What started as a travelogue for family and friends developed into a platform where Nathalie McNabb shares travel stories about her journeys around the planet, packed with practical information, money-saving tips and destination guides, all complemented by beautiful photography. Intended for the 40+ age group, Nathalie's site Marquestra offers travel experiences from soft adventures to cultural exploration for independent travellers.
Nathalie was kind enough to answer our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Nathalie: I've always loved to travel, in fact, I've been on the move from the start of young adulthood with experiences including having lived in California as an expat for a few years then aboard a sailboat as a chef-mate for a few more, safe to say travel was always meant to be in my life path. But what really got me hooked was an 10 month road trip through South & Central America.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Nathalie: My biggest wish is to inspire fellow midlifers, who, like me, are young at heart, ready to go out and explore, discover and visit new destinations, even if that means occasionally stepping out of their comfort zone.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Nathalie: There are so many to choose from vacations to slow travel experiences. Of course visiting unique destinations such as Easter Island, Angkor Wat or the Great Ocean Road in Australia, all hold a special place in my heart. Yet, my visit at my ancestor's burial site in Scotland was definitely an unforgettable and epic moment.
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Nathalie: On my ever growing list of places I want to see are Japan, Mongolia, Morocco and South Africa.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Nathalie: Other than my laptop and Ipad, essential for life on the road as a nomad, I never leave without my travel clothesline and a bar of laundry soap.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Nathalie: Only take advice from people who have actually travelled to the destination in question. Too many times people transmit information based on hearsay, their own presumptions and/or fears.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Nathalie: Travel bloggers Hecktic Travels and Never Ending Voyage were a great source of inspiration when I chose to become location independent. I also enjoy solo female travel blog Ottsworld, which gives me the confidence I need for my new solo journeys. I use Pinterest, which is a treasure trove for researching new destinations and recently discovered the She's Wanderful community.
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Nathalie: Skyscanner is by far my favourite tool to find exceptional low rates, Hopper App to plan the best time to buy them and Tripit to organize all the travel reservations. A perfect trifecta.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited? (Any specific locations people need to see there?)
Nathalie: Antigua Guatemala is too often overlooked as an affordable destination. This Unesco site is surrounded by a chain of volcanoes, has a fantastic temperate climate with a vast choice of restaurants and accommodations. And you can extend your visit to Lago Atitlan and the huge Chichicastengo's market.
TA: Have you ever met someone while traveling who changed your life? Who were they?
Nathalie: Meeting Lars & Helle, a 60+ couple from Denmark, while travelling in Colombia. They changed my perspective on travelling with their easy-going philosophy and desire to truly connect with local cultures. An inspiration which now influences my travels as I now search to better engage with the communities I visit and try not to over plan my schedule.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Nathalie: It saddens me when people don't make an effort to learn a few words in the language, such as Hello or Thank you, of the country they are visiting. A small gesture which cost nothing and generally means a lot.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous? Please explain why.
Nathalie: Scotland, which is already on the list of the most beautiful destinations to visit. Easy to see why with the stunning vistas of the Highlands and its exceptional landscapes that will wow you at every corner. You can visit castles, discover rich culture and heritage, meet friendly locals while enjoying a little dram (or two) of malt whiskey. What's not to love?
TA: What's one piece of advice you'd give to travelers your age?
Nathalie: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to push your own limits.