Twipper of the Week: Tatyana Ray from Curls Round The World.

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Current city: Kona, Hawaiʻi

Age: 24

Total countries visited: For the sake of context, I’ve traveled to 5 continents solo and will reach my 6th in mid June of 2016. But, I stopped counting countries years ago because I’ve traveled to so many places (e.x. India, Morocco and Mexico) more than once. It didn’t really make sense to count countries individually because each time I’m in a new place it’s like I see it with a fresh perspective. As strange as it sounds, many of the places I visit are transforming at a rate equal to or greater than myself!

What makes you interesting: I’m an anthropologist by training, so my desire to travel isn’t rooted in seeing beautiful places, escaping the rat race, or visiting the most well known sites in a country. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy many popular UNESCO world heritage sites, globally renowned museums and I treasure any opportunity to explore the natural wonders of this world. But, I think my academic background and anthropological interests/inclinations push me to adventure in a unique way. I also should note that I’ve met many other wanders who try to remain conscious of the footprints we all leave behind.

What brands do you love: I’m not a big consumer and I don’t enjoy shopping very much. But, I do love quality brands that support local economies and farmers markets, as well as food cooperatives. When I’m traveling I prefer to stay at boutique hotels or home stays. I also tend to purchase fair trade goods when I do pick up necessities or souvenirs so the producers receive a living wage.

What’s your Travanality: Oh gosh, it’s so hard for me to select just one! I definitely think that I’m a Culturist and Altruist, but the way I express the various cultures that I experience comes out in an Imaginavo fashion (photography, videography, creative writing). I also love action sports and adrenaline packed adventures, so I’m definitely a little bit of a Purist and a Maverick too. It’s likely easiest to identify what I’m not which is an Urbanite! I’ll skip capital cities and busy environments to explore the natural landscapes of a destination. I’m also not very oriented towards the Epicurean or Victor Travanalities even though I love food and athleticism.

What is the furthest northern, southern, eastern, and western point you have traveled: The farthest north I have traveled is Sweden, the farthest South is likely South Africa (I made it to the Cape of Good Hope but not Cape Agulhas). In terms of West and Eastern points I’m not entirely sure haha! I’ve traveled to India, Tanzania, Brazil and Hawaii. I think it all depends where you start from in order to determine the “most Eastern or most Western” destination one has traveled to. So, as I usually leave from my hometown in Northern California, the most West and East are likely mentioned somewhere above haha!

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: The greatest culture shock that I experienced was actually returning home from spending two months in Tanzania (primarily in the African bush and on the island of Zanzibar), followed by somewhere between two to three months in India (in the northern region where my Mother is from), and then a few months in Sweden. Returning to my native lands after three disparate experiences abroad left me flummoxed and uncertain about my future.

What have you learned about yourself during your travels: One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that I’m a strong, capable woman with much to offer the world. I think the self reliance that can come from solo travel is so important. It’s easy to become dependent upon other people or ideas of who we are and or who we “should” be, but traveling, living and working abroad has really shattered such misconceptions. I’ve also finally accepted that there is always more to learn! Sometimes the lessons I was taught in classrooms or in books weren’t fully comprehensible until I had experiences to support them. I also found it so frightening and fantastic when experiences abroad defied that which I had been told and taught to believe at home.

Best travel advice: If you can’t find anyone who has the money, time or interest to go with you… then go by yourself. Go solo! I promise it’s worth it to explore this earth. Going now and trusting yourself will be much less of a headache than deferring your dreams.

Next travel destination: Hawaii, then Australia, then Mexico! After that I may go visit with a friend and kindred spirit who just moved to Morocco.