I am a traveler...
I am an educator. I am an entrepreneur. I am a writer. I am an explorer. Born to a Lebanese father from Beirut and a Syrian mother from Argentina, I can't remember a time when I wasn't hungry for discovery. From my first trip overseas at 16 years old to visit my family in Argentina, I felt fully alive when I stepped foot on foreign soil. I uncovered my passion. I found my life's heart beat. Since then I've traveled near and far - from Africa to China, Seattle to DC, Hong Kong to Bali, Chicago to Oregon, Italy to Australia, Los Angeles to Cleveland, Fiji to New Zealand, New York to Eugene, Syria to Istanbul. I've experienced people, places, culture, customs, art, fashion, design, architecture, food, lodging, leisure. You name it. I've either traveled there or am in the midst of obsessively planning my next adventure.
I graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Journalism. I won a fellowship as the Assistant Editor for a nationally published academic journal focused on urban planning and design. This fellowship afforded me the opportunity to get an M.A. in International Policy, which led me to the White House working as a Public Relations Associate developing race relation initiatives for President Bill Clinton. I quickly realized politics was not my thing and took a year off to travel and live aboard. I craved creativity, design and a connection to my surroundings.
Returning to Seattle, Washington I found myself working for a non-profit that provided me meaning, but no purpose. It was then that I knew I had to birth something on my own. So I did what any sane and rational person would do. I left the security of a job, got a small business loan and started a company developing games that made learning about the world fun! My flagship board game, Around the World, won an award and soon enough I was calling Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Boeing, Royal Carribean and the US Military my customers. My products became a marketing tool for bigger corporations to connect with their diverse, more global customer.
Building a business was an invaluable learning experience, but ever the insatiable explorer, I didn't want to be in an office dialing for dollars and I definitely didn't fit the "gamer" profile. While my company maintains its staple accounts, I no longer felt inspired to grow in the toy and game industry. I was happier dreaming up new ideas, creating, traveling, taking photos and sharing my stories than I was when I scored a new account.
Feeling a bit lost and unrooted, I moved home after being gone my entire adult life. That pretty much shook up my world, I found myself decorating my apartment nonstop for over a year and planning "getaways". Being new to a town I hadn't lived in for over a decade, I realized I needed to get out into the community (and fill my insatiable desire to meet new people). I started working as a Director of Development & Marketing for a few non-profits focused on international humanitarian aid. However meaningful, it still didn't feel like my purpose in life. It. Just. Wasn't. Cutting. It.
I constantly found myself circling back to what has always inspired me - travel. What exactly is it about travel that I love? I did a lot of soul searching and realized I love the creative, artistic, personal, emotional, stylish, fun and adventurous aspects of travel. I love to plan the trip - from scouring the blogs, reading magazines, talking to fellow travelers, uncovering the next "it" destination, developing the coveted "list" of cities, villas, beaches, spas, retreats, restaurants, markets, designers, hotels/riads/huts/hostels, chefs, etc. Most importantly, I love the people I meet and the relationships I forge. They are life-changing.
The lightbulb went off and my heart screamed, "I NEED TO DO THIS!" In honor of the journey to live a passionate, inspired life, I've recently launched a labour of love called B+C. Dedicated to combining passion for travel and design, my plan is to shop the world’s markets curating collections of jewelry, textiles, accessories and lifestyle objects designed and hand crafted by artisans from around the world. Less than a year old, collections from Istanbul and Brazil have been exhibited via private and public trunk shows.
B+C allows me to travel with a purpose. Creating authentic connections with people from around the world, I am fueling my passion. I want to continue sharing my knowledge of the world with the world, documenting all of the discoveries and constantly learning through the lens. In my life, I am choosing to be the traveler, not the tourist.