Hola Mija! This week’s story is a little late because of the power outages from Tropical Storm Isaac. This week I want to introduce to you Elaine. A Dominican traveler that has visited over 35 countries. I am excited to share this story as a fellow Caribbean woman I love seeing sisters from our neighbor islands succeed and represent in whatever fields they are. Elaine is a senior executive in the IT world. I’m excited to share with you how she combines her love for travel with her career.
Tell us about you, What's your name?, Where are you from?, What’s your passion?
My name is Elaine Montilla. I was born and raised in The Dominican Republic and moved to the US right after High School with my family in search of a better future. I am passionate about technology and about increasing the number of women and minorities in STEM fields. I am a senior executive in IT and usually the only woman at the table, and I want to change that.
What do you love the most about traveling?
What I love most about traveling is how it helps me grow as a person. Traveling helps me shift my perspectives, and I always feel connected on a human level with different cultures and societies. I think that every destination has something to teach me, and I leave with new knowledge that I can then apply as I continue to move around in the world. Another reason I love to travel is to clear my mind and create some space for new ideas to come in. A bonus is that it allows me to spend quality time with my partner and strengthen our connection.
What places have you visited? & what places do you want to visit?
I have visited close to 35 countries. Some of them include Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Spain, Poland, Prague, Germany, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Portugal, Italy, Istanbul, and more. This year we were booked to visit Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, and everything was canceled due to the current pandemic, but I hope we can make it there soon. I am dying to get lost in the wine, music, and learn more about their culture.
For you, what's the most important thing about traveling?
Traveling always reminds me of how fortunate I am. I need to stay grounded and be present, and I see it as a spiritual experience at times. It also reminds me how flexible we all need to be in life because plans change all the time, and we need to go with the flow and learn to surrender when required.
Do you have any advice for other women that are scared to follow their dreams?
To get what we want and fulfill our dreams, we need to take risks. We need to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That has been a massive lesson for me in my career and while planning my next destination. I try my best (it is not always easy) to see challenges as opportunities and ask myself, “what is this here to teach me?”
What 3 things do you always bring on your travels?
- My canon, for sure, I love capturing memories to share with my family when I return.
- I cannot sleep without fluffy socks on, and those are always with me
- I cannot travel without sunglasses
What lessons has travel taught you?
Traveling has taught me how small the world is and how interconnected we all are. It has shown me that we are not as different as we think we are. Growing up, I was scared to travel, and I was afraid to hear different languages and worried that I wouldn’t manage on my own. I learned that hand gestures can perform miracles lol and that the world isn’t as scary as people tell you. I also learned that when people stared at me, it wasn’t because they didn’t like me, it was because of my curly hair and because they are not used to seeing Latinas often speaking Spanish. You will never regret it, so go out there and take a chance. There is always google!