I was so fortunate to be able to talk to Nastasia Yakoub, the founder of the popular travel community Dame Traveler. This account is the first female travel community on Instagram with over 235 thousand Instagram followers, and is dedicated to “inspiring & empowering women to travel more, do more & be more.” Hearing from Nastasia has certainly done just that for me, and I hope you’ll feel the same after reading her interview below.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! Would you mind starting off by telling me a little bit about yourself for any readers who are unaware?
Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I’m Nastasia and I’m the founder of women’s travel blog, Dame Traveler. I started the blog a little over two years ago and it has blossomed into a community of amazing female travelers!
What are three fun facts not everyone may know about you just from reading your blog or Instagram?
1.) I was originally a Labor & Delivery Registered nurse before I started the blog
2.) I have Chaldean roots which means my parents are from the Northern part of Iraq and we are Iraqi Christians. We speak Chaldean which is a dialect of Aramaic, one of the oldest languages in the world!
3.) I have a Persian cat named Buddy and he’s basically my reason for being haha, love him.
You got your start in travel blogging a little differently. After not being able to continue your career in nursing due to health issues, you started the community Dame Traveler from bed. What inspired you to start a community for travelers to connect?
I’ve always been a huge fan of all things travel, photography and Instagram. While I was bored on bed rest, I noticed that there were SO many fashion/beauty Instagram communities but not one community that celebrated female travelers. And so, I started one! I’m proud to say that @dametraveler is the first female travel community on Instagram 🙂
In what ways do you believe traveling has changed your life?
It’s made me more of a simple person. I now live a more minimalistic life, I’ve grown to realize that I don’t need much to make me happy, experiences fulfill my soul more than any materialistic object ever could. The people I’ve met during the course of my travels have also changed my life and habits because they come from all corners of the world.
What tips would you give to someone who is looking to incorporate more travel into his or her life?
Make it a priority. If you don’t, then you’ll be stuck living vicariously through everyone else who has.
Your pictures on your personal Instagram are phenomenal! Do you have any advice for capturing the best travel moments?
Thank you! For me, it’s all about becoming more of an observant person. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the senses of a new destination but if you really become in tune and aware of your surroundings, you will catch beautiful moments that would have otherwise passed you by. I’ve always been a very observant person and travel/photography has only strengthened that quality in me.
What has been your favorite travel memory so far?
One night, I fell asleep dreaming of the beautiful memories I made in Cuba until I suddenly woke up feeling very sick the entire night from food poisoning and could barely move the next day. Devin and Denisse, the Conscious Cuba tour guides took good care of me the next day but it wasn’t until I entered the local home of Maira that I started to truly feel better. Devin thought it’d be a good idea to take me to her home to rest there. As soon as I walked through the door, she took one look at the painful expression on my face and immediately took me into her guest room, began to take my shoes off and tucked me into bed. She rushed to the kitchen where she made me some malanga (Cuban dish that is good for tummy aches) and tea. I received orders to rest and drink lots of water for the rest of the day. I was amazed by her kindness towards me, someone she has never met before. And even with a language barrier, we still managed to form a bond and an instant friendship. I’ll never forget the kindness of the Cuban people and this trip will forever stand out in my memory. Cuba will always have a piece of my heart.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Living in Paris or somewhere in Italy. It’s always been my dream to live in Europe and I think it’s about time I make that dream come true.