When I was 6 years old, my mom gave me an atlas. That was the beginning of my absolute obsession with planet Earth. To discover that the world was much bigger than the block I grew up on in the South Bronx was a life changing moment, even if I didn’t know it yet. I started to have dreams and ideas much larger than anyone knew what to do with. Then, when I graduated from school, I was on the first plane to Africa. I stayed in the capital of Ethiopia in a Sheraton hotel and ventured off to experience the “Top 10 things to do in Ethiopia” – a list I found online. One day, my driver asked to go off route to share some of his favorite places and I agreed. That day and for the rest of my trip, we explored rock carved churches, hiked into remote and secluded caves with natural pools, saw green salt lakes and chased waterfalls without another soul in sight. I was invited into family homes for dinner and spent Christmas opening gifts with my driver, and his wife and children. I was face to face with what would become a lifelong addiction: authentic exploration of the unknown.

Traveling can be an expensive hobby, so I found a healthy balance between work and travel. For years, I worked at a social media company running brand campaigns and producing content. I was able to create flexibility in my schedule, which allowed me to still travel to over 50 countries during that time. Every other month, I was off on a new adventure and everyone I knew would follow my journey on Instagram. Since I was always on the hunt for places unknown, my page had become the hotspot for travel inspiration for my circle of friends, but it wasn’t long before it became a vision board for over 125,000 wanderlusters.

I loved my job, I created some of the biggest social media campaigns for hundreds of the largest Fortune 500 brands and worked with thousands of the most popular social celebs from all over the world. My life was fun, creative, flexible and comfortable. However, in the midst of a crazy adventure in Costa Rica, I almost died. And in the seconds, which I believed to be my last, I thought about my family and how many countries I did not get to visit. My life was saved and that story is for another letter, but all this to say, something had drastically changed in those moments. Back at work, I was losing focus and had a burning feeling that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

It was hard to make the decision to focus full time on a travel company. It took many years of failing multiple times, fighting self doubt, and being afraid of failing – but at some point, I jumped. I’ve taken all the connections and skill sets I learned while running branded campaigns, all the opportunities that having a popular Instagram page provides, and my passion for finding hidden gems all over the world to create Remarkable Places®.

My friends (and my mom) have became a part of the Remarkable Places® team and they’ve helped to bring the growing vision to life. Now, I get to create and travel with the people I love, and spend my time exploring this fascinating planet of ours! On our journeys of exploration that have taken us around the world, we have found ways to bring others (YOU!) along to explore our Remarkable world together!

Anyone can travel, but we know what it’s like to have your perspective completely changed by experiencing the world. Not traveling. Experiencing. It’s why we consider ourselves an experience company. We curate an itinerary that takes you somewhere around the world to explore new places, new cultures, and new friendships. Our team has never had so much fun working, never laughed so much with strangers turned friends, and I’ve personally never been as happy as I am now.

Whether you join us on one of our Remarkable Experiences℠, or let us create a Remarkable Journey for you, one thing will always be true: we will do our very best of making sure your travels are… Remarkable 🙂 

Thanks for the atlas, mom.

++Angelique Velez++