I love connecting with other travel lushes who have a special talent for inspiring others to see the world. One such person whom I absolutely adore is May Pham, a travel and lifestyle influencer with a knack for posting beautiful and stylish photos on Instagram. Her Insta feed is fun, feminine, and one of my favorites to stalk. Her blog “inArabymay” is inspired by beautiful destinations, color and nature, and wonderful people that she’s met on her journey. She took a moment to chat with me about life as a travel and lifestyle influencer.
What made you want to become a lifestyle and travel blogger?
I’d like to answer this question with a fun fact that I have recently learned from @littlesparkofwanderlust, an inspiring travel blogger on my Instagram. There is a wanderlust gene called gene DRD4-7R that causes people to seek curiosity, experience constant restlessness and the desire to take risks. Only 20% of the world population has the gene though.
I guess I have that gene! Exploring far off places, seeking out new experiences, learning the ways of the world, finding inspiration in different cultures and traditions have always been my passion. Also, I enjoy showcasing my photos from around the world with the most beautiful outfits. So besides educating myself constantly about photography, I always try to incorporate my best wardrobe for each destination to bring out that “wow” effect in all of my travel pictures.
How did you turn it into your full-time job?
I have never had a 9-to-5 job or corporate life. Since graduating from college in 2008, I have owned different businesses ranging from a private school to online retail companies. I’m also a real estate broker but just to help out with my husband’s construction business. As business owners, we have the flexibility to travel anytime we want. Sometimes we even combined travel with work. From 2014-2015, we lived in Vietnam for a year and helped to manage my parents’ restaurant in SaiGon.
Right now I don’t think travel is my full-time job yet, but I’m looking forward to turn it into one soon. As my Instagram has now attracted more attention from different travel agencies and magazines, I hope one day I could proudly call travel my full-time job.
How long have you been building your Instagram audience?
I have been on Instagram since 2013, but not until June 2016 that I know how to properly use Instagram. Previously all of my travel pictures were only shared on my Facebook with my close circle of friends. Since June 2016, I have stumbled on so many inspiring Instagram accounts and I’m determined to build up my Insta profile. I learn how to incorporate relevant travel hashtags in my posts and try to get featured on popular travel pages like @wearetravelgirls. I’m also investing time to build my travel/lifestyle website to provide travel and photography tips for my Instagram followers.
Your outfits are always amazing! What’s the secret to traveling around with a large wardrobe?
It has been 10 years since I started my adventures around the world and throughout my globe-trotting journey traveling light (but fashionably!!!) is always my priority. Even though it appears that I have lots of outfits (dresses, bags, shoes,…) we always travel light with only one medium suitcase and one light carry-on for both my husband and me. My husband’s travel items fit nicely in the carry-on, so you must have wondered how a girl (with excessive amount of wardrobe like me) fits everything from beauty products to clothes in a medium suitcase. I, too, struggled with this the first time I packed but after 10 years of traveling I learned a lot. My first tip is make a written list. Write down the basics for what you’ll need and follow your list to ensure you don’t overpack. Also, plan your outfits ahead of time. Ask yourself: What’s the weather going to be like? Is there room to recycle outfit pieces? Those answers will help you to not go overboard when you start digging into your wardrobe.
What are some Instagram accounts that inspire you?
What’s your best advice to anyone wanting to take amazing photos of themselves while traveling?
People are always excited about exploring a new place and imagine things will be just as amazing as what’s captured in a travel brochure or Google pictures. When they arrive at their destinations, things turn out not to be as glamorous as their imagination: Vatican is way too crowded, Santorini’s blue domes are not that picturesque, Barcelona is touristy,…
My tip for having amazing travel photos is traveling off the beaten path. Don’t stick to the major sights and touristy attractions. For example, you probably heard horrible stories of the heat and the crowds of Venice in summer. Those things do exist, but only for people unwilling to look beyond the popular attractions like Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco. For wanderers, explorers, and anyone willing to drift away and get lost, it’s very easy to find narrow streets, lazy alleys, and quiet canals away from the crowds! In short, you need to steer away from the crowds and find your own amazing photo spots!