Meet Alisha, a New Yorker born and bred, currently tripping on the United States’ West Coast. Spending a few days in San Francisco, we stole her from her site seeing to answer a few questions…
You’re tripping currently. What are your plans?
I am taking a short trip in California as I’ve never been on the West Coast before and am looking forward to checking out the San Francisco and LA areas with friends I’m about to meet for the first time in real life. I’m excited about exploring both cities with locals, can’t beat that!
You have a wide range of experience in the travel industry – PR, events, writing, social media. What is your “dream job”?
My dream job would be to be some kind of “Ambassador of Awesomeness” – representing really cool people and companies all over the world, hosting meetings and presentations, and fostering a global cultural exchange with young creatives. The more I meet young people on my travels, the more I realize these are the people who are most passionate about the world’s future.
You recently returned from your first trip to South America. What did you find most surprising about the culture in Bogota?
Bogota was so great for a first insight into Latin America. I was expecting so much due to negative comments and feedback people threw at me but really, Bogota is a city that deserves more credit. The people are “muy amable” and love their heritage, the food is clearly rooted in simplicity and organic products, and the city itself is mixed with urban fast-paced business life and “antigual” villages. It’s bizarre, interesting, gritty, and fascinating all at the same time.
How do you choose your destinations?
I really have just picked my trips based on my friends’ experiences… or from watching too much of Anthony Bourdain on “No Reservations.” Obviously budget plays a large role but thankfully I haven’t spent too much money on the road. My motto has become “sure, why not?” I also like the reactions I get when people hear me say I travel alone.
What have you found to be most challenging about being a solo female traveler? What do you like most about it?
The most challenging is breaking down people’s stereotypical ignorant reactions. It gets annoying hearing all these horror stories because as a girl you’re in more danger, so I tend to shut that out now and just go with the flow. I’ve built up a pretty defensive case for traveling by myself, and it hasn’t given me any problems yet! What I love the most is the freedom and respect you gain. People treat me differently, it’s kind of fun to embrace.
Since you do travel on your own so much, you must be great at meeting people along the way. Who has been one of the most memorable locals you’ve met on your travels?
I would say my most recent comrades in Bogota – three girls from the city who welcomed me through a Tumblr message and showed me around the city with such enthusiasm, that it made my trip all that more special. I got to see parts of the city some people never even heard of rather than hitting all the tourist attractions. I still keep in touch with them and we’ve exchanged keepsakes too.
When you aren’t traveling, you can be found in the offbeat, artsy, up and coming NYC borough of Brooklyn. Tell us about your home and what an ideal day in Brooklyn would be should you host some Trippers in the future.
Man, Brooklyn is awesome and I love that people always ask me about it because I really do love it so much. An ideal day is tough because its such a huge borough and there are so many things to see, do, and eat based on your interests. But usually when my travel buddies come through I give them this run down: walk along the DUMBO waterfront to see the Brooklyn Bridge up close and personal, Prospect Heights and Park Slope (my neck of the woods) for Prospect Park hang-out time along cafes and bars. Also the brownstones there are so lovely. I also tend to take them through Williamsburg just to see the now-famous Bedford Ave line of boutique restaurants and shops near the East River, and south Brooklyn is a must if you want some old school food and people watching – Coney Island is my favorite!
If you could live anywhere in the world (besides New York), where would it be and why?
Catalonia, Spain. I was there last spring/summer and fell in love. The people are way too good looking; the language is beautiful; and the food is insanely good. I just loved it all so much and would move out there the first chance I get. I’d be perfectly happy eating tapas and sipping vermouth while working at a cafe every day. Sign me up!