Meet Yasmin, a self-professed Travel and Chocoholic, looking to trade in the 9 to 5 for a life of adventures and travels.
AC: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Yasmin:Contrary to popular belief and with great sadness, I’m not a trust fund baby. Instead, I am your average nine-to-fiver that loathes the sound of my alarm clock, indulges in Sirius karaoke while fighting traffic, and for daily amusement frequently asks fellow coworkers in the elevator, “is it Friday yet” which always sparks a mutual smile and chuckle. I’m also a self-professed Travel and Chocoholic (there’s worse habits to have at least that is what I say each time I book a flight or bite into a truffle).
AC: What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
Yasmin:I’m not a parent, but to me that feels like trying to choose a favorite among your kids. Each place and experience is unique and adds something to my collective travel palette. But, Peru was a special trip for me because it was the first time that I incorporated the element of philanthropy into a trip. While there I was able to tour the Nino’s restaurant a haven in Cusco that provides meals, hygiene and homework assistance to local youth whose families are struggling with issues like poverty, alcoholism and domestic violence.
AC: How about your proudest travel moment?
Yasmin:Seeing my travel buddies step outside of their comfort zones and partake in one of the adventurous treks I have lined up during a trip. They blindly trust that I will deliver on a good time, laughs and of course a story that can be retold for years to come. Thankfully, I deliver – midnight treks by camel up to the summit of Mt. Sinai to see an awe-inspiring sunrise, kayaking blindly in the dead of night through the mangroves of Puerto Rico to see luminescent creatures or off-roading on mountainous bee infested trails in jeeps held together with duck-tape and a bit of prayer – all in the name of taking a swim in Zeus’ cave. Regardless of the adventure I watch them and marvel as we break down the barriers of limits that we place on ourselves.
AC: Have you had any travel mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
Yasmin:Mishaps and hiccups occur each and every time I travel regardless of the locale – that’s just part of the travel experience. From frequent bathroom runs due to Tut’s Tummy, squatting over a hole in the ground to pee, tearing the ligaments in my ankle while getting my Indiana Jones on splunkering, the bank bringing a sudden halts to international mini-balling sprees (don’t you just love fraud protection) and the countless times I have arrived but my luggage has appeared fashionably late. Knowing that something will probably go awry is empowering to me. It gives you the opportunity to research your destination and prep in advance as much as you can so that when something does happen – you can take a calm approach to problem solving.
AC: Name one thing you can’t travel without.
Yasmin:The obvious choice would be my phone, because I absolutely love to take pictures while travelling. However, I learned during a digital detox camp in the Redwood forest that I can get by without my phone but I CANNOT make it without lip balm. Yes, you read that correctly. This girl is NOT about that dry chapped lip life!
AC: Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
Yasmin:Hmm, that would be luggage. I used to be a habitual over packer but last year I challenged myself to become a Carry-on Cutie with the exception of extended voyages. I’ve pretty much gotten the carry on thing down, but I have aspirations to be like the guys & girls in those Facebook videos that pack weeks worth of clothes into a back pack!
AC: What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
Yasmin:That we are more alike than we are different. Regardless of culture, country, religion, gender, color or other dividing factors at the end of the day – we all love, laugh and cry. Each trip that I take deepens my humanity for others and appreciation for life.
AC: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Yasmin:Costa Rica because their motto is Pura Vida which loosely translated means to enjoy life and embrace nature. I strive to do both so immersing myself in a culture whose foundation promotes this principal just makes perfect sense.
AC: Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
Yasmin:Hiking along the trails of the Great Wall of China and camping overnight in one of the towers.
AC: If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
Yasmin:Not to be an airline whore. And no offense to those that book their flights based on flight price – to each their own! But for me, given the frequency of travels that I do each year, it wouldn’t have been wise not to establish a relationship with an airline that would translate into benefits like complimentary checked bags, seat upgrades, expedited access through security lines and same day travel changes. These perks provide a comfort and consistency to each flight whether a 2 hour jaunt to Florida or a Trans-Atlantic long haul.