In this Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we meet travel blogger Esmeralda Rodriguez from Tequila Kiss, a travel and lifestyle blog about Esmeralda’s wanderings throughout 50+ countries across the globe. Her goal is to show others that traveling on a conservative budget is possible, especially if you plan ahead. Meet Esmeralda and check out her Top 5 List for Hawaii and where she’s jet setting to next.
How did your passion for travel get started?
I started traveling with my parents when I was really young, but it was mostly within the USA and Mexico. As soon as I started college, I started traveling to other countries, and I was hooked. I worked many jobs and got away as soon as I had enough money saved.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
These past two years have been a little crazy for me, I have been traveling about 7 or 8 months of the year. I try to spend time with family back in California when not traveling, and I really enjoy that. I love California but I feel my best when exploring a new country, its an amazing feeling. I enjoy all of the popular “must see” countries, but some of my best experiences have been in places where I never though I would visit. For example, I visited and lived in Taipei, Taiwan; and I had some of the best experiences of my life there. One trip I took was to the south of the Island and was taken in by a local who showed me the best and cheapest places to eat, sleep, and just enjoy the culture. I had the best sushi (yes, in Taiwan) and just enjoyed a cup of the best tea in the world in a little coffee shop by the beach with an amazing, world renowned artist. Anyway, I guess you could say I don’t have a “type” of place I like, I want to discover every little corner on earth.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your work videos and photography?
I want my audience to see that traveling is not just for the rich and famous. If planned properly, you can do a lot with very little money. The countries you choose to visit will vary in prices of coarse, but normally, you can find a lot of activities and places to see at very little cost. Traveling has been another form of education for me. It has taught me what no textbook can teach; and one thing is respect for other cultures, other foods, customs, and way of life. My eyes have seen amazing things that no textbook or picture can express.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
Picking just three places is really hard for me because I just have so many places that I love, but I would have to nail it down to Thailand, Cyprus, and Hawaii.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
I will do it for Hawaii because I was just there last week and it was amazing.
- Go eat some Poke at Ono Seafood in Oahu (don’t tell them I sent you) locals love it.
- Take a helicopter tour in Kauai, one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life. Also where they filmed some of Jurassic Park.
- Do the “Road to Hana” in Maui, and make sure you have your camera with you.
- Get lost in one of the many beaches and just sit and watch the waves and if you’re lucky, the best sunsets of your life.
- Make sure to do a hike. My favorite was Na Pali Coast hike. There is a surprise at the end.
How many countries have you visited so far?
To be honest, I stopped counting at 50, I guess I have to look back at my Journal.
Your top three favorite cuisines?
Mexican (I am Mexican), Japanese, and Chinese.
Favorite restaurant in the world?
Your favorite travel movie?
Avatar or 50 First Dates, I love Adam Sandler.
Favorite international airport?
Any airport with amazing food. I really don’t like spending a lot of time in Airports, but one of the most impressive ones has to be Dubai. It is massive and just crazy pretty.
City with the friendliest people?
Taipei in Taiwan.
Your favorite traveling companion?
My phone and my camera; oh yeah, and my boyfriend. He is super fast and pushes me to do extreme things.
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Plan my next trip. Sorting pictures to post and doing some reading.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
I had an unplanned trip to Abu Dhabi and I have to say, it was great. I didn’t get to see much but it was great to be there.
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Traveling is an amazing experience and great education. I would say to plan (not too much) and do a lot of research before you go somewhere to make sure you get the best out of your trip. Sometimes you will never visit that place again, so you want to make sure to experience as much as you can. Put the guide book down and just walk around, ask locals for places to eat, and make friends. I think its important to also give something back or do some sort of service while you are visiting. It can be visiting an orphanage, buying a local a meal, or just respecting the environment wherever you are. Traveling is not always glamorous, so just keep an open mind and be ready for the unexpected.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Being a blogger and photographer, I can’t live without my camera, phone, computer, and a good conditioner for my hair.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
I can’t wait to go to India. I have an incredible energy telling me that I need to go so it’s on my radar.
Your favorite travel quote?
“ Traveling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battutah
Where to next?
Just finished Hawaii and heading to the Caribbean and then to Cuba. I am so excited about Cuba, it’s my first time.