Welcome to the Roamers Corner! An interview series that spotlights how travelers, experts, and eco travel advocates we admire explore the world.
“Everyday-life was the break until my next adventure”… Maite, who is originally from Venezuela, started traveling with her parents at a young age and, well, she is still addicted to it! Growing up in America, Ambar road-tripped its entire coastline and is now working her way around Europe. Clearly, one common denominator between these two friends is the love for travel. It’s no surprise then that Ambar and Maite started a travel blog called Travel Culture. However, Travel Culture isn’t your typical travel blog with pretty pictures. It’s much more than that! It’s about travel, culture, and sustainability and it basically ticks all of our boxes! So much so that we wanted to learn more about it and invited Ambar and Maite to our Roamers Corner to discuss how this all came about… Read on.
RW: Hi both! So tell us, what do you do and where do you call home?
Maite: I currently have a pet services business here in my hometown of Miami, FL.
Ambar: I live in Malaga, Spain where I do a blend of digital marketing and teaching English.
Ambar and Maite © Travel Culture
RW: How often did you use to travel (in pre-C times...) and why did you travel?
Maite: I traveled about 4-5 times (a year) in pre-Covid times. I travel because I love discovering new cultures, listening to other languages, and trying out different food. I love exploring cities and natural spaces and capturing all these moments through photography.
Lijiang, China: A perfectly calm afternoon in a small street in Lijiang, an adorable and historical town in the Yunnan province, China. © Travel Culture
Ambar: I often did small trips in my area and maybe two big trips a year. Travel is one of my favorite ways to refresh. When life gets hectic, going away to a new place, enjoying the beauty of its culture, and working on my photography fills my soul. Like Maite, I love visiting natural spaces. I also have a soft spot for endearing little towns.
Queretaro, Mexico: A quaint little street in the center of Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico. Queretaro is Mexico’s safest city. © Travel Culture
Cordoba, Spain: The view of Cordoba’s old town from the Roman bridge. Cordoba has the highest concentration of UNESCO heritage sites of any city in the world. © Travel Culture
RW: What did you do to minimize your impact?
TC: When it comes to meal-time, we shop in local markets to avoid all that plastic wrapping usually found in supermarkets, and we travel with food containers. This cuts down on waste. We can even bring our own food on the plane–airplane food always has so much single-use plastic. We’re also big on supporting local economies by buying locally-made souvenirs and eating at local restaurants.
RW: What tips would you give to someone who wants to start minimizing their impact while traveling?
TC: There are so many ways to do this. Support sustainable companies and local businesses when you travel. Offset the carbon footprint of your flights by donating to organizations planting trees, packing light, and booking direct flight tickets. Check your toiletry bag and make the switch to plastic-free alternatives. You can also carry a reusable water bottle, straw and utensils to avoid using plastic ones wherever you travel.
Bucegi, Romania: Horses graze the fields outside of the cable car entrance to the top of Bucegi National Park in Romania. The park is a large draw for tourists with over 46 natural monuments. © Travel Culture
RW: What’s your favorite eco-friendly travel product/brand and why?
TC: One of our favorite eco-friendly travel products is Gobe’s lens filters. We’re big on photography, and we know a lot of other travelers are too. The company uses plastic-free packaging and works with Eden Projects to employ locals to plant trees in countries like Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia, and Madagascar.
Patagonia, Argentina: Taking a break close to the shelter during the Hielo Azul hike that starts from El Bolsón, Argentina. The hike up to the glacier is about 6 hours long of untouched natural beauty. © Travel Culture
RW: How did you meet and what made you decide to start Travel Culture?
TC: We met in high school, but we weren’t close until college. Ambar transferred to the school I was attending, and we decided to become roommates. About two years ago we were both talking about our dreams, and we realized we both wanted to start a blog on sustainable travel.
Maite and Ambar © Travel Culture
RW: What are your goals and mission for Travel Culture?
TC: Our goal is to provide educational materials so travelers can become more sustainable and understand their impact on the communities they visit. We also hope to provide them with the inspiration to start making more conscientious decisions.
RW: How do you see Travel Culture grow in the future? Do you have any new developments coming up you'd like to share?
TC: We see ourselves becoming a leading resource on sustainable travel. We’ll be launching a course at the end of the year, so stay tuned!
RW: In your opinion, what’s the most important aspect to making travel sustainable?
TC: The most important aspect is realizing this is an intentional journey. At first, making changes like bringing your own straw, shopping locally, or researching ethical animal tours takes a lot of time and effort. We hope over time they will become second nature, but believe the beginning will have to be very intentional.
Segovia, Spain: Ambar scans the view of Segovia, Spain from the top of the Alcazar of Segovia. The Alcazar is meant to be one of the inspirations for Disney’s famous castles. © Travel Culture
RW: How is Covid-19 affecting you and your business?
TC: Well, one obvious change has been the travel restrictions. Being a travel blog, we have had to rely on previous trips for our content. Luckily, since we’re relatively new we still had quite a bit stored from past travels. On the upside though we started to explore the areas we live in more. Also, we’ve been able to focus our energy on creating more content for our blog with all this time indoors.
RW: How can our readers support your business in this difficult time?
TC: We definitely love to hear from our community. It keeps us going. You can follow us on Instagram @travelcultureguide and turn on notifications for posts and stories on our Instagram so you always know what’s new. You can also sign up for our newsletter on our site travelculture.org.
RW: What impact do you think the current crisis will have on the future of travel and sustainable travel?
TC: We hope to see more remote work available. The less people have to travel for work the smaller our carbon footprint, and this goes for business travel as well. We also suspect smaller, local businesses will be affected the most. So it is extra important that we are intentional about spending our money there when we get to travel again.
Vang Vieng, Laos: Sunrise on a hot air balloon ride over Vang Vieng, looking over the karst formations in the horizon. © Travel Culture
RW: If you could travel now, what would be your number 1 destination and why?
Maite: If it were possible, I’d love to travel to Patagonia. I miss the mountains and untouched nature. There aren't any mountains or hiking here in Miami. I also can’t say I love hot summers, so it would be the perfect weather change for me.
Ambar: I would go back home to the United States and give my family and friends big hugs. I would just be so happy to see they are safe!
RW: Thank you Ambar and Maite! We do hope we can travel - sustainably - again soon.
Follow Travel Culture on Instagram @travelcultureguide
Travel Culture website: www.travelculture.org