When I met Eva, neither of our traveling game was strong. Somehow our separate paths in life got us connected again through the love of travel. Although new to the traveling game, Eva has done her fair share of traveling including living six months in Argentina ( living outside of the US for a period of time is on of my bucket list!) and she is one of co-founder of “Beyond Her Atlas,” a Facebook group that has over 3,000 members. When she is not traveling, she lives in Oakland, California where she is a certified Zumba instructor and living a life that is exciting and inspiring for others.
Eva, what inspired you to start “Beyond Her Atlas?”
As an individual, I’ve grown to better understand that systems of oppression occur in isolation. With that understanding, intersectional discussions, recognition of privilege and allyship become paramount to dismantling these systems.
As a founder of “Beyond Her Atlas”, I am humbled when I observe recognition of learning and understanding through shared experiences in our space. There are ongoing dialogues about dismantling stereotypes about race, gender, class and ability through travel and travel experiences. Whether living abroad or exploring domestically, the courageous acts of our members raise my awareness of intersectionality and reaffirm my commitments that we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us.
Tell me us more about “Beyond Her Atlas.”
Beyond Her Atlas was created to fill a void in serving womxn travelers by providing a supportive and inclusive community for intersectional dialogues among womxn, womxn-identifying, and gender nonconforming and non-binary individuals who travel. Our community was created for members to share stories, advice, dos and don’ts, as well as talk about the issues impacting us day-to-day. We recognize that travel is a privilege and strive to ensure that our community goes “beyond the surface” and focuses on the depth and complexities that we experience in our travels.
How do you balance work and traveling?
I have a very small bank of days for vacation so sometimes I bring work with me. It’s really bad but trust me that no day goes unused.
So far, what is your favorite place and why?
Argentina has a very special place in my heart. Living there for six months, it’s like my home away from home. The food, the people, and the culture are all so amazing and I really had an opportunity to make some lasting connections while living there.
Do you meet anyone interesting when you lived in Argentina?
While traveling through Patagonia in Southern Argentina, I met a woman named “Sarah”. She was from China and talked about how odd it was for her to be traveling solo at the age of 27 with no kids and no job (as she did contract work). We spent two days hanging together while meeting on an excursion. She taught me so much about defying norms and stereotypes by taking an extended holiday and traveling solo through South America. It gave me pause to think about what I’d do if given the chance to throw caution to the wind.
What is your best experience?
I went to Hawaii for my honeymoon. Although it’s a very popular location for honeymooners, for me it was one vacation where I can say I truly unplugged and relaxed with my partner. I loved the easygoing pace of things, the food and people were incredible.
Country with the best food?
Hands down, Venezuela. I LOVED everything that I ate and I’m pretty sure my waistline is proof. From the pabellon to arepas and everything in between the food is cooked with such love and sabor that cannot be denied. If you want to be my friend for life, please bring me tequenos (duly noted).
Okay big debate question, solo or group travel?
All types of travel. ( I let her slide)
So from favorites to the worst, what is the worst travel experience?
I contracted Campylobacter when in Venezuela. I had to travel with an extreme fever and pretty severe illness. At the time I thought it was just the flu and tried to play it cool so that I wouldn’t be restricted from traveling as Zika was very prevalent during that time of travel.
Last worst, worst place you been to?
Nowhere thus far outside of the US. Although if I had to pick a city in the US, I didn’t really love Los Angeles, California. I lived there for four months and did not enjoy it.
Okay, finish the sentence. I never leave home without…
Anker power bank and Apple cable.
Last one and the most important one to me. What is the most valuable lesson you learned while traveling?
Always have a printed/saved version of your information in case you don’t have access to internet/data plans.
Featured image was taken at Lison, Portugal.
Join Beyond Her Atlas on Facebook and follow on Instagram (@beyondheratlas) and on Twitter (@beyondheratlas).
Please follow Eva and her travels on Instagram (@itsevab) and on Twitter (@itsevab).