I believe that travel should open your mind and make you feel good, and that getting out of your comfort zone is a positive thing. I think that collecting memories and connecting with people is much more satisfying than collecting objects. Travel should be fulfilling but it should also leave you wanting more. And if you don't enjoy organizing your travel, you don't have to.
If you want to make your travel easier, better, more fulfilling, then the travel designer for you...is me!
about The Voyagiste
The short story
Hello, I'm Natasha and I am addicted to travel. I have lived in eight cities on three continents and have travelled to many dozens more. The more I travel, the more I want to. I have always been flattered and thrilled when friends ask me for advice on planning their own trips. When others started asking me for help, I realized I could actually turn this passion into my career.
I am so lucky to have a great collection of travel memories and luckier still to have met so many wonderful people along the way but the best thing of all is that I get to help people do what I love - and I love the people I get to help.
The longer version
If you're really interested: my mom is Filipina and my dad is Iraqi. They fell in love in Cairo, were engaged in Rome and married in Manila. A few years later, while living in Abu Dhabi, they welcomed me. So you see, it's no surprise that I have wanderlust.
Fast forward a decade and my family moved overseas to and from Vancouver - twice! Among the biggest highlights growing up were the holidays my family took in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the west coast of North America. Yet one place eluded me: Europe, which I was desperate to visit.
I finally made it to France after graduating from university and thought that I might be able to do a master's degree there. After one semester, I realized that a graduate degree in my second language would be more work than I bargained for, so I returned to Vancouver to continue my studies there.
This is where I should mention that a tiny bit of my motivation to study in France was that it would bring me closer to my boyfriend who was studying in Sweden. You know how they say distance makes the heart grow fonder? It did.
Shortly after my return to Vancouver, my boyfriend proposed. I don't know what we were thinking: I was just starting grad school in Vancouver and he was starting a PhD in London. One year later, while we were still living on opposite sides of the world, we married.
When I got my dream job in my last semester of school, my husband joined me. Eventually he had to return to London so with a heavy heart but also much anticipation, I decided to move to be with him.
Two years later, while working as an editor at a parenting magazine, I had a brilliant idea: that we should try for a baby. By then I thought I knew everything there was to know about parenting (ha!). Never mind that my husband was still a student. I was pregnant immediately. With baby due but a PhD (and "real" job) still a ways out of reach, my husband was extremely lucky to have been offered a postdoc in Montreal. This was in February. Our eldest daughter was born at the end of July. We moved across the Atlantic at the beginning of August.
Life in Montreal was grand. We met some wonderful people and made lifelong friends and I could envision living there permanently. Three years later, we had another daughter. Two weeks after that, we moved again. Do you see a pattern here?
Aside from a couple of year-long interludes in Paris, we have been based in Toronto, which I am pretty sure is our forever home. There are no more babies on the horizon, so that must count for something.
We spend our summers travelling the world and have a pretty epic family photo album to prove it, but we all agree that the best things we've collected along the way are our memories. Many dinner conversations start with "remember that time in...". We've not always had the best experiences - travel can be stressful! - but even those have helped us grow and learn.
I will always be a traveler and I love meeting people who feel the same way. If you want to travel but are allergic to planning or if you simply don't know where to begin, let me help you. If you'd like, you could even join me on one of my groups. Let me know - I'd love to hear from you.