Aspire to Inspire Interview: Charisse | Surviving on a Shoestring

Meet, Charisse, the creator and chief content curator for Surviving on a Shoestring. As the daughter of 2 Barbadian immigrants, she has been traveling since the age of 6 months to visit family. Hey, fellow Caribbean gal! (I'm from the British Virgin Islands by way of my maternal grandfather)
Although she has been going for quite some time, she did not become passionate about it until the age of 21. It was at this point that she became obsessed with seeing other countries and experiencing new cultures. She's visited the Netherlands, Denmark, Colombia, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and 23 other countries over the course of 25 years. 
One of the only things she loves more than travel is saving money. Her goal in creating Surviving on a Shoestring is to teach readers how to see the world on a budget. Another thing we have in common!
She regularly shares the tips and tools she uses to travel in hopes that she can inspire others to travel frugally. Read below as she continues to share her expertise in frugality:

Tell us about yourself. What do you do? 

Charisse of Surviving on a Shoestring | Aspire to Inspire Interview Series

I am a 25-year-old Senior Financial Analyst from New Jersey. Both of my parents immigrated to the U.S. from Barbados in the 70's. Barbados was the first country I traveled to, and I was fortunate to spend summers there with my paternal grandmother growing up. Working in Finance means my day revolves around numbers. I am most comfortable setting quantitative goals. At the age of 21, I set a goal of visiting 30 different countries by the age of 30. Up until this point, I have visited 28 countries, and I have two trips booked for 2017 already to Croatia for Yacht Week and Cuba.

What city do you hail from and what do you like most about your hometown? 

I'm from the small city of Plainfield, NJ. Many people might not have heard of it, but it has helped shaped me into the person I am today. One of the things I love the most about Plainfield is the diversity. Growing up, I was exposed to many different cultures within my neighborhood.

Where were your favorite places to travel to in the world and why? 

My favorite place that I've traveled to, to date, is Cartagena, Colombia. I loved the rich Afro-Latin history, the rhythmic cumbia music, and flavorful food. My best friend is from Colombia and being able to take the trip with her and experience her culture firsthand was an amazing experience. I also love traveling to Barbados, because it is the one place on Earth where I feel at home. A large portion of my family is still there. I plan to return this year for Crop Over. It will be the first time I've attended this event since I was a child and I'm ecstatic to take part in such a traditional part of my culture.

Why do you think it is important to travel? 

One of my favorite travel quotes is, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron. Travel is important because it allows you to view the world outside of your own. It reminds you of how massive the globe is and what a small part you inhabit. Keeping an open mind and being willing to learn from others are equally important. 

What do you want your legacy to be? 

Wooh, this is a deep question. I want my legacy to be that I inspired others to travel. Whether it be domestically or internationally, getting out of your neighborhood is so important, and I think everyone should have the opportunity to do so. A group of my younger cousins told me that they want to visit countries I've been to one day and hearing that means a lot to me.

Anything else you would like to add for those who want to travel but aren't sure how to? 

Charisse of Surviving on a Shoestring in Salvador, Brazil | Aspire to Inspire Interview Series

My biggest tip to those who want to travel but aren't sure how to is to follow the flight deals. Flight deals are plane tickets that run cheaper than the average. One of the first articles I wrote for my site was about how to go about finding these deals. Flight deals allowed me to travel to Abu Dhabi for $245 round trip and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for $489 roundtrip. Saving money on your flight translates to more money to spend elsewhere.

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