“Sophisticated: To be altered by education, experience, etc., so as to be worldly-wise; not naïve.”
I started my blog, “The Sophisticated Life” with this definition in mind.
How it all began
If I am being honest, I would have to say it all started as a little girl in Jamaica. My parents immigrated to the United States, and we traveled back and forth between New York City, Florida, and Jamaica. Therefore, travel has always been a part of my life. My mother, in particular, was a globetrotter. She traveled to destinations all over the world from Australia to Alaska to Greece to Kenya. She would always return with fascinating stories. I couldn’t wait to see all the places she described.
After spending several years pursuing my medical degree and pediatric career, I decided to explore my creative side. I made a vow to myself after completing my pediatric residency that I would travel to at least one new place every year. I started documenting my travels thru pictures then in journals. I loved exploring the local food, wine, art and museums of new places. Before I even knew what “blogging” was, I started a website to share these unique experiences with my family and friends. I hoped to make them as excited as I was about all the great things the world had to offer. Things as close as Broadway shows in New York City or as far as The Acropolis in Athens. Hence, The Sophisticated Life Blog was formed.
I actually did not brand myself as a luxury blogger. Other people in the industry did so for many reasons. It was clear I was not a budget traveler. And, I am definitely not a backpacker. I do prefer luxury or boutique hotels. It does not have to be a 5-star hotel with butler service, but it must have clean, stylish and comfortable accommodations with great amenities and excellent reviews. I always incorporated food and wine into my travels. I follow award-winning chefs, and Michelin starred restaurants. I explore local cuisine when I travel, and that can be anything from fine dining to street food. Quality is a must! Does the area have vineyards or well-known wineries? Then I am there! My goal is to keep visiting the top wine regions around the world – Mendoza, Argentina, Barossa Valley, Australia, Rioja, Spain- just to name a few. Luxury to me is not necessarily about flying first class to a destination but rather the experiences you have when you get there.
Where have I been?
I have traveled all over the world from South Africa to Cuba to Thailand to Dubai to Abu Dhabi to Canada, throughout Europe and all across the Caribbean and the United States. My favorite experiences have always been ones in which I have been able to interact with locals and really get a sense of the country, the culture, and the people. I have walked through the townships of Soweto in Johannesburg, been to tobacco farms in Vinales Cuba, sampled street food in Chinatown Thailand, shopped in souks in Dubai, learned about elephant rescue at a nature park in Chiang Mai and traveled up to the mountains of Montserrat Spain. I did all of these while making an effort to speak to locals about their country and their experiences.
I love champagne so I traveled to Reims France to learn about the Champagne making process. We walked through 13th-century caves and it was amazing. I have visited the wine farms in Stellenbosch South Africa, strolled through the Louvre and Prado museums, shopped in Monte Carlo, ate my way through Brussels, sampled wine in Santorini, and spent a day sailing around the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. In the United States, I have traveled to several Food & Wine Festivals in cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and Savannah. I have visited Napa Valley several times as well as the Willamette Valley, Oregon and Santa Ynez, California wine regions. Every year I have traveled to bucket list U.S. destinations such as Sedona, Santa Barbara, and Charleston. The possibilities are endless both here and abroad. Based on all these amazing travel experiences, I have responded to reader’s requests to create travel guides to assist them with similar travel goals.
What the future holds
Part of being a luxury travel blogger entails building your brand. I have had the great fortune to visit and work with luxury hotel brands all over the world. These include Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego California, Dusit D2 Hotel in Chiang Mai Thailand, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Atlanta, The St.Regis Atlanta and La Reserve Hotel & Spa in Paris France. I have also worked with luxury wine and champagne brands such as Veuve Clicquot. It has been a wonderful ride, and I look forward to what the future holds.