Monica Suma

Three words define me: travel, write, photograph. Romanian by birth, but New Yorker at heart, there is nothing that brings me more joy and satisfaction than traveling and discovering other cultures. As a spontaneous avid traveler, I have fed my thirst for discovery with extended stays in my native Eastern Europe, in exuberant Spain and in unbelievable Shanghai. For the past seven years, New York City is where I call home.

My 20-something relentless quests stem from a long bucket-list. This includes soaking up the sun on Brazilian beaches, staying at riads in Morocco, riding elephants in Chang Mai, and embracing a simpler life in Southeast Asia. I speak fluent Spanish, and I’m having lots of fun learning basic conversation in Mandarin Chinese.

I have a Media Studies and Journalism degree, however deeply entrenched in online media is where you can mostly find me. I’m a contributor for several online magazines, where I write about travel, lifestyle and New York City. I’m a social media advocate, fascinated by the power of the ever-changing digital world.

In my tireless pursuit for words, I took on blogging and travel writing. A creative person by nature and analytical by default, I live by creating and devouring stories and images of travel. When I’m not blogging, I am surely photographing places and snapping away pictures with my iPhone. Striving to learn from the best, I am enrolled in the travel writing program at MatadorU and the Digital Media Marketing program at NYU.

You can follow my adventures on my blog or on Twitter.

You can work pretty much where you want to – on the road, do you find it hard to work or do you just have fun and work when you come back home?

It depends where I am and how well the wi-fi works. But if everything is smooth, I actually work better while on the road. My inspiration flows endlessly when I am somewhere new, when my impressions of a place are fresh (especially up to 24hrs). It does help to let your thoughts marinate for a few days, but at the same time, it is so much harder to dig into your memories, once more time has passed.

Do you feel many people are envious of your lifestyle?

I am not sure if they are envious, but grass always seems greener on the other side. I am not constantly traveling, so I am more likely to be jealous of people always on the road, however living in New York City, and being exposed to the diversity and excitement that this city offers is certainly something to be envious of. I also travel often to Europe, and other remote parts of the world, so the combination is just right.

In which countries have people recognised you, even when you thought nobody would?

Though one. But I remember one instance last year, while I was walking with a friend on a side street in Shanghai, we randomly bumped in other Americans, friends of friends. It was so weird to run into people you never thought you would see in such remote parts of the world. It really makes you think how small this world really is.

Which three items would you never travel without?

My camera would be number 1. I love photography, and so, I always explore a new destination by capturing its city vibe and hence, immortalizing cherished memories. I am a very visual person, and pictures speak more than a thousand words.

My iPhone would be second; I am a big social media freak, I instagram (more pictures), tweet and Facebook a lot, all related to my travels. The third one would be my HSBC card, which I only use abroad. There are no ATM fees, and most countries have HSBC banks.

I also cannot go anywhere without my light MacBook Air laptop, as I spend a considerable time blogging and writing (I'm pretending you didn't notice I exceeded my must three items list).

Are there any specific souvenirs or other things you collect from the places you go to?

Yes, always. I have an impressive collection of magnets. As time goes by, and I visit more and more places, I try to find the most original ones: a ceramic tile from Turkey, a flamenco dancer from Spain, a red lucky charm from China, a pink flamingo from Turks & Caicos, a red pepper from Hungary, etc.

More recently, I started collecting jewelry from every new destination. While I was in China, I became so obsessed with jade, that I ended up buying a necklace and a ring to wear with some of my other jade jewelry, so much so that a lady told me at the airport "wow, you must really like jade." The best souvenirs, though, are those that capture smells and sounds, like incense, certain instruments, a song, etc.

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