The Short of It

I’m a twenty-something year old girl living between dreams. I’m engaged to the most wonderful person who agrees that life is best with experiences not possessions. I write for a living. I travel to survive.

Erika Xplores: Adventures of a Writer & Slow Traveler

My Travel Style

I believe the world is best witnessed through cultural relativism, local literature and food. Travel should not be rushed or pretentious. It should be real, spontaneous, cultured, affordable and most of all slow.

As a result, I try to avoid as many filters as possible when I travel. This often means no luxury resorts or hotels, limited fine-dining, no gimmicky tours, etc.

I fancy myself a “slow traveler.” This involves a variety of things, but for me “slow travel” means being in a place long enough to understand the people, the culture and their customs. I don’t expect to accomplish that flitting from city to city in a day or two’s time. I’m not a “bucket-list” traveler; traveling to simply cover ground is a style I do not covet. I’m open to visiting places more than once and encourage lingering. I welcome speaking (and stumbling) on the local language, eating their food, meeting locals, and wandering. Only this way do I believe I can gain a real traveler’s perspective.

Erika Xplores: Adventures of a Writer & Slow Traveler

Inner Artist

I’ve been telling stories for most of my life. I started as a young girl in diaries, my first being a pink hardback decorated with a portrait of Minnie Mouse and her Disney pals. I mostly recorded my daily musings: what I wore to school, who I had a crush on, blah blah and blah. There were times I wrote about other deeper subjects or scribbled ideas for a book I’d like to write one day. When I revisit these entries, I often surprise myself.

As an adult, not much has changed. I continuously write and read.

I think of mostly characters I wish existed but can’t find already. I’ve dabbled in fan fiction, screenplays and even poetry (though, I’ve learned, I’d rather not).

Writing didn’t evolve into a “career” path until my freshman year of college. It occurred to me I didn’t want to do anything else other than tell stories about my characters and the people I’ve met and experiences only I’ve had. This prompted me to pursuit a BA in English and Creative Writing. Two wasted semesters of my undergrad career was an excellent trade-off for discovering a direction I’m proud of today.

Since the beginning, my style has departed greatly. And there is always room for improvement. Perhaps I will gain this through an MFA, a recurring debate I have with myself.

Presently, I write for numerous publications. If that is something that interests you, I encourage you to check out my portfolio and media kit.

As for my craft, my heart belongs to fiction where my observations and experiences can exist under different circumstances. These stories have yet to be published. Unlike the many articles I write in a month’s time, I have the greatest difficulty letting go of my creative pieces for print.

I long to write stories about the human condition. By doing so, I hope to show that, despite differences, we are all victims to life’s blessings and tragedies. This is the same approach I take for my travel stories. I’ve learned setting is important, but it becomes ultimately insignificant if it isn’t a vehicle for something greater. After all, mountains are sublime, but aren’t we really after to the transcendence?

My preference for fiction should not suggest it’s my only interest. Recently, I’ve been writing more creative non-fiction. These are mostly in the form of travel narratives.

It’s important to travel deep and travel far, sure. This, I believe. But it’s more than absorbing and celebrating the differences in the cultures we find; travel involves recognizing that, in the end, we are all human.

Traveling has changed me as I hope it does for everyone.

Salkantay Mountain, Peru // Erika Xplores: Adventures of a Writer & Slow Traveler