About the Travel Sketch

Hi hey hello 👋🏼 I’m Anna: the writer, photographer, designer, and illustrator behind this blog.

The Travel Sketch was born out of a dedicated love for travel, an instinctive desire to create, and a deep frustration at the lack of resources and communities available for people who crave both.

I believe that travel and creativity are fundamentally linked through an acute curiosity about the world, and a desire to explore different perspectives and ways of being.

Do you travel to find inspiration, generate ideas, and gain a deeper understanding of how your life relates to others? Do you want to learn about distant corners of the world from new and exciting angles? Do you believe in crafting powerful stories through meaningful details? Do you want to build a life rooted in constant discovery and creation, no matter your preferred travel style?

The gist: If you consider yourself a maker and an explorer and want to engage with other like-minded people, you’ve come to the right place.

More About Me

(the Sparknotes version)

Remember those ad hoc, Mod Podged, mixed media projects that kids used to make in elementary school? Well, if those were a person, they’d look a lot like me.

I was born in the American south, raised on the East Coast, and came of age in the suburbs of Silicon Valley, with some occasional backtracking. I’m also a hapa (mixed ethnicity) who grew up both using chopsticks and feeding on copious amounts of apple pie. As you can imagine, my upbringing was a little patchwork in terms of culture and community.

I don’t have any “friends since preschool” and I don’t come from a traditional, nuclear household. I had to quickly learn how to form relationships out of nothing and how to adapt to my surroundings if I wanted to succeed.

If that all sounds bleak, fret not: I actually really love the way I grew up and look back fondly on my childhood, mostly because I had a mother who cared about me and taught me to be as fiercely independent as she is. She recognized early on that I had an entrepreneurial spirit (read: I don’t like people telling me what to do) and raised me in an environment where I had the freedom to pursue whatever interested me. This developed into an overwhelming instinct to create.

I spent Saturday’s camped out in front of my computer (anyone remember dial-up?), trading pixel art for imaginary coins and drafting up new webpages for my Neopets and Myspace profiles. I wrote 20-page stories and hung out in Barnes & Noble for 8 hours a day for fun. I sold hand-made clay jewelry to my classmates and fleshed out comics for class projects.

It all sounds incredibly dorky, but the point is: I had a burning eagerness to learn and to build, and that obsession never quite went away.

And then, sometime around college, I fell off the “creative” track. I was still designing for side income (money is a great motivator, ha), but I had stopped writing, drawing, and so on. I started to consume more than I created. And after a while, I hated myself for it. So I decided to start making things again.

What You Can Expect

This blog was a way for me to leverage more output, to give more to the world than I take, and to help inspire others to do the same.

After two years of saving and working as a professional designer, I packed up my desk (proverbially and literally) for a year around the world. No set plans to become a digital nomad or travel indefinitely, just a quiet desire to get out and see a bit more of the world, with the occasional existential crisis thrown in for good measure. Now I can be found slurping noodles or exploring temples with this nerd.

I write about all the typical stuff, like itineraries and budgeting. I also write about the not-so-typical stuff, like new and creative ways to explore and investigate the world around you: whether that be through words, art, photography, video, or any other medium that you find effective towards tailoring stories that resonate.

Local and authentic travel is about more than “Top 10” lists of off-the-beaten-path destinations. I tend to focus more on the little details that that people usually miss, but make up the daily lives and realities of people around the world. My goal is to capture the essence of a place. It’s one of the reasons why I started the Secrets Abroad series.

I’ll share with you ideas on how to fit more travel into your life (yes, even if you have a grown-up job), as well as anything interesting I find along the way during my own travels.

Ready for an Adventure?

Are you ready to create and discover? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get a hand-curated list of inspiration (links from around the web, featured destinations, etc.) sent straight to your inbox. It’s ideal for people who want a bite-sized way to indulge their curiosities on a regular basis.