Welcome back to my weekly interview series! If you’re unfamiliar, or this is your first time here, hello and thanks for stopping by! Every Wednesday, I post a brand new interview with a fellow creator (featuring photographers, bloggers, writers, artists of all kinds). I’ve been seriously slacking on naming this series, because I am admittedly terrible at naming things. I’d love your feedback! Click here if you feel like throwing some ideas my way. For more interviews like this one, head over here. If you’re interested in contributing an interview of your own, get in touch! I’d love to connect.
This week, I’m chatting with one of my absolute favorite ladies on the internet, the lovely Trisa Taro! She is the creator of The Free Passport, an avid traveler and a fellow New Yorker (that I can’t wait to meet in person soon!) Trisa is a global health advocate with a true passion for visual storytelling.
Her work has been featured in pieces for Conde Nast Traveler, Jetsetter, Travel + Leisure, and the United Nations. If you take a moment to scroll through her Instagram feed or read her blog, you’ll notice her unique style and perspective (and I guarantee you’ll be hooked!) Her genuine, kind nature and talent for storytelling, both with words and visuals, shines through everything she does. I am so excited that Trisa said yes to doing this interview, because she is one of my biggest inspirations, and I admire her work greatly. I hope you enjoy learning about her as much as I enjoyed putting this together! On to the Q+A!
"It's Monday. I'm happy. I'm blessed. And I'm gonna make damn sure I do amazing things this week." 🙌🏽 . It's still sinking in for me that we're almost half way through 2017! Didn't the year just start?! I'm currently unpacking from my trip to Amsterdam last week (which was far too short) while simultaneously packing for my upcoming trip to Côte d'Ivoire! Clearly there's no time to waste! . What are you looking forward to this week??
Who or what inspires you to travel?
I actually didn’t really enjoy traveling when I was younger – I’m not really sure why. But as I started to branch into the field of global health and international development, I began to really appreciate how truly amazing the world is and how you can’t take for granted any opportunities you have to see it. Some people will never see the ocean, some will never see snow, and others will never see the beautiful man-made skylines of cities like Tokyo and Paris. So if you can, you should. And hold a piece of that in your heart for those who can’t.
Tell us about your brand new Travel Money Diaries series on your blog! How did the idea come about?
I’m a religious reader of Refinery 29’s Money Diary series and thought it would be so interesting to read something like this if it was done by travelers around the world. So I decided to create just that! Some of my favorite bloggers and Instagrammers are the ones who don’t hide behind their perfect feeds; they’re real and open about daily struggles and successes. I admire that and think that those same principles should be applied to money.
My new blog series Travel Money Diaries aims at breaking down taboos and uplifting the broader travel community by engaging people to talk openly and honestly about money and travel! Each week travelers around the world track and share how they spend (and/or save) their money during a 7-day period. The series will feature a range of people from all walks of life – from couples on their honeymoon to expats living abroad, and millennials saving up for their first solo trip. To get things rolling I’ve already posted my own diary! It’s been a lot of fun getting this off the ground and I hope it can help all of us learn from each other! (Note from Sierra: shameless plug – I’ll be contributing a Travel Money Diary to Trisa’s blog detailing how I spent my money during my Copenhagen trip next week, so stay tuned if you’re curious about that!)
"And one day she discovered that she was fierce. And strong. And full of fire. And that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears." 🙌🏽 . There are times when I struggle with my self-confidence, and issues that I thought I've overcome still claw at me – my body, my career path, my success (or lack thereof). In the days before taking this photo I was feeling pretty overcome with self doubt. But when this happens I remind myself that being healthy, being comfortable in your own skin, and being happy with the trail you've blazed for yourself – that's what matters. No one is doing life perfectly so you do you! . Anyone else working on loving themselves better?
What are you currently reading/watching?
I’m currently re-watching House of Cards in anticipation of Season 5! I’ve picked up a few books in the meantime – including You Are a Badass – which I’m so excited to read. I’ve also recently gotten into podcasts, which are great for plane rides and road trips!
What equipment do you use for capturing your travels?
For my high-res shots, I use a Canon 5d Mark II with a 24-105mm lens. It’s heavy so I’ve been thinking about looking into something more compact but I’m so attached to it now! For my silly selfies and funny videos (which I never post but love to have for myself), iPhone 6s Plus 🙂
How do you balance your day job with blogging and traveling?
Luckily my day job involves quite a bit of traveling so it actually helps fulfill my wanderlust and brings me to places I probably wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to visit. Balancing that with blogging is a different story and still something I’m trying to keep up with. I genuinely enjoy the time and energy I put into my blog – so when I can I dedicate time specifically for it and make it a priority. For me, rainy days and long flights are the best for binge blogging!
You state that you’re a self-taught photographer – what tools, resources or tips would you recommend to someone just getting started?
There are so many great (free) resources online that can give you a foundation but I think the best thing is to just get out there and do it! I’ve noticed that trial and error works best for me. It’s a process but that’s also what makes it interesting.
You’ve been to so many beautiful places in the world. If you could only return to one of them, which would it be?
So hard to choose – but probably somewhere in Italy. Cinque Terre? Or Venice?
Who are your favorite Instagrammers at the moment?
@apairandaspare – she’s #girlboss goals; I so admire her and the work she creates! And @milesofsmiles._ / @seesomuch / @elenaflyaway / @jessomewhere – because they have such an authentic voice and visual identity. They aren’t caught up in the Instagram game. They’re just sharing themselves and trying to inspire and connect with others.
Can you name one place you’ve traveled that surprised you the most, and tell us why?
I recently went to Vietnam and fell completely in love. I was excited to go but I hadn’t anticipated loving it so much. It’s no surprise there are so many expats there! I could definitely see myself living there for a bit!
What are some tangible ways that you prioritize travel and “make it happen” in your own life?
I’ve changed my lifestyle a lot over the last few years to prioritize travel. I used to eat out two meals a day, shop all the time, and lived in a nice apartment that was way bigger than I needed. Changing those things not only gave me the financial means to travel more but it also empowered me to make things happen for myself.
What is one thing your followers would be surprised to learn about you?
My grandparents came from China but I’ve never been!
What is your favorite quote about traveling? / One piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring traveling entrepreneur. Go!
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
That’s my favorite quote and the mantra I live by. Never be afraid to see more of the world. That may seem easier said than done, given that there are very real logistical and financial implications to traveling, right? But in the end, making your dreams a reality will always be worth the investment.
Do you have any trip planning tools or packing tips?
If you’re on a budget, price track your flights – using tools like Google Flights, Kayak, or Skyscanner! And before you go anywhere, download the offline map for your destination in Google Maps and bookmark the spots you plan to see/eat/go to. That way you can plan on the go and don’t have to worry about getting lost or any roaming data charges!
Who said you can't lay down roots and and grow wings at the same time? ☁️✨ . I was born in Honolulu, raised on the outskirts of #LosAngeles, and went to college in San Diego before starting my life in New York City. In so many ways LA still feels like home, but I also love doing things I never did growing up. Like pretending to be posh in Beverly Hills 💕 . I'd love to know more about YOU! Where are you from? And what's your favorite thing about home?
You have such a strong and consistent aesthetic. Do you feel like you had a specific style and plan from the beginning or was it a long process?
It has been a LOOOOOONNGG process! I’m still not even sure what I’m doing! But I take pride in the fact that it’s been organic – not always pretty but organic! I definitely take inspiration from others and try to find ways to fuel my creativity.
What is your favorite place in the whole wide world?
I think I’m still searching for it…
Where to next?
I just booked my flights for Portugal! I’m hoping to also do Greece.. and Croatia… and France… you know how it goes 🙂
A huge thanks to Trisa for sharing her work and story with us!
I highly encourage you to follow along on her Instagram and blog (and all the links below!)
She is such a bright spot on my feed, and I know she will be an inspiration on yours as well.