Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where are you from, and how you got to where you are today?
I am just a Dutch girl from The Hague who is passionate about travel! I was born and raised in the Netherlands and have always been a very visual person who loves adventure and exploring. Photography and travel was always a hobby, but I loved fashion as well, so studied fashion management and since I graduated have been working in sales, as an area manager, fashion buyer and accessory designer for several big companies and Dutch retail chain stores until 2 years ago. For this I was able to travel to big metro poles all over the world. It was hard work as I always worked my butt off and loved my jobs, but finally I realized 50 hours per week was still not enough and it was draining me and keeping me away from my true passions, which are traveling, being creative, marketing and photography.
In my spare time I started to implement what I had learnt and built my own website about travel, Authentic Chica, as a hobby 1,5 years ago and set up several social media accounts for this as well (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) to share my own travel pics and tips with like minded travelers all around the world.
I focused a lot on social media and especially Instagram, my platform of choice with over 43K followers right now! I never imagined that this would grow so fast and that I would have so much fun with it! And even though I started these platforms and my website just to inspire others and share my pics and tips, I have been able to do a lot of collaborations with my favourite hotels and travel companies as well in the meantime.
I used to dream about being my own boss, but never dared to take the risk of investing in something like this alone. But since I focused on online marketing and social media, did some courses, got a certificate in online marketing and have gained so much experience in this through the brand I worked for, my own website and my social media accounts, I decided to take the leap and start my own PR and Marketing consultancy company just last week!
Q: Do you remember when you first discovered your passion for travel? When was it, and to where?
I used to travel a lot through Europe but also to many islands, which I adore! Corsica, Mallorca, Ibiza, Curacao and the Dominican Republic I have already seen before my 25th, but it was really when I turned 26 and backpacked for the first time alone through Thailand when I was truly affected with the travel bug…
Traveling alone empowered me and exploring this country made the travel fever even stronger. Since then I traveled 34 countries to date and keep traveling more often every year!
Q: With more than 30 countries ticked off your list so far, do you have top travel experience that stands out from the rest?
That is such a difficult question as each country is different, has its own value and every experience is unique! I still think fondly of our trip to Mauritius 7 years ago, as this is such a special and romantic island, and this was our first couples trip. But of course our round trip through Australia, incl.the Outback and diving in the Great Barrier reef was a true bucketlist experience. But also our safari trip to Kenya, celebrating Christmas in Costa Rica and New Years Eve in NYC, but also our most recent round trip through Morocco, including crossing the Atlas mountains and staying overnight in the Sahara desert are very special! All these countries are so diverse and unique and I really loved exploring them!
And don’t get me started about my recent trip to Norway and our luxury road trip through the south of France, all very different but very special to me. It is simply impossible to choose!
Q: In your 10 Tips on How to Travel Authentic But Chic you mention the importance of connecting with others. How do you think this outlook has added value to your travels?
Traveling makes me feel free as I am always excited to discover new things, see beautiful sights, learn about other cultures, history, meet new people and just wander around and explore the world! Connecting with locals, really taking in the heritage and culture of my destination and doing tours with local companies really helps me achieve that feeling. It gives me a sense of connection with the country and makes the experience of traveling more real to me!
Q: What is the most meaningful momento that you’ve brought back from your travels?
I cherish all my travel memories and try to visualize and capture these moments in my photography. I also buy small souvenirs in each destination I visit. We have a cabinet at home filled with picture books of our travels combined with small souvenirs that represent the countries we have visited.
Also the stories and visuals on my website and social media accounts help to keep my travel memories alive and I love to collect moments in my pictures, which I am truly passionate about!
Q: Do you have any favorite makers, designers or brands that you’ve discovered while out on the road?
I really like unique and local products, like a traditional scarf, accessory or a special trinket that represent the culture and heritage of the country. Also I love brands that give back to charities or are produced in a sustainable way with respect for the environment and locals.
Q: What are the three things you absolutely cannot travel without?
Definitely my phone or DSLR camera to take pics with of all the beautiful moments and sights around me. A nice wrap around scarf, always convenient in Islamic countries, or when visiting special sights to cover yourself with respect for their religion, or when you are chilly at night or on the plane. And a good travel bag which is beautiful, practical and carries all my stuff.
Q: How do you incorporate your love for travel into your every day?
I try to travel at least 6 times a year, and this year even 10 times, as I got to travel a lot for my website. These are not always long trips, mostly short city trips, long weekends, mid-weeks or 1-2 week trips, as I love being at home as well. Finding the balance between these two variations makes me happy and keeps both aspects of life fun to me.
As I will be working for several travel agencies on a daily basis from now on, I will be incorporating the passion for travel into my daily life all the time and I love it!
I also share pics of my travels every day on Instagram, I have a lot of interaction with my followers, connected with many fellow travel enthusiasts on there already, and even met some of them in real life, who became dear friends to me.
I hope to be able to do the same through this unique website and Global Creator platform as well, as I truly enjoy connecting and collaborating with passionate people around the world.