Welcome to another Sole Sister Spotlight post where we feature fearless women who make travel possible for themselves and for others. Today, the spotlight is on Eartha, a good friend of mine that I met on a surf trip a few years ago in La Union.

She's a fellow wanderluster who can't stop thinking, talking and daydreaming about travel. Eartha has started her own travel blog called the The 30by30 Project and has crossed off every single item on her list upon turning 30 this year! I interviewed her for this feature and this is what she had to say:

What was the inspiration of your last European trip?

Well, last year, I was doing a personal endeavor called “The 30by30 Project”. It was an attempt to do 30 activities (sports, leisurely pursuits, skills, etc.) before I turned 30 last March 25, 2012. The Euro-trip was a “grand finale” so to speak. For two weeks, I traveled with one of my best friends to the UK, France, Switzerland, Austria and Czech Republic. Every year on my birthday, I do something I’ve never done before, and going to Austria and Prague were definitely on that list! It was like killing two birds with one stone; The culmination of my project, and doing a “never before” thing on my birthday!

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A little photo collage from my Eurotrip with my friend, Karen.

Favorite travel moment?

OK well, that’s a really unfair question. I don’t think any traveler could give just one favorite…

But I will share one of the ones that stands out, and that’s watching the sunset with my friends at the Grand Canyon. When we got there, everyone was assembled at Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Canyon just waiting. Photographers were setting up their cameras, families were gathering each other, and my friends and I just tried to find a spot with a good view. Then when the sun started to set, there was complete silence. Everyone just stared in awe, it was almost spiritual. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, and it was then that I realized what it truly meant to feel infinite.

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This photo was taken by my friend, Chris. It’s good, but I don’t think anyone could really capture the beauty of the sun setting. You have to be there to experience it.

What's your holyshitI'mgonnadie moment?

Driving on the right side of the road in a right-hand-drive car in Ireland.

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See the firm grip on the wheel? It’s just not natural!

How do you fund your travels?

It’s really not that complicated. I save! People always ask me that, but it’s all about priorities. I do not indulge in any clothing, shoes, or handbags that cost more than my liver. I don’t own anything flashy nor fancy. My salary goes to all my bills, to minimal miscellaneous expenses, and the rest goes to a travel fund. That – and I usually get a pretty hefty tax refund every year!

In my opinion, anyone could do it if they really wanted to.

Any advice on how women can stay safe while traveling?

Just use your common sense. Avoid dark alleys or walking by yourself at night, try not to get too drunk without a wingman/wingwoman, don’t wear blingy jewelry, and never leave your belongings unattended. Be smart, and always have a keen sense of awareness.

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It’s best to avoid dark hallways too.

Have you ever fallen in love abroad?

I wouldn’t say I fell in love, but I have had a serendipitous encounter. I was in New York hanging out at a bar in the meatpacking district when I met him. I just randomly asked him to take a photo of our group, and we ended up hanging out with him and his friend for the rest of the night. I didn’t really think much of it until I bumped into him again the next evening, at a different bar, completely by chance! Crazy, right? Then we got to talking and we just hit it off! It felt like I was talking to a male version of myself. The chemistry was palpable, and I was completely drawn to him! That kind of connection doesn’t happen to me very often so you can imagine how captivated I was.

Unfortunately, we both had a flight to catch the next morning. I was going back to LA, and he, to the UK. We exchanged information before we said goodbye, kept in touch for a little bit. But that was that. It was bittersweet, but I will always have fond memories of that night. He was one of my soul mates.

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Waiting for my Tom Hanks at Café Lalu in New York

What's your favorite travel outfit?

I don’t have just one. It’s hard because I usually travel during different seasons. This last trip though, I loved my suede boots, and coral scarf. The length of my boots were adjustable so I could change the length per outfit, and my coral scarf is just so vibrant, it stood out in photos!

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Photo taken in Zurich, Switzerland.

Observe the boots. Right now, they are thigh length. Really great for short skirts.

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Photo taken in Salzburg, Austria.

Now they are scrunched down lower.


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Photo taken in Vienna, Austria.

See how vibrant the scarf is?

How do you always manage to look great when traveling?

I use the soft focus function of my camera.

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Voila. Central Park in Soft Focus. It looks dreamy, right? Anyone can look great in soft focus.

Also, (and this is going to sound really geeky) I try on all my outfits before I pack them. I literally know all the mix and match combinations of each and every item of clothing I bring with me during my trips. It’s important to me that my travel photos turn out well, and that I look as beautiful as the background, whether it be a castle, a landscape or a monument!

As for make-up, I always carry a lip and cheek stain and a black eyeliner.

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Karen and I at St Charles’ Bridge in Prague

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Walking past Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in New York.

I know you love music, are there special songs or playlists that you have for each destination?

YES! When I did a Contiki European Tour in 2008, our tour guide let us in on a Contiki Tour Bus Tradition. After spending a day or two with the groups, the Contiki tour guide picks a ‘tour song’ based on the group’s personality. For us, she chose “You Shook Me All Night Long” by ACDC! Then, every single time the group boarded that bus, every single day, the first song she would play was that! She played it so much that pretty soon, all of us had it memorized!

We got sick of it towards the end, but I appreciated it months after the tour was over. I was driving to work when the song came on the radio. I shrieked at first from excitement, but pretty soon after, I started bawling! All the memories just started flooding back to me, and I remembered all the good times we had on AND off the bus! I had such a great time with Contiki, and the song triggered the memory. I vowed to have a tour song every single time I traveled after that.

Eartha is a Filipina currently living in Los Angeles with dreams of someday owning a castle in Scotland. She loves travel, music, boxing, singing, hurricanes (the drink, not the natural disaster) and celebrities. If you're up for a good story or just a random ramble, read her blog The 30 by 30 ProjectShe is also the newest contributor on Sole Sisters and will soon give us tips on planning the next trip to Europe!

Check out other SSS features:

Glampacker Anna Zalazar
Surfista Elaine Abonal
Wanderer Brenna Holeman
Quirks Girls Zerl & Mishi

Do you know of any female traveler who conquers the world one country at a time? Sole Sisters are fearless women travelers who find ways to travel within their means and have a lot of fun along the way! I would love to interview them for Sole Sister Spotlight. Please send me an email at solesisters (dot) weare(at)gmail(dot)com. I look forward to your suggestions!

Main photo credit: BingbuenIMAGES

Building a community of women travelers,
Sole Sister Lois


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7 Responses so far.

  1. Wow! Just wow!
    Another woman who inspires me to travel the world! :D

  2. earth2eartha says:

    That was fun, Lois! So happy to be a "Sole Cousin!" :)

  3. wonderful!!! soul mates everywhere, "unleashed" by traveil!

  4. I really love your style of writing ! Your blog is so fun and inspiring! And I absolutely love that you chose to do Archery! I've always wanted to try it after reading the Hunger Games! :D

  5. Ayngelina says:

    I love how you find people I hadn't heard of, I cannot believe she did all 30 things.

    I really need to make a list...

  6. Eartha Austria says:

    Thanks Lauren! Archery was sooo much fun! The range I went to was where they trained the aliens from Avatar! And apparently some peeps from Lord of the Rings too! :) Do it! It's really zen...

  7. weRsolesisters says:

    It's the law of attraction Ayngelina! Just like how you and I connect online. I look forward to meeting you in person someday. And please do share that list!

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