What was your major in college? What did you see yourself doing as a senior?
In college, I majored in Advertising. I knew for a long time that I loved to write, but I’m also very visual and thought advertising would be more fun and creative than marketing. I was pretty focused on landing a marketing-type job, and I consider myself very lucky that I instead defaulted to the service industry after struggling with a weak job market and economy. It was at that point that I started to figure out the life I wanted to live, more so than the career I had thought I wanted to have.
What do you do now?
Currently, I’m a content writer and social media coordinator for a design firm. While I’ve handled social media in the past, it’s the first time that “writer” is part of my job title, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ve managed to fall in love with an art form that offers few employment opportunities today, but this job is definitely helping me stay sharp for all of my writing-related passion projects–scribbling is really a muscle, after all.
What is Wanderhops?
Wanderhops is my travel and craft beer blog! I’d wanted to launch this project for a long time, and I’m so glad I was able to pull the trigger in April; getting started is always the hardest part. The blog follows my travel and beer drinking adventures around the world, but because I’m a full-time employee outside of my blog, I am not a nomad (though I occasionally go through periods where I do not have a permanent address in between jobs.) I am lucky that I budget and save wisely enough to do a solid amount of travel around my work schedule. Lots of weekend trips to more California breweries are on the horizon.
What motivates you to travel?
I grew up moving a lot, so I had a deep understanding of life in different places around the U.S. from a young age. My mother’s family is from Puerto Rico, and for a long time I would go there annually to visit, which has made me bicultural, in a way. I always knew I wanted to move far away from cold weather, so it was extremely fitting that California was my first solo relocation. A few years after I graduated from college, I started to travel internationally, which I’d always wanted to do. It was during a trip to Montreal–one that I booked literally less than 24 hours before the train was to depart–that travel became a priority. Being able to travel that spontaneously and to realize it’s as simple as booking the ticket and going was a game-changer. It remains one of the most magical trips I’ve been on. It’s a thrill to experience a new place, and to understand more about the people we share this planet with. Traveling inspires me to look at my life differently, and it satiates a need to see, experience, and explore while I can. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your favorite kind of beer?
a) I lovelovelove Belgian beers! Pale ales are also pretty high on the list (as long as they’re not overly hoppy.) It’s a tough call because for every “type” I swear off of or think I prefer, there’s a brewery with recipes that will sway my opinion entirely.
b) One of my favorite draft beers is Punk IPA by BrewDog. I haven’t seen it on tap since I was in London, but I have been dreaming of it ever since. While not as prevalent in the bottled brew, Punk IPA had vibrant passionfruit notes that speak to my Puerto Rican soul.
My favorite sour is Consecration by Russian River, and Mojo Risin’ by Boulder Beer is an Imperial/Double IPA that is not only delicious, but named after one of my favorite 70s frontmen, Jim Morrison. The Bruery’s Jardinier is a Belgian Pale Ale that I fell in love with immediately, and Terrapin’s Liquid Lunch tastes exactly like PB&J and is therefore, forever in my heart. Coconut Joe and Orange Blossom, both by Papago Brewery, blew my mind when I tried them in Scottsdale–they are both five-star beers.
Where have you found the best breweries?
California for sure has some of the best breweries in the country! From the sour beers at Russian River to the hoppy magic of San Diego, It’s impossible to be anything other than impressed by the selection in the Golden State. Once I do some more international travel, this will likely be subject to change. I will say that the beer in Canada was the most pleasant surprise in all my travels–I don’t think I tried a single beer I didn’t like in two different trips to Canadaland.
How have you made travel a part of your daily life?
I think about travel all the time. I’m very aware that you don’t need to book an international flight to have a meaningful experience, and I’ve done a great job of exploring new places within driving distance that still offer a unique experience. While I was living in San Francisco, I literally went on a different hike almost every single weekend. I explored the Redwoods, hiked along Big Sur, befriended banana slugs and even stood beneath a waterfall that poured into the Pacific Ocean. Particularly during my time in Northern California, I did almost all of my exploring alone–which was a very introspective experience. It was also liberating in that I never had to wait on anyone to do things with me; I would just get in my car and go, and I accomplished so much that way.
How often are you on the road?
My time on the road depends upon the status of my employment and the parameters of my current position. While in the transitional period between San Francisco and Southern California, I spent two months in Puerto Rico with a spontaneous road trip to Arizona thrown into the mix upon returning to the mainland. Even my first move to LA started like a travel adventure, because I had an open-ended ticket and moved with only two bags. I try to make time between jobs to freely travel without having to take off for work, but regardless, I usually end up planning adventures (both near and far) several times per year while employed full-time. Weekends are great for mini road trips.
What is the coolest place you’ve been?
Sedona, Arizona is probably the coolest place I’ve ever been because it was so unlike anything I had ever seen. It looks like another planet, and the whole culture of the crystals and vortexes is really interesting. The red rocks are so special to see in person, and I most definitely stole at least three of them (one for myself, two for family), which hopefully isn’t asking for bad vibes. My friend and I slept in my car for the few days we were there, and it was just a gritty, dirty experience in the best way. The beer was great, the food was phenomenal, and it was easily one of my favorite getaways. Getting to share that experience with another person rather than traveling alone also made a big difference. I was lucky that my travel partner was a close friend and former roommate who feels like family, so it was a really laid-back, easy, and exciting experience to have together.
What is your craziest travel experience?
While I was in Puerto Rico visiting family, my cousin and I planned a trip to Culebra (an island off the coast of Puerto Rico.) While out on our first night with no semblance of an itinerary for the remainder of our little getaway, my cousin ended up chatting with a fellow bar patron who turned out to be a friend of a friend. He invited us to go with him on his boat to Culebrita, which is off the coast of Culebra and only accessible by boat. We took him up on the offer, and spent the entire next day on what almost felt like a private beach thanks to pristine waters and an uncrowded shoreline. Of course, we had a cooler filled with craft beers in tow for the ride. It was an epic win for such a serendipitous encounter, but I ended up returning to the main island with a souvenir I hadn’t bargained for–red, swollen bites covering my legs that were presumably from sand fleas and they didn’t fully vanish for over a month.
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
“No, really. It’s all going to be okay. Also, thick eyebrows are ‘in’ by the time you hit your twenties. I KNOW, RIGHT?” …She’ll know what it means.