I’m very excited that I finally get to collab with Gabrielle, creator in chief of The Reign XY! Yes, Gabrielle is a phenomenal writer and double degreed from Cornell University and University of Pennsylvania. (Know her!)
Recently travel has become a popular topic among folk for vain reasons and bragging rights, but why not bring back the essence and importance of traveling? How can traveling attribute to self care? Whether you’re hopping on a plane to a different continent or traveling state to state, going beyond the walls of your comfort zone is essential for growth. Gabrielle aka #NomadGab seems to always be traveling and letting her followers live vicariously through her via her Instagram. It's so inspiring and I thought she’d be perfect to give us some insight about traveling with others, traveling alone, and why she thinks it’s necessary.
Let’s get into it!
1. Name, where you’re from, interesting fact about yourself
I got my 12 year molars at age 8 and my 15 year molars at age 12.
2. When did you start traveling and why has it become a necessity in your life?
This is a really hard question for me to answer because I feel like travel has been apart of my life my entire life. My parents were always throwing me in the car and driving off to Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, wherever the family reunion or event was and those are my earliest memories of travel. We even drove from Michigan to Florida once. I think the first trip I remember being consciously excited about was in 3rd or 4th grade when we went on a cruise to Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. That was also probably my first passport stamp. At 16, I went to Italy, France, England, and Monaco for a month over the summer through the People to People Program and that was when how vast the world was really clicked for me. I was across the ocean for the first time with other students from all across Michigan, no parents just teacher chaperones and I loved it! We took the bus to all of our destinations except a ferry from France to England and I literally had the time of my life. I’m not even sure I got homesick. So, People to People was really when I got a deep taste of travel and knew it was something I always wanted to make space for in my life.
3. How do you take care of your skin and body while away on vacation?
I actually follow the same routines no matter where in the world I am. I just bring my skin products with me (I’m obsessed with what I use and wouldn’t dare change up without seeing a dermatologist) and now that I do some sort of workout routine, I imagine I’ll keep that up on future trips as well or substitute in different activities that mirror what I’d get from a workout. In general, I find that I eat healthier on vacation/when working abroad because the portions are smaller and the food is less processed. South Africa this summer is the reason I’m now a size 8, not some workout routine.
Shameless plug, you can find my skin care routine here and my workout routine is coming to RXY in January!
4. Top 3 places you’ve traveled to and what made them a fav for you?
London, England; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia.
I first went to London on the People to People trip I mentioned above and just fell in love with the cities mix of old and new. There’s a hustle and bustle to London that in my opinion is not as harried as NYC and that appeals to me. It’s still a goal to live there for at least a year in my 20s. But, I also studied abroad at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England which is about two hours north of London and fell in love with all the people I met and the pieces of their culture they introduced me to. I learned about grime and afrobeats, Nigerian and other African cultures, and just what it is to be British and Black. It was cool to see similarities between the Black experience across the pond and in the USA as well as learning about ways the experiences differ. The British just seem so effortlessly cool and unbothered to me - it’s always a constant goal and London is always on my mind. Cape Town is a favorite because it’s like the perfect mix of city and sea, outdoor adventures and museums, it’s just alive. South Africa is like most other countries a place with a complicated past and I enjoyed learning about it during my summer there while working in education. There’s still so much work to be done but the creatives and individuals I met in Cape Town are unlike any I’ve met anywhere else in the world. Plus, who doesn’t want to go to wineries every day? Cape Town is a favorite but South Africa is like, I’d move there today and figure the rest out when I got there if I could. And Cartagena was just a great time. I went with my best friends from Penn and we just loved it. The city is beautiful and easy to navigate and I just will always associate it with being happy and carefree with some of my best friends.
5. What do you look forward to most when you’re about to explore a new country/Island?
Learning about the culture and customs of a place while also discovering what those customs and culture will unearth in me. I learn something new about myself every trip. I just appreciate the ways my worldview will be opened and expanded. I look forward to my viewpoints being complicated or changed, especially as a student of international development and one day anthropology. I’m always experiencing places through the lenses of theories and concepts I learned in school or read about in books and I like to glean how places complicate what seems so black and white on the page but is gray in real life. I look forward to meeting people and learning whatever story about them and where they’re from that they want to share. I look forward to being humbled.
6. How is travel apart of your self care?
I’m some weird combination of a restless homebody and travel satisfies my urges to get out of the house and participate in the world around me. Like I said, I learn a lot about myself on each trip by stepping outside of my immediate comfort zone (even though I believe I can be happy and at home anywhere) and so the challenges that come with travel are for me, self-care. It’s a way for me to make sure I’m always learning, engaging, and experiencing which is how one of my highest forms of self-care manifests.
7. Do you recommend young women to travel alone? (Not necessarily for safety, but for fun) Could it be just as fun as a girls trip or baecation?
Yes, but in different ways! Solo travel is fun because you’re on no ones time but your own and only have to do and see the things you want to. I think it’s glamorized lately, but it’s not for the faint of heart. I think you’ll learn more about yourself alone than you will with other people and you’ll experience the places around you differently. You’ll take them in for yourself and they’ll gift you what they will with no rush, no one to complicate the experience - it’s just yours. That’s fun to me.
8. Is there something you like to do every time you travel? A #NomadGab tradition of some sort?
This is probably a weird answer but I like to spend a day resting on a trip. So, a day where I’m not exploring or wandering but just take some time to be with myself in this place. That can mean watching Netflix or sleeping all day and ordering in, but I like to see how my rest is different in each place and what the destination will bring to me if I’m still. It’s easy to get caught up in seeing this and seeing that, but I try to at least take a day or some time each day if it’s a shorter trip and I need to maximize experiences to just be still and listen to whatever a place wants to teach or say to me.
9. Is it a myth that you can’t travel with just any of your friends? Explain your reasoning.
Hahahahaha, no that is true. You can’t travel with just any of your friends. People have different travel styles. People have varying levels of travel experience. People have different budgets and attitudes about money. People have different things they want to see or experience in a place. So, you can’t travel with just anyone or you can but you might be very upset by the end of a trip. I do think traveling with a serious significant other is important though. I imagine whenever I get one of those that I’ll learn a lot about him from a trip together - how he handles delays or being tired or not knowing where he’s at and does he have to have every second of everyday planned. All things I might pick up on at home that will be amplified on a trip.
But, to get back to the question, you can’t travel with all your friends and I don’t travel with all my friends because I value my relationships.
10. What’s a tip you have for people having a hard time budgeting for an international trip?
Use Digit. It’s an app that will automatically save money for you by analyzing your spending habits and then automatically pulling money it doesn’t think you’ll miss from your bank account. Before you know it, you’ll have enough for a trip without having to stress about it.
Bonus: What’s in your travel makeup bag?
Lancome Mascara, MAC Gold Deposit, Fenty Beauty’s Rum Matchstix, Smashbox Concealer, the Fenty gloss, Urban Decay’s setting spray and MAC lipsticks. All the same shit I wear on the day to day.