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Meet Carina, the travel blogger helping women navigate the world

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Recently I had the pleasure of talking to Carina Otero, founder of ‘She Is Not Lost’, an inspiring and empowering online community for “female travelers finding their way”.

What started out as a personal collection of travel inspiration has turned into She Is Not Lost’s Instagram account, the ultimate wanderlust collection which features incredible travel pictures taken by women all around the world. She Is Not Lost also has its own website that helps women book and plan their travel adventures, shop for must-have travel items and share advice.

Carina and I talk solo travel, saving money, unforgettable experiences, Instagram tips and more…

What inspired you to start She Is Not Lost?

I always used Instagram as a tool to find inspiration and scout beautiful locations in areas I wanted to travel to. I came across so many images taken by inspiring female travelers and would save them to a folder for myself to look at later. One day I thought of sharing this great collection in hopes of inspiring others, and She Is Not Lost was born!

What do you enjoy most about connecting with such a large community of female travelers?

What I find it amazing is that I share of images of dramatically different locations from travelers all over the world, yet the sense of community within She Is Not Lost makes the world feel closer and more connected, with so many women sharing a single interest in appreciating its beauty.

 

@lost_overseas is Not Lost in Agra, India #sheisnotlost

A post shared by She is Not Lost (@sheisnotlost) on

What are your favorite travel destinations?

My favorite cities to visit are Hong Kong and Rio, and though they are on opposite sides of the world, the similarities I find between them are what I love most. Both cities have bustling centres that are surrounded by beautiful beaches, mountains, and lush tropical forests that provide a nice balance between a metropolitan or relaxed nature experience.

What advice would you give to young women who are nervous or dubious about travelling on their own?

I would suggest they start their journey by joining a small group tour. My favorite company to travel with is Intrepid Travel, because their itineraries provide a good structure and schedule, while still allowing plenty of time to explore on your own. Intrepid offers trips year-round in destinations all over the world. You will meet many other like-minded solo travelers, and if there is a point or destination in the trip that you really love, you could always return at the end of the tour to explore more deeply. 

Can you tell me about your favorite travel experience?

My favorite travel experience was when I visited Egypt with a friend from college who was from there. Because tourism in Egypt was at a decline at that time, many of the most stunning sites, including the Pyramids, were almost empty and made for a very surreal experience. It felt almost selfish to be able to view and explore the Pyramids by ourselves and it was something I will remember forever. I felt safe while I was there and every guide and vendor I met in Egypt were extremely grateful we were visiting their country, as it hopefully encourages other travellers to visit. 

 

@rayraywanders is Not Lost in New Mexico, USA #sheisnotlost

A post shared by She is Not Lost (@sheisnotlost) on

Can you give me an example of a challenge you faced while traveling and how you overcame it?

One challenge that was fairly innocent but which I learned a lot from happening while I was traveling to Korea with a group, one of my first trips overseas. Almost all of the restaurants we visited in Seoul had menus with photos of each option, which made ordering food very easy without knowing the language. We later drove to the southern coast of Korea, stopping in a rural town along the way to buy waters and snacks.

A few of us found ourselves at the ice cream counter, but with the menu options displayed above and behind the counter on a sign, we were not sure how to communicate what we wanted because pointing wasn’t clear enough. I ended up using the camera on my phone to zoom in and take a picture of the sign, and then point to what I wanted on my phone screen. The workers appreciated the creativity and it just showed ingenuity can solve almost any travel problem!

Do you have any tips for women who want to save more money for travelling?

I’ve heard a quote before that said, “Travel is the only expense that makes you richer”, which I completely agree with. The memories you will gain from traveling will last far longer than whatever new blouse or accessory is currently trending. Also consider visiting destinations that are cheap to travel to, relative to your home currency, and always do plenty of research to find the best value.

What are your must-bring travel items?

My go-to item that I pack for every trip regardless of the destination is a pair of comfortable palazzo type pants. They give the illusion of a flowy skirt which makes for beautiful photos but are still practical enough to wear when you have to hop on a scooter or decide to ride a camel in a moment’s notice.

 

@agata_lili is Not Lost in Samarkand, Uzbekistan #sheisnotlost

A post shared by She is Not Lost  (@sheisnotlost) on

Why do you love travelling?

Travelling can be so powerful in developing an openness and understanding by learning about and experiencing cultures that are different than your own. Through this understanding comes kindness, empathy, and appreciation, things I think the world could always use more of! 

Do you have any tips for aspiring travel photographers?

For photographers that want to share their images on Instagram, my best advice would be to define your style and remain consistent. Your audience is interested in seeing your experience through your perspective, and photography is a powerful form of storytelling. 

Favourite travel book or movie?

My all-time favorite travel book is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Each chapter is its own adventure and never before has a book made me feel like I actually experienced a country (India) without physically being there. 

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