Community Interviews

Interview with Caroline Ikeji of Pictures & Words


Editor’s Note:

When I wholeheartedly dove back into Instagram at the end of 2016, Caroline was one of the first people that I was drawn towards. She is engaging, witty, talented and so fun to follow! It didn’t hurt that her photos were bright and beautiful too. (We also got to meet up in person back in June in San Francisco, and it was so nice to be able to chat in person over dinner!) I have enjoyed watching her audience grow as well as tagging along virtually on her travels – many of which are solo trips. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog (or follow me on Instagram) you’ll know that I take most of my trips solo too, and am a big proponent of encouraging women to have the courage to travel alone and experience the world! Caroline is a stellar example of the type of traveler I admire, and her photography and their accompanying stories are always wonderful. She has a rapidly growing account on Instagram, a wonderful blog, and her audience is only continuing to grow. I highly recommend checking out both her blog and Instagram account!


"If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders." — And where (or what) is your mind wandering to today? Mine is wandering to Mexico City because I'll be there less than a week from now! (and by that, I really mean that I'm thinking about all the tacos and churros while I'm there). 📸: @pastelsandpassports . . . . . . . . . . #visitcalifornia #alwayssf #igerssf #igsanfrancisco #sfpulse #unlimitedsanfrancisco #california_igers #abmtravelbug #acolorstory #thetravelwomen #iamatraveler #liveauthentic #passionpassport #travelbff #girlslovetravel #wearetravelgirls #digitalnomadgirls #ladiesgoneglobal #dametraveler #sidewalkerdaily #citizenfemme #girlsborntotravel #sheisnotlost #femmetours #darlingescapes #girlaroundworld #femaletravelbloggers #electrifytravels #thefairytalebloggers #gotravelgirls

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That time I went to Chicago and realized why they call Chicago the "windy city"…because it's windy AF. Seriously though, I didn't even remember it being that windy the first time I was there. Anyways, this was on a pretty busy street and you would not believe how many times skirt blew up and I flashed all the cars on the road…and how many times I got honked and hooted at (or how many outtakes there are of my underwear showing). Sigh…the things I do. Do you guys have any funny behind-the-scenes stories from your photos? . . . . . . . . . . . #insta_chicago #mychicagopix #topchicagophoto #ilovechi #timeoutchicago #chicagopulse #chicagocityworld #abmtravelbug #acolorstory #thetravelwomen #passionpassport #girlslovetravel #wearetravelgirls #ladiesgoneglobal #dametraveler #sidewalkerdaily #citizenfemme #girlsborntotravel #sheisnotlost #femmetours #darlingescapes #girlaroundworld #femaletravelbloggers #electrifytravels #thefairytalebloggers #gotravelgirls #walltraveled #wallcharades #colorcrush #livecolorfully

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Q & A

Who or what inspires you to travel?
Lately, a lot of my inspiration has been coming directly from the travel blogging and Instagram community. I’m always drawing inspiration from both for new places to check out – my list just continues to grow and grow!

What are you currently reading/watching?
I just started reading “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – which, let’s be real, drew me in because I really thought the cover was pretty (it’s actually pretty good). I’ve also been re-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

What equipment do you use for capturing your travels?

I mostly shoot on a Nikon D300 with a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens. I also whip out my iPhone, and have started toting around a tripod to get myself in photos more often.

What inspired you to start your Instagram account or blog?
I’ve actually had my blog for about 10 years now, and it’s evolved several times. Nowadays, it’s shifting more towards a travel/lifestyle-focused blog to reflect my passion for travel. I started a separate Instagram account from my personal page to reflect that change as well.

What is the soundtrack to your travels?
My music taste is all over the place. I have a giant offline Spotify playlist that I can listen to without an internet connection, so it’s perfect for when I’m on planes. It has everything on it from the Chainsmokers, Ingrid Michaelson, Death Cab for Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, Explosions in the Sky, Alexi Murdoch, Justin Timberlake, CHVRCHES, Frightened Rabbit, The Naked and Famous, Zedd, The Postal Service…yeah, everything.

Who are your favorite Instagrammers at the moment?
I have so many! Some of them include: @mylifesatravelmovie, @witandfolly, @taylor_fuller, @katgaskin, @hopeisafeather, @polkadotpassport, @mvandersluis, @global_mimi…really, I can go on and on.

Um, what? It's July already?! I'm a bit in denial that half the year is over already. Anyways, I'm headed to Yosemite tomorrow to hike the mist trail, and while it looks pretty epic, I'm not sure what I'm more terrified of – the fact that the entire thing is a steep uphill, or the fact that it's wet and slippery and that I'm gonna fall in the river, being a klutz and all. Cross your fingers that I survive. What's everyone else up to this Fourth of July weekend? . . . . . . . . . #sanfrancisco #sf #visitcalifornia #alwayssf #nowrongwaysf #igerssf #streetsofsf #wildbayarea #igsanfrancisco #sfpulse #unlimitedsanfrancisco #travelblogger #calilove #california_igers #goldengatebridge #globetrotter #abmtravelbug #acolorstory #thetravelwomen #instapassport #iamatraveler #beautifuldestinations #prettylittlecities #globelletravels #liveauthentic #myfavtourlina #theeverygirltravels #stayandwander

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Sitting on top of the world…or just on top of a ~2000 year old pyramid. At its prime, Teotihuacan spanned over 20 square kilometers, had almost 200,000 inhabitants, and was the largest city in the Western Hemisphere before the 1400s. The site was discovered by the Aztecs, but there is still a bit of mystery about who originally built and inhabited the city. It is a pretty fascinating place and the two main pyramids (Piramide del Sol and Piramide de la Luna) are HUGE. Teotihuacan sits just an hour northeast of Mexico City and makes an easy day trip from the city (and a must-do in my opinion). You can take a tour there, but wanting to do my own thing, I hopped on a bus there which is an easy, safe, and CHEAP option. What are some of your favorite archaeological sites? . . . . . . . . . . . #passionpassport #girlslovetravel #wearetravelgirls #digitalnomadgirls #ladiesgoneglobal #dametraveler #sidewalkerdaily #citizenfemme #sheisnotlost #darlingescapes #femaletravelbloggers #thefairytalebloggers #gotravelgirls #traveldeeper #abmtravelbug #acolorstory #girlaroundworld #girlsborntotravel #thetravelwomen #tlpicks #femaletravelbloggers #cdmx_oficial #mexicodf #lovedf #instacdmx #vive_mexico #visitmexico #mexicoinmypocket #liveauthentic #iamatraveler

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Can you name one place you’ve traveled that surprised you the most, and tell us why?
Mexico City. It had never been on my radar, but I had been hearing so much about it that when I found a cheap flight, I decided I should just go! I didn’t expect there to be so much to do and see (and EAT! …because, let’s be real, I travel to eat!) that I ran out of time to do even a fraction of what I wanted to! There is such a rich culture, so many museums, so much delicious food…and so much color and cool architecture. I always want to go back! (Editor’s Note: Caroline just got back from another Mexico City trip, so check her Instagram for more!

What is your favorite quote about traveling?
We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong.

One piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring traveler. Go!
So many people talk about how they can’t travel because it’s too expensive – it really isn’t! It may take a bit more planning and legwork, but there are so many ways to cut costs and make it affordable! There are always so many crazy flight deals, and the trick is to just keep looking for them. I also almost never travel during peak season because it’s always crazy expensive and I can’t bring myself to pay that much (and it’s always SO crowded!). There are also ways to cut costs on accommodations – there are so many smaller, cheaper boutique hotels, especially in Europe, and I’ve started to book hostels for my travels this year because there are so many “boutique” hostels lately that are much different than the shady budget backpacker hostels of yesterday. It’s all about planning and making it a priority.

My friends usually roll their eyes at me because they think I talk way too much and won't ever shut up…but today, I am rendered speechless. It absolutely blows my mind that there are 10,000 of you who have decided to follow along with me on this crazy journey! I feel like I'm just your boring, average person so it amazes me that so many of you are interested in what I have to say, and how I see this incredible world around me. I started this account as a creative outlet (and to try to force myself to blog again – which I'm trying to do, I swear!), but I never would have imagined that I would connect with so many amazing, inspiring, and supportive people from around the world, and that I would grow so much both personally and creatively (well, that and my bucket list has grown exponentially too). You all inspire me to push myself creatively, and to be a better human being. So THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart for coming along with me on this crazy journey. 🙏 It means so much to me than you'll ever know. And cheers to new adventures yet to come! 🍷🍻❤️😘 — And if there's anything you guys want me to post more of, or things you want me to blog about, let me know in the comments! 📸: @travelingpetitegirl . . . . . . #girlswhotravel #shewhowanders #mytinyatlas #passionpassport #travelbff #girlslovetravel #wearetravelgirls #digitalnomadgirls #ladiesgoneglobal #dametraveler #sidewalkerdaily #citizenfemme #wanderandwish #girlsborntotravel #shewantsadventure #sheisnotlost #theglasspassage #girlaroundtheworld #femmetours #girlstraveldiary #darlingescapes #girlaroundworld #femaletravelbloggers #electrifytravels #girlsborntotravel #thefairytalebloggers #travelista #postcardsfromaroundtheworld #gotravelgirls

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Do you enjoy solo traveling? I do, so off I went booking another solo trip to Mexico City. I arrived early this morning, sleep deprived and kind of lost. Everything felt so foreign to me. Mexico City is a huge, busy, and crowded city and it can definitely feel overwhelming. I was also getting frustrated with my Spanish, or lack thereof (there goes 4 years of Spanish down the drain). I didn't even take a single photo for awhile (didn't help that I got chastised for setting up my tripod in front of the Bellas Artes). Part of me wanted to run back to the airport to get on the first flight back to SFO. This most definitely isn't my first solo trip, nor is it my first time in Mexico (or even Mexico City), so I wasn't sure why I was feeling so lost and overwhelmed. . — But my mood changed as my day went on. Maybe it was the fact that I got some food in my system (chilaquiles, yasss), or maybe it was the fact that my 4 cups of coffee FINALLY kicked in. Maybe it was the friendly locals who passed by me on the street with a smile and "hola," and who put up with my useless Spanish. The thing I love about solo traveling and trying to navigate a new place by myself is that it has taught me that I am more capable and independent than I give myself credit for. By this afternoon, I found my groove again and was confidently walking up and down the streets (with the help of google maps), taking all the photos (and mastering the art of using a selfie stick), and well, my Spanish still sucks but I've learned I know enough to ask for what I want. Mexico City, I'm ready for you now. Bring it on! . . . . . . . . . . . #passionpassport #girlslovetravel #wearetravelgirls #digitalnomadgirls #ladiesgoneglobal #dametraveler #sidewalkerdaily #citizenfemme #sheisnotlost #darlingescapes #femaletravelbloggers #thefairytalebloggers #gotravelgirls #traveldeeper #abmtravelbug #acolorstory #girlaroundworld #girlsborntotravel #thetravelwomen #tlpicks #femaletravelbloggers #walltraveled #wallcharades #cdmx_oficial #mexicodf #lovedf #instacdmx #vive_mexico #visitmexico #mexicoinmypocket

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What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself while traveling?
That I’m stronger and more independent than I give myself credit for!

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What is your favorite place in the whole wide world?
I am always talking about where to go next, and I always have itchy feet when I’m here, but I would say home – which is San Francisco.

Where to next?
Los Angeles, New York City, and Barcelona!

A big thanks to Caroline for sharing this week!

Be sure to follow along on her adventures:
Instagram | Facebook | Blog

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  • Reply
    September 27, 2017 at 6:24 PM

    Such an awesome interview!!! I’ve been following Caroline on Instagram for some time now and it’s so interesting to get to know her better like this. You go girl!

    • Reply
      October 1, 2017 at 11:12 AM

      Yay! I love her too and really enjoyed learning more about her. She’s a little powerhouse right?!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2017 at 6:02 PM

    Definitely enjoyed reading! Now I want to travel asap!

    • Reply
      September 27, 2017 at 12:26 AM

      Mission accomplished! 😉

  • Reply
    September 25, 2017 at 1:51 PM

    Yayyy I love how this turned out! Thanks for including me, I loved reading more about myself – HAHA! jk. 🙂

    • Reply
      September 25, 2017 at 4:16 PM

      Thank you for doing this with me! I loved putting it all together 🙂

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