Meet this week’s Featured Female Traveler: Cassandra Le of “The Quirky Pineapple”.
This 24 year old has coined the term “funemployed” to describe her current occupation after moving back ‘home’ to Virginia from teaching English abroad in Spain for two years. Though after traveling so much and living abroad, she says, “home is the feeling you create,” not necessarily the place you lay your head.
In first grade, Cassandra traveled halfway across the world with her parents and sister. They traveled to Vietnam to stay in touch with the past by visiting her mom and dad’s hometowns and by seeing where her parents grew up. Since then she hasn’t stopped traveling and has many wise words to share with you as well as a video clip!
MM: Where is your favorite destination?
CL: Hmm, this is hard! If I were to pick just one destination, it would have to be Toledo, Spain. The city is a medieval city and was the old capital of Spain before Madrid. The historic area is absolutely amazing… sometimes you even forget that you’re walking in an area that’s hundreds of years old! The city has a type of enchanting charm to it. Every time I walk the streets of Toledo, I feel some type of magic run through me… and I don’t know how to explain it!
MM: What place is on top of your bucket list?
CL: Currently, I’ve got a really big fascination and obsession with New Zealand. I seriously feel called to it for some reason and feel like in the future (hopefully very near future) I need to live there for some time!
MM: Who is your favorite travel companion? What makes him/her so great?
CL: My favorite travel companion would have to be my boyfriend! He is an absolute gem about everything. We usually take a lot of road trips throughout Spain. I don’t know how to drive a stick shift, but he is always willing to drive the long hours to any destination even though he’s tired. He’s so supportive of everything!
We also have a similar travel style, which is SO important. We both enjoy traveling on a budget, adventures and enjoying good food for a great price. We usually split the responsibilities. For example, he plans all of the directions and transportation while I do research on different things we need to see or do. It’s always so much fun traveling with him and it really makes our relationship even stronger.
MM: What advice would you like to share with other female travelers?
CL: There is one quote that I absolutely live by, and it can be applied to female travelers as well as women who are a bit afraid to step out of their comfort zone or who are wary to chase after their dream.
“Good judgement comes from experience, and experience often comes from bad judgement.” – Rita Mae Brown
Especially while traveling, female travelers need to be a bit more cautious due to the patriarchy and how the world works. I’ve had so many people ask me if I was scared or if I was worried about my safety. I think as female travelers, and as amazing strong and independent women in general, we always need to be a bit more aware of our surroundings. This quote by Rita Mae Brown has stuck with me the first day I read it. I take this quote as a bit of a dare, to explore and push myself, and go after what I want. There’s no reason to wait around for someone to give it to you, I believe you have to work for it! So, this quote reminds me to “go for it” because even though it could possibly end up terribly, at least I’ll know and won’t live with a gnawing feeling in my gut. And if it does end up terribly, they say experience is always the best teacher! I say chase after those adventures and those dreams!!
MM: What type of traveler are you?
CL: I am definitely a mix between a budget and adventurous traveler. I love going on hikes and going camping, and I also love traveling on a budget and finding a great deal. I learned that I don’t need a lot of money to have a good time, although staying in a luxury hotel and being wined and dined is definitely on my bucket list!
MM: Any thoughts about relationships and travel?
CL: For the past year, I’ve been traveling with my boyfriend. We’ve traveled throughout Spain together and to Portugal. It’s been such a learning experience as we go along! I said it earlier, but we both have similar travel styles so it makes it much easier to travel together and split responsibilities on different things. While traveling with friends and family, it is a bit more difficult. I think travel can really strengthen or weaken a relationship you have with someone because while traveling, you’re faced with so many different situations that you could never have imagined or planned for! There are frustrations and probably mishaps, especially in a country where you both don’t speak the language. If you do decide to travel with people, make sure they have the same travel style that you do, because it makes it much easier and you’ll both be able to enjoy the trip a bit more.
Here’s a clip of Billy Murray crashing a Bachelor’s party, which I think is great advice! You don’t have to take your significant other, but if you do take someone to travel with you, make sure you’re both on the same page and can work through things together. Check out the video HERE!
MM: That’s great! Anything else you’d like to share?
CL: Some general advice! There is no room for ethnocentrism while traveling. I learned this while volunteering in Ecuador with a group from my college. There were 11 of us, and I was the only minority. A lot of my group members were continuously comparing the culture in Ecuador to the culture in the United States, talking about which one was better, which one was worse, what was better there or here. Ethnocentrism is the belief that your culture is better than another culture; which, I hate to break it to you, is not always true. Each culture is always different and the sooner we accept that, the better. While traveling, try not to compare your culture to another culture because they’re SO different!
MM: Thank you Cassandra! You are wise beyond your years… I wonder if travel has anything to do with that… ?! Enjoy all of your upcoming adventures, and we are anticipating your trip to New Zealand (because it must happen!)
Be sure to connect with Cassandra on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also find her on Pinterest and Snapchat!