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Meet The Woman Changing Travel: Dame Traveler

Interview with Dame Traveler

I have had the pleasure to interview the inspiring woman, behind Dame Traveler. A travel brand founded by Nastasia to inspire women around the world to travel more and be more.

Dame Traveler is a place to celebrate female travelers as a cultivated community where they can meet and travel together and at the same time, a source of inspiration and information.

 

Tell me about yourself? Personally and professionally

Nastasia Dame Traveler | Slow Travel Story
I’m a former Registered Nurse, a full-time traveler, blogger, photographer, mentor and the founder of the first travel community for females on Instagram, Dame Traveler blog.

Unfortunately, my career in nursing was short lived due to a work-related injury. I injured my back / spinal fusion and fell into bed rest for nine months. On the bright side, I started an Instagram community for females as a way to celebrate female travelers and to live vicariously through them since I couldn’t travel. What started out as a hobby turned into an incredible (and huge!) community and full time travel blogging business. My mission is to women to travel more, do more and be more.

On a personal note, I come from a very strict Middle Eastern community were marriage and motherhood is one of the focus, not ambition. The pressure of getting married started to settle in from parents, friends and family. But I’ve always been one to march to the beat of my drum and after much resistance, I decided to take a different path. I moved out when I was 20 to pursue a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree at Loyola University Chicago where I completely supported myself emotionally, mentally and financially. My strict upbringing and community is one of the reasons why empowerment is the core value of  community. Females are expected to graduate high school, maybe go to a community college, but simply drop everything once they got married and this happens mostly out of fear. Women are forced to push aside their real dreams in order to satisfy their families and fellow community members but this is not the way life should be lived.

 

Can you share how you grow the business?

While I was living in Chicago, I met a lot of friends who inspired and opened my mind. Towards the end of my nursing school, I went to Ireland and took a sol adventure to South Africa. In South Africa, I volunteered for three months in an orphanage and that was the trip that opened up my mind as a female solo traveler.

Travel is about being brave, especially in a society where women are considered fragile but in reality, they are just as capable of doing anything thing a man can.

Women are forced to push aside their real dreams in order to satisfy their families and fellow community members but this is not the way life should be lived.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have received a lot of press for Dame Traveler by AFAR Media, Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast and more which has helped me grow a ton.

I built a blog and began to share my travel experiences and insider guides in Dame Traveler blog along with a community of contributors. Right now about 100 female travelers are contributing to the website. In the coming years I aim to expand the Dame Traveler brand outside of social media. Perhaps a Dame Traveler book, app, or workshops for female travelers.

I’ve also launched Dame Traveler Adventures where I’ll be inviting my followers to join me on my travels. Our first group trip / social media workshop is in Sri Lanka in April and then we will be planning trips to Spain, Morocco, Egypt/Jordan and Italy!

 

Do you consider yourself as an influencer / entrepreneur?

Dame Traveler @kellyyhill ?? ?☁️ #dametravelermorocco #dametraveler

A post shared by Travel Blog #dametraveler (@dametraveler) on

Honestly, I don’t like the word influencer because I’m not hard selling anything. The only sponsored content I agree to are with companies I’m actually fond of and use myself. It’s a matter of quality, not quantity. Dame Traveler is all about the community, so it’s rare to see my photos there but you can find my photos over at @nastasiaspassport.

Dame Traveler is a place to celebrate female travelers as a cultivated community where they can meet and travel together and at the same time, a source of inspiration and information.

 

What are the most significant challenge as a woman holding a high powered position like you?

Women are expected to be the face of things but not the brains behind the business. People are constant telling me that I need to share what I look like but I don’t think this is important. Travel is the purpose of my brand and that’s what I focus on, the destination, not the fashion or “image” of what a women is expected to be in society these days. It’s not about what the girls look like, I like to show the grand scale of the destinations I promote. If you look at the Dame Traveler feed, the female subject is tiny compared to the big backdrop of the place. In the end, Dame Traveler is all about the depth and meaning of travel and how it transforms hearts and minds.

Another challenge is getting men to respect me as a businesswoman in the travel space. Often times I’m not taken seriously for all of the strategy and hard work I’ve put into the brand but am just written off as just a girl taking photos when in reality, there’s much more to it. Many sacrifices, hours, days, months spent learning things I didn’t know, time and effort to build this community.

 

When you feel stressed, what do you do?

Just take a break. I’m really fortunate to live in a big city, where i can take a walk in a park to unplug. For me that’s the most therapeutic thing. Simple moments are important to me.

 

Which 3 books that changed your life?

I spend much time in bookstores. One of my all time favorites is: GIRLBOSS as well as A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I recommend these for all women who wants to start a career in entrepreneurship.


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