I met Natasha in Havana, Cuba in April 2017. We were both staying in a homestay in the old town. Natasha ended up staying in the homestay by chance and it was a blessing for me that she did. After we bonded over breakfast we planned to explore Habana Vieja together. What was supposed to be a short time together ended up as an adventure around western Cuba for several days! Taxi colectivos, horseback riding, salsa dancing and several mojitos and daquiris later I ended up having a trip of a lifetime made all the better by Natasha's kind nature, festive spirit and sense of adventure. Natasha even rescued me when I got stuck in Vinales!
She has a passion for travel and culture and thirst for understanding about the world she is in and the people in it. She is also a loving mother who juggles the challenge of caring for her son and her own need for travel with love and care. Some of my favorite moments together were when she was speaking with her son Kalel. I can't wait to hear more about Natasha's adventures, travel and escapades. I know her stories will be told with joy, humor and enthusiasm.
Best of luck with it all!
The first time I met Natasha was in Genoa, Italy back in winter of 2010. I told her to be careful with her large purse because it was easy for someone to reach their hand in to take her wallet. Natasha didn’t seem like she knew anyone else, so I figured we could become friends. Very quickly there were groups forming. Luckily I found myself in one with women I still call friends today. We tried the food, we avoided the alleys, we traveled to other cities, and we definitely tried not to be too American. By the third week, I finally opened up to my new friends. I felt that I could start to be myself and have fun. With the group, Natasha and I spent time hiking Cinque Terre, strolling Camogli, and eating at countless restaurants and food stands. We definitely made the city home, and I think we could both agree that, even though we wanted to go home to our families, our shared first solo trip was well worth the hassles and price tag.
I am very fortunate that Natasha came into my life when she did, and with her taste for adventure and a hunger for living life to the fullest, she is an inspiration to everyone. Through all of her adventures and with everything she has learned along the way, Natasha knows how to get you to your destination and exceed your expectations when you arrive.
Natalie (Washington, DC)
I met Natasha on our study abroad trip to Costa Rica in winter of 2011. Natasha and I are both from the DC area and both attended University of Maryland, but we didn’t meet until this trip! We met up at the airport (on Christmas day) and traveled together to Costa Rica, since we both were arriving a few days earlier than the rest of the group. We became fast friends and once we arrived in Costa Rica, we met a few other girls that became our friends as well.
In Costa Rica, we stayed with host families in the same town, took classes together and went on day trips. Some of the coolest places we visited were hot springs at a volcano, a beautiful beach town called Jaco, and Tortuga island. Natasha loves to travel and was always down to try new foods, go to new places, and speak the language. My funniest memory is when I didn’t know that I had to pay about a $20 tax to exit the country, and by the time we got to the airport to leave I had no more money left. Luckily Natasha and I were on the same flight so she covered me and made sure I got home.
This trip was more than 7 years ago and Natasha and I are still friends today. We met up at UMD for lunches, I met her cute son Kalel, we visited our other study abroad friend in NYC, and this past year she attended my wedding. Can’t wait to see & hear more about her future trips, and possibly join her for another!
I met Natasha by sheer happenstance on a bus to El Penol in Medellin Columbia. Natasha had a seat closer to the front of the bus, while I was in the rear. As one would expect, the bus had more passengers than seats. One of the passengers left standing was an elderly gentleman, so I decided to give him my seat. This led to me standing closer to Natasha's seat. After eaves dropping on her conversation for sometime, I decided to introduce myself, and was surprised at how friendly she was. We chatted on the bus until she saved me and my friend who I was with from getting off the wrong stop. After that, we knew it would be smart to stick with the expert traveler who also knows Spanish.
Natasha and I, along with two friends spent the rest of the day exploring. We conquered El Peñol and went to the city of Guatape, where we enjoyed the vibrant colors and interacted with the locals. Natasha also had to come to my rescue again by using her pesos on me when I ran out. After exploring the city, we found some exhilarating fun on the zip-lines that looked like they were one ride away from breaking. After a day of making new friends, enjoying nature's beauty, exploring the vibrant colors and locals of Guatape, and releasing some adrenaline via the zip-line, we took the long ride back to Medellin. The four of us later met up that night at Parque Lleras for dinner and good company.
Since Colombia, we have all stayed in touch and I am planning to meet with Natasha the next time I am in D.C. She's not only an amazing person who brings life to everywhere she goes, but the most unique characteristic about Natasha from my experience was her ability to trust strangers. Within minutes of meeting me, she had helped me multiple times in multiple ways, while smiling every step of the way. Natasha is a rare gem, and I'm stupid happy I got to meet her!
I met Natasha when we did our alternative break in Guatemala. Natasha was and still is one of the most down to earth people you can meet. We quickly bonded from the beginning and learned a lot from our experience. When building the fence around the school, our limited resources included a bamboo stick in replace of a shovel. When we stuck it in the ground it sucked up some dirt similar to how a straw works. However, it wasn't as effective as just scooping it out with our hands (we wore gloves of course).
My stay in Los Andes was nice, but the most memorable moments were when the whole group bonded at night at dinner and playing games afterward. We were lucky to have a lot of sociable people in our group. Natasha was opened minded and was willing to explore making the trip more fun. We took a boat ride and hiked through the cloud forest in search of queztals, Guatamala's national bird. I admired the fact that she continued to work hard in college and travel abroad while she was taking care of her young son. We stay in touch and will vacation together in the near future.
This year in November, I was traveling to Barbados from Chicago to renew my US visa. As a solo traveler, I always like to stay in Air BnB’s simply for a cheaper price, a location away from the super touristy spots, and to explore like a local. It was on this adventure that I had the pleasure of meeting Natasha! After a short 4-hour (or so) flight from Miami, I was waiting outside with my luggage at the Barbados airport for my BnB host to pick me up. Feeling a little on edge as a single female in a foreign place, I was delighted to realize that Natasha was also being picked up by the same host. She too was a solo traveler for a few days- waiting on a bunch of ladies to arrive later that week for a friend’s birthday. Natasha and I hit it off right away; we were both alone, looking to check out the local spots and venture out of the touristy areas. The vibe I got from her was very fun, nurturing, adventurous and super independent!
During our second day in Barbados, the island went under tropical storm watch and we had to remain indoors until it passed eating non-perishable goods. Lucky for us, the storm scraped the edge of Barbados and we were able to enjoy the rest of our stay adventuring the island and frolicking on the beach. On Friday night, a group of us went to the local fish fry in Oistins followed by a night out in The Gap. After a few drinks, I was feeling myself and feeling comfortable enough to whip out my dance skills (which aren’t so fantastic). Natasha and I ripped up the dance floor with some of the locals and my new wuk up moves she’d taught me. We had SO much fun! The highlight of my solo adventure to Barbados was definitely meeting Natasha by chance. I wouldn’t have been confident enough to explore around by myself or have trusted in our BnB host to show us around had she not been there. She is such an angel, a positive energy to be around and someone that I can’t wait to see again. Maybe we will even travel again together one day.
I met Natasha February of 2019 in Barcelona and it was an adventure for the books to say the least! My friends and I ran into Natasha at a restaurant around dinner time, and by the end of the night we had made quick friends with each other and were sharing the same table. We talked, we drank, we laughed and then skedaddled for a night out on the town. After some amazing salsa dancing at a nearby club, we ended up at a small, hole in the wall bar where had the most amazing conversation with the bartender. Never did I think I would end up in a random bar in Barcelona, with two friendly strangers, having an amazing conversation about life and it’s wonders.
At one point during this conversation, Natasha and I needed to use the restroom. Our bartender friend gave us a pleasant warning (if you can imagine a warning being pleasant) along with a roll of toilet paper and we made our way to the restroom. A restroom, which to our surprise, was at the bottom of a dark stairway with no lights in sight. As we descended into what felt like the dark abyss, we finally see a muted red light and shadows of what may have looked like restroom stalls. As we tip-toed deeper into the room, we slowly started to realize there was much left to be seen. The restroom was a large room with four dark corners and one circular, maze-like enclosure in the very center of the room. Glancing up towards the ceiling, we noticed two harnesses and realized we weren’t in Kansas anymore. What seemed like a normal, quiet bar was also a lovely establishment that allowed for adult play time in their basement restroom. This bar was full of surprises at every turn and one that I’ll never forget!
So obviously, this is now my favorite bar in the world and Natasha is officially my favorite travel buddy that I hope to cross paths with again soon someday. Cheers to more fun and the next unexpected adventure!