Wanderlust Wednesday: Nina Grace of The Exploress
The Exploress has been on our radar for a while as their stories and images encourage all of us to not travel as tourists, but to really explore the authenticity of each new place you visit. It pushes us to not just be seeking new things when we're on the road but also in our own backyards.
We had the pleasure of chatting with the founder, Nina Grace to hear about her inspiration behind the brand, where she wants to take it and what inspires her to continuously learn more about culture and diversity. Learn more about her in our Wanderlust Wednesday interview below!
Name: Nina Grace
Spirit Animal: I had to take a quiz to figure this one out lol… it says my spirit animal is a tiger, not too shabby if I say so myself!
Most memorable trip: My first trip to Ireland. Every time I think of that beautiful country I think of the Cliffs of Moher. I know it sounds so cliche, but in reality it's not. It's truly a gift from God. Just being there humbles your heart. It was during that trip when I realized there is an innate connection with people and nature. Nature — from the green grass, to the majestic seas, to the sounds the water makes as it crashes on the sea walls. There is just something about that scene that always stops me dead in my tracks to say, "thank you" and appreciate the beauty around us that is given to us freely.
Social Media Tags
Instagram: @ninagracee + @theexploress
For those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about The Exploress.
Well, to begin, an Exploress is defined as "a woman with a burning desire to travel and explore the beauty in life, style, food, and culture." The Exploress is an online resource that encourages women to travel around the world with an emphasis on lifestyle and local culture. Meaning, we strive to "live like the locals" in many places we visit. We're big on removing ourselves from the big box and chain stores that we are so privileged to see in every country, instead we're open to the idea of learning something new about the place we're visiting, getting to know the locals and having a unique experience. We strive to educate and inspire our audience by actually living, learning, and exploring.
You define ‘Exploress’ as ‘a woman with a burning desire to travel and explore the beauty in life, style, food and culture.’ How do you suggest that women search for this beauty in their everyday lives?
I love this question. Although an Exploress loves to travel, we also love to explore what’s in our own backyard (which prompted our Coffee Chat series). The best way I would suggest finding this beauty in your everyday life would be to visit a local boutique/shop/restaurant and start talking to the employees/owners.
You could ask about their product, where is it sourced — is it local? Maybe it's not. Where does it come from? Why did they choose such a product? Especially if you're talking to the owner, ask about their interest in the business. How did they get into that industry? Are they passionate about said industry? The conversation can really go anywhere, it doesn't matter but I've come to realize that people have more of an appreciation for anything really... once you learn something about it. So whether you’re new to an area or have been living there for years get out there and talk! The desire to explore the beauty in life, style, food, and culture always starts with a conversation. :-)
You have a strong emphasis on embracing local culture. Where are you currently living and where are some of your favorite local spots?
I live in St.Petersburg, FL (St. Pete). I love it here and spend the majority of my free time in our downtown area. We’re currently undergoing an extensive change to the city and especially downtown with new businesses, apartment buildings and condos, we’re even in the process of building a new pier and art museum. I can be biased at times because I’ve come to make friends with some of the boutique owners that I frequent. However, I spend a lot of my time at Locale Market, Bangkok #9, Cassis Bakery, Misred Outfitters, La V, and many of the parks like Flora Wylie, North Straub, Vinoy, and Albert Whitted!
What are the top 3 places on your bucket list?
What was the journey like creating The Exploress? How have your past experienced shaped what you’re doing now?
I feel like I am still on a journey with The Exploress and it is amazing! The concept came about nearly two years ago stemming from a conversation with my family about our desire to invest more of our money into experiences than material possessions. Although, that conversation is what triggered the idea, so many experiences contributed to the idea!
My parents' love of travel — a passion that they shared with me growing up as we traveled every summer. My love of culture and being exposed to new thoughts and ideas. T
he fact that I'd just come back from a trip of a lifetime having met so many incredible human beings who were hospitable, knowledgeable and fun! It amazes me to hear that other people resonate with the idea of The Exploress! Having a community of like minded women (and even some men!) reach out/follow/repost/contribute/etc. is the part of the journey that I hope is consistent and ever expanding. We have some incredible contributors to the site and it is only because of them that the community continues to exist!
The Exploress is a wonderful community for women. Why is it so important for females to travel and support one another on our journeys?
I'm a firm believer in the acronym, T.E.A.M. - Together Each Achieves More. I realize that not everyone is interested in culture or the local lifestyle type of travel, but for the women (and men, for that matter) who are... it's great to know that there are others out there with the same interests. It's inspiring! It's just a major confidence booster to know you're not alone. Having a community also provides access to insider's tips/information that can prove extremely beneficial for others — I'm pretty sure that is how sites like TripAdvisor thrive ;-).
When do you feel most inspired?
I think I’m most inspired when I’m surrounded by the beauty found in nature.
“I’m pretty average, so if I think it, at least 1,000 other people in the world think it too…” – My mom
I laugh at this quote sometimes because I realize this could be discouraging to a lot of people if you let it, but I considered this quote when I thought of creating The Exploress. It encouraged me to believe that I could bring together a community of like-minded women who enjoy the same things I do.
Through your travel experiences, what have you learned about yourself?
I've learned that I have a lot more to learn about what it means to be diverse. Sometimes it can be a little funny, but even something as simple as realizing not all men and women from a particular city, let alone country, consider themselves to be the same. I feel like, even though I have been exposed to other cultures throughout my life travel is what really exposes me to the wide world and the thoughts of others.
Let’s dream big. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Yes, let's put it out there in the universe! In 5 years I'll be 30 and I see myself with an internationally known web-based network.
The Exploress will be one of a few brands on that network. Personally, I'll be traveling a lot to network, work on collaborations and pitch/close business deals.
What can we expect to see from The Exploress in the upcoming months?
Expect to see more coffee chats, inspirational images, and insider's guides from contributors. We want this to be a real community — which means we want to hear from the readers, that is what fosters education and inspiration in regards to travel.
Interview and text by Sienna. Sienna Brown is the founder of Las Morenas de España. From New York to Murcia, Spain, she is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. Her passion for learning about others leads her towards constant exploration and practicing the art of listening as much as she can. See more of her work here and follow her adventures on instagram.