I have to want to. So you listen and you learn, you talk to people and watch content all over the place. Eventually it starts to nag you and you decide that changing the world starts by changing yourself first. 5 years ago my main focus was just having as much fun as I can.

Do you prefer to travel solo or with friends?
I prefer to travel light, so not a lot of luggage and not a lot of people. When I am out discovering the world I like to move at a faster pace, follow my interests and path, so +1 is my favorite. And if a group of friends do join me then I love to be in a place that you don’t need to discover but you can just sit back and enjoy. Like Ibiza or Bali.

What song can we definitely find on your travel playlist?
It’s funny, but I always have The Opposites with me. It’s a Dutch pop / hiphop duo that make brilliant music. I usually listen to songs and sounds of where ever I am, really get into the place that I’m visiting, so when I do listen to something that I brought with me, it will be a little bit of home.

What can we expect from Ron Simpson or your agency in 2017?
Well, both have a great year to come as far as I know. Even though it was a successful year, I didn’t like 2016 a lot. Negative energy and bad things ruled the focus, but next year you can expect a LOT of food [opening up a restaurant and some more cool food brands too], a lot of traveling again [the first 12 trips have been confirmed and I might just go on another world tour], filming overseas with a a client, traveling and writing a book with another, a few pretty big brand campaigns and a lot of great events to bring people together. And I’m in love since a long time, so you can expect a big smile on my face wherever I go.

Oh wow, in love, who would have thought! 😉 The last question we always ask everybody in this segment; what kind of traveler are you? (explorer, backpacker, glampacker, luxury etc)
I’m a chameleon. I can explore a city or a country and I can lay on my ass for a week. I can stay in a five star resort and then get bored and jump in a camper. I wouldn’t call myself a backpacker or a luxury guy, so I guess the label that fits the best would be: an enjoyer. Getting the most out of every situation.

Love,

Wander-lust 

Curious who we interviewed previously?

 

 

 

 

The Wander-Lust of.. the powerladies behind lifestyle blog Tete à Tete

These girls come from a background in journalism so starting their own blog only came natural. With their combined love for fashion, food and travel, they started a killer lifestyle blog Tete à Tete. On their blog they interview inspirational women every Monday and they organize events where you will find tout hip Amsterdam. We love power women that know what they want so it was time for an interview! 

Hi Girls! Glad to interview some power girls this month! Please tell our readers who you guys are and what you do.
Hajar: “Kiki and I met through our work as lifestyle journalists and decided to start an adventure together. We launched our own lifestyle website Tête-à-Tête. On the site we write about fashion, beauty, food and travel. Basically it’s a dream job because we get to write about everything we love.”

When and why did you start Tete a Tete?
Kiki: “We launched about half a year ago. We are both journalists and started our careers at big news websites but made the move to start our own business, because we wanted to do our own thing. So far this adventure has brought is so much already. We can’t wait to see where it’s heading.”

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Personalized macaroons at their launch party

A while back you organised a dinner for inspirational women from the Netherlands to show support for each other, how did this come about and why do you feel this is such an important subject?
Hajar: “Ever since we met, we’ve talked about organizing an event like this. We really believe that women should spread positivity and help each other out. Of course we can complain about how unfair and sexist the world can be, but it’s much better to actually fight it by standing strong together. We hope that we can continue bringing lovely and inspiring women together. Girl power is where it’s at!”

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We were one of the lucky ladies invited to enjoy the motivation dinner for women

We know you guys love to travel, explain to us why you like it so much.
Kiki: “That’s easy. Without travel, we can’t write. We need to get out of The Netherlands (as much as we like it here) to get inspired. Sometimes we book a city trip for inspiration and we’ll try to see, taste and experience as much as possible. But sometimes we book a relaxing holiday at the beach, so we can unwind and return to work super fresh.” Hajar: “Both of these holidays are essential for us to be the best writers we can be!”

If we are correct, Kiki, you have a fear of flying just like Elke, how do you cope?
“Basically, I don’t! Haha. But I just try to accept and deal with it. If you want to see the world, you kinda have to fly. The more I fly, the more I hope the fear will fade. Or that’s just an excuse to travel more ;)”

Tete a Tete in Venice
Travel, Fashion and food, the 3 things these ladies live for. (photo by Tete à Tete)

We are addicted to Emirates. What’s your favorite airline and why?
Hajar: “Mine has to be British Airways. Always on point.”
Kiki: “On my last Iceland Air flight, I had excellent WiFi! Soooo nice. And I love the service KLM too.”

You guys have a great sense of style, which items do you always bring on a trip?
Hajar: “Thanks! I like to bring dresses and jumpsuits because it’s a complete outfit without having to mix and match. You just put it on and you’re good to go. A big hat is also a must. Not only will it protect your hair from sun or rain, it also looks quite fabulous 😉 Kiki: “I don’t really have any comfortable travel clothes. If I feel like it, I will get totally overdressed with high heels for a short flight. In my suitcase I will always have clothes that I can layer, so I’m prepared for all types of weather. But to be honest: I usually pack half of my wardrobe, I’m a notorious ‘over packer’. Especially when it comes to shoes, I always pack way too many, but I just like to have options!”

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Pretty pictures is what you can find on their Instagram account

What’s the worst piece or souvenir you have ever brought home with you?
Hajar: “You’re speaking with the queen of terrible souvenirs here! My sister and I have a really strange running gag: whenever we travel to another country we try to find the ugliest, most useless souvenir and bring them home for each other. We have to put them on display too so there is a shelf in my house that’s filled with little thimbles and spoons. It’s weird, I know.”

What advise would you give beginning bloggers?
Hajar: “Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect your blog to be a success overnight. Think about why you started blogging in the first place. Is it because you love writing or photographing? Than keep on doing just that. Trust me, hard work pays off.”
Kiki: “As a starts blogger, you’re tempted to work 80 hours a week, which of course is important in the beginning. But try take the time to be offline too, get some rest and see the real world (instead of seeing everything though an Instagram filter). Enjoy life!”

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Any countries on your bucketlist still?
Hajar: “So many! But Japan is on the top of the very long list. I simply HAVE to see Tokyo!”
Kiki: “Indonesia! It’s where my roots are from and I can’t believe have never been yet.”

What song can we find on your travel playlist?
Kiki: “We’re actually working on a plane playlist on Deezer. You can check it out on our site soon. This summer (an every other season!) all playlists should have some Beyoncé on them.”

And finally, what kind of traveler would you consider yourselves?
Hajar: “I’m a city girl so I live for city trips. I pack light and try to see as much as I can. Even when I’m on a relaxing island, I need to find out what’s going around me. Always looking for where I can eat the best food and where I can see the prettiest sights.” Kiki: “If it’s not a trip for work, my holidays really should be relaxing. My ultimate holiday: chill on a tropical island for at least 3 weeks with my boy, literally doing nothing. Hang out in beach houses, visit some local stores, read books I usually never have time for…that kind of stuff.”

You can check their blog here and be sure to follow them on Instagram for your daily dosis of Lifestyle!

Love,

Wander-Lust

The Wanderlust of.. Travel Blogger Anne de Buck

She was one of the first travel and hotspots bloggers in the Netherlands who made her hobby into a career. You might know her from “Your Little Black Book” where she’s the first to tell you about all the hotspots!  This lady is constantly on the road but despite that, she wrote 2 books and she made some time to do this interview with us! This is the Wanderlust of..fellow wanderlusty Anne de Buck.

Hi girl! Could you tell our readers who you are and what you do?
Hi! I’m Anne de Buck and I’m the founder of (urban) travel blog Yourlittleblackbook.me. I’m a travel entrepreneur and created my own dream job to travel the world for a living. For my platform Your Little Black Book I create city- and travel guides for destinations all over the world. In just 3,5 years my hobby blog grew out to be the largest travel blog in The Netherlands. Something I could have only dreamed to happen! Now I do what makes me the happiest girl in the world. I live up to my feelings of Wanderlust full time!

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Wanderlust. Photo by Presstigieux

So when did you decide to become a full time travel blogger?
Good question! I think now it’s the ambition of a lot of new travel bloggers do become a full time travel blogger and get paid to travel. But for me it never started that way. I just loved traveling and hotspots and started to write about my experiences. And there they were: the first 3.500 readers, and then 10.000, 40.000, 70.000 and when I hit the 100.000 unique visitors a month I decided to quit my marketing manager job and just go for it! That’s two years ago and by now the numbers almost doubled.

Impressive stuff! What advice would you give yourself if you look back 5 years?
FOCUS. When things you do get the proper attention and love they will grow. Just like a plant!

Do you still have destinations on your bucketlist and if so, which ones?
Haha, OH YES. In my book Wanderlust (for now only available in Dutch) I shared my bucket list. And for someone who travels so much it’s surprisingly long. On #1 is my dream to make a polar bear safari once in my life. Even though my professional niche is urban travel my personal favorite holidays involve animals in the wild. Can watch them for hours! And after the polar bears? The Philippines, Rio, Buenos Aires, Sri Lanka. Oh and The Maldives. I know that everyone says that it can be very boring there, but I think boring is good for me. No hotspots to write about means true holiday!

Anne de Buck in Los Angeles
Strolling down the city of Angels

What is your favorite thing about traveling?
Exploring, wandering, discovering new places, people and cultures. I do well when I’m on the go.

What’s the worst thing that happened to you whilst traveling?
I once had a terrible bike accident in the USA. One part of my face was totally damaged, my whole body blue and bruised. After that healed my forehead was paralyzed at one side. Almost like a bad botox treatment. Luckily my hair covers the scar and you can only see the scar tissue with the changes of the weather. I think ending up in the hospital abroad is the worst thing that can happen to you while traveling.

Wow, that’s heavy! On a positive note, name one song that would definitely be on your travel playlist
Fade out lines. I still don’t get tired of this one!

“I’m more adventurous than I share on my blog” – Anne de Buck

You recently published 2 books, tell us a little more about that.
YES, so exciting! One book is a lifestyle guide that’s all about travel called Wanderlust. But for now that one is only available in Dutch. The other one however is published in both Dutch and English and called The Amsterdam City Guide. It’s really the best reward after writing about hotspots in Amsterdam for the last four years. In this book I share all my personal favorites in six different neighborhoods, an Amsterdam bucketlist, shortlists from my favorite restaurants to concept stores and tips what you can do in 24, 48 or 72 hours in the city. I still can’t believe that they’re in store now!

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Anne’s books, The Amsterdam City Guide and Wanderlust

Being a girl from Amsterdam, what is your favorite lunch spot at the moment?
I love YAY in De Pijp! It’s just too good to be true that everything on the menu is super healthy and I can order it guilt free ;-).

If you could give one golden travel tip, what would it be?
Go where your dreams take you. Make a plan and just go! That’s actually a motto for most things in my live. I don’t really understand people that talk about something for years without taking action. Whether it’s a career change, starting a business or making your dream trip.

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The YAY Healthstore in Amsterdam (picture by wander-lust)

And finally, what kind of traveler are you? (backpacker, glampacker, adventurous, explorer etc)
I’m more adventurous than I share on my blog, but if I would put myself in a box it would be the urban travel one. It doesn’t matter where I go I’m always looking for cool and urban-style places to explore. Even when I’m on a tropical island!

Anne de Buck in Bali
Anne relaxing in Bali (source)

Anne’s books are now available to buy online or in store! You can follow her adventures on Instagram.

Curious who we’ve interviewed before?

 

The Wanderlust of.. Travel Writer Liss Connell

She caught our eye a while back when we saw her beautiful Instagram account @lifeintheslowlane. This Aussi girl inspired our travels to The Philippines and we fell in love with her beautiful bohemian caravan. She has been to most places we can only dream so be prepared to add a few places to your bucketlist after reading this. What is she up to now and does she still own that caravan? This is the Wanderlust of.. Liss Connell.

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Melissa Connell but friends call me Liss. I previously ran a tourism company but I am now in the start-up stages of creating Slow Travel Magazine www.slowtravelmagazine.com

How did traveling change you?
Travelling has taught me to appreciate folks from all walks of life. It has simultaneously taught me to appreciate life here in Australia and how important community and personal relationships are.

The wanderlust of Melissa
One of her most famous images from The Philippines, Photo @shotbygrace

Which country would you visit again and which one you rather not?
I recently visited Vanuatu and I fell in love with the people there. They are so well connected with the natural environment and the communities work well together. Places that I like to avoid are cities so not a specific country as such. Crowded places make me feel claustrophobic and anxious.

Sleeping in a treehouse
Sleeping in a real treehouse in Vanuatu @shotbygrace_

Which country has impressed you the most?
Vanuatu, for the reasons listed above. I also adore New Zealand. We’re so blessed that some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth is only a few hours flight away from us!

Liss Connel
Liss releasing a turtle in Vanuatu

I think you just made us write Vanuatu on our bucketlist! Something else, do you still own that caravan?
Nope. I sold it a while ago. It’s important to recognise when to let go of things to allow room for the next dream to grow.

Could you tell us a little bit about your website, slow travel magazine?
These days the majority of travel companies and magazines advertise a certain style of travel which involves rushing from place to place to tick certain experiences off a list. Experiences that they tell you that you ‘must do’. A sense of discovery and spontaneity are taken away when you’re just following a list. Slow Travel is about connecting with your surroundings – having an open mind, chatting with locals, supporting locally made arts, crafts and foods. Supporting local economies. The Slow Travel philosophy encourages you to get to know an area well, in a way that is less stressful for you, more respectful of the locals and easier on the environment. I hope that Slow Travel Magazine can reach a wide audience and challenge the popular notions of modern day travel.

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The caravan we so fell in love with. Shot by www.instagram.com/reneerae_

“I’ve long dreamt of spending a few months in Mexico, learning Spanish, surfing and eating tacos.- Liss Connell”

You really inspire people with your amazing photo and travels, do you realize this and do you feel a pressure?
Thank you, that’s kind of you to say. I have really enjoyed sharing my travels via social media but I’ve also realized that it can be very selfish. I would now like to move away from sharing my own personal travels and help to grow the community of Slow Travel.

Why do you think traveling is so important for us?
Humans are naturally curious and there’s a certain fulfillment that we get from exploring beyond our daily boundaries. Whilst travel can be fun and enriching, I think it’s very important to have a strong connection with community. Whether you have a home base or are part of a nomadic group, life is all about connecting with other people, learning and contributing.

Liss Connel in the Philippines
Coron, Philippines Photo by @shotbygrace_

Something we always ask our travelers, name one song that would definitely be on your travel playlist
‘Pilrimage’ by Jess Ribeiro & The Bone Collectors. I also really love PJ Harvey’s album ‘Let England Shake’.

And last, what are your next travel plans?
I’ve long dreamt of spending a few months in Mexico, learning Spanish, surfing and eating tacos. But I’m just as happy to do a roadtrip up the coast here in Australia. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from exploring your own backyard and it’s fun to just pack the car and go!

Campervans Australia
Bells Beach, Australia. Photo by @hireakombi

Liss Connel
Liss on her selfmade swing. Photo by Grace Picot

Let’s be inspired and follow this girl. To find out more about her Slow Travel Magazine, check her new Instagram account.