In celebration of Black History Month 2015, Cultural Xplorer is continuing with the annual series of Black History Month interviews highlighting bloggers and travelers of color. This interview series was created to eradicate the long-standing myth that African-Americans and people of color do not travel.
This series features a number of interviews from both men and women of color from around the world who are passionate about traveling and sharing their stories through their writing and through travel videos.
Nadeen on Traveling
How were you exposed to traveling?
I traveled to Jamaica when I was a baby. We made frequent trips back to the US to NYC, NJ and Florida. My parents also loved to travel and we took road trips along the east coast. My Mother traveled internationally every year and came back with great stories and gifts. My first big trip was at age 15 to Hawaii with friends of the family.
What motivated you to make travel a part of your life?
My Mother had a huge influence on that. I loved hearing about different countries and cultures when she returned from her trips. We watched a lot of Jeopardy and she could answer most questions having to do with history, language and culture from around the world. She described how amazing it was to see in real life things you had read about in books such as the Acropolis in Greece.
What is your most memorable travel experience to date?
Wow. That is a tough one. Since my Mother passed away in 2011, my memories of trips with her to places such as Hawaii and Paris are very special to me. In addition, I am now engaged and that proposal took place in Monaco on a park bench steps away from where Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier got married. Talk about an amazing memory!
How many places have you traveled to so far?
I have been to 20 countries. Some cities and countries I have been to several times including Rome and Barcelona. I have made it a point to see at least 1 new place every year since completing my training and I have succeeded.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned on the road?
Making safety a priority. Thank goodness I have never had anything bad happen to me but it is important, especially as a female traveler, to be aware of your surroundings.
What has been your biggest challenge on the road and how did you overcome it?
I think getting around in countries in which you do not read or speak the language. It is always good to learn common phrases of the place you are visiting especially “Do you speak English?” Also, having a translation app or book is helpful.
Nadeen on Blogging
When did you decide that you wanted to become a travel blogger?
A few years ago I had an idea of creating a website in which my friends and I shared our travel, food and cultural experiences. With busy schedules it was hard to get regular articles so I decided to continue this on my own. When I came up with the idea and started doing it in 2012 I had no real idea what a blogger was. I spent 2013 observing and learning more than writing and in January 2014 I re-launched the website.
What makes your blog unique in comparison to other travel blogs?
My blog, The Sophisticated Life, covers Travel, Food (restaurant reviews and food events), Wine (I started a Wine Tasting series last year), and The Arts. The posts are mostly written by me but I welcome guest writers-amateur or professional bloggers to share their stories as well. The blog posts, or as I like to call them “stories”, are meant to truly give the person’s perspective and experience in a place or at an event. The reader will hopefully be inspired by these stories and have a good sense of where they want to travel to or things they may want to do. I love being exposed to new things and I definitely love learning new things. I try to appeal to people who feel the same. The definition of “sophisticated” that stuck with me is “being altered by education or experience”. So for those who consider themselves to be so or desire to become “sophisticated” this website is for you.
What are the top three articles that you feel everyone should read on your blog?
I am currently writing my first blog post on Jamaica. I hope people will return to read it!
The others would be “How My Mother Inspired my Passion For Travel”, “Jetsetter Roundups: Winter travel Destinations” which is a new monthly travel roundup I have collaborated on with other travel bloggers including Cultural Xplorer.
I am really excited about bringing readers the best travel articles from bloggers around the world! Last but not least would be “The Best of the Sophisticated Life Blog 2014”. This is a collection of my favorite and most read posts in 2014 from all the areas I cover on my website. I really feel it gives a good sense of what my blog is about and a great way for people to get to know me.
Who is your target audience?
Anyone, regardless of age or sex that desires a life filled with knowledge of the world we live in.
Nadeen on Life
Favorite travel (or life) quote:
Travel: “Once A Year Go Someplace You’ve Never Been Before” -Dalai Lama.
Life: It maybe overused but YOLO – You Only Live Once. Also, my friends will tell you I often say “Work Hard, Play Harder”
What is something that your readers (or viewers) do not know about you?
Actually this is the first time I have disclosed in writing that I got engaged in Monaco. It happened while we were on our Mediterranean Cruise last fall.
What do your future travel plans for 2015 include?
I was supposed to be scaling back travel this year due to saving and planning for a wedding but so far based on family, friend, work and conference obligations I am scheduled to travel 7 possibly 8 months of 2015! Locations include Austin, Texas (to pick up my Black WeBlog Travel Award for 2014 , a trip back to Dominican Republic, Miami Beach and Chicago. I am hoping to get back to Jamaica before the end of the year and also go on an international trip with my fiancé.
Interested in finding out more about Nadeen and her travels around the world?
Website: The Sophisticated Life
Social Media: Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter // Google+ // Youtube
Great interview! How nice to be proposed to in Monaco! I bet it must have really been special . Great to know a bit more about you 🙂
Yes! I travelled to Jamaica as a baby too. And that is a lovely story about Jeopardy — I used to watch it with my mom as well, but I was the one answering all the questions! haha I was a precocious kid 😉