Sustainable Influencer: Vanessa Papa

Photo taken by  @braidynlooper .

Photo taken by @braidynlooper.

1. Name?

 My name is Vanessa Papa.

2. Where are you from? Where do you live now?

I was born and raised in New Jersey, but moved to North Carolina at age 17. Now, I live in Oregon but I tend to travel around often so I probably won't be here for too much longer.

3. Profession?

I teach English as a second language online, which allows me to work from home and travel often.

4. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a 28 year old queer female who strives to be funny, kind, adventurous, and open-minded. I adore sarcasm, British accents, craft beer, dark chocolate, reading, the Pacific Ocean, activism, the queer community, SNL skits, horror movies, video editing, live music, cooking, time spent with my girlfriend, and trips back home to see my family.

5. How do you structure your days?

I wake up early in the morning to teach my classes, drink black coffee, check my emails, watch Broadly videos on YouTube, go to the gym, cook something spectacular for dinner, drink some craft beer, shower and snuggle with my girlfriend. I'm always researching the next adventure to go on, whether it's a festival, a new hike, an overnight trip to a nearby city or simply a new farmer's market.

Photo taken by Vanessa Papa.

Photo taken by Vanessa Papa.

 6. What is your favorite place you have travelled to?

I've traveled quite a but so this is not an easy question to answer! In 2016, I road-tripped with 4 of my friends through the Adriatic Coast and ended up on a whitewater rafting trip in Montenegro. Montenegro is a tiny country with wonderful people, incredibly clear waters, and affordable prices. We spent two days there and the total for all meals, lodging, and adventures cost less than $50 per person. Before our trip, I didn't even know a country called "Montenegro" existed. It feels like the world is brilliant and new when you stumble upon a gem like Montenegro

 7. Where would you like to travel next?

There are so many places I want to go! Bali, Indonesia is the next big trip I want to do. Ideally, I would stay there for a month or so on a yoga retreat. Naturally I'm not a yoga type of person, but I like to challenge myself and broaden my horizons whenever possible. Maybe I'm trying to be a little too much like Elizabeth Gilbert, but I think she has a good head on her shoulders. Oh, and she turned out to be queer, too, so we have a lot in common. :)

8. What does “Living responsibly” mean to you?

Living responsibly reaches into so many facets of my life. I act responsibly in my relationships, trying my best not to do harm to anyone, only to lift them up. In recent years, I have adapted a healthier diet, with less meat intake and minimal food waste. I figure that if I had to kill an animal myself, I would never be able to do it. Therefore, I shouldn't be casually and irresponsibly eating them. I'm a big fan of juicing, but I don't let the scraps of food that get left behind go to waste. I use them in arancini, breads, cookies, breakfast scrambles, etc. Message me for any of my recipes! I love sharing my love of food with people. I try to be responsible with my daily choices of products, clothing, and packaging, too. One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @awastefreeworld. They post so many things that I've never even looked into before: reusable cotton rounds, reusable sanitary pads, plastic free shampoo cubes, bamboo cutlery, etc. Living responsibly does not mean I am a perfect in any aspect, it just means that I am consciously trying to reduce my impact on our planet. I hope everyone feels inspired to do the same.

 9. What is the best advice you have received?

 It sounds like such a simple message, but the advice came from an older relative who lived a traditional American life, much unlike my path. He went to college, started a career immediately, got married, had children, grew to be head of that company, and is now retired. In a world where I'm constantly asked "When are you going to settle down?," he told me this: "You're doing it right. If I could go back, I would travel more and worry about all the other stuff later. Don't worry about getting married or buying a house. You're doing just fine." This validation meant the world to me.

10. Who are your greatest influences?

I love passionate, opinionated, self-aware people. If you and I have differing opinions and we can have a discussion about our views and end it with a laugh and a hug, you inspire me. Also, Emma Watson- a beautiful, educated, successful, bibliophilic activist. She could have easily relied on her beauty to coast through life admired by all. Instead, she chose to earn a degree from Brown, vocalize her beliefs, empower others, spread awareness, etc.

Photo taken by Vanessa Papa.

Photo taken by Vanessa Papa.

11. What’s next for you?

I haven't known the answer to that question in years. I hop around a lot and try to live very much in the moment. I hope to get a YouTube channel started because I feel as though I have so much to share with people in regards to traveling, life as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, sexuality, relationships, and self-awareness. Anyone know a good editing program? :)

12. What is your motto in life?

Choose happiness everyday.

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