My interview series continues with another inspirational person. This time you’ll meet Michelle Karam, also known as @Traveljunkiediary in the social media bubble.
She’s been in the travel industry for some time, but 4 years ago she quit her job to become an entrepreneur and start her project Travel Junkie Diary. She also runs a creative digital agency working with some of the leading brands in the industry.
Do you have a favorite destination?
I do have a lot of places where I left my heart in and those that hold fond memories. One of my greatest experiences was 3 years ago in Chiang Mai encountering the elephants and working closely with the elephant foundation but what recently stole my heart is my trip to Kenya last October. It changed so much in me and I grew and learned a lot.
How or why did you become a world traveler?
I have been working in the travel industry for 17 years and my dad is in the hotel business and I was in the events industry for the hospitality industry ever since I graduated. The travel business and traveling have become my repertoire for a very long time. Today, I run a digital travel industry for the industry working with some of the greatest brands and some of my longtime clients.
Are you more of a budget traveler or luxury traveler or more in the middle?
We all love to save some money when we travel and we all do love some luxury in our travel. Being born into the hotel industry I have grown to pay attention to the smallest details and that matters to me. Luxury is really a state of mind at the end of the day.
How many countries have you visited?
Name one person who inspires you and why?
So many people inspire me for many different things. Women and men. Some more than others. Some don’t even know that they have that effect on me. Richard Branson said once “You don’t learn to walk by following rules, you learn by doing and falling over” I was never one to follow rules on what society expects of me, I have my mom who inspires me to keep growing and nothing get in my way.
What’s your favorite dish?
Thai food – Just thinking about this gets me hungry! Also, in 2008 I found a love for Jamaican food!
Name one thing that you can’t travel without
My camera. I Use a Leica for all my photos.
Have you learned anything from your travels?
We fall in love with the person we are in every different country and that person keeps changing, the moment we take off and land somewhere new. At times, we can miss that person we once were. The feelings we felt. We miss the conversation we had with the people in our lives at that moment in time. And then, out of nowhere, we leave.
And a part of you stays there along with the moments and the people and those you took with you in your mind. It’s true, you take a little part of them everywhere you go. But sometimes, that’s not enough. The people you meet, some of them you never think about again. Some you do. Some are just always on your mind no matter what you do.
Traveling can create wonderful friendships depending on how open you are to strangers, but can also drift the closest friends apart and if you look closely and travel alone like I do, you realize those who would stick by you and call you before every take off and landing and those who will eventually drift apart without maybe anyone’s fault.
What is your most memorable experience?
I have so many! But what comes to mind is my journey in Kenya where I stayed in Laikipia at Segera Retreat. It was my first time ever in Kenya and in the wildlife and I felt a sudden shift in priorities in my life. My second favorite is in Chiang Mai with the Four Seasons and the elephant foundation. Being in the Golden Triangle encourages solitude in the most positive way.
What’s your best travel tip?
Always give back. Always. Whenever you are in a new or re-visited country, find the nearest local charity or volunteer program/organization and devote some of your time while on your trip to the community. Bring back books and colorings for the less fortunate, give back. That is what traveling is all about.
Why she inspires me?
Michelle has created something by herself, and that takes a great amount of courage. You can also tell that she’s a kindhearted woman and I’m looking forward to the day when our pathways cross. She’s also a talented content creator and writer.
It’s a busy life to be an entrepreneur and at the same time be very active on social media + blogging. If you haven’t done it, you might think it’s a lot easier, but rest assure, it’s hard work! and the projects she’s doing are amazing too. So inspiring!