Travel blogger, Cindy Altamirano from With Love, Scarleny shares with us her extraordinary adventures and tips to maximize your travel experience!
Why did you start your own travel blog?
I started With love, Scarleny because I truly felt I needed to share all of these awesome experiences & adventures along with the knowledge I am gaining through maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling. My blog is a creative space for me to open up to the universe, in the hopes of being a positive influence and inspiration to others to get out there explore, grow and make some beautiful connections with others around the globe! Especially to my young Latinas, as I come from immigrant parents and never imagined seeing so much of this world. I feel so fortunate to be able to say that I have now visited 23 countries (not including countries where I’ve touched down for layovers) and lived in 3 different continents creating a life of travel, immersion, and culture soaking.
When did you discover your love for travel?
I think I realized how much I loved learning and being in other places when I went to study abroad in Madrid, Spain for a year. It was like a new world opened up for me! It probably sounds cheesy, but that changed my life. I got to really immerse myself in a different culture, get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself to travel alone, and have access to hopping over to different countries easily. It quickly became addicting! You know, growing up I just didn’t think it was even an option. My family was from a different country so I’m grateful I had a taste of diffrent food and a different language at home BUT they never traveled back to their homeland, they couldn’t and all they did was work for that American dream in order to provide a better life for their children. Vacations and travel for the sake of travel was an idea out of this world until I discovered international exchange programs.
How do you prepare for a trip?
Depending on the purpose, location, and how much time I have for the trip, I will begin to organize and prepare accordingly. Typically, I begin by reaching out to friends who have traveled to these places and “pick their brains” for some feedback/recommendations before diving into research on my own. I look for the best places to eat/must try (as a vegan I have to be really good about preparing this in advance for most places). I love being able to recreate dishes when I go back home so I will look for ways to learn. It was a dream of mine to learn more about Thai cuisine, as I’m obsessed with Thai food, so on my last trip there I took a full day course at a Thai cooking school. I look for events that may interest me for example in Seoul I was able to go to a kimchi festival and actually attend a kimchi workshop, where I learned about why Koreans started eating kimchi, why it’s so healthy, and how to make it myself. I always like to incorporate workouts so I stay on somewhat of a routine during my travels. I’ve done yoga retreats in Thailand and in Bali, so I know I have my yoga classes locked in no matter what else is planned.
What has been your most rewarding travel moment?
It’s quite difficult to choose, but the one that comes to mind at the moment is the time I walked an elephant through the jungle in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was taking a much needed solo trip to heal and rebalance from life in China. The universe aligned this magical elephant sanctuary with me as I searched for places to stay and next thing you know I was living with elephants for a few days, bathing, playing, feeding and waking up to them. Interacting with such huge and loving creatures was so special, an extra-ordinary experience I will never forget. I was so vulnerable yet felt so brave.
What’s your best travel tip you always give people?
Go! Go with an open heart and an open mind. You’ll be surprised with others, with what you discover and with yourself. Be fearless but follow your intuition. I have fallen in love with places that others have warned me about going to. I’ve had some incredible moments in foreign places with strangers guided by intuition, so learn to listen to those gut feelings. Know that you really never know until you have experienced it for yourself and are able to form your own opinion about a place. Although, it’s good to hear what others think, ultimately everybody has different experiences, different preferences etc. don’t let that stop you from seeing the beauty this world has to offer!
Do you have any advice to other women aspiring to become travel bloggers?
I’m still learning about this blogging game myself but what I’ve discovered is that if you want to go into it, do it because you are truly passionate about travel! There’s so much time, money and energy that goes into creating content wheter its photos, videos or blog posts not to mention the planning, packing, logistics and accounting for trips. Remain authentic to have your own voice because we need that now more than ever, plus people like those who are relateable. Show the realities of travel because it’s not all pretty pictures and lavish hotels. I have gone 2 days without sleep on a bed just squeezing in naps between planes or car rides to get to a destination or woken up at 4 am just to try capturing beautful shots! Lastly, utilize social media to benefit YOU as you can connect with fellow travelers, women who are relatable to you from solo women travelers or women living overseas, it’s a way to help eachother, get information and even meet up with to grow your own tribe!
Follow Cindy Altamirano on all social media platforms: @withlovescarleny
Click here to visit her website: www.withlovescarleny.com to learn more about travel & health, fitness and style!