This week’s traveler is one of my absolute Insta-faves, not only because of her dreamy, minimalist, pastel-inspired feed, but because she is also one of the sweetest people I’ve met on Instagram. Natalie Anastasia is based in San Francisco, California (only a couple hours from where I grew up!) and runs the blog Pastels & Passports, where she shares travel guides and tips alongside her beautiful photography. Scrolling through her Instagram feed feels a bit like stepping into a cotton candy dream sprinkled with positivity and kindess. (I highly recommend it.) She took some time out of her busy life and did a little Q&A with me (thanks Nat!), where we covered everything from her favorite tunes to travel with to how she got her start in blogging. Read on to learn more!
On Life & Traveling
Who or what inspires you to travel?
It’s all about the locals and people I meet. I grew up in a pretty small, homogeneous town and have always been fascinated by people with different backgrounds and upbringings. I love to learn and always feel like I grow tremendously as a human being after traveling.
What made you choose San Francisco?
Since I grew up in such a small town, San Francisco always seemed impossible to me. I didn’t know anyone who had ever moved to California, but my boyfriend and I decided to take the plunge. San Francisco has it all. There are so many amazing career opportunities, and I just love the lifestyle here. There is always something new and exciting to explore, and the views are incredible! I encourage everyone to visit.
What is the soundtrack to your travels?
I love music of all genres for different moments in life, but the kinds of songs that get me super excited to travel are really upbeat, happy tunes. Final Song by Mø and Rich Boy by Galantis are my current jams.
Can you name one place you’ve traveled that surprised you the most, and tell us why?
I think one place I traveled to that surprised me the most was Paris. I had heard so many negative comments about it being crowded, overrated, and the people being unkind. I had the complete opposite experience and it became one of my favorite cities I have ever been to. I know it’s cliché, but Paris really is a special city unlike anywhere else!
Pssst! For more interviews with awesome creatives, check out last week’s Q&A with @hernamewascharlie or this one with @heleneinbetween! If you’re interested in sharing your story and being featured here yourself, please get in touch. I’d love to chat with you!
Have you ever seen an active volcano? This is Stromboli 🌋 (nope not the delicious pizza dish) but a small island off the coast of Sicily. FUN FACT: Sicily is where my ancestors are from! ✧ The island of Stromboli contains one of Italy's three active volcanos and our @royalcaribbean captain drove us around it. We could see the smoke coming out from the top and swimming alongside of us were some dolphin friends! Such a cool experience and one of many reasons I love traveling by boat. The journey is often just as amazing as the destination!
Enjoying a beautiful sunny Sunday in San Francisco! How adorable are these pastel pink tables at @cafereveille? I want one for my apartment 💕🤣 ✧ PS I have been super into dainty jewelry as of late and am loving this perfect everyday ring from @prismera. Be sure to check out the rest of her sparkly collection!
What are you currently reading/watching?
I have recently been hooked on watching animal shows on Netflix (lol). It all started after watching this fabulous documentary called The Ivory Game that shines light on the plight of the African elephant. It made me want to book a trip to Africa immediately to help!
What is your favorite place in the whole wide world?
I’d have to say Turks & Caicos! I’ve been there three times with my family and it has become a really special place for us to unwind and relax together.
Who are your favorite Instagrammers at the moment?
My favorite Instagrammers right now are @theboldbrunette (who is an all-time favorite), @kollectingkoordinates, @ockeydockey and @travely.hannah. They are all such amazing and talented ladies!
What is your favorite part of traveling: the dreaming, the planning, or the actual trip?
The actual trip, for sure! It’s that moment where all of the dreaming and planning come together and you finally get to enjoy yourself.
What is your favorite quote about traveling?
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
What are 3 of your favorite places in San Francisco?
This is so hard, but I LOVE hanging out at Mission Dolores Park. I spend a lot of time on Union Street in the Marina. Finally, Battery Spencer for a killer view of the bridge!
"You belong among the wildflowers. You belong in a boat out at sea. Sail away, kill off the hours. You belong somewhere you feel free." – Tom Petty ✧ This week I returned to one of my favorite cities in the USA… San Diego! I visited for the first time a little over a year ago and felt that same sense of freedom and peace upon my return. Is there any place you've visited that instantly felt like home?
On Photography & Blogging
What equipment do you use for capturing your travels?
Last year I invested in a Sony Alpha a6000 mirrorless camera, and I can’t think of anything more suited for my current needs. It is super portable and light so it’s great for traveling, and it never weighs me down! I am still learning new things about it everyday but it has become my baby.
What inspired you to start your Instagram account or blog?
I always knew I wanted to start a blog but didn’t quite have a purpose or direction for getting started until last year. It was after moving to San Francisco in June 2016 that I felt a strong desire to pursue this dream of mine. I was exploring a new city and had so much to see and learn, so it was perfect timing.
Ah, the Roman Colosseum! Did you know that all ancient Romans had free entry to the Colosseum for events, and were also fed throughout the spectacles? That sure beats the $20 chicken finger prices at U.S. sporting events 🤔😅 ✧ All joking aside, the sheer size of the Colosseum is something I'll never get used to! It's one of those very special places that reminds me what a small space I occupy in the world. What is the largest monument you've ever seen?
"To sit in silence at the shore, watch the waves and hear the surf, is to appreciate the very breath and heartbeat of the earth." – Doe Zantamata ✧ What do you look forward to most when returning home? For me it's getting to see the people I love, feeling the sand between my toes and ending everyday with a Florida sunset 🌅
Lessons From Her Travels
One piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring traveler. Go!
I still consider myself an aspiring traveler of sorts, so this applies to me too! But if traveling is what makes you feel most passionate and energized in life, be sure to prioritize it. Find a way to make it happen at all costs. Our time on this planet is too short to not put our happiness first.
Do you have any trip planning tools or packing tips?
Plenty! Unless it’s a super long trip I try to pick out outfits ahead of time so that I am not stressed out during the trip wondering what to wear. It takes time, but you’ll have more room in your luggage and make the most of your time during your trip. You can also visit my blog, Pastels & Passports, for more travel guides and tips!
What is one thing you have learned about yourself while traveling?
One major thing I have learned from traveling is what a small space I occupy in the world. It can be hard to imagine what life is like for other people around the world until you see it for yourself. Travel has taught me to be more compassionate, open-minded and kind to everyone from all walks of life.
I think a celebration is in order this week for all 10,000 of you! That's 10,000 people with real families, stories and dreams and I am so honored that you decided to follow along with this little project I started six months ago. ✧ If we haven't met yet, let me know your name and where you're from. If you've been around for awhile, I would love to hear what you'd like to see from me next. Lightroom presets? An editing guide? I'm ready to get to work! Thanks for keeping me inspired to explore my backyard and beyond and for encouraging my love of all things pastel 🎉
On that note, I want to give a big thank you to Natalie for sharing with us this week!
Some exciting posts are in the works…stay tuned for my guide to 48 Hours in Copenhagen and other fun goodies coming your way soon! As always, if you enjoyed this post, please share!