Meet Our New York Brand Ambassador - Maria
STS: Tell us a little bit about yourself? What are some of your passions? What are some of your travel goals?
MARIA: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I'm a workforce development manager focusing on organizational development for health care transformation projects. I love my work because it is people focused and helps organizations understand the value of communication and relationships.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Columbia University. I’m an avid runner. I started running in 2015 and completed the NYC marathon in 2017. I am a proud “back of the pack runner”- It’s about finishing the race not how fast of a runner you are.This year I am a pace leader with two running groups (Black Girls Run and Galloway NYC). I would like to combine my love for running and travel – “runcations”. My next goal is to complete an international half marathon in 2019.
My travel experience is pretty average to say the least. Solo trips had never been something I was able to do before. There were always hesitations about my safety or what was I going to do by myself. My friends and family would ask me why would I want to travel alone or “what was wrong” that I would even consider traveling alone. I totally bought in to the stigma of traveling alone and let it hold me back.
I look forward to breaking those barriers and helping others do the same.
STS: Tell us what it was about Sisters Traveling Solo that made you want to go from being a member to being on the STS team?
MARIA: I had never heard of STS until it came across my Facebook feed. The company title alone spoke directly to me! I joined the FB page thinking that it would be a good resource for trip ideas. However, it’s become so much more than that. I never expected to connect with the community over stories of their anxieties of traveling alone. I love hearing other women’s stories about overcoming fears about traveling. We come from all over and yet share the same experiences and fears. It’s wonderful to see everyone’s travel photos but my favorite photo is that one taken on the plane on the way to their destination. Those facial expressions say it all!
My desire to be a part of the STS team came from the support demonstrated by the FB community. I know the focus is on travel but I also see it being about personal growth. I see STS as an opportunity to empower women and give them the confidence to travel alone or in a group.
STS: Tell us about your most recent solo trip. Where did you go?
MARIA: Last year in February, I went to my favorite city in the world so far - New Orleans. I went thereto compete in two running events. It started out with about 5 of us signing up for this trip. I didn't waste any time, I booked my flight and my hotel and got my stuff in order almost 6 or 7 months ahead of time. The closer it got to the trip, the more people dropped out so I ended up going solo. Needless to say I was disappointed, anxious, scared, and felt like cancelling the trip multiple times including the day before. But I reflected on it and I decided to go for it. I was also really psyched for my first out of town race. I needed this trip to help break my fear of traveling alone.
As I stepped off the plane I could literally feel my feet tingling. I felt weird, nervous, but crazy excited and happy that I was breaking through my anxieties along the way. I completed my races, shopped, dined out, and danced on Bourbon Street! I met people all along the way and had conversations with natives and tourists alike. I was invited by other runners for excursions and drinks. I had a blast and, more than that, I felt a great about myself. A weight was lifted from my shoulders as I experienced a personal growth moment. It really motivated me to make plans for solo travel in the future.
My upcoming trips are: Miami (July), Charlotte (September), and Seattle (October).
STS: What do you enjoy most about Sisters Traveling Solo?
MARIA: At this time I would have to say the FB community. The support and camaraderie is different from what I’ve experienced with other groups. It’s a safe, positive, and productive environment for all women.
Be sure to join us at Sisters Traveling Solo on Facebook by clicking the icon below; along with follow us on IG @sisterstravelingsolo