Written By Kaitlyn Showalter
One of our favorite things here at Travel Italian Style is being able to inspire other travelers through our stories, adventures, and snapshots. When we are able to cross paths with other travelers who hope to inspire others in the same ways, it’s simply magical.
Allow me to introduce you to one of those enchanting people—Nastasia Wong.
Known to you as Dame Traveler, Love Letter to Italy and Nastasia Passport, Nastasia is an inspiring soul. Her dream is to give travel a meaning, a story that brings hope and drive to other women around the world.
Having already visited over 40 countries, she has learned that with each destination, her mind would expand and become more open to the experiences and adventures that were awaiting her.
What we love about Nastasia is even after traveling worldwide, Italy is still her favorite destination. Which is why, naturally, our CEO, Cassandra and Nastasia have connected.
However, Italy was not her first destination. Her wanderlust started unplanned and it was her husband, Johnny, who introduced her to travel. He immediately showed her all the amazing possibilities that lie within the world.
"I discovered my love for travel when I met my now husband, Johnny. He took me on my first international trip to Dublin as a surprise after I revealed on our first date that I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland."
Johnny's surprise has now left Nastasia with a wanderlust soul forever. Just a few years later, Nastasia and Johnny would travel internationally once more, this time for their wedding on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
To an industry outsider, a career in travel always seems straightforward. For Natasia, and many others, it was heartbreak that morphed her into the person she is today.
When she was 12 years old Nastasia was diagnosed with an 80-degree Scoliosis curvature and was in desperate need of a spinal fusion. However, her real turning point came much later in her life.
After 4 years of challenging nursing school, studying, and taking her boards, she ultimately found a job as a Labor & Delivery nurse in Chicago.
While in an emergency C-Section surgery, she injured her already fragile back, stopping her from her newfound career for a nine-month bed rest. Unfortunately, her injury permanently ended her nursing career.
Her life was in shambles because she had worked so hard to get to that point in hercareer, only to discover that she had to find a new path.
With this injury, Nastasia found a blessing in disguise. She discovered her real passion emerged in finding the beauty that the world has to offer and inspiring women all over the world to feel empowered through her experiences.
"It wasn’t a specific a travel experience that inspired me to make travel my career in life, but more so a life experience."
While on bed rest, she realized that there was a real lack of female travel communities, so she decided to create one using her skills to blog and develop her own website. This is now the blog we know today as Dame Traveler!
After learning to start over again, Nastasia knew she could inspire others. And what better way to do that than through beautiful photos and writing?
She realized that what started as a simple way to focus on the outside world during a tough period in her life, turned into a way documenting her own trips and dreams to build a career. Now, she is also helping to shape other women's lives by inspiring them to travel!
While it is not always easy, she is grateful for everyday and loves the ability to see unforgettable sights, document her journey through photography, and then inspire others through her words. It is especially rewarding to see the following and love that others in the community share with the Dame Traveler platforms.
Whether it is solo or on the road with her mother or a good friend, Nastasia's goal in life is to travel, to enjoy life and to bring strength and joy to others. She is passionate about her work and showing the hope and beauty that travel can bring across the world.
What's next for Dame Traveler? Nastasia shares that she is working to expand her brand beyond just blogging and social media. She already has some great projects in development—we can’t wait to see what she cooks up!
One thing we know for sure, is that whatever she does, it will be filled with love, light and inspiration.
The message Nastasia would like to leave us with is one she learned from our Bella Italia.
"Italians live a simple, beautiful life that is full of passion"
Italy has taught her that when in doubt, to always choose love and to remember, "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."
There is an amazing world out there and if we give it a chance and get on a plane, something magical may just happen.
Meet Nastasia Wong:
40 countries into her journey, her passion for the world has led her to create a sizeable community of female travelers where her mission is to empower them to travel more, do more and be more. Whether sipping on chai in Istanbul or volunteering abroad in South Africa, Nastasia continues to find and share the beauty of this world, thus inspiring people to change the way they see and experience life.
Keep up with all of her newest adventures on Instagram:
Kaitlyn Showalter is the Public Relations and Media Marketing Strategist for Travel Italian Style. She is a junior at James Madison University, where she is majoring in Communications focusing on Public Relations and also minoring in Creative Writing. Kaitlyn’s passion for traveling emerged when she took a month long trip abroad to Italy with her entire family to discover her roots.
She instantly fell in love with the warm Italian culture, beautiful landscape, and incredible food. Since this eye opening trip Kaitlyn has continued to travel as much as possible and loves finding herself while being immersed in other cultures. She also has a passion for using social media in order to share experiences and effectively communicate travel stories to friends, family, and anyone who also loves to explore the world. She aspires to bring others the same joy she feels while visiting new cultures and hopes to give travelers the most authentic view of the culture they are experiencing. Kaitlyn cannot wait to continue to gain an even better worldly perspective through genuine travel opportunities like Travel Italian Style has to offer!