Feature Blog Friday – Maya The Explorer

Hey everyone! So, my exams are nearly over which means my holiday is getting closer and closer, and it also means I will be blogging way more frequently, and will hopefully be featuring a different blog at least every 2 weeks for you all to discover! Get in touch if you want to be featured!

This week, get to know Maya, a travel blogger who provides amazing advice and really awesome stories about her time living and traveling around the world, and her personal accounts which really are inspiring and heartwarming. She also writes about beauty and food, which, as a female vegetarian myself, are an absolute delight to read. I’m sure you will all find her interview inspiring, I know I have! I recommend you take a look at the following: 3 Must Try Vegetarian Restaurants in SingaporeHow to Get a Job Teaching Abroad, My Black Expat Experience and 5 Things to Consider When Planning a Trip to the Maldives.

 Crete

Name: Maya
Website: www.mayatheexplorer.com
Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; Google+; Pinterest

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m from Los Angeles, California. I’ve been traveling since college and got my start studying abroad in Costa Rica. I’ve travelled a lot since then, and decided to move abroad about 6 years ago. Since then I’ve lived in the Philippines and Singapore and travelled to a lot of places within Asia. I mostly blog about my travels, but also what it’s like to be an expat. I’m a big reader and am always trying to improve so I like to share what I’m reading with my readers as well as my goals. 

What inspired you to travel?

Coming from a big, diverse city I’ve been around other cultures my entire life. My neighbors and friends growing up were from all over; Honduras, Korea, Belize, El Salvador, etc. Even my own family is from Puerto Rico, yet I had never been. So I’ve always wanted to know more about these places and cultures. But I grew up without the financial resources to do so. When I got old enough to take matters into my own hands, I did.  And I’ve been traveling ever since.

What’s on your bucket list? 

Honestly I want to see every country and so far I’ve seen 34. I’m headed to Africa this summer, but haven’t decided where yet. I’ll travel hack my way there and see as much as possible. Right now I think it will either be South Africa or West Africa. Besides Africa, Brazil is another place on my bucket list. I really want to see Lençóis Maranhenses and take in the Bahia culture. Bhutan is yet another place on my bucket list. I want to check out this gross domestic happiness I’ve heard so much about.

 Favourite country so far and why?

My favorite country is Costa Rica so far. It’s such a green country, with lots of ecotourism activities and lush places to see. I think I’m partial to it because it’s also the first country I visited, but I’ve been back quite a bit since my first trip and it’s still just as magical. From the rainforest to the beaches, every place there seems to be postcard worthy. And as a vegetarian it is a pretty easy place to not only find something to eat, but to delight in the food. The people are also very hospitable and kind.

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Best experience and why?

Well Cuba is hard to top. With the U.S. trade embargo, it’s one of those places that not very many Americans get to really experience. From the moment you step off the plane it’s like going back in time in so many ways. And since I also studied abroad there, I got to see a lot of the country and spend a little more time there than the average tourist. With the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. changing, I don’t think many people will have this experience so I really cherish it. Crete is maybe a quick second though. It’s one of the first places I really experienced as a solo traveler and it was beautiful. I did everything I wanted to do, and I did it alone. I was pretty proud of myself after that trip. You learn a lot about yourself when traveling alone.

Worst experience and why?

I don’t know if I really have a worst experience. Every trip ends up being memorable and special in its own way. But I’d probably say Australia just because of the flight. It was the most terrifying flight I’ve ever had, with non-stop turbulence from start to stop. And when you consider how long of a flight it was (Sydney to LAX is almost 14 hours) it left me a bit scarred. I couldn’t fly without my nerves being a complete mess for a long time after that.

What’s on your travel playlist? 

I definitely use my travel time to catch up on my shows. For the past few years Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black have been fixtures on my travel playlist. I also use the time to catch up on my reading and completely load my kindle before a trip. Between the World and Me, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Fates and Furies have been some of my most recent or enjoyable reads.

Tell us about some of your favourite dishes/restaurants from places you’ve visited? 

Pizza in Naples was totally worth the trip. I went to the famous L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and stood in line for an hour to get a table. It was everything I hoped and more. I also had the best strawberry mille feuille in London’s West End. We stopped into a café just before a show and I tried it randomly. I’ve been on a pursuit to find one that matches up to that one ever since. Living in Asia, you don’t often come across really good burritos, so I make it a point to always stop by the Taco Casa whenever in Ubud, Bali. The burritos are delicious and by far the best I’ve had anywhere in Asia.

Sri Lanka

Are there any things you miss when you’re not at home?

Well, Asia is home now. I have my partner, a social life, friends, a house and a dog. I do miss my family though, and friends and legit Mexican food. Again, it’s hard to find a good burrito in Asia! I also miss music sometimes, which may seem strange, but I miss turning on the radio and just rocking out in my car. I don’t drive anymore and while I don’t miss the car note, insurance or parking tickets, I do miss being able to just get in my car and go. I could buy a small condo in the United States for the price of a car in Singapore so I won’t be getting a car anytime soon.

Did you overcome any fears before beginning your journey?

I really didn’t have any major fears before beginning my journey. I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t keep that from stopping me. And I’ve found that the experience of living abroad has far exceeded any expectations I did have.

Have you got any tips for people who want to travel but are perhaps scared or unsure where to start?

I would say to book a group trip if you’re really terrified or unsure. Join a study abroad group, group tour, cruise or whatever you need to make you more comfortable. A lot of people are waiting for friends to join them and in my experience if you wait for others sometimes it never happens. A group trip gives you a guide and the safety of others, but you can also have time for yourself to explorer once there and feeling more ambitious.

Thanks for reading guys, don’t forget to check out her blog and follow her on Instagram, Twitter etc.

Find me at all of these places too:

Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest / Tumblr / Twitter

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